A parade requires many things in the planning stages to be successful. First there has to be a reason for one. Usually, it is for a victory to celebrate, or an expectation of one, or for a very special occasion. There are permits to apply for, sponsors to obtain, gathering committees, permission to close down streets, advertising for the event, obtaining security teams,gathering volunteers and the most important, a budget to pay for it all. Having a budget to work with will determine the length, size and scope of your parade.
When Rome was winning the world domination game, a victorious General would enter the city with pomp and circumstance. They sent a messenger ahead to the city who would say, we will be entering into the city on this date and time, and we have prisoners of war to parade into the city. We want a laurel crown for the general, the truncheon (a short staff used by kings and great officers as a mark of command), and a laurel branch for him to carry and the victory chariot with four horses.
It would be brought to him before the Triumphal Entry. A big band of musicians would announce this victory. A proclamation (advertising) would be made so all the people would know there was a victory over (fill in the blank) and there would be a parade.
The monies came out of the state fund and the Senate had to approve it. They paraded defeated general, kings and princes in chains.
It looked something like this:
The trumpets sounded a far off and were met with trumpets in the city as the Triumphal Gate opened and the people rushed forth to see their leader returning with the spoils of war and with all the defeated foes. They prepared to lay down cloaks on the path into the city. The band would play the victory song of Rome. A far off in the distance a cloud of dust could be seen where the troops were coming home. The General that led the battle to victory is in front wearing royal purple robe and a crown of victory on his head. He would be in a chariot with four horses at the very front of the procession.
He was the first to ride over the garments laid at his feet. This was a way of paying homage, respect and honor to the general for maintaining peace and defeating enemies. Next in line were the troops that fought and won the battle. Then at the end the enemies, shamed and chained, for the people to hurl insults or whatever else they desired at them. This was an example of “a Roman Triumphal Entry.”
They would then lead the parade to the colosseum and proceed to torture, maim, and kill their enemies for all to see.
By contrast we have Jesus who was fulfilling the prophecy of plans laid down before time began. His fame was widely spread, yet not to all. In Matthew 21:10 the question is asked by some bystanders, “Who is this?” And they were answered by the multitude, “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”
Jesus entered the city from the East through the Susa Gate, from the side of Bethphage, Bethany, and the Mount of Olives. Whereas the Roman Triumphal entry in Rome was from the West.
Jesus’ main parade planning entailed sending two disciples into a nearby town to get a donkey’s colt for him to ride into Jerusalem. It had to be a colt of an ass that had never been ridden. Jesus told them to say this, “And when they ask you what you are doing, you just tell them the Lord has need of it and he will return it.”
And somehow that explanation was enough. (Miracle)
In all the gospels, the writers have Jesus in different scenarios right before this event. Two of the writers had a blind man or two blind men calling Jesus, “Son of David”. Which was what people were shouting when Jesus entered into the Jerusalem. One thing all the gospels have in common was that there were crowds around Jesus before He got on the donkey’s colt. There was no preparing the people to come watch the parade. God already had them there for this triumphal entry. Jesus had performed miracles right up to this parade. Then they started yelling “Son of David! Hosanna in the Highest!”
This was not the victory chant of the Romans. This was not a victory parade. It was a parade in anticipation of the victory! The Jews were being oppressed by the Romans and wanted to be set free. This Jesus of Nazareth of Galilee was doing great miracles like they had never been seen before! He must be the Messiah.
Jesus had no crown on his head or truncheon or laurel to hold in hands. He was fulfilling Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation: lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Jesus was a parade of One. No others were part of the honor or homage that was bestowed on Him. People were all around Him, followed Him and poured into the city around Him to see what He would do next.
There was no pomp or circumstance for Jesus. There was no budget, security teams, committees, or applications for permits. The logistics were simple, go get a donkey. There was no advertising to announce this parade, no sponsors. The size, length, and scope of it was set in the heavenlies and prophesied in the book of Zechariah.
The people thought this was going to be the beginning of freedom for them. This miracle worker would surely set the record straight between the Roman occupation and Israel. This parade was for their expectations of Jesus as “the Messiah,” the Savior of Israel. But Jesus knew it was for the victory over sin and death. This was for His triumphal entry into their hearts, and our hearts.
Honestly, if Israel knew this at the time, would they be so excited? So motivated? No.
They laid down their most valuable possessions: their cloaks for Jesus to walk (Cloaks were used for protection in rough weather, as a bed or blanket for sleeping. Everyone had one and kept it on them most of the time.) When their capes were laid down, they went and got palm branches to lay before Jesus. Do you know how difficult it is to cut down a palm branch? Those branches are made by God to withstand hurricane force winds. They don’t usually fall down. It was work and not to mention climbing up date palms! They can grow up to one hundred-twenty feet high! This was no easy task.
Jesus failed their expectations in less than a week. The echoes of “Hosanna!” at the beginning of the week were met with “Crucify Him!” at the end of that same week. They went from “Save Us” to “Kill Him!” in no time.
“The Lord hath need of him” He needed a young, unbroken, or untrained donkey to usher in a new covenant. It wasn’t for sacrifice because He was the sacrifice. That’s all He required to fulfill this prophecy. Simple, lowly, and peaceful. (an unbroken donkey! That is another miracle. It let Jesus ride him and had crowds yelling around it and waving cloaks and branches. It was obedient to Jesus.)
Isn’t that how Jesus enters into your heart? Whether you are in a crowd or alone, He comes humbly and peacefully to the door of your heart. Will it be a triumphal entry? Is your gate open? Will you throw down your single most valuable possession, your cloak, the thing you use to hide your sin, shame, and guilt, to pay homage to The King? Will you say Hosanna in the Highest? Which literally means Oh KING, pray, save me!
Or will you stand by and watch and say, “Who is this?”
By Monica DuBois