Last week, we talked about Judas Maccabeus and how the palm frond became the “flag” of his kingdom as well as a sign of the freedom of the Israelite people. Now, fast-forward 160 years to the time of Jesus and imagine Jerusalem during Passover, which was the highest Jewish holiday. On a typical day, there were about 250,000 people in the city, but during that special season, there were as many as 2.5 million. That meant that camps were set up around the walls, every inn was filled to capacity, and every square inch of space was populated. Beyond that, the bulk of those who descended upon the city during the holiday were young men. Why? Because families that lived hundreds or thousands of miles away typically sent just one person to represent them and to pray for forgiveness of sins, and that was the young male adventurer of the clan.
You can see why then, from the perspective of Rome, Jerusalem during Passover was a pile of dynamite. After all, it was filled with testosterone-driven young men, and patriotic sentiments were at an all-time high (especially since the people had heard about Jesus and how He had raised Lazarus from the dead)! Knowing that resurrection was a sign of the end times, the population was ready for revolution, which is why they waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna” to Jesus as a symbol of the Hasmonean Dynasty. It’s also why Roman officials were on high alert — everyone was expecting the Son of Man to do something powerful and awesome! However, so preoccupied were they with their nationalism and pride that they hardly noticed that the Lord came riding on a donkey. While most great military leaders would have entered on a horse, Jesus made His entrance on the back of an animal that was much less majestic.
Friend, your Savior is a prince of peace, not a war monger; He is a God of humility and not of bluster. Though He is all-powerful, He is lowly and humble of heart, and He urges you to follow in His way. When you are tempted to ride your high horse, pull yourself down and climb on the back of your donkey. Though the view is not as great, there is less risk of a fall. Pride is destructive and glory is fleeting, but gentility and humility are the hallmarks of a true child of God. Therefore, I urge you to take your place in the household of your good and loving Heavenly Father and be a peacemaker, not a conflict-bringer!