John 12:9-19 from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson
Word got out among the Jews that he was back in town. The people came to take a look, not only at Jesus but also at Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead. So the high priests plotted to kill Lazarus because so many of the Jews were going over and believing in Jesus on account of him.
The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem. They broke off palm branches and went out to meet him. And they cheered: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in God’s name! Yes! The King of Israel! Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it: No fear, Daughter Zion: See how your king comes, riding a donkey’s colt.
The disciples didn’t notice the fulfillment of many Scriptures at the time, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that what was written about him matched what was done to him.
The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after him.”
A short interview with a visitor to Jerusalem during the first Palm Sunday.
I arrived in Jerusalem better than a week before Passover in order to find a place to sleep and to see some old friends. There is always a lot of energy in the city when the population swells during festivals. And this year was no exception.
We Jews are desperate for strong leadership in the form of a King to remove the scourge of the Roman rule of Israel. The Passover is the anniversary of the deliverance of our people out of slavery in Egypt. The Roman occupation unfortunately is in many ways similar to our time in Egypt.
Passover is the perfect time, theologically, to attempt a new deliverance. Shortly after I arrived, a group of pilgrims from Galilee drew me in as they enthusiastically shouted the traditional Passover greeting “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” as one in their midst, Jesus, a man much talked about recently, entered the city on a donkey. That traditional greeting did not surprise me, but the follow up did: “Blessed is the King of Israel!” I did not join in and celebrate the new candidate for King, but I was tempted to do so since this Jesus seemed be a nice enough chap. What is the deal though? He’s riding a donkey? It is not real obvious how he is going to depose the Romans.
Lord, you showed that you are a human in many ways, including by riding a donkey into the Jerusalem Passover festival. You also showed in Jerusalem, and continue to show every day, that you are the King, the Almighty, our Lord.