March 20, 2016
Introduction: Paranoid. Sometimes I think of myself in that context. When I see someone doing something that seems out of context or unexpected I find myself wondering what they are up to. Do they have some secret motive that I can only guess as I ponder just what it is they may be thinking about or what their motive is! As I try and put myself in the shoes of those witnessing Jesus’ unusual behavior of finding a donkey and riding it into Jerusalem as a King, what was the crowd’s impression of Jesus? What did the Roman authorities think of his riding into Jerusalem on a donkey with the crowds going ecstatic to the point of getting palms to lay down in his path making a sort of highway for him into the city. We have some inkling of the Jewish authorities reaction finally giving up any hope of stopping him for all the ‘world’ has gone out to him.
I) When Jesus chooses to enter Jerusalem riding on a young donkey it immediately brings to mind Zechariah 9:9 (Page 872), “Lo your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he . . . riding the foal of a donkey.” This then raises the question did the Roman and Jewish authorities see Jesus as threat or as a joke?
II) There seem to be several crowds, one from Bethany who has experienced the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and a second from the festival in Jerusalem who have only heard of this event. They are enthusiastic over what they have heard and seen, yet they still lack the insight of who this Jesus truly is. So perhaps they are wondering just what he is up to? Is he encouraging a revolt or witnessing to some new kind of Kingdom!
III) Much as after the feeding of the five thousand (John 6: 1 -15 Page 1141), the people want to make him king by force so Jesus withdraws to the mountain to pray. Now they bring palm branches and wave them as a response to their hope that he will bring about a new nationalistic rule much like the rule that was brought about in the time of Maccabeus, 164 BCE, at the time of the rededication of the temple. The crowd fails to understand that this is a spiritual kingdom and not a worldly overthrow of a tyrannical government.