After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:28-40
Today we remember Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem as He came to celebrate the Passover festival. Devout Jews from all over the region were gathered there to observe the holiday at the temple. Many had heard of Jesus and were anxious to see this man that some said was sent from God. As He approached, riding humbly on a colt, people began to line the road with their cloaks, shouting “Hosanna!” (which means “save us”) and “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
History records that as Jesus and His followers entered the city through one gate, Pilate and the Roman legion marched in from the other side. Tensions were already mounting due to the crowds there for Passover and Rome wanted to make sure things didn’t get out of hand.
We can easily see the contrast between these two groups – Pilate on a white warhorse and his men in armor with swords and spears; Jesus on a colt with His followers waving palm branches. Both came to bring peace to Jerusalem but in very different ways. The Romans stood ready to keep things in order, by force if necessary. Jesus came with an invitation of love, calling all to join in God’s plan for them. As we celebrate today, let our thoughts and actions be those that Jesus taught us, calling “Hosanna! Blessed is He!” and joining the throng that follows the path of real peace.
Wise and wonderful God, You sent Your Son to love us and teach us Your way of peace, reaching out to all with our arms open in welcome. May we continue on the path He has shown us, sharing the Good News with all the world. Amen.