Can a man not live in peace? The Romans come and take what they like, the bandits come at night and steal, the Zealots tell me I must share what I have if my country is to be free and they mean that I must give what they want if I want to live. Then two men come and untie my beasts without saying anything. I ask, politely, OH SO POLITELY, if I might know what they are doing. “The LORD needs it”. Only they did not seem like Pharisees, and they were not Sadducees – they could not sacrifice it – I could not make them out. They said it just the once, their words like a quote they stared at me and waited. I heard myself speak “then take it”, puzzled by my own willingness but struck by their peacefulness. They walked off, I do not know where, with my beasts. Can a man not live in peace?
The song travelled before the crowd,
Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!
My heart sank in fear. If the Romans hear this, that butcher Pilate will not hesitate, this passover will surpass all others in the bloodshed. My children, my family, my people, will not take another day of bloodshed.
I waited to see the latest hero of the Zealots, this latest King of Israel. I almost laughed. Who is this of whom they sing, I asked the breadseller. He looked, “this is the Nazarene, the preacher, the one they say raised Lazarus of Bethany from the dead”.
This little man in dirty clothes, surrounded by fishermen and whores – if He is the Son of David who has come to deliver God’s people, then God help us all: he could not raise an army if he tried. God bless this man indeed, he is destined for the cross, listen to me – the words of this song will be the pathway to his grave and the crowd that loves him now will run from him as soon as they see he offers them nothing that they want.
He comes on a donkey! A donkey! This sign is lost upon the Romans, the crowds see nothing but someone to sing to. This bastard carpenter who thinks himself a teacher and miracle worker presents himself as the King of Peace. He spreads lies, he fools the crowds, he confuses the people and he defies The Law and NOW he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. He must be stopped. Our leaders told him to quieten the crowd and he said the stones would cry out. His mind has gone or his heart belongs to the Evil One. We must act before he brings war to our streets, Pilate will be merciless. This king of peace will destroy all we hold dear; we must stop him. What will he do to us, after all, he comes riding on a donkey?
After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”