So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!” John 12:13-15
The word “blessedness” and “shalom” are the same basic words. Shalom means complete thriving and flourishing. That is what the people were aching for on the first Palm Sunday. They were longing for everything to be made right. When they waved the palm branches, they were looking forward to the day in which the palm trees wave their own branches.
When I go for my walks in the woods beside my house at the base of Mt. Princeton and the breeze moves the pine boughs in sighs of wonder and contentment, I am reminded of that verse in Isaiah that says, And all the trees of the field shall chap their hands.
And that is a constant promise to me of the coming King of Kings.
When the true king comes back and puts everything right, everything in nature will work again. There will be complete harmony, complete peace. It’s the end of death, disintegration, and decay; it’s the end of sickness—the end of Covid-19. It’s the end of everything that’s wrong with the material world. Someday the trees themselves will literally dance and sing.
What’s the significance of the donkey colt?
One of the things that everybody who knows anything about animals about beasts of burden is that you can’t just jump on one of them and expect to ride it. They have to be broken. The colt was too young to be broke. That means it submitted to the Lordship of Jesus.
Jesus didn’t have to break the animal. He’s Lord of nature; he’s the Lord of all and under his hand, nothing but harmony and peace comes about. The donkey knows and loves its true master for who he is.
This is a foreshadowing then of the complete healing of all nature under the future kingship of Christ.
As I watch how many people respond to this pandemic, I see a lot of defiance towards the “left-wing media,” the government, and scoffing at the science. I also see a lot of fear that we may never be able to survive this economic shut down much less the effects of the virus on our population.
Can I remind you that Jesus is your King? He’s the one you seek. He’s invincible. He’s a lion heart, and he will give you a lionheart. You don’t have to try to be strong on your own. In fact, you don’t have to be strong at all. That’s not your job. Our job is to walk so close to Jesus that his courage becomes our courage. We don’t have to do anything except love this good earth and cooperate with him to make His prayer come true…
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
The renowned author, journalist and Christian apologist GK Chesterton was the inspired mind behind a short poem that puts a new spin on Palm Sunday. Titled simply The Donkey, it narrates, in the voice of the colt.
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
I imagine this little donkey got up on the Monday following the Triumphant Entry on Palm Sunday and said, “Boy, this is going to be a great day.” He walked into the marketplace and said to everybody, “Here I am,” and nobody looked at him.
So, then he walked on down a little bit further and came right into the local religious gathering place, and he said, “Here I am.”
Everybody said, “What are you doing here? Get that donkey out of here!”
And they threw things at him and they pushed him away. He came on back to his mother and he said, “I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Just yesterday everybody …”
And she said, “Silly child, without him you can do nothing.”
You see, it depends on who’s riding you. It depends on who your king is. It depends on what’s driving your life. It depends on what you’re living for. Great kingliness will come into your life if you make him the King.
On the first Palm Sunday, he came meek and lowly, riding on the foal of a donkey. The next time he comes back he’ll be riding on a cloud. The first time he came to be torn; the next time he will come to tear apart all evil.
And that gives me hope on this Palm Monday 2020.