King for a Day…
It was a Sunday morning. The first day of the week. The day after Sabbath, and the first day of the week culminating in the Passover Feast, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
We all know what it’s like when a holiday is near, especially as we begin the last week of work prior to the holiday. There’s a sort-of subdued excitement. The days slow down just a bit. The heart looks forward to the time off, and the time of rest, and the family all gathering together, and the joy the holiday brings.
Of all the people on earth, the Jewish people were holiday people. They knew how to celebrate. God had commanded them to keep seven feasts during the year, and each one of those feasts involved time off from work, family gatherings, food, celebration, and commemoration. Only the Day of Atonement was set in contrast to the celebration of the other six feasts, but even that Day was one of recognition of forgiveness of confessed sin, and there is great joy in that as well.
How interesting God was so intent on commanding His people be recognized by the days they took off to celebrate their relationship with God. Imagine looking on at this peculiar people, in a day when people worked seven days a week – and never had a day off – to see them doing exactly that, and more! Food, fun, family! Hosanna!
Jesus got the Passover Week kick-started. Passover always began on the tenth day of Nisan, the first month in the Jewish ceremonial calendar. The Passover lambs would be gathered into the home and kept for inspection of perfection and for relationship, until the fourteenth day of the month, when each participating home would slaughter the lamb and go through the events of the Passover Seder. (‘Seder’ means ‘order.’)
With all the anticipation of events spiraling upwards, and the excitement growing, this being the Sunday prior to the Passover, Jesus took a course of action which would split history in a way only God could accomplish.
Jesus mounted a colt, the foal of a donkey on the outskirts of town, and then he rode down the Mount of Olives into the city of Jerusalem. (Just prior to doing this, He had raised Lazarus from the dead, and this was still on people’s minds.) In this atmosphere of anticipation of the upcoming Passover, Jesus provided quite a distraction for the gathering crowd!