Palm Sunday Reflections: A Different Kind of Ass

Why did Jesus choose to ride on a donkey into Jerusalem? Was He too good to simply walk into town? Was Jesus trying to make a statement? Perhaps Jesus desired to shake up the global order.


Typically kings rode in to town on majestic steeds, demanding respect and glory. One of Jesus’ titles is King of Kings. Jesus, Divine Authority, highest King, rides in on a donkey. Riding a donkey is embarrassingly humble. Other kings wouldn’t be caught dead on a lowly donkey. Where is the power? Where is the glory? Jesus’ power & glory, authority, is so secure that it does not need to be externally validated. Jesus does not need to demand respect and worship because there comes a point when the truth of His Divinely Royal identity is evident without authoritarian force. I wonder if Jesus, a knowledgeable Jew, & others around Him had Zechariah 9:9 in mind- “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.”


The Gospel accounts specifically says that Jesus came from the Mount of Olives, from the East side of Jerusalem. One interpretation of this detail is more than a visual cue so the listener/reader can picture the scene. Rather, who was cast out toward the East? Adam & Eve after The Fall. [Genesis 3:24] Jesus comes from the East perhaps as a symbol of restoration. The Fall is being restored. Adam & Eve, representing sinful humanity, are now invited back through the gate into the Garden, God’s paradise & relationship with God.


The palm branches & Hallelujahs are more fitting for the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles [Sukkot- from Leviticus 23 & Deuteronomy 16] in the fall, harvest time. Instead, a similar scene to the Sukkot liturgy happens here in spring, Passover, the planting season. This flip flop could further indicate a reversal of the world order. As Jesus planted & grew on Earth with other smaller harvests [think miracles, teachings, etc. in the Gospels], Jesus is moving toward a larger scale harvest as he sends Himself to seed so that He may blossom, resurrect, further confirm His Divine Identity, & reap a harvest of followers.


As Mary rode a donkey toward birthing physical life in Bethlehem, Jesus rides a donkey in Jerusalem as He is about to give the paradoxical spiritual life through death.


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.” [Psalm 118:26]




1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. speakpeacealways
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 23:13:04

    Interesting thoughts!


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