Check the donkey’s back

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
 
15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
    sitting on a donkey's colt!”
-John 12:12-16
 
It was like no other time in history. Jesus was headed to Jerusalem with the most important mission ever given by God. To save the world. What were people thinking as he journeyed? Jesus seemed stoic and determined, while his disciples had only a small sense of what was about to take place. Other followers may have wrestled with human agendas, while others tried to connect the dots between the miracles and the man.
 
During the procession, the disciples may have wondered at the crowds. Sure, they knew how amazing Jesus was, but he was being treated like a king! Maybe the cheering and shouting and glorifying caused them to pause and rethink their idea of who Jesus was. Maybe, they were in the presence of royalty! Did they look at their master with new eyes, as he was placed on a donkey and paraded down a palm lined avenue? Someone might have remembered that in Zephaniah this very scenario had been prophesied:
 
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
-Zephaniah 9:9
 
Later in the week, the scenario was radically different. Cheering was replaced by jeering. The crowds diminished to a handful of followers, as Jesus, covered in bloody wounds, hung on the cross. Could anyone say for sure, on that horrific day, that God’s great plan was being unfurled? How could this broken man possibly be the fulfillment of scripture? 
 
John later would recount in 12:16:
 
“His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.” 
 
Each Easter week, we are given the opportunity to remember and honor the long and arduous road our Lord traversed for our sakes. And, isn’t it just like God to convey mankind's sole means of redemption--on the back of a donkey?
 
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
 
P.S. The next time you see a donkey, check its back. You might just see a cross!
 
 
See you Sunday! I can't wait!