When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’
This is where is all begins.
All the teaching and healings, all the interactions and questions about who Jesus is, what he will do, who it is all for have all lead to this moment.
The moment Jesus is atop the donkey is the moment of no turning back.
This is where it all begins.
At this moment Jesus mission enters its last phase, everything is set in motion here.
The first steps of the donkey are the first steps to the upper room,
the first steps to the cross,
and the first steps out of the tomb.
Jesus doesn’t make these first steps, it is the donkey,
somehow showing that it is not his doing.
He is showing that this is not his doing, that he is not in control of it all.
It is bigger than just him.
The donkey fulfils a prophecy from Zechariah:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
This fulfilling also shows the momentousness of what is happening.
Jesus is bringing all what has been, all the past with him.
What has been will be of no consequence anymore.
Jesus brings with him the past and places it firmly into the present on the back of the donkey.
The donkey carries all that has been and all that will be.
All that was is fulfilled,
all that will be is now entering Jerusalem.
We can see this by the turmoil that Jerusalem is in.
The Greek word used eseisthe is more than turmoil.
It is more like shaken.
This same word is used twice after: at Jesus death:
the earth shook and rocks were split.
And again when the two Mary’s go to visit the tomb:
And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Huge moments where God’s work of redemption for humankind,
where the bounds of time are broken
and eternity bursts into the present.
This is the turmoil Jerusalem is in, it is shaken.
It is an intimation of what is coming.
The past is ending, and the future is becoming present.
The shaking of Jerusalem is a preview and a warning.
On Palm Sunday, we are with the crowd. We shout and wave
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We also ask “Who is this?”
Who is this on a donkey?
Who is this on the cross?
Who is this risen from the tomb?
We ask who is this who can change everything past and present?
Who is this who is the beginning and the end?
Who is this who is making my whole life shake?
In the shaking of the people of Jerusalem, we feel the shaking in ourselves.
Our lives are shaken with the journey of agony, death, and resurrection.
We enter into Holy Week, knowing there is no turning back.