Looking on at the hubbub surrounding what became Palm Sunday is instructive.
People in the crowd: “YAY! HE’s going to fix this mess! No more Rome; no more Rome…!”
Disciples: “Okay, this is more like it, although I still think riding into town on Thunderbuns would’ve looked more studly. 17 hands, so white he glistens, muscles that have mini-muscles.”
“Oh, man, yeah! Now, THAT is a horse! You remember him, right? I know Unc would’ve let us borrow ‘im.”
Young donkey: Buck? Kick? Stall? What? This is all new. I’m not zackly acquainted with donkey duty. . . Missed my morning snack because these nimnos tied me up out there. . . This guy’s nice. Different. Kind of reassuring and he doesn’t have a stick in his hand like the others. . . Hey, wait–some donkey munchies over there. All green and stuff. . . Wish this guy’d get off my back, though. . . “
Me, looking back across two millennia: “What a sad commentary on human nature. I can assure you I’d be a lot more thoughtful and discerning if I’d just spent three years of my life following Jesus Himself around.” SMH.
We all think of ourselves different than others see us. We think and speak and act with full knowledge of our intentions, yet we forget: others don’t know our intentions. They only have our words and actions with which to gauge their thoughts, reactions and responses. And we all know words and actions can be taken horribly wrong.
I’m sure the crowd, drawn by the disciples all cheering, were caught up in what they thought was one thing: deliverance. Okay, the donkey prop was kind of lame, but it was a start. What the yelling, shoving, fawning crowd forgot was a vital truth Jesus had spent His entire ministry emphasizing.
No one can do for you what you should be doing for yourself. Some of the best advice I ever routinely ignored as a kid from old ‘churchy’ folks was, “Mind God.”
Nothing much of value happens when trying to please a crowd. Groups of people are fickle. They see and react according to their own personalities and character and experiences; and the crowd, including the shallow-thinking disciples who by now should have known better than to look for the quick fix, was no exception.
On Monday of what would become Holy Week, they were sure ‘somebody’ was riding into town to make it all better without much effort on their part. Their takeaways?
- The quick, easy fix for long-standing issues does not exist.
- God’s design through Jesus was much deeper than their expectations.
- They each would have to step away from the crowd and individually respond.
I’d like to think myself able to withstand the same shallowness and lack of discernment of that crowd. Certainly not the foolishness of the Twelve and other regular best buds who’d gotten used to following Jesus around.
Truth? The most honest one, the one making the most sense that first day of Holy Week was probably the donkey.
© D. Dean Boone, March 2016