The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’ –Matthew 21:6-11
As we enter Holy Week, who are we looking for? The people who celebrated Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem apparently hoped in him what they saw in King David. David was first and foremost a military leader, a general with great success. He grew from that roll into a great King setting the stage for the nation of Israel to prosper in peace. Peace than as now coexisted with war for battles continued even after David became king.
What was it then that the people saw in Jesus making them relate him to King David? He was not a soldier but a traveling Rabbi. He emboldened loving not only neighbors but even enemies. He taught ways of being that were mutually beneficial. He fed the hungry and healed the sick. He restored wholeness and encouraged oneness among his followers. He championed distributive justice in God’s Kingdom of love. He called on followers to become coworkers with him in actualizing this Kingdom ruled by God’s love. David was a dedicated lover of God and the spirit of God rested with him. While those spreading their cloaks before Jesus may not have fully understood who he was, they surely saw that he was a man of God too, identifying him as the prophet. It would take the events that happened later in the week to solidify who he was.
In ancient Israel as well as first century Jerusalem, the people hungered for righteousness and longed for a savior to make it a reality. The peace that David’s military prowess provided was gone one generation after his death. Jesus taught a new way of being and trained his disciples to spread it throughout the world. The rule of God’s love through Jesus Christ is designed to last not only through generations but through eternity.
Prayer: Lord, journey with us during this Holy Week. Broaden our understanding of your way, your truth, and your life. Embolden our loving all your children. Amen.