The Donkey Ride of Destiny

“When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.”—Mark 11:7–11 (NIV)

Have you noticed how often people get swept up in things because of the masses? Sometimes it’s harmless trends like pucca shells or acai bowls. Other times, it’s hysterically filling up bags and bins with gasoline because we get caught up in the lunacy of overreaction.

As we enter the homestretch of Jesus’ ministry, I want to touch on two instances that occurred during Jesus’ final week when the people got swept up in a moment. The first is when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. You see, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified” (John 12:23 NKJV). 

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the masses began to stir. Suddenly, everyone was getting swept up in it, laying out palm branches and shouting “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” The phrase “in the highest heaven” implies to the utmost, highest degree. Many scholars posit that the people were calling on heaven to participate in glorifying Jesus with songs of salvation to confirm the growing suspicion that He was the promised Messiah. They basically wanted a display like the one that took place in the fields of Bethlehem when He was born.

For three years, the people had seen or heard stories of amazing miracles and teachings. In fact, just days before this, Jesus taught He was “the good shepherd” (a designation reserved for David) and had raised Lazarus from the dead! So, with excitement and expectation at a fever pitch, the masses joyfully shouted in unison. 

Sadly, we humans, like sheep, are fickle and easily swayed, and days later the same people that shouted “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” shouted “Crucify Him!” This is the second instance I was referring to. Here, the Pharisees incited the crowd to demand Jesus die a gruesome death reserved for criminals after accusing Him of blasphemy.

But here’s the craziest thing: Jesus knew He’d be betrayed, suffer, and be subjected to a criminal’s death. But He did it anyway because He loves us so deeply, completely, and unconditionally! Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) tells us, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross.” What joy? The joy of redeeming and restoring us to a right relationship with God, to make us God’s children and give us everlasting life! Psalm 18:19 (ESV) says, “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” 

Let this sink in: Because Jesus delights in us and desires a relationship with us, He endured the cross. Today and every day, I pray we get swept up in the reality of who Jesus is and what He did for us and in the movement of the Spirit as He leads us to accomplish the work God has called us to—to tell the world about Jesus!

Pause: Why did the masses get swept up in such opposing extremes regarding Jesus in the span of a few days? 

Practice: As a believer in Jesus Christ, one who trusts in Him for salvation for all eternity and for sustaining you here and now, I implore you to use a biblical lens as it pertains to world events. Approach everything that happens in the world around you not as the world around you does, but as one who trusts in the Lord Jesus and rests in the fact that He is sovereign and in control! Put into practice a mindset of trust!

Pray: Jesus, thank You for taking that ride into Jerusalem, knowing fully that it would end in Your suffering and death on the cross at the hands of the very people who were praising You as you entered the city. Thank You for enduring the scorn and shame and suffering of the cross for my sake. Thank You for taking me, an enemy of God, a hopeless and utterly sinful child of wrath, and paying the penalty for my sins in order that I may enter into the presence of God and have relationship with God. Thank You for taking me from enemy to beloved child and heir. Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.