Read: Matthew 21:1-11
In today’s verses, Jesus and his disciples have just arrived in the city of Bethphage during the Jewish time of Passover, representing the remembrance of God delivering his people out of Egypt and giving them freedom. He requested his disciples to bring him a donkey saying “If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” (Matthew 21:1b-3) Jesus knew who He was, and that if He said “say that the Lord needs them”, he would find faithful, “immovable” citizens who knew the word of the Lord would inspire them to action. We notice too that Jesus didn’t arrive on a horse -which in this era was often used for, or represented war. Instead, he would arrive upon the colt, a symbol of peace. And His arrival fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9) as Matthew 21:5 declares, ‘‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
As you reflect on the passage, you can shout and praise in your heart along with the people: “Hosanna to the Son of David!”, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9) Whisper it aloud or shout it. But we need to honestly recognize our need to join the intercession of 'Hosanna' in our hearts. The word Hosanna translates in Greek to ὡσαννά, or in Aramaic ʾōshaʿnā, meaning “God save us!” Proclaim the truth in your heart, you have need of a savior. We cannot do life on our own. Hosanna!
Again, we reflect on Jesus’ entrance, and learn that the people had “cut branches from the trees and laid them in the road” and lay down their coats for His donkey to stride on - doing this all before asking “Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10). In fact, the people had not yet discovered the name of Jesus, but knew He was King, sent to deliver them. By no coincidence, this message connects to 2 Maccabees 10:7 where at the re-dedication of the temple they carried palm branches and shouted praise to the King for the purification of the temple.
Family in Christ, we reflect during Lent annually for this very purpose of re-dedicating ourselves, our temples of the Most High God to the desires of Christ the King, to 'fast' or abstain from ways that draw us apart from each other, to be led by God towards justice, compassion, righteousness and agape love.
Beloved Savior, Jesus, we ask that you renew us this Lenten season that we may re-dedicate ourselves to you and your kingdom to come; help us each day that we may live with a spirit of peace, unity, and compassion towards one another knowing we have need of you. In Your name we pray, Amen.
(from 2020 Lent Devotional Book, updated 2023)