We know the story.
On the eve of Passover, Jesus turns towards Jerusalem. He enters that Holy City, carefully controlled and patrolled by the Romans always on guard for potential uprisings especially at this time of the year as the Jews remembered the Exodus and celebrated their escape from slavery in Egypt. Jesus enters the city riding on a donkey recalling the prophecy of how the King ordained by God would arrive ushering in an era of peace. Robes are laid on the road in front of him. Palm branches are waved in celebration. Pilate and the religious elite watch what is happening and plan their next move.
I know the story, but I wonder what it was really like.
Did the crowd of pilgrims recognize him?
And surround Jesus as he entered the city?
Did they see him on that donkey and remember the prophecy?
Did a shout go up passed on one person to another pulling more and more people into the crowd around him? Did their Hosannas match ours in the music sung here and elsewhere this morning all building to some sort of triumphant entry?
Was it like that?
Or, was what happened more muted?
A handful of Jesus’ disciples doing their best to be enthusiastic about going to Jerusalem in the first place and about entering the city the way he did? In a way they were sure would attract attention, if not of the other pilgrims, certainly of the Roman authorities who would be ruthless in their response. Were their somewhat timid shouts lost in the din of hundreds and hundreds of people also making their way into the city. Their hosannas swallowed up by the call of street vendors selling food or sparrows to be sacrificed at the Temple or parents doing their best to keep track of wandering children. But Jesus insists.
And they are his disciples.
Was it like that?
Or was the donkey and the palm branches which were waved a vision of God’s someday and the words Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord the mantra or the prayer Jesus whispered over and over to himself as he rode that donkey into that city all the while knowing the drama of the moment and that some response was sure to come.
But, I wonder.
As even today I try to understand and to walk alongside Jesus.
However it happened, there he is.
Riding that donkey through the gates and into Jerusalem.
And, the dominoes begin to fall.