Sunday, April 5, 2009

Entering The Gate

The animal swished its tail as yet another young horsefly lighted, hoping for an abundant meal. The colt was tied there, just as promised. The mother of the little beast stood nearby. The two men approached quietly and took the rope which had been fastened as a bridle. The strong, young colt began to walk away with them when the mother began braying loudly.

"What are you doing out there?" came the gruff voice of the owner as he stepped through the door. "Stop where you are!"

"Please, sir, forgive us! We were told to say to you that the Lord has need of it."

"The Lord, you say?" A small light flickered in the man's eyes. "I have wanted to do him some service. Tell him I give it with my blessings!"

Arriving back on the road that wound down into the Kidron Valley, they found the rest of their company. Some rested. Others spoke in hushed tones. The memory of Lazarus walking from a tomb after four days of death was like electricity in the air."

"Master, here is your young donkey," one of the men said. "We were questioned, just as you told us might happen. We gave the answer you instructed and the owner sent his blessings along with the colt."

"Thank you," said Jesus, as He slowly circled the animal. "He will do just fine." Then, gazing down at the city through the clear, Spring air, He remarked. "It is a good day for riding."

The realization of his seriousness caused the two men to quickly pick up their outer garments and throw them over the colt's back. The animal, amazingly peaceful, stood quietly as Jesus jumped up on its back. He took the rope from the men and began to ride down the mountain, the large group of followers surrounding him.

They had gone only a few steps when one of the men remembered a scene from their history. Over a thousand years earlier, Solomon Ben-David seized control of Israel with the blessing of his father. Mounting David's own donkey, Solomon rode down this trail into the city with the high priest, Nathan the prophet and a host of others shouting, "Long live the king!"

"Long live King Jesus!" the man blurted, not realizing his thoughts had formed into words.

"Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Eternal!" someone else cried.

One of the women exuberantly sang the words from Psalm 118, "This is the day which the Lord has made! Hosanna! Save us, we pray!"

Men began to run ahead and tell the people that Jesus of Nazareth was riding into the city. As they went, they threw their cloaks down in the path of the donkey. Nearer the gates, the news was spreading quickly. Some young boys noticed palm fronds that had recently been trimmed from the trees. They gathered up as many as they could carry and began spreading them where the donkey would travel. Others who had run to the commotion, heard the growing shouts of "Hosanna!" They each took a palm branch and began waving it.

By now, people were pouring out of Beautiful Gate. They could see across to the other side of Kidron as the throng sang, danced and leaped into the air. Not even understanding what it meant, some of them began to weep. Could this be the day? Could the oppression of Rome be ending? Could they again live freely in their own country?

By now, a few of the Pharisees had shoved their way through the crowd. Sternly stepping into the midst of the group, they spoke to Jesus: "Tell your followers to stop this perversion. Don't you know this is blasphemy!"

Forcefully, but without anger, he replied, "I tell that even the rocks would cry out if the people weren't able."

Continuing along the trail, the little donkey crossed the Kidron and started to climb toward the gate. As Jesus passed by, a young widow knelt on the ground, her tears dripping on the face of her infant daughter.

The word came out in the midst of a sob. "Hosanna."

To my readers: the eight days we have come to know as "Holy Week" is detailed graphically in Scripture. The parts we don't know much about are the human elements, especially from the viewpoint of Jesus' closest followers. My attempt this week is to stay true to the Biblical text, while shading in what it may have been like "between the lines." Please distinguish my ruminations from God's Word by reading the last few chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. My hope is that the reading of my words impacts you even a tiny percentage as much as writing them has impacted me.


Rachel Cotterill said...

Another interesting exercise - you're good at drawing out the human elements :)

Sam said...

Thanks, Rachel. Encouragement from you always means a lot to me.

C. Beth said...

Beautiful, Dad. Don't you wish you could have been there, experienced it?