He came, and then did what?

Our reading this morning from Matthew is the Palm Sunday telling, but it doesn’t finish there. We continue on to Jesus entering the temple and getting more than a little upset with what he found there.

There are a number of scholars who tell us that this procession by Jesus was not the only one to take place on this day. At another gate across town another powerful person was entering on a large warhorse, surrounded by Roman guards. Pontius Pilate was leading a powerful military procession and the streets rang and the wall reverberated with the sound of their armour and weapons.

Even though the procession of Jesus into the city was simpler, humble, involved a donkey and not a warhorse, Jesus’ procession still signalled trouble for Pilate. The donkey was traditionally the mount of Jewish royalty, the ride of the conquering king, entering his city without fear and without doubt of his sovereignty. Jesus didn’t need a show of force, he was secure in his reign. Pilate was a ruler in occupation, only sure of his power with the help of soldiers, strength and might.

Jesus was making a huge statement with his entry into Jerusalem, and he got a big response. The crowds welcomed, sang and shouted for him. But there was more for Jesus to do than just enter the city on a donkey. He did not stop there but continued on to the temple where Matthew records his deliberate actions.

We tend to separate these two actions, ending at verse 13 but Matthew put them together, deliberately adding verses 14-16, clearing the traders went along with healing the sick, giving sight to the blind. The temple is for those who come, in need, for prayer and healing, not for maintaining the income streams or protecting the furnishings.

From here we begin our journey into the last week of Jesus’ life before it reaches his betrayal, the trial and then the crucifixion. But we know that it doesn’t end there. That the ride into Jerusalem was indeed the entry of the king, the Messiah, the Son of Man.

As we join today with other Christians locally and around the world let us continue to hold our palms, to recognise all that Jesus showed us and did, and be ready to wave them again next Sunday when Jesus shows us just what sort of a king he is.

Jay Robinson

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