Summary: Jesus arrives in Jerusalem.
A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch.
The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, dad?"
"You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got Palm Branches today."
The little boy replied, " Aw Shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!"
We are not quite out of lent but we are getting close. Today we have listened to the scripture that describes the “Triumphal Entry of Jesus in Jerusalem.
If you were one of the followers of Jesus, it looked like the show was getting on the road. While we know there is still danger in Jerusalem, it looks like it is all going to turn out ok. The crowds like Jesus and are responding with celebration and acknowledgement given to a king.
Jesus has been on the way to Jerusalem for weeks or months, he is not in a hurry and he stops and teaches all along the way. He zigzags’ his way there and arrives just in time.
He arrives on the last possible day to be involved in the full celebration of Passover. The place is packed, some historians say that their could have been 110 Thousand people in Jerusalem that week. The noise of people and animals had to be deafening. You really can’t see anything except the sea of humanity.
It is like going to Six Flags on discount ticket day. There are so many people it is uncomfortable, everything is expensive. The lines for everything are long.
I imagine that almost everyone is carrying something, food, water, snacks for the kids, bedding, cooking stuff. You name it someone is struggling to get it through the crowd.
This was the week before Passover, the most important festival of the year. It was a time of preparation for the huge celebration. The celebration of freedom and salvation provided directly by the work of God. Generations before, God instructed the people to use the blood of a lamb to protect their families. And in Jesus day the celebration of the event was still celebrated by the offering of blood and the sharing of a meal and telling the story.
Many country folks brought their offering, their lamb with them. The city people would have to purchase an animal. And today was the day that you had to have your lamb. The lamb was to be treated as a pet; it lived with you for the week.
The general idea is that the lamb would take on your sins by exposure to you.
On Friday the lambs would be taken to the temple and slaughtered and the blood offered for the protection of the family. The keeping of the feast, being faithful to remember God’s past salvation and by obedience in remembering God’s past acts continue to receive God’s mercy in the future.
So, Jesus is coming to town for the celebration of this great feast. He books a room outside of town by a few miles. Then he says,
"Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ’Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ’The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ "
So, one or two miles out, Jesus stops and sends two disciples, go get a donkey colt. Let me get this straight, he walks everywhere for months and now that He is within a couple of miles of Jerusalem and, He needs a ride!
He sends two unnamed followers to the edge of the village on a heavy travel day to borrow a ride. Notice he did not tell them to ask first.
Horse/donkey thieving was a big deal back then. This sounds like something that is a little risky.
It is like He is asking these followers, “go into town to the car dealer and you will find a new 4 wheel drive pickup truck. It will be brand ne, now one has ever driven it will still have sticker on the front window. The key will be in the ignition. If the salesman or security guards ask you a question, tell them that the Lord needs it and will send it back in just a little while.
Are these the disciples that Jesus did not like very much?
These two disciples could end up being stoned right on the spot.
He has asked them to do some strange things but, this seems a little dangerous for the disciples.
This is pretty radical stuff, and it gets my mind going.