“…Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!”
(Luke 19:38, Recommend reading full text, Luke 19:29 – 40)
As recorded in the four Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem before his cross and resurrection. His entry into Jerusalem was a fulfilment of the prophecy of Zechariah (9:6). Zechariah depicted a king who was righteous, victorious, and humble, riding on a little donkey. Jesus rode on a donkey toward Jerusalem, and people celebrated the coming king, laying down branches of palm trees on the path and singing praises.
Before entering Jerusalem, when Jesus approached the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples to a village to bring a donkey tied there. It was too young and weak, so no one was interested in riding it. However, Jesus chose it and rode on it to Jerusalem. At that time, when a king had a victory in a war, it was customary to ride a well-trained, sturdy horse to show off the victory. However, unlike a war-waging king, Jesus rode on a feeble donkey as a prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6) against power and empire. His destination was not a royal palace but a cross.
Jesus invites us to his journey of peace just like he invited a powerless donkey to Jerusalem. Imagine how the donkey felt when it saw all the singing and praising. The donkey became a part of the historic scene and was glorified together with Jesus. Imagine our lives without Jesus. We are who we are because of the prince of peace. Today we see and hear the news of violence, conflicts, wars, and deaths everywhere. Jesus came to this world as the prince of peace and invited us to be part of the pilgrimage of peace. When we walk the path, carrying Jesus on us, we become part of Jesus’ peacemaking mission. Waging war, fomenting division, and instigating conflicts are not the ways how Jesus works. Sometimes, it might be easy to close our eyes and live our lives in our comfort zones. Carrying Jesus’ cross, proclaiming peace and walking in solidarity with the poor and oppressed is the peacemaking mission of God. Here and now, on Palm Sunday, is the invitation from the prince of peace. Despite being weak and feeble, we are called to walk the path of Jesus, proclaiming peace in this world of wars and conflicts. Peacemaking is the message that we need to draw from Palm Sunday.
-Songhee Chai, The Presbyterian Church of Korea
God of peace, may we never miss in our prayers the people who have lost their homes, families, and countries due to war and conflict. Even today, there are so many people around us who desperately want peace. May we, like the donkey that carried Jesus, start taking steps for peace this Palm Sunday. We praise Jesus with all our hearts, who embraces our weaknesses and expands the kingdom of God through us. Amen!