THE ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM
(A biblical reflection on PASSION SUNDAY [PALM SUNDAY] – 28 March 2021)
Gospel Reading: Mark 11:1-10 [Year B]
Alternative Gospel Reading: John 12:12-16
The Scripture Text
And when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you ener it you will find a colt tied, on which no none has ever sat; untie it and bring it. If any one says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away, and found a colt tied at the door out in the open street; and they untied it. And those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” and they told them what Jesus had said; and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and He sat upon the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:1-10)
Jesus draws near to Jerusalem at Betphage and Bethany to enter the city from the Mount of Olives to the east, since He has come from Jericho near the Jordan river. He is about to begin in Jerusalem what in Mark’s Gospel is a brief ministry (see Mark 11:1-13:37).
The Prophecy of Zechariah (Zehariah 9:9) may be in Mark’s thoughts as he describes the preparations for the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, not on a horse but humbly on a young donkey (colt). Jesus tells His disciples to bring a young donkey from a village.
It may have been a previous arrangement with the owner, or the meaning may be that it is God who wants the donkey for His Messiah and shall bring it back with His Messiah sitting upon it.
Some of the disciples spontaneously place their garments on the donkey. Others spread them on the roadway before Him, which again reminds us of the ‘way’ along which Jesus leads His disciples. Others cut leafy branches from the fields on the Mount of Olives.
Some disciples go before Him and some follow, but without the great crowds which we find in the Gospel of Matthew. They joyfully sing “Hosanna”, which literally means “Please save” and commonly used as a joyful cry of praise to God. They shout and sing together that Jesus is the one blessed by God who is coming to Jerusalem in His name.
He comes as a humble servant ready to give even His life, to ransom the people into the freedom of God’s kingdom. His humble entry reveals He is the Messiah to those who have faith in God, but conceals it from those who seek a different kind of Messiah.
Prayer: Hosanna to the Son of David who comes to save us with selfless love. Amen.
Jakarta, 27 March 2021
A Christian Pilgrim