The Man, the Donkey and the Palms
So, the sequence of events was for good reason.
Jesus plans to make headway into Jerusalem, not by just walking in, or showing up, but by doing what ancient prophecy claimed; “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
This symbolism, Zechariah’s exhortation of Jesus' first coming was, in effect used by Jesus to rally the crowd: The scriptures went on to say, I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses 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. (Zechariah 9:9–10)
Jesus knew this. The symbolism of the donkey was an animal of peace, unlike the horse which is the animal of war. A king would have ridden a horse if he was ready to battle. The donkey symbolizes His arrival in peace, as well to honor what is written in the Torah.
And, to begin His Passion.
Imagine what the religious leaders were thinking. He claims to be a king? On a donkey? What the hell are these people doing? Why is everyone shouting!
Everyone is laying down fronds of palm, colorful rugs, even their own clothes, so their god, the Messiah can enter Jerusalem the way He should…Jesus is no fool! He wants an exhibition to get at the religious leaders. I wonder what His disciples were thinking. I wonder if he knew what His followers were really thinking;
This guy is the King, and He is going to own this!
The One to tear it down!
Actually, He proved them right when they got to the temple.
He arrives and is shocked with the sight in His Father’s house: He is filled with anger; He is apoplectic with rage.
The money changers, the sales of animals for sacrifice, the greedy profit from the high priest and his order concerning which coins were acceptable or not.
OMG this cannot be my Father’s house!
Damn you, all of you, He must have screamed.
Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” (John 2:13–22)
He was pissed.
Now, think of those religious leaders and their opinions of this guy. He comes in, pretends to be fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, crashes the market with his righteous anger, and all the while talking about peace, love and HIS dad…, THE FATHER… who the hell is he? A false prophet, but a strong one, as he has followers. He claims to be an authority-a spiritual authority…so they asked Him.
“What sign can You show us to prove Your authority to do these things?”…Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”…(John 2:18)…Uh Oh.
What to do, what to do.
With the palms gone and the donkeys back to where they lived, Jesus and his crew went to rest before going to the Mount of Olives. It was a wild day in Jerusalem, and they talked much about the events that led to their leaving the city. The disciples were pretty riled up, kind of proud to see Jesus in a different light, from a fighting, king-like lens. While they rested, the religious leaders made an attempt to arrest Jesus.
But, a still very angry Jesus says, and I cannot paraphrase because this is a good one:
“Blind guides…For you are like whitewashed tombs — beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:24–33)
I would not have argued with Him either, so they left. They did however find a man who, well, we thought he was on Jesus’ team: Judas Iscariot. Well, truly I tell you, if he didn’t do this, the story would not have ended in such glory.
To be continued.