We’ve heard the story so many times that it’s combined in our memory: Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey while the people praise him waving palm branches. Today we’re going to take them apart.
In Matthew, Jesus sends disciples for the donkey and colt with a message for the owner that cites the passage about the king returning to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. Both are brought to him, and the crowds bless Jesus declaring him a prophet.
In Mark, people spread their cloaks for Jesus and bless Jesus and the coming kingdom. Then Jesus goes to the temple, looks around and departs to Bethany.
In Luke, he sends disciples as if it is prearranged to get the colt since their message is simply “The Lord needs it.” Jesus rides the colt in, people spread cloaks and they bless him as king without any palm branches. Pharisees try to get him to do crowd control, but he refuses.
In John, the people bless the king of Israel and Jesus responds by getting a young donkey to ride on the rest of the way to parallel the king returning after the exile. But nobody understands it until later.
Read the passages and then depict each one separately focusing on the key moment. Ask yourself “What is the point of the passage?”
Now put yourself in the crowd in your imagination. How would you feel as Jesus rode in?