It was a very hard time for Jewish people. The Roman government ruled the land, and Romans were cruel to the Jews. Romans forced them to work unreasonably hard, took their money, and dishonored their God.
The festival called Passover was beginning, and Jews from all over the area gathered in Jerusalem.
On that day there were two parades.
The first parade entered Jerusalem from the west. Roman soldiers with armor and swords marched into the city.
The Roman military leader rode a big horse. He wanted to show how powerful he was and to make sure the Jews remembered that Rome was the boss of them.
Pontius Pilate was a little nervous with so many Jews in Jerusalem at one time. He didn’t want them to rise up against the Roman government. So his parade of horses, soldiers, and weapons showed the Jewish people that if anyone tried to complain or to cause trouble, Rome was ready to fight.
The Jewish people were too scared to say anything. They watched silently in fear as the parade came down the street.
The other parade entered from the east. When Jesus got close to Jerusalem, he sent his disciples to bring him a donkey.
Jesus got on the donkey and rode it down the big hill. His disciples walked with him.
People ran to meet Jesus. They cut branches out of the trees and waved them in the air like flags. They laid their coats on the ground to make a soft path for the donkey to walk. They called out to Jesus with loud voices, shouting “Hosanna!” which meant “Save us!”
In those days — over 2000 years ago — if a king wanted to fight, he would come into town on a war horse followed by his soldiers with their weapons. But if he was already king of that city, he would ride down the main street on a little donkey. He didn’t need a war horse. Behind the king would come his followers — without weapons. That showed everyone that the king was already in charge.
Jesus’ parade showed that he came in peace and that he was already the king. He rode a donkey down the main street of Jerusalem, and with him came children, women, and men, all singing and celebrating. Jesus was the king they had been waiting for.
- We honor Jesus as the one whose kingdom is peace and joy.
- We call out for him to save us.
- And we remember that Jesus is already in charge.
Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!Luke 19:38, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)