CHURCH NOTES: Why ride a donkey?

The Euphoria among the people in Jerusalem was so palpable that it worried the Jewish political and religious leaders.

Jesus had been to Jerusalem on previous occasions but never riding an animal or coming in with pomp or show.

Why ride a donkey into Jerusalem especially just before the festival of Jewish Independence – the Passover?

In those days conquerors would ride into cities and towns on majestic horses. Not donkeys.

The Church has always referred to this event as Christ’s Triumphal Entry. Riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was making a prophetic statement about Himself as the expected Messiah. The one as far as the Jews were concerned, who would unshackle them from their foreign subjugation and restore Israel’s former glory.

People shouting and praising Jesus calling Him to take up the power and save them from the Romans and their puppet rulers. Jesus was indeed making a statement. The people should have remembered the prophesy in Zechariah 9:9 to which Jesus was pointing.

Jesus was now openly declaring that He was that King, the Saviour of the World. He refused to restrain His followers from all the shouting and praising.

He went further and stormed the Temple and whipped out the exploitative Bankers and traders and then went to His friend Lazarus place, Bethany just two miles away. The gauntlet was down.

To follow Him to death or to condemn Him.

Palm Sunday is significant in the Christian story and ethos. It set in motion Jesus’ journey to the cross and the resurrection thereafter. Therein lies the triumph of Christ and therefore for the Christian.

It is on Palm Sunday we join the cacophony of praise, which in six days’ time treacherously turn into chants to crucify Him.

The Revd Patrick Mukholi is a vicar of Woosehill Church, writing on behalf of Churches Together in Wokingham

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