Today I continue Jesus’ journey to the cross as He entered the city of Jerusalem on that first day of the week – a Sunday – which was also the 10th day of the celebration of Nisan, where the sacrificial lamb is chosen for the Passover sacrifice. The event occurred in reality. It is true, as is everything written in God’s Word. Jesus had come to fulfill His Father’s promise to His chosen people. The witness in this case is not written about in the Bible, but he could be any one of us as he watched this simple man arrive on a donkey in deepest humility, yet was believed to be the promised Messiah.
BARNABUS – BYSTANDER IN JERUSALEM
My name is Barnabus, which means “Son of Prophesy.” I am not a religious scholar, but I’ve studied the Law of Moses and the teachings of the Hebrew prophesies have been of special interest to me. I’m an exporter of goods from Egypt. I happened to be in Jerusalem that Sunday to deliver some of my wares. The city was buzzing, as it usually was.
It was the Passover – the time in Jewish history where the Jews were led out of Egyptian bondage by Moses. The Passover is there way of celebrating the exodus and their being passed over in the final curse to Pharoah. Moses’ intercession for the release of his people had reached it’s final demand. The last curse delivered to him, assured that the first born son of every household in Egypt would perish that night. The Jews were instructed to paint the door posts with the blood of a sacrificial lamb so the angel of death would pass them by. This was all part of God’s plan of deliverance for His people.
People were elbow to elbow – purchasing goods in the market place, eating specially prepared food – obtaining sacrificial offerings for the festival – enjoying family reunions and the first signs of the spring season, when planting would begin and new life would emerge. It was not only a festive time, but a time of ponderance, sacrifice, repentance and the hope for a King who would come and deliver them from the tyranny of Rome.
It was late in the day. The sun still poured over the city, casting a lustrous glow upon the temple. Suddenly children were shouting, “Hosanna, to the Messiah.” People of all ages lined the streets from the city gate to the temple. They tossed their cloaks in His path as if her were a king, but there He was – a simple man, with a radiant smile, a tenderness about Him, but an inner strength that was also obvious. The spread palm branches in His way as a sign of honor. His rugged hands reached out to many. He was quite the celebrity. Apparently He’d gained quite a reputation with His teaching, but there were those in the crowd who were anything but impressed by Him.
Jesus sat upon that beast of burden as a King riding a white stallion, yet He came as a humble servant rather than a returning warrior king. Yes, He was from King David’s lineage, but definitely not a king of David’s stature. I thought of the entry of David as he danced in the streets and the people cheered for this mighty soldier who had given them numerous victories. They cheered for Jesus too. Son of David, born in Bethlehem, an unblemished lamb – a man of sorrows – riding on a donkey and the foal of a donkey. The prophesies started running around in my mind. Could this be the Messiah spoken of by Isaiah? Could this be God’s own Son in human flesh? Could this indeed be my Savior?
I would stay in town during that week. I listened to Jesus speak. I watched as he healed many and walked among the lowest realm of society. His words resonated with me. I felt a certain peace. I didn’t quite understand why, but I couldn’t get Him out of my mind. I couldn’t believe it when only a few days later, this man would be paraded through the city streets again to cries of, “Crucify Him.”