Riding a Donkey Into Jerusalem
How dare you take my donkey?" said the farmer who had come to Bethphage with vegetables loaded on the donkey's back. "Here in Judea we crucify a man for stealing a donkey."
"But, I am not a donkey thief," protested the other. "You see, my Lord Jesus is on His way from Bethany to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast. He told me that I would find this donkey here, and that I was to bring it to Him so that He could ride into Jerusalem."
"I have only just now arrived with the donkey," answered the farmer, "so how does your Lord Jesus happen to know that the donkey was here? Be gone, before I lose my temper,"
"But, Mister," interrupted Reuben, a boy about fifteen years of age, who had overheard the conversation, "this Jesus seems to know everything. Many people think He is the great Messiah."
"What does a boy of your age know about the Messiah?" asked the farmer. "If this Jesus were the Messiah He certainly would not be riding a donkey. He would come in gorgeous splendor wearing a golden crown. The Chief Priests and Scribes who teach religion in the temple will tell us when the Messiah has come."
"Well, my father was in Bethany last week," answered Reuben, "and this Jesus was there. My father saw Him bring a man named Lazarus, who had been dead for three days, back to life. He has done many wonderful things in Galilee. He has made the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the deaf to hear. My father says He is the Messiah, even if the Scribes and Pharisees in the temple say He is not. They do not like Him because they are jealous. My sister Ruth is blind, and if Jesus. . . ." Reuben stopped suddenly in his speech.
"Do you hear that shouting, too?" asked the farmer. "That is my Lord Jesus on His way to Jerusalem," answered the man who wanted the donkey.
"Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!" shouted Reuben as he ran full speed to his home. "Mother, quick, we must get Ruth into the highway so Jesus can touch her eyes."
There were many people who believed that He was the Messiah, following Jesus. Among them was Lazarus from Bethany. Many people in Jerusalem and also those who had crowded into the city to celebrate the Passover Feast, had heard much about Jesus, and especially that He had brought Lazarus back to life. A great crowd came from Jerusalem to meet Jesus. This crowd and those who came with Jesus from Bethany met in Bethphage just outside the city.
Reuben and his mother brought Ruth out to the highway where Jesus was to pass.
"There He is right opposite us now," informed Reuben.
"If I could only see Him! What does He look like?" asked Ruth.
"You shall see me, Ruth," said Jesus softly as He paused for a minute. "Open your eyes."
"Mother, I can see!" shouted Ruth so that all could hear. "Praise be to Jesus!"
"Mister," said Reuben to the farmer, "didn't I tell you that He was the Messiah?"
"He shall have my donkey," replied the farmer. "Just think, that of all the donkeys in Palestine, the Messiah, the Son of God, should pick my donkey on which to ride into Jerusalem. What a great honor has come to me and my donkey."
Jesus was lifted on the donkey's back. In their enthusiasm the people shouted, and many ran ahead of Him. They cut palm branches from the trees and waved them to welcome Him to the city. The people unwrapped the loose cloaks from their shoulders and stretched them along the way. They scattered palm branches to form a carpet over which Jesus rode. In this group was Reuben and Ruth and many other boys and girls. As the crowd moved into Jerusalem with Jesus in their midst, they shouted, "Hosanna, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." This triumphant march of Jesus into Jerusalem is celebrated on Palm Sunday.