The sun blazed orange as it set behind the hills. Simon arrived at his destination and commanded his camel to kneel so he could slide off. Hastening toward the door of his brother’s home, he knocked. It opened at once.
“Enter and join us.” A voice boomed, one which he recognized as Saul’s. Before he could take a step, the strong embrace of his brother drew him inside and led him to a table where several others reclined for the evening meal.
He sat, and as the women served, he met and conversed with guests who had also traveled to Jerusalem from other villages for Passover. The topic? Jesus. For three years, they talked of no one else.
“Did anyone witness the Teacher arrive? I’ve traveled a long way in hopes of finding Him tonight.”
Saul leaned forward to take unleavened bread, broke it, and distributed pieces to those around him. “I heard that He arrived in the city yesterday, but no one knows where He’s staying. If they did, the entire city would be at that house, asking Him for healing or more stories.”
All the men chuckled in agreement. The masses swarmed Him like bees around a hive.
One of them, Matthias of Bethlehem, raised up his head. “I was there.” He swallowed a bite of fish. “It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed, brothers.” His wide, brown eyes stared. “Pontius Pilate even summoned extra guards, in case of a riot.”
Their faces wore frowns of worry as they stopped eating and turned to listen.
He took a deep breath. “A huge crowd of people had come to herald him as our King and lead Him triumphantly into the city. They were a noisy bunch, crying ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ and ‘Jesus is our King!’” His expression softened and his eyes lost focus, as though reliving it in his memory.
Simon folded his arms and leaned forward. “Yes, yes … do continue. Was He mounted on a horse?”
Matthias cocked his head to one side. “I’ve never heard of Jesus riding an animal. He always walked. But someone let His disciples borrow a donkey and a colt from a nearby village.” He glanced around the table. “Can you imagine that? A king sitting on a donkey’s colt?” He snorted.
The others mumbled concern, their eyes wide and foreheads wrinkled in disbelief.
Simon stood and raised his arms. “Everyone knows a king rides a horse.”
The men nodded and mumbled assent.
Matthias rose and placed a gentle hand on Simon’s shoulder. “Brother.” He spread his hands wide and shrugged his shoulders. “The donkey and her colt were requested by Jesus Himself.” He again reclined on the pillows.
Simon paced. “How could he lower Himself to do such a thing? How will Rome view this act?”
Saul fisted his hands and thrust them above his head. “We want Him to depose Rome and become our ruler—the King of the Jews! Even if He chooses to arrive on a donkey.” The gravel in his deep voice was full of hope.
Matthias lifted his index finger and pointed to the ceiling. “Remember the prophecy in Isaiah?” He closed his eyes and lifted his face to heaven. “Say to the daughter of Zion, behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
Saul raised an eyebrow. “Don’t forget that animal represents peace. Messiah comes in peace to make peace—not war, as kings do by riding atop war horses.”
Saul’s wife set a platter of lamb in front of the men and leaned over to whisper in her husband’s ear.
He nodded as she whisked away. “My wife also heard from another witness that His disciples laid their coats so He could sit. And the crowd not only spread their coats on the road, but also branches from the palm trees.”
Matthias leaped up. “I watched them lead Jesus into the city without the animal’s feet touching the ground. Some of the crowd went ahead, while others followed behind, but they all shouted in unison: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!'”
Simon absorbed the story. He could visualize the Lord descending the hill into the city and imagine the cries of the multitudes. He turned to Matthias. “And after Jesus arrived in Jerusalem?”
He smiled. “When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, asking who He was. And the crowds claimed that He was the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Simon pondered these words, accepting some lamb as it circled to him. He hadn’t expected a political uprising now, but wondered if Jesus had. So much was happening in Jerusalem … so much that was in the way of his finding Messiah and asking for a word of healing for his baby son.
Tomorrow was Thursday. Hopefully he could find Him by then.
All I need is one word from You, Lord, and my son will be healed.
Perhaps his son had already died—he couldn’t know. Somehow, he discerned the child was still alive. He clung to that hope.