What happened on Palm Sunday?

JESUS RODE MY DONKEY (Luke 19: 28-48).

I lived in Bethphage, between Bethany and the Mount of Olives. My home and business was beside the road between the two places. I was in the business of moving goods and people. I rented or leased donkeys to people that needed assistance. I had installed posts by the road to tie up my donkeys. And I had attendants in charge of the animals. It was close to our biggest holy day, the “Day of Deliverance” from Egypt, that our business was most prosperous. A week prior to our celebration of the Passover, we were down to only one donkey and it’s foal. I saw two men approach the donkeys, untie the foal and lead it away. My servants tried to stop them and did not. I asked them why they let them take the foal. They informed me that the two men had said, “The Lord had need of it. We assumed it was you, Sir.”

I became curious as to who this Lord was? The men took the foal towards Bethany and shortly after passed by our place and rode toward Jerusalem. Now, my young donkey, that no one rode before, was covered with human clothes carrying calmly the Prophet Jesus. Young donkeys do not readily submit to riders. This behavior by the rider, the followers and the donkey made me trail them into the city. The closer the party came to Jerusalem, the merrier they became and more and more people joined them. Many threw their clothes in front of the foal. Others broke off palm branches and covered the path before the Prophet rode over. By the time the procession had reached the city, the crowd had swollen out of proportion and the noise was enormous. In their praises they compared Jesus to King David. They expected Him to bring them peace from God. Then the children too began to shout for joy. To our leaders, that was the limit. I could see that they were afraid of Jesus.

Several of the more religious leaders were waiting for Jesus before He entered the city and begged him, ” Teacher, make your followers stop.” He answered them, “If I do that then the stones will cry out.” He did not even look at these leaders but at the city and began to weep. Yes, Jesus loved Jerusalem, the Temple and the people. He began to say things that made more sense to my donkey, than to us. Our ears were not prepared to hear that our holy and eternal city, under the protection of the mightiest God, would be destroyed in a short time and that many of our people would die. It did not occur to us, that our rejection of this Prophet was the rejection of our God.

We had become defenseless and did not know it. God had sent Him to bring us peace, but we chose our enemies to be our friends. We were too blind to connect Jesus with the time of God’s coming to us. We should have watched our enemies, the Romans. They showed no concern when Jesus entered the city. His peaceful parade posed no threat to them. Jesus’ teaching of being peaceful and submissive and to pay what belongs to the Emperor was music to them. To our leaders, who we believed, He was the greatest danger. We were too lethargic to bother how they were conducting our affairs. We were not aware that our leaders did not want Jesus to reach the Temple. He did get into the Temple area and our eyes began to open to what we had allowed our leaders to do with our National House of Worship.

The Prophet became very angry. He took a whip, which was used to drive out the animals, and began to use it on bankers, merchants and traders. He overthrew their tables and seats and scattered the moneychangers with their money. Then He shouted, “This is my house of prayer for all people, but you have turned it into a den for thieves!” In no time these friends of our leaders ran from the Temple. The leaders had expected that Jesus might disrupt their business and were prepared to arrest Him. Only the public was too overwhelming and the Temple area was quickly filled with people that required healing. This was Jesus’ busiest day. He had healed many and people returned to their home to celebrate Passover. Jesus’ followers returned the foal to his mother and went on to Bethany. For my donkey it was just a day’s work; but for me, there was much to ponder.