Why Did Jesus Ride a Donkey into Jerusalem? The Triumphal Entry
The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a Donkey When they got close to Jerusalem and reached Bethphage, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus dispatched two disciples, instructing them to go to the Mount of Olives and pray “You will find a donkey tied to a post in the hamlet in front of you as soon as you enter it, as well as a colt with her. Bring them to me after they’ve been untied. If someone says anything to you, you are to respond by saying, “The Lord requires them,” and the Lord will dispatch them immediately.” These events took happened as a result of what the prophet had predicted: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your King is coming to you, lowly, and ridden on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'” Matthew 21:1-5 is a passage from the Bible.
John 12:14-16 is a biblical passage.
O daughter of Jerusalem, let your voice be heard!
You may have daily words of encouragement emailed to your inbox.
Why Did Jesus Ride a Donkey?
Despite the fact that Jesus had come to Jerusalem on multiple occasions to honor the feasts, his final arrival into the city had a special importance for him. He was triumphantly approaching as a modest King of peace, and everyone was cheering for him. Donkeys were traditionally used to enter cities, as opposed to a conquering monarch riding in on his horse, to signify peace, rather than war. Doug Bookman provides the following transcription of his argument for why Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey: “‘Behold, O Jerusalem of Zion, the King comes upon youmeek and lowlyriding on the back of a donkey,’ Zechariah 9:9 says.
That is not the case.
The fact that the monarch rode on a donkey is quite significant.
And don’t forget that when Absalom took the kingdom from his father, David, the first thing he did was go grab his royal donkey and ride through the streets of the city to prove his legitimacy.
When it says He comes gentle and lowly, the implication is that He does not arrive with a military apparatus to protect him. He does not arrive with an army; instead, he arrives humble and lowly, riding on the back of a donkey. Consequently, I believe that the donkey is a symbol of His kingship.”
Donkeys in the Bible
The following is an excerpt from the Bible Encyclopedia’s “The Donkey” entry in theScripture Alphabet of Animals: “The Donkey”: is somewhat similar in appearance to a horse, but is somewhat smaller and appears to be lazy and uninterested in most activities. In certain areas, like as those where the Bible was written, it is a magnificent huge animal that is used for riding by the local populace. Some of the people recorded in the Bible possessed a large number of donkeys. Abraham possessed sheep, oxen, donkeys, and camels, whereas Job possessed five hundred donkeys at one point and a thousand donkeys afterwards.
- It’s important to remember that when our holy Savior was approaching Jerusalem a few days before his death, he rode on the back of a donkey, demonstrating his meekness and humility even while the crowds sang his praises and spread their robes in the path of respect for him.
- The donkey is quite kind and tolerant, and he does not appear to be annoyed even when he is carrying a very big burden.
- Despite the fact that he appears so uninteresting, he is devoted to his master and will occasionally track him down and run to him even while he is surrounded by guys.
- Credits for the image: iStock/Getty Images Plus/Diy13
Why Did Christ Ride a Donkey on His Triumphant Entry? – Amazing Bible Timeline with World History
When we read the 21st chapter of Matthew, we learn that Jesus dispatched two of his followers to a town in order to obtain a donkey with a colt alongside it, and that this was the beginning of his victorious entry into Jerusalem. In order for him to be able to ride the donkey on his route to Jerusalem, Jesus instructed them to bring him the donkey and colt. But why did Jesus chose a poor donkey to travel on instead of a majestic horse to carry his cross? Published by the Amazing Bible Timeline with World History, these articles are written by the publishers of the book.
- There were three reasons why Jesus rode a donkey.
- Horses are almost often referenced in the Bible in connection with kings and battle, but donkeys are almost always mentioned in connection with regular people.
- “Jesus utilized the donkey to establish a connection with ordinary people.” Donkeys were not commonly utilized during times of war since they were smaller than horses and possessed of a cautious nature that may be misinterpreted for stubbornness.
- It was fulfilled in Matthew 21:1-11 when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and he was victorious since he had done it without shedding any blood on the part of his followers.
- Third, Jesus utilized the donkey to establish a connection with ordinary people.
- During his time on this planet, Jesus, on the other hand, loved the impoverished and the ill.
These articles are written by the publishers of The Amazing Bible Timeline with World History, and are available for free download. See almost 6000 years of Bible and world history at a single glance.
- On this fantastic study companion, you will have access to over 1,000 references in a circular arrangement that is unique to it. Educate yourself on intriguing facts: Biblical events with scriptural references placed alongside global history demonstrate amusing chronological linkages. People will stop and speak about this well laidout Jesus historical timeline poster, which is perfect for your house, business, or church because of its attractive and simple design. More information about this unusual and entertaining Bible study tool may be found by clicking here.
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Matthew 21-22, Mark 11-12, Luke 19-20, and John 12 are examples of passages from the Bible.
Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem
|As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the peoplespread their coats in front of Him and greeted Him with palm branches.|
It was a springtime Sunday in about the year 30 A.D. The holy city of Jerusalem was crowded with pilgrims who had come for the annual Passover celebration. Jesus had spent many months traveling through the towns and villages of Palestine. He preached about the kingdom of God and healed the sick wherever He went. Now thetime had come for Him to claim His title as the Messiah – the Savior that God hadpromised to the Jewish people. Jesus knew His mission was almost finished. As they traveled to Jerusalem, Jesuswarned His disciples that He would soon be put to death, and after three days Hewould rise again.
- Jesus rode into Jerusalemon the donkey.
- Some waved branches of palm trees, a sign of victory.
- Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord –the King of Israel!
- Most of the people did not understand what kind of king Jesus would be.
- But the kingdom of God is not of thisworld.
Cleansing the Temple
|Jesus drove the merchants and moneychangers out of the temple.|
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, He proceeded to the temple, where he was dissatisfied with what He saw. What used to be the holiest of sites had been transformed into a bazaar. Animals were being sold by merchants for use as temple sacrifices. Money changers were on hand to exchange the pilgrims’ cash for unique coins that were only used in the temple. Many of these individuals were defrauding the pilgrims who had traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. The seats of the merchants and the tables of the money changers were thrown over, scattering their cash, as Jesus did this.
He fashioned a whip out of some cords and used it to chase the animals away.
Teaching and Healing
Every day, Jesus went to the temple to pray. His healing ministry extended to others who were blind, handicapped, and ill, and He cured them all. He used tales and parables to help people better comprehend God’s kingdom and God’s love for all people, and he was known for doing so. The large masses of people who had gathered to hear Him were mesmerized. A scholar of Jewish law approached Jesus and inquired as to which of God’s commandments was the most significant. ‘Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your mind,’ Jesus said.’ This is the very first and most important commandment.
Everything Jesus taught us is built on the foundation of faith in God and Christian love (kindness and respect) for one another and for all people. These are the kinds of things that are truly essential in one’s lifetime.
Conflict with the Chief Priests and Elders
|The chief priests and elders of thetemple challenged Jesus’ authority.|
Not everyone was pleased with Jesus’ decision to speak at the temple on a daily basis. Anger and dissatisfaction reigned among the temple’s leading priests and elders. The chief priests had granted permission for merchants and money changers to operate in the temple’s outer courtyard, but Jesus had ordered them out of the building. Because of the vast number of people who followed Jesus, they were concerned about a crackdown by Roman authorities. And, what’s worse, the people were placing all of their hopes and confidence in Jesus.
- These temple authorities devised a strategy to catch Jesus in the act of speaking his own words.
- Jesus refused to answer their questions.
- In the event that He did not assert divine authority, people may conclude that He was simply a lunatic.
- However, instead of responding to the question, He posed another: “Did the baptism of John originate from heaven?” The temple officials understood that they had fallen into a trap as well.
- As a result, they declined to respond.
- The temple leaders, on the other hand, became even more enraged and began plotting to assassinate Jesus.
For the Jews, Jerusalem was the holiest city on the face of the earth. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, he fulfilled a prophesy from the Old Testament (Zechariah 9:9–10) and left little mistake that He was adopting the title of Messiah. The large masses of people who had gathered in Jerusalem for Passover flocked to Jesus and praised him. However, there was a bitter struggle between Jesus and the religious authorities of Jerusalem. They were at odds on themes like as prayer, sanctity, life after death, and the payment of taxes to the Roman government.
Jesus was killed less than a week after arriving in Jerusalem as a result of these disagreements.
He spoke about His second coming and the kingdom of God, and he presented parables about it.
It is customary to commemorate Jesus’ triumphant arrival into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, on the Sunday before Easter.
While riding into Jerusalem, Jesus got a warm welcome from the pilgrims, which some churches commemorate by decorating with palm branches and distributing palm branches.
Why Did Jesus Preach and Work His Miracles Among the Jews?
Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews are all terms used to refer to the people who were chosen by God. God intended for redemption to be brought to the Jews first, and then via the Jews, to the rest of the world as a whole. As a Jew, Jesus was born and raised, and he stayed devoted to Judaism (the Jewish religion) throughout His earthly ministry. The majority of his labor and preaching was done among the Jews of Palestine, which is now known as the State of Israel. Christianity originated as a minor sect of Judaism that spread over the world.
It is important to note that God has not renounced His covenant with the Jews (Romans 11:25-29), but that His redemption is now offered to all people everywhere.
Messiah is derived from a Hebrew word that literally means “the anointed one.” Oil was used to anoint significant persons in the Old Testament, such as kings and priests, as a symbol of their position. For hundreds of years, the Jews had hoped that God would send them a particular monarch to rule over them (Daniel 9:25-26, Isaiah 7:14-17, 11:1-9,Micah 5:2). Because the people were expecting their Messiah to be a military and political leader rather than a spiritual leader, Jesus resisted taking the title Messiah until the very end.
Why a Donkey?
So, what exactly is the big deal with the donkey? What was Jesus’ motivation for riding a donkey into Jerusalem? What is it about this deed that makes it such a revered event for Christians on Palm Sunday? The triumphant entry is the term used to describe it. The scene of Jesus’ arrival into the city of Jerusalem evoked a sense of impending significance, as though something significant was about to take place. The entry was meticulously rehearsed and arranged by Jesus himself, down to the smallest detail.
When they arrived, they were told to “untie them and bring them to me.” If anyone says anything to you, you are to respond by saying, “The Lord requires them, and he will send them immediately.” 2 and 3 (Matthew 21:2–3) Surprisingly, the disciples appear to have no reservations about following these directions.
- “Doesn’t this seem a little strange?” you might wonder.
- We who have heard the narrative expect Jesus to be a great leader who will provide hope and salvation to everyone who follow him.
- Donkeys are used to transport people into Jerusalem on a regular basis.
- They served as the primary mode of transportation in the ancient world.
- It says, “Rejoice much, O daughter of Zion!” in the Hebrew.
- Behold, your king is on his way to you; he is just and has redemption; he is modest and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey, and he is coming to you (Zechariah 9:9).
- A donkey and her foal will be used to transport the Messiah into Jerusalem when he arrives to usher in the period of restoration, salvation, and peace, according to the prophesy of Ezekiel.
However, if we go back to the original prophesy, we will have a better idea of why the donkey was chosen as a mode of transportation rather than another.
As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will liberate your slaves from the pit of sand and water.
According to the donkey, the Messiah will come as an instrument of peace and restoration rather than as an instrument of war and bloodshed, as is often believed.
A large procession would precede him, with battalions of men with swords and spears, as well as chariots and war horses.
Despite the passage of time, the expression “hero riding in on a white horse” to save the day or rescue the downtrodden is still used.
Here, we witness the mystery and paradox that Jesus purposefully created via his acts and words.
The only way to Jesus’ redemption is via humility and shame.
The event took place in broad daylight and was quite dramatic.
A blessing is upon him who comes in the name of the Lord!
When the commotion was noticed, those who were awakened inquired of others in the crowd, “Who is this?” A large number of people would say, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee,” and the audience would applaud (Matthew 21:10-11).
“Can you tell me who this is?” A world where the powerful and rich are marveled at and celebrated is what we live in.
As we begin Holy Week, remember to keep your heart modest.
Jesus would be elevated to the position of lord over your life. Submit your self-importance to the Servant King. Stroll with Jesus along the path of the cross, adopt his perspective, embody his character, and live his life in the process. Truly greatness is found on a route of humble beginnings.
Triumphal Entry: What You NEVER KNEW about Jesus and the Donkey!
Throughout the Bible, God never missed a chance to employ strong symbols to communicate his message. The fact that Jesus rode atop this humble horse says a great deal about Christ’s character and mission. What was Jesus’ reason for riding a donkey? The Messiah, as predicted by the prophets, is assuming His proper place in the world. Throughout the Bible, God never missed a chance to employ strong symbols to communicate his message. The fact that Jesus rode atop this humble horse says a great deal about Christ’s character and mission.
- Matthew 21:1-5 is a passage of scripture.
- What was Jesus’ reason for riding a donkey?
- He is modest and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.” He is humble and riding on an ass.” The Bible says (Zechariah 9:9) KJV.
- The reason the people acclaimed Jesus as their king was because they were chanting, “Hosanna!” The one who comes in the name of the Lord is to be praised!
2. Jesus rode a donkey to symbolize peace.
Why didn’t Jesus ride a warhorse like He did in the book of Revelation? Leaders in the ancient Middle Eastern civilization rode horses if they were going to battle, but donkeys if they were going to negotiate peace, explains Mark Boda. Solomon is described as riding a donkey on the day he was acknowledged as the new king of Israel, according to First Kings 1:33. Other biblical passages that mention leaders riding donkeys include Judges 5:10, 10:4, 12:14, and 2 Samuel 16:2. According to Zechariah 9:9-10, a donkey is mentioned, which corresponds to the description of a king who will be “just and possessing salvation, compassionate.” Instead of riding into battle, this monarch would choose to enter in peace.
- He will go across the world proclaiming peace.
- “Take away.
- “The war bow will be broken”: there will be no need for bows or arrows in combat.
- “His reign shall spread from sea to sea,” which means that the King will have control over a large area with no opponents to worry about.
Zechariah’s prophecy is fulfilled in the person of Jesus. The worldwide peace that this lowly King will declare will be a fulfillment of the angels’ hymn in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward mankind!” (NKJV).
3. Christ’s journey on a donkey harkened back to the foreshadowing of a father sacrificing his own only son.
Isaac, a symbol of Christ, rides a donkey to the altar where he would be sacrificed by his father Abraham (Genesis 49:10-12).
4. Jesus’ journey on a donkey symbolized God’s blessing to His people.
According to Genesis 49:10-12, Jacob’s divine blessing over his son Judoh includes the following reference to a donkey and a donkey’s foal: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until he comes to whom it belongs, and the obedience of the nations shall be his. In order to wash his clothing in wine, he will soak his robes in the blood of grapes. He will tie his donkey to a vine, and his colt to the most desirable branch. It is predicted that his eyes would be deeper than wine and that his teeth will be whiter than milk.” Jesus is born into the tribe of Judah and is enthroned for all eternity.
In addition, read verses 14-16 about Isaachar, the rawboned donkey who submits to the authority of the king!
5. Jesus’ triumphal journey teaches us that after all of the sacrifices offered for sin, we can enter the rest of faith because of His final sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12).
God’s unambiguous mandate is seen in Exodus 23:12: “Do your job for six days, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your cow and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.”
6. Emissaries sent donkeys overloaded with gifts to appease the wrath of an enemy, preventing bloodshed.
For the purpose of avoiding the anger of his brother Esau, Jacob sent donkeys loaded with riches (Genesis 33:8). Abigail arrived with donkeys loaded with food in order to prevent David from murdering her and her family. Nabal, her spouse, had enraged the king-to-be with his behavior. In 1 Samuel 25:26, the wise woman knelt before David and said, “And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal,” referring to David’s enemies and all who are intent on harming him.
7. God used a donkey to speak His judgment!
Yes, Balaam’s donkey does in fact warn the prophet of His violation to the law. According to the book of Numbers 22, “. The Lord unlocked the donkey’s lips, and the donkey answered to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have hit me these three times?'” ‘You have made a fool of yourself,’ Balaam said to the donkey. If I only had a sword in my hand, I would be able to put you to death right now.’ In response, the donkey inquired, ‘Am I not your own donkey, on which you have always ridden, even to this day?’ Is this something I’ve been doing to you on a regular basis?’ ‘No,’ he responded.
- As a result, he bent low and fell on the ground facedown.
- Judges 15:15 is an example of a formalized formalized formalized formalized (Judges 15:15).
- The donkey was not devoured by the lion.
- Using a donkey, King Jehu traveled towards Samaria, which was a type of fake Jerusalem, in order to demolish the temple dedicated to the false deity Baal (2 Kings 9:11-10:28).
Matthew 21:12 describes Christ’s entry into Jerusalem’s temple and His pronouncement of judgment as He overturned the money-changers’ tables: “My home shall be called a place of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
8. Jesus demonstrated that he was the burden-bearer who came to save us.
Baby Jesus was born in the most humble of circumstances. Remember that a donkey transported a pregnant Mary, a poor woman from Nazareth, all the way to Bethlehem in the first century. (See Luke 2:4-7.) This noble beast of burden was responsible for transporting the Savior of the World. The image of Mary’s donkey was utilized by Jesus to establish a connection with the common people. He was on his way to get them. During his time on our planet, Jesus showed compassion for the poor, the weak, and the downtrodden.
- He went to him and treated his wounds with oil and wine, then left him to rest.
- This year, take a more in-depth look at the triumphant entry.
- www.Amazingbibletimeline.com www.Taylormarshall.com Kristin M.
- is a Ph.D.
- Alan Rudnick, Baylor University, shares his lessons learned from a donkey.
What is the significance of the triumphal/triumphant entry?
QuestionAnswer Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Jesus’ crucifixion, is known as the triumphant entry because it marks the arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem on that day (John 12:1, 12). In the life of Jesus, the tale of the triumphant entry is one of the rare instances in which the same event is recounted in all four Gospel versions (Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19). The triumphant entry, when the four versions are taken together, becomes obvious that it had significance not just for the people of Jesus’ day, but also for Christians throughout history.
- It was on that day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey’s colt, which had never been saddled before.
- As He rode to the temple, the people applauded and exalted Him as the “King who comes in the name of the Lord,” and He taught and cured them while driving out the money-changers and merchants who had turned His Father’s home into a “den of thieves” (Mark 11:17).
- According to Matthew, the King’s arrival on the back of a donkey’s foal was a perfect fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, which reads, “Rejoice loudly, O Daughter of Zion!
- Your king comes to you, righteous and blessed with salvation.
- Jerusalem, the royal city, is open to Him, and he ascends to His palace, which is not a temporal palace but a spiritual palace, which is the temple, for His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom.
- He gets the respect and adoration of the people because He is the only one who is deserving of it.
- Cloaks were strewn as a form of honor to the king and his court (see 2 Kings 9:13).
Unfortunately, the people’s adoration for Jesus did not come as a result of their recognition of Him as their personal Savior from sin.
Many people, including those who did not trust in Christ as Savior, believed that He would be a great temporal deliverer for them, even if they did not believe in Christ as Savior.
Nevertheless, when He fell short of their expectations, when He declined to lead them in a general insurrection against the Roman oppressors, the people rapidly turned against Him.
He will eventually be rejected and abandoned by those who had praised Him as a hero.
In this myth, the King rides in on a donkey, not a majestic stallion, and does not appear in regal garb, but rather in the garments of the poor and the humble.
His is not a kingdom of troops and magnificence, but rather a kingdom of humility and service.
His message is one of peace with God, not one of temporal peace, as is commonly understood.
Those same characteristics are demonstrated by us as His disciples, and the world witnesses the genuine King ruling and reigning in victory through us. Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) What exactly is the significance of the triumphant arrival into the building?
Subscribe to the
Get our Question of the Week emailed to your inbox every weekday morning! Got Questions Ministries is a trademark of Got Questions Ministries, Inc., registered in the state of California in the year 2002. All intellectual property rights are retained. Policy Regarding Personal Information The information on this page was last updated on January 4, 2022.
Session 1: Jesus Enters Jerusalem on a Donkey / Poor People’s Campaign Mule Train
According to the Bible Study Series entitled “The Last Week of Jesus Christ and the Last Year of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Text from the Bible: Luke 19:28-44 (or Mark 11:1-11) Excerpts from “Nonviolence and Social Change,” a chapter in Trumpet of Conscience, by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967) Other sources include portions from John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg’s The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’ Final Days in Jerusalem (The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’ Final Days in Jerusalem) (2007)
1. How is Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem non-triumphant and anti-imperial in nature? What are your thoughts on the argument presented by Crossan and Borg? Is there any relation between the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the mule train that Martin Luther King, Jr. rode in during his Poor People’s Campaign? 3. What is Jesus’ emotion when he first sees the city of Jerusalem? What is King’s approach to poverty in the United States? Do the leaders of grassroots anti-poverty organizations and the situations of poverty and homelessness in our nation have anything in common with each other?
Luke 19:28-44 (NIV)
The Triumphant Entrance of Jesus28 After narrating this narrative, Jesus continued on his way to Jerusalem, going ahead of his disciples to demonstrate his authority. 29 As he approached the cities of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he dispatched two disciples ahead of him to prepare the way. Thirty-one “Go into that village over there,” he instructed them. You’ll notice a young donkey chained to the gate, which no one has ever rode before as you go in. Bring it here when you’ve untied it.
- As they were untying the colt, the owners came up and questioned, “What are you doing untying that colt?” 34 To which the disciples said simply, “The Lord requires it.” 35 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and draped their clothes over it so that he may ride upon it.
- As soon as he arrived at the location from where a road leading down the Mount of Olives was established, all of his disciples began to yell and sing as they made their way down the hill, thanking God for all of the marvelous miracles they had witnessed.
- “Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” says the Lord.
- “How I wish today that you, of all others, would recognize the path to peace.
- 43 Before you know it, your foes will have constructed ramparts against your walls, encircled you, and closed in on you from all directions.
44 They will trample you to the ground, taking your children with them as well. It is unlikely that your adversaries would leave a single stone unturned since you refused to take your redemption opportunity.”
From Martin Luther King, Jr. “Nonviolence and Social Change” Trumpet of Conscience (1967)
“Right now, there is a fire roaring for.the impoverished of this society. All around the world, disinherited people are dying as a result of severe social and economic wounds that have not healed. Until the issue is resolved, they will require brigades of ambulance drivers who will be required to disregard all red lights under the current system. … The dispossessed of our country—the poor, both white and black—live in a system that is horribly unfair to them. This group of people must organize a revolution against injustice—not against individual lives of individuals, but against the systems through which society is refusing to use the resources that have been requested and are readily available to alleviate the burden of poverty.
If we can assist them in taking collective action, they will do it with a sense of freedom and power that will be a new and unsettling force in our comfortable national life,” says the author.
From Crossan and Borg,The Last Week(2007), pages 2-5
“On a spring day in the year 30, two procession entered the city of Jerusalem. We had just begun the week of Passover, which is the most important week of the Jewish calendar year. This day has become known as Palm Sunday, the opening day of Holy Week, and has been commemorated by Christians for hundreds of years. It is the most holy week of the Christian year, culminating in the celebrations of Good Friday and Easter. A peasant parade was one thing; an imperial procession was quite another. From the east, Jesus rode a donkey down the Mount of Olives, accompanied by his disciples who sang his name.
- They had traveled from Galilee, roughly a hundred miles to the north, to Jerusalem, a journey that serves as both the major part and the fundamental dynamic of Mark’s gospel narrative.
- It has finally come to pass.
- He was escorted by a column of imperial cavalry and troops.
- In the two processions, we saw the culmination of the week’s major struggle, which culminated in Jesus’ crucifixion.
- The imperial procession was well-known in the Jewish homeland in the first century, despite the fact that it is foreign to most people today.
- The reason for their being in the city was not out of sympathetic admiration for the religious commitment of their Jewish people, but rather to be prepared in case there was unrest.
- Among the tasks assigned to the troops under Pilate was to augment the Roman garrison stationed permanently in the Fortress Antonia, which overlooked the Jewish temple and its surrounding courts.
- Pilate, like the other Roman rulers of Judea and Samaria before and after him, resided in the new and magnificent city on the seashore, which he built himself.
- When it came to the great Jewish holidays, Pilate made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as had his predecessors and successors before him.
a visual feast of imperial might: cavalry riding on horses, foot troops in leather armor, helmets and weapons; flags; golden eagles hoisted on poles; the sun glinting off metal and gold; Sounds: the marching of feet, the creaking of leather, the clinking of bridles, the banging of drums, the whirling of dust, and the gaze of the silent observers, some of whom are inquisitive, some of whom are awed, some of whom are resentful of the spectacle.
- It was Pilate’s parade that demonstrated not just imperial might but also Roman imperial ideology.
- It all started with Augustus, the greatest of the Roman emperors, who governed the city from 31 BCE to 14 CE.
- Ascribed to him are the titles of “son of God,” “lord,” and “savior,” as well as the title of “one who has brought peace to the planet.” Following his death, he was seen rising towards heaven, where he was to assume his permanent position among the gods.
- Pilate’s procession represented not only a competing social order, but also a competing theology in the eyes of Rome’s Jewish people.
- Despite the fact that it is well-known, it contains surprises.
- In the process of riding the colt into town, Jesus is surrounded by a throng of exuberant fans and supporters, who spread their cloaks, strew leafy branches on the road, and yelled “Hosanna!” (Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord) as he passes by.
- ‘Hosanna in the highest heavens,’ says the Lord.
The demonstration’s message is evident since it makes use of symbols from the Jewish Bible’s prophet Zechariah to convey its message.
The connection to Zechariah is only implied in Mark’s text.
His character is described in further depth in the rest of Zechariah’s passage: ‘He will take off the chariot from Ephraim, as well as the war-horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall order peace to all the peoples.’ (9:10).
He will be known as the “King of Peace,” because he will command peace across the world.
Pilate’s procession reflected the power, splendor, and ferocity of the empire that reigned over the entire globe at the time of his death.
As a result of this disparity, not only is Mark’s gospel important, but it is also important for understanding the history of Jesus and early Christianity.
As we all know, the week comes to a close with the execution of Jesus by the powers that be that dominated his world.
But, before we get into Mark’s account of Jesus’ last week, we need to establish the stage.
Jerusalem was not just any city.
Sacred geography had been at its core for a millennium by the first century, when it became the focal point of Jewish religious geography.
It has both good and bad connections with many things.
It is both.
Under the leadership of David and his son Solomon, Israel had its most prosperous time in history.
While David’s reign was regarded as a period of strength and grandeur in general, it was regarded as a time of justice and righteousness in particular (in contrast to Solomon’s reign).
God’s son, David was the just and virtuous king who came to be connected with virtues such as righteousness, authority, protection, and justice; he was hailed as the perfect shepherd-king, the apple of God’s eye, and even God’s son.” Session No. 2
Why Did Jesus Go To Jerusalem? A Holy Week Reflection
These are the questions I’ve posed in light of the historical truth – yes, historical fact – that Pilate killed Jesus during the Passover celebration. Is it possible that Jesus went to Jerusalem in order to be crucified? If he did, why did it take him so many days to fulfill his request, given the tinderbox environment of Passover? Jesus traveled to Jerusalem to stage two simultaneous protests: first, against Roman imperial rule over the City of Peace, and second, against Roman imperial power over the Temple of God, according to my interpretation.
By the way, it is not essential to condemn either of those two individuals – despite the fact that they represented really poor management – in this case.
Whatever the case, why hadn’t Jesus been assassinated by the time of (our) Palm Sunday evening?
There are several explanations for this.
Keep in mind that on (our) Sunday (11:8), Monday (11:18), and Tuesday (11:32; 12:12,37) of Holy Week, Mark’s gospel stresses that protective “crowd.” Other reasons include the fact that each and every night, Jesus departed from Jerusalem and went to Bethany, where he could be protected by his friends and followers away from the city and near the Mount of Olives.
- Bethany served as Jesus’ safe staging place.
- And he was on the verge of making it – until (our) Thursday.
- Pilate dispatched more troops from his garrison at Caesarea on the coast to Jerusalem for the purpose of providing security and crowd control during Passover.
- That story is told in Matthew 21:1-11 and explained by a quotation from the prophet Zechariah contrasting Macedonia’s Alexander and Israel’s Messiah.
- “To cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall com-mand peace to the nations” (9:9-10).
- Peace on earth, yes, but not peace by Rome’s violent victory, rather peace by God’s non-violent justice.
- Once again it was an action clarified by a prophetic word, that is, an action-parable.
But it was also the House of Rome as symbolized by imperial control of the high-sacred priest’s vestments and the great golden eagle above its western entrance from the Upper City.
Jesus’s own demonstration against Roman control of God’s House was accompanied by a quotation from the prophet Jeremiah.
He symbolically destroys the Temple’s fiscal basis by overturning the tables where monies were changed into the standard donation-coinage (Mark 11:15-17).
And, again, he got away with it because of the protective screen of “the whole crowd” (Mark 11:18).
By (our) Wednesday morning “the chief priest and the scribes” had decided not to arrest Jesus because it might cause “a riot among the people” (Mark 14:1-2).
But by (our) Thursday evening they had discovered – with or without Judas – where to intercept Jesus as he went “across the Kidron Valley” from Jerusalem to Bethany every evening (John 18:1).
Jesus was arrested in the darkness apart from his large protective “crowd” and was crucified as swiftly as possible.
(Mark 15:2,9,12,18,26). In Matthew’s parabolic aside, the wisest advice Pilate got that day – our Good Friday – was from his wife: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man” (27:19). (27:19). But Pilate replied, I imagine, “What happens in Jerusalem, stays in Jerusalem.” (Image fromArt Resource)
Easter: Why Did Jesus Go to Jerusalem
These are the questions I’ve posed in light of the historical truth – yes, historical fact – that Pilate killed Jesus on the day of Passover in the year 30. Were you under the impression that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to be killed? So why did it take him so many days to fulfill his dream amid the tinderbox environment of Passover, you might wonder. Jesus traveled to Jerusalem to stage two simultaneous protests: first, against Roman imperial power over the City of Peace, and second, against Roman imperial control over the Temple of God, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew.
Even if they represented really poor governance, it is not essential to condemn any of those two people, to be clear.
Whatever the case, why hadn’t Jesus been assassinated by the time of (our) Palm Sunday night?
Keep in mind that on (our) Sunday (11:8), Monday (11:18), and Tuesday (11:32; 12:12,37) of Holy Week, Mark’s gospel stresses the protective “crowd.” Other reasons include the fact that each and every night, Jesus departed from Jerusalem and went to Bethany, where he could be protected by his friends and followers far away from the city and surrounding the Mount of Olives.
Bethany served as Jesus’ safe staging place.
So close to making it – till (our) Thursday, at the very latest!
Pilate dispatched more troops from his garrison at Caesarea on the seashore to Jerusalem for Passover to provide security and crowd control.
Those events are recounted in Matthew 21:1-11, and their significance is explained by a statement from the prophet Zechariah, which contrasts Macedonia’s Alexander with Israel’s Messiah.
Yes, there is peace on earth, but it is not peace brought about by Rome’s brutal victory, but rather peace brought about by God’s nonviolent justice.
In this case, it was an action that was made clear by a prophetic word, which was in turn made clear by an action-parable.
In addition, it was also known as the House of Rome, as shown by the imperial supervision of the high priest’s holy garments and the enormous golden eagle that guarded it from the Upper City’s western gate.
It was a quote from the prophet Jeremiah that served as an accompaniment to Jesus’ personal demonstration against Roman authority over God’s House.
According to Jeremiah, if the situation persisted, God would destroy the Temple itself (7:1-15).
As with Jesus’ action-parable against the Temple, God’s threat in Jeremiah 7 is fulfilled, just as Jesus’ action-parable against the City had been fulfilled by God’s promise in Zechariah 9.
And, once again, he was able to get away with it because of the protective screen provided by “the entire audience” (Mark 11:18).
However, by (our) Thursday evening, they had established a way to intercept Jesus as he traveled “over the Kidron Valley” from Jerusalem to Bethany every evening, whether or not Judas was present at the time (John 18:1).
In addition, do not mistake Jesus’ enormous protective “crowd” with the little “crowd” (six or seven partisans?) who appeared before Pilate to demand that Barabbas be released from jail rather than Jesus himself (Mark 15:6-8).
The wisest advise Pilate received on that day – our Good Friday – came from his wife, according to Matthew’s parabolic aside: “Don’t have anything whatsoever to do with that innocent man” (27:19).
Pilate, on the other hand, is said to have answered, “What occurs in Jerusalem remains in Jerusalem.” (Image courtesy of Art Resource)