John 12:9-19 (NRSV) On the Way to Jerusalem
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”
In John 12:9-19, Jesus’ disciple, John, recounts the story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding a donkey. He writes about a great crowd gathering, cheering, and waving palm branches, a symbol of national triumph and victory. They were shouting, “Hosanna, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” thus remembering the prophecy written in Zechariah 9:9 about the Messiah’s coming “…triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
But John corrects the people’s perception that Jesus was the warrior king or the political savior they assumed He was. John refers to chapter three in the book of Zephaniah, and as he reiterates again in his book, that Jesus does not come as a conquering hero, but instead comes as God’s presence among them. Today, we can still feel that presence as we pray as Christ taught us to do and as we do God’s will on earth.
Thus, Palm Sunday affords us and all Christians an opportunity to reflect and remember the events of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. We can better understand the meaning of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem only by remembering the rest of the story and understanding God that is present with us always.
Dear heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of your Son then and continuing now. Help us to use the gift of your presence now and always to do your continued work in our own community and on the earth. In the name of Jesus we pray and ask thy blessing. Amen.