PALM SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2023
“O Daughter of Zion, Behold!”
Sara Fletcher Harding
The images of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem during Passover are inextricably connected to the Old Testament prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9-13. In Zechariah, there is a triumphant and victorious king, humbly riding on a donkey’s colt. In a reversal of expectations, it is the rider on the colt who will command peace to the nations by bringing down those with war horses and chariots. His reign will run from sea to sea. It is in this way that Jesus enters Jerusalem. The setting is intensely political.
Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt during Passover, the pilgrimage festival of the Jews where YHWH sends the Angel of Death and only then Pharaoh releases the Hebrews from enslavement in Egypt. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in this way can only mean that the God of Israel is at work and that the rider on the colt is King of all. The image of kingship persists with the charge of “King of the Jews” over his head and a crown of thorns. He is referred to as the Messiah, the anointed one as the kings of old. Yet, unlike in Zechariah, Jesus, the King is executed and possesses no earthly kingdom. Instead, Jesus is raised from the dead and ushers in the Reign of God.
As Christians all over the world enter Holy Week, we hear the voice of Zechariah, “Fear not, O’ Daughter of Zion, behold, your King is coming.”
Prayer: O God of Israel and God of Life, as you come near, entering the gates of Jerusalem, may we lift our Hosannas and sing our praises to you, our King. Amen.