What a glorious day to celebrate as Jesus rode into Jerusalem! I’ve read the story a thousand times in the gospels, but this morning I noticed the branches and the donkey again.
Don’t you think it’s curious that people cut branches and spread them on the road? (Matthew 21:8) It was strange because this morning, I read in Zechariah (written nearly 500 years before the coming of Jesus) this statement from God:
“I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. . . and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day” (3:8-9).
The Branch always pointed to the savior–the Messiah–as in the Righteous Branch promised in Jeremiah 23:5 (also written hundreds of years before the actual coming of Jesus). The branch was, according to my Bible dictionary, a symbol of the leadership and posterity of Jewish patriarchs. But the world needed the ultimate Branch, and it’s Jesus who “[removes] the sin of this land in a single day” by His death on the cross. In a single day, everything would change. In a single day, the Branch would ride in on a donkey to fulfill another incredible prophecy:
Zechariah mysteriously and wonderfully tells us that this coming Savior will arrive “humble and mounted on a donkey” (9:9).
It’s Him! He’s here!
So the people cut branches for their Branch.
The people knew the Savior was here. They even stated the same cry from Psalm 118: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
So I think about the symbols: the branches and the donkey. Donkeys appear at key moments in scripture (Abraham and Isaac, Moses returning to Egypt, Balaam, etc.).It’s worth noting the patterns and the clues.
I think of all the ways Jesus wants us to note His arrival. He is here. He is the humble Branch, riding on a donkey.
He is here!