John 12:12-16: The palm and the donkey!
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;see, your king is coming,seated on a donkey’s colt.”16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. NIV
As I read this passage it struck me forcibly that here are two keys to living the Christian life, in all circumstances:
- Wave the palm branch (12, 13): Choose to be a praising person. And realise that praising Jesus also involves ‘going public’ about your faith in Him. It says here that ”the great crowd” were ”shouting”. Later on we read that they ”continued to spread the word that he had called Lazarus from the tomb” (17).They were not ashamed to identify themselves with the Lord – to speak to Him and to speak about Him in praise. Their allegiance was highly audible and visible. I know it is sometimes said that the people in this welcoming group on Palm Sunday later were part of the throng baying for Jesus’ blood. But I don’t think the Bible ever explicitly says so. That may be the case. Or it may be true of some of them. But we cannot say it with any certainty. Taking this passage at face value, I simply want to highlight the good things we see here, and say, ”May we also wave our palm branches.” Jesus is worthy of all our praise.
- Ride the donkey (14-16). Take the humble, lowly path. True, in the Bible, the donkey is a magisterial beast, but less obviously so than a white charger! Jesus took the basin and towel and washed the feet of His disciples. He deliberately took upon Himself the task that was entrusted to the ‘least’ person. He came among us as One who serves, and He calls us to follow Him along this meek roadway (John 13:12-17). It does not lessen our authority in Christ, but all the more clearly defines it.
So, in all circumstances, choose to wave the palm branch and ride the donkey.