Entrances are important. People spend exorbitant amounts of time planning how they will enter a room, come out onto the stage, or walk up to the plate. The music, the mood, the magic that surrounds and entrance has the power to change everything that happens after it. The tension swells. The crowd goes wild. The drop hits. Everything culminates in that one specific and perfectly planned moment – and let the party begin. Entrances are important.
This is not that. If it were happening on a sitcom it would be the episode called “two guys and a donkey.” This is about as far from magic as you can get. Jesus has sent two “unnamed” disciples (it might not even be the famous ones) to basically steal a donkey. Already we’re off to a bad start. Donkeys are loud and annoying. While horses gallop and whinny – donkeys plod and hee-haw. Horses are royal and majestic. Donkeys are for peasants. Jesus is about to enter the capital city of Jerusalem – for the most important week of His life, and He is going to do it on the equivalent of a run down Toyota Corolla with squeaky brakes and melted crayons on the back seat. Not quite the entrance you would choose for a king. And yet, Jesus sends our two heroes off on a wild donkey chase nonetheless.
“Tell them the Lord has need of it.” That’s what they are supposed to say. To get the lowly donkey, they’re supposed to tell its owners that God needs it. This isn’t going to end well for anyone, is it? Are they even going to care? I mean it’s just a donkey after all. They’ll probably be happy to be rid of it for a while. It’s not even a nice or useful one. Jesus had said that “no one else has even ever ridden on it” which means it’s probably just a baby or something. Either way, I don’t see why He wants it in the first place.
Believe it or not they let them take the beast. Apparently, these are God-fearing people. When they get back to Jesus, they drape their cloaks over it to make it a little less disgusting. Just because He’s ok with it doesn’t mean they have to be. Come to think of it when they get to the city, they can throw down a few cloaks there as well. Give it the appearance of something special. Make the entrance feel a little more put together. Doesn’t He know entrances are important?
The “caravan” has arrived at the city gates now. A few dozen people and their teacher – who’s riding on that donkey. This isn’t the first time they’ve been to Jerusalem, but this time feels different. It’s Passover, and they’ve come to believe that He is the Messiah. God’s chosen One. His messenger and method for restoring His kingdom back, and the nation back to their proper places of prominence. There should be a parade, with yelling and celebration. People should be excited – after all their King is coming home. This small group – and that donkey – nothing about this feels like it should.
But wait, just inside the gates, there’s a stirring. A small crowd has gathered, and they’re waving tree branches. They’re laying them down for Him to ride in on. They’re lining the streets. They’re shouting something as well, but what is it? Are they calling Him King?
“Hosanna! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
It’s all happening now. The crowd is swelling. The people are cheering. The branches are waving. The excitement is palatable. This is really happening. You should see the smile on Judas’ face. Peter’s laugh is contagious. John is looking around in disbelief. THIS! This is the reception we knew He wanted. The one we knew He deserved. Finally, people will see Him for who He is. Their King, come to save them. This will be the week He changes their minds – and changes the world. The Pharisees will finally get it. His people will bow down and worship. The party is just getting started, and its going to be great. A Passover like never before.
Matthew leans over and says to someone; ”haven’t I read about this somewhere before? This feels all too familiar” He’s right you know. The whole thing has been put together and planned, well, since the beginning of time. And Matthew did hear it somewhere before, from the prophet Zechariah. He predicted the whole darn thing. Even down to the stinking donkey.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)”
Entrances are important. This one more than any other. And yet its beauty is found in its simplicity. The way it came together so organically. These people, this place, and those palm branches. A crowd, a colt, and their King. This isn’t the stuff entrances are normally made of – but then again – what about Him is normal anyway?
The parade is happening. The celebration (of Passover) has begun. Once again, this one feels different. In a way they can’t explain. This could be the week where everything changes. When it all finally comes together. When their message – His message – takes the world by storm. When they will finally love and accept Him for who He is.
Entrances are important. And this one is fit for a king.