It was spring in the land where Jesus lived. The air was breezy, flowers were blooming, and all the people were happy because they were going to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the great feasts of the year.
This year, many people were especially eager to reach Jerusalem because they heard that Jesus was going to be there, and they wanted to be sure to see Him.
Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem. Just outside the city, Jesus said to two of his disciples, “In the little village of Bethphage you will find a young donkey tied up. He has never been ridden before, but bring him here for Me to ride into Jerusalem. If anyone asks you why you are untying him, just say, “The Lord hath need of him.’ And the owners will let him go.
The two disciples started to walk. When they arrived in the village, and they found everything just as Jesus had said. The colt was tied outside a house.
As they were untying the little donkey, his owners happened to see them. One owner said, “Why are those strangers untying our colt!” Quickly, one of the owners ran out to stop them. Excitedly, he said, “What do you mean by untying our donkey?”
The disciples gave him the answer that Jesus told them to say, “The Lord hath need of him.”
When the donkey’s owner heard that the Lord needed that donkey, he gladly let the disciples take him. Surely this man must have been one of Jesus’ friends.
When the disciples brought the donkey to Jesus they threw some of their clothes on the colt’s back to make a saddle. Jesus rode the rest of the way to Jerusalem on the donkey’s back.
In our country, we think a donkey isn’t a very important animal. But donkeys were regarded differently in the land where Jesus lived. There the donkey was considered an honorable animal. It was the animal on which kings rode when they were about to take over their thrones.
What pride and joy welled up in the disciples’ hearts as they saw Jesus sitting on the donkey! True, he didn’t look much like a king of the world. He wore no jeweled crown or royal robes. Yet there was something about His face that made Him more than kingly. It was the kindness, goodness, strength of character and love shining there.
The people began to crowd the road. News had reached Jerusalem that Jesus was coming. The people began to “rejoice greatly” as the prophet had said they would. Some people honored Jesus by spreading their coats in the road for His donkey to walk over. They began cutting down big branches from tall palm trees and spread them in the road. This was their custom—all these things were commonly done to help make a brightly colored path for a king to travel over.
Boys and girls joined the procession. They picked flowers and threw them on the road to make a beautiful carpet for Jesus to ride over. Joyfully, they waved their long palm branches. This is the happy song they sang and shouted:
“Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
“Hosanna” means something like our expression, “Praise the Lord!” Jesus knew everyone was glad when they sang Hosanna to Him.
Many, many people followed Jesus waving palm branches as they, too, cheered him and called out, “Hosanna to the son of David!” Boys and girls and men and women clapped their hands as they sang praises to the Lord Jesus. They wanted everybody to know how much they loved the man Jesus who had been so kind and gentle to them. All were very happy and the children loved to sing to Jesus. Can you imagine how wonderful this procession must have been?
The crowds grew larger still. Even more people joined in shouting, “Hosanna in the highest, Blessed be He who cometh in the name of the Lord!”
As the procession neared Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?’” And the multitude said, “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”
Did you notice the story mentions that, all the city was moved? That means that everyone in the city felt Jesus’ presence. He was a magnet of love!
Some men named Pharisees (A member of the Jewish sect that emphasized strict interpretation and observance of the law), heard the crowd praising God, and they said to Jesus, “Teacher, why don’t you tell these people to stop praising you as if you were God?”
The Pharisees thought that Jesus was getting too much attention from the people. They wanted to be the most important, but everyone was listening to Jesus instead.
Jesus replied, “If they were quiet now, even the stones would cry out!” This means that even the rocks in nature that God our Father created and filled with the Holy Spirit would have recognized the Son of God by shouting praises, even if the people hadn’t.
It was a great day, too, for that little donkey.
The Lord had need of that little donkey, that humble little animal, to fulfill a great prophecy on one of the greatest days of His life.
This story was modified from a story in Pathway for Families...