Bible Verse: Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Mark 11:9-10
Scripture Reading: Mark 11:1-11
More than once, we are confronted with the necessity of needing to know not only what the Bible says but also the customs of the culture(s) in which Jesus lived.
On Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode the donkey into the city, the significance was rich, and the text itself, at least here in Mark, doesn’t capture the full importance. Don’t misunderstand; the first readers to whom Mark was writing would have grasped the significance of the event without hesitation, confusion, or explanation.
Jesus riding into the city on a donkey was a wordless proclamation of His identity. It was one of the clearest statements He could have made regarding who He was. If we were to read this story next to the story of healing the paralyzed man from Mark 2, we would have a pretty good picture of who Jesus was from His own vantage point. He was God, who could forgive sins, and He was the rightful king who would sit on the throne of David. That’s what riding a donkey into Jerusalem meant.
In Jesus’ day, kings would ride into town in a procession. The animal they rode on was indicative of the nature of their coming. Kings coming with the intention of conquering rode a horse, dressed for battle. Kings coming in peace rode a donkey. Jesus was coming in peace because His mission required it. He was coming as the king who would make peace. A centuries-old prophecy in the book of Zechariah (9:9-10) spoke of this event:
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
The good news is that Jesus came in peace. Jesus came for the first time riding a donkey, coming in peace to make peace. King Jesus came so that we might all have peace—peace with God and peace with each other.
Reflection: Jesus is the king. If you have accepted that, how do you bow to His rule? What does it mean in your everyday life that Jesus is your king?
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for coming in peace to make peace. I know that I have peace with God because of Your life, death, and resurrection. Help me to understand that peace and to share it with others.
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