Jesus enters Jerusalem in a way that says, “I’m the king.”
This was a normal thing to do in his day. A returning king or conqueror would enter the city:
• Escorted by his citizenry or army…
• with hymns of praise being sung…
• and symbolic acts of authority shown to him…
• culminating in a ritual of appreciation, like a sacrifice.
So think again about Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem:
• With his disciples following him and crowds lining the streets…
• and those crowds singing Psalm 118, a royal psalm…
• and lining the streets with cloaks, as in the crowning of Jehu in 2 Kings 9:13, and palm branches, a symbol of authority used by the Macabees…
• and then Jesus goes directly to the Temple (although to flip tables, but still) and ultimately to the cross.
This event that we call “Palm Sunday” was no accidental parade. Jesus came into David’s city in a way that said, “I’m the king.” And the people responded in a way that said, “You’re the king.”
Except for the donkey.
Jesus should have come in on a warhorse, but instead he comes in on a donkey. This fulfills Zechariah 9:9. It also makes it clear that Jesus is a wholly different kind of king.
The world would expect a presidential motorcade; Jesus came in on a 1986 Ford Taurus.
What kind of king is that?
The week ahead tells us exactly what kind:
The kind who serves instead of being served.
The kind who allows himself to be defeated so he can ultimately win.
The kind who dies so that others may live.
On this Palm Sunday we have a great reminder of how different our king is.
During the Holy Week ahead of us we have many great reminders of how different our king is.
How different… and how great.