By Bob Bushong
District Superintendent, East Central District in the Florida Annual Conference
Winter Park, Florid
It’s a captivating story that begins with the securing of a colt that has never been ridden.
I used to wonder just how Jesus knew where that colt was. Finally it dawned on me that he had walked up and down those streets before. He knew them well. He knew many of the people who lived on them. I suspect he had noticed this colt and decided to use it for his purposes when the time came for him to enter into the city.
Jesus takes the initiative to arrange for the colt, and each step of the preparation leading to his entrance into Jerusalem is part of the divine plan. Things are proceeding as they are supposed to proceed. There’s nothing accidental or left to chance in this scene. Jesus intentionally identifies with what biblical scholars have labeled the Suffering Servant image of the Messiah depicted by the Prophet Isaiah. And the servant of peace rides into town on a donkey colt.
This really is the heart of the “Palm Sunday” passage, though note in this account that the “leafy branches” are not specifically called “palms.” In fact, only John’s account describes them as palm branches. It is thought that the spreading of garments on the colt and on the road is reminiscent of a coronation custom of that day.
“Hosanna” is a prayer of salvation, meaning literally “Save now” or “Save, I pray.” It’s a shout of praise to and for Jesus and the expectation of the people who shout it of his coming into the Holy City as the long-awaited Messiah.
Jesus arrives as King, a much different kind of king than folks are expecting.
Prayer: Touch us God, through the deep meaning of this powerful story in ways that enable us to see the true nature of King Jesus and the transforming nature of his kingdom. Amen.
1. What most excites or inspires you about this passage?
2. What are some of the characteristics that describe the Kingdom over which Jesus is King?
3. How might your understanding of this Kingdom help to shape the various decisions that you are called to make in your daily life?