HOLY WEEK REFLECTIONS – PALM SUNDAY
A KING ON A DONKEY
Jerusalem was now full of pilgrims who had travelled to celebrate the Passover Festival. As Jesus approached the city, he was given a royal welcome with the crowds shouting their support and waving branches as he passed by.
However, this was surely no messianic statement, as the Roman authorities would have quickly arrested Jesus due to the tense times of their occupation. A public display of this kind was completely out of character with everything else Jesus had done up till now. The shouting involved the coming kingdom of our ancestor David and this fits in well with this time of Passover with a statement of hope and a longing for the fulfilment of God’s promises.
So, what is happening here as this king enters the city not on a white stallion but on a donkey? This was another great example of Jesus turning people’s expectations of him upside down. This was a public, yet peaceful procession, as Jesus rode into the busy city on an untrained donkey – it was also a royal procession to remind us that one day Jesus will return as King of Kings.
Some expected a sombre figure like John the Baptist but what they saw was a partygoer who turned water into wine! Some expected a Messiah who would overthrow Rome but what they saw was a man of peace who said ‘love your enemies.’ Jesus could not have been less like a king in the way he behaved – riding on a donkey - and they surely did not expect to see a Messiah on a cross a few days later!
Here was a servant king – peaceful, meek and ready to test our preconceptions of the Kingdom of God. As we arrive in Jerusalem this week, are going along in the hope that Jesus will fulfil some of our hopes and desires, or are we ready to sing and shout but only on our terms?
The pilgrim treads the dusty road to have time to sort out their motives for following Jesus – then maybe we will follow him into service to others in our community and to controversy and challenge in society as well as singing his praises gathered together on Sunday! Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable - that is our task as followers of Jesus.
***ANNOUNCEMENT! We are delighted to be able to reopen St Paul's church for in person services - in time for Easter! For details of our events and services during Holy Week, check out our Services at St Paul's and Church At Home Pages.****