Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey - Zech 9:9As the crowds surround this radical rabbi Jesus, waving palm branches, shouting Hosannas, proclaiming this to be the hour their messiah, their deliverer, begins his conquest against the occupation of Rome's empire, he sits on a donkey. Other kings entering the capital city to launch a coup against a great military power would enter riding on the majesty of a Horse, but this king, he is not like the others, so the revolution begins on a donkey's foal.
He rides through the streets of the city to the gate of the temple. It is the time for a national festival, and the merchants and vendors have set up shop to sell their wares to the pilgrims here to celebrate the Passover, this year in Jerusalem. Scholars tell us the market place was in the court of the Gentiles. The outer most court of the temple, a place God has ordained as a location where race, creed, and gender do not hinder - a place where all can come and worship God. Those accompanying him in the parade expect him to cross through this outer court, to proceed immediately into the inner courts where the men of Israel are gathered. The revolutionaries gathered around him, expect him to muster an army. The chorus of Hosanna is a war chant.
Jesus however does not pass through. He does not proceed through to the court of men to gather his troops. Jesus stops, and offers the enigmatic words, "My house will be a house of prayer!" Jesus does not move through the rabble of merchants, women, Gentiles, children and outsiders. Jesus stops! Jesus looks at this court meant as sacred space for the entire world, and will not stand to have it marginalized into a public marketplace. In this space, in this abuse of God's temple Jesus goes postal.
As this street preacher who only moments before was the assumed Messiah begins to overturn table, free captive animals, drive out the merchants, and desolate the marktplace, the people scatter. It's an everyone for themselves free for all to get out. Soon the mayhem is over, and the outer court is a post riot disorder with only Jesus and those who could not do themselves to get out!
Jesus Stops, empties the place of his definition of the rabble till all that is left is the lame who could not run for themselves, the blind who could not see to make a break, and the children left abandoned in the mayhem. In this audience, the King who rides into the coup against the empire on a donkey's foal heals their lameness and heals their blindness as these little children chant the war cry of "Hosanna."
Hosanna, The empire will fall!
Holy Week Prayer - Lord God let me be in the place in where you are healing, the place where the children sing Hosanna.
Story Adapted From Matthew 21:1-17