Jesus’ “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem initiates a week of events that would change our world forever. The large crowds, the laying down of garments, the boisterous singing of hymns and waving of lulabs (cut branches from palms and other trees) all tell an important story…one which the people of Jesus’ time would have instantly recognized. This scene served to proclaim Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, who is the Son of David and rightful King in Jerusalem; the liberator of God’s people. The Romans would be sent home! God’s people would finally be free!
Even though the crowds knew all the the words and symbolism surrounding Jesus’ dramatic entry into Jerusalem, in the end they would reject him. For rather than an army, Jesus brought disciples with him who practiced the way of love and forgiveness. Rather than riding a powerful white war-horse, Jesus road on a young donkey, little more than a colt. Rather than coming to confront and conquer, he came to suffer and give his life. He who once said “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,” (Matthew 11:29) will now come to make those words real in his life and actions.
Those of us who would expect God to fit neatly into our plans often miss the power and the subtlety of Jesus’ mighty act of salvation. But those who listen for God’s living word with an open heart, and let God set the agenda, will instantly recognize in Jesus the fulfillment of all the “law and the prophets.”