by Rev. Fr. Jose Daniel Paitel, USA, Malankara World Board Member
Gospel: St. John 12: 12-19
Palm Sunday is the day of the beginning day of the Holy Passion Week. Contrary
to the Passion Week today, it is the day of celebration with flowers and palm
leaves. Children love today as a day kept in their evergreen memory. Royal
visitation to the Holy Temple is an important event during the brief Nazarene
history of Jesus Christ. Palm Sunday is the day of the magnificent journey of
Jesus Christ. A massive crowd accompanying Jesus Christ, raising the slogans of
Hosanna, the spreading of their own scarves and shawls on the way He walked, and
the holding and waving of palm leaves and showering of flowers, enjoyment of the
children following Him raising Hosanna slogans, etc. are best suited for the
occasion. But an exception is the donkey ride of Jesus Christ. Rest of all other
pre requisites for a royal procession is adjoined in a fair decent fashion.
John 12:14-15 Jesus obtained a donkey and sat on it, as Scripture says: "Don't
be afraid, people of Zion! Your king is coming. He is riding on a donkey's
Certainly it was a mystery in the history of Jesus Christ that why He chose a
donkey for His ride. He often walked or used a ferry boat for a far distance. He
was able to hire a Horse or pick another possible alternative. Using a donkey
for His ride is incredible. He is renowned as a miracle healer and a Rabbi
holding honorable position from the general populace. Even though He always
reflects himself, as the son of God, he disregarded those who murmured against
His sacredness, forming out of the trip on an unclean Donkey to the Holy temple
of God. There were certain norms and restrictions prevalent for those
worshippers going to the Temple of God for an offering of any kind. Nobody is
able to break the same. Because; according to the scriptures, donkey is an
unclean animal. Jesus the witness of the cannon law is more than aware about it.
Then why He decided to send His disciples to a far distant intersection to
obtain a donkey might be discarded by its masters. He has an excuse of a
prophecy foretold about it.
Zachariah 9: 9 writes,
The Lord Sends His King
Everything Jesus Christ did had a purpose and was meaningful. There was an
impermeable reason for His every action. These were deeply entrenched in the
scriptures. Some of them were mystical, some of them were obvious to naked eye
and some were retro historical. There was a prophetical importance for his
commands. He cannot dissuade himself from His ultimate noble goal and He extends
His guidance to that goal. He fashioned everything under His perception and
motivation regarding His heavenly father. So raising more questions in this
respect also is meaningful. But diving deep into the scriptures is the only
possibility to determine the relative significance of the actions concerned. As
we immerse further deep into the subject, the purpose and meaning behind what He
did may bubble out of it.
According to the scriptures, animals are divided into two categories: clean and
unclean. According to the Law of Moses, there are certain restrictions to be
followed for the physical use of the first born of a clean and unclean animal.
Exodus 34: 19. "Every first male offspring is mine, even the firstborn males of
all your livestock, whether cattle, sheep, or goats.
According to Exodus 34:19, the First offspring born out of the womb of any clean
animal must be sacrificed before the table of tabernacle. That could not be
owned or used further by its owner for any physical use. That is according to
the covenant bounded to the entire Israelites, and given to Moses on the day of
the massive slaughter of the first born on the night of Passover from Egypt. God
almighty redeemed all the first born cattle and animals of the Israelites from
that massive slaughter. No harm of any kind has been happened to their cattle
and animals. In commemoration to the redemption, Israelites are bound by law to
observe the sacrifice of their first born in the tabernacle. The first born
among the human beings are exempted from the prescribed sacrifice because they
must be redeemed by sacrificing a Lamb. Instead of a sacrifice of the first-born
human being, God adopted a tribe for His service. Levites became separated for
the priesthood as a result of this adoption. But the first born of the unclean
animals are not permitted or eligible for the same kind of sacrifice.
Exodus 34:20 It will cost you a sheep or a goat to buy back the firstborn
donkey. If you don't buy it back, then you must break the donkey's neck. You
must buy back every firstborn of your sons. "No one may come into my presence
without an offering.
First born Donkey has a canonical restriction for its physical eligibility. It
will be redeemed by a lamb. If any of those animals are not redeemed, they are
neither allowed nor used to work physically. If the owner of that unredeemed
animal is not capable of spending for a sacrifice, that animal should be killed
by breaking its neck. The donkey is an unclean animal and that should be killed
by the breaking of its neck. In such a circumstance, the masters might abandon
such animals instead of killing them. That will be killed later because of the
ongoing cruelties against this orphaned animal.
Unless it was saved by a reliable master, the destiny of this animal will be
fatal. Jesus Christ, the savior of mankind and redeemer of human race, extended
His mercy on this meek unclean animal. He saved that animal from a merciless
fatal slaughter. Likewise He extended His mercy on our human race. We were born
unclean from the womb of our mothers. We were born of an inheritance of Adamic
sin. Jesus Christ is the only Lamb who can redeem us from our destiny. He is the
only Lamb ascended from heaven for our sake. We were bought back by the eternal
sacrifice of that heavenly Lamb. We were born unclean in the eyes of our creator
and God. We lost our heavenly abode and are earnestly waiting to return to our
salvation. We were ousted from our paternal dwelling and house of mercy because
of our sins. Our disobedience made us a burden of satanic bondage. We were
waiting for our savior. Unless a lamb is sacrificed for us we were not able to
He sacrificed himself on the cross, as a lamb sacrificed instead of Isaac, son
of Abraham, on the mount Moriah. He was crucified for us. Through His
crucifixion He saved each and every one of us. After His crucifixion, we are not
burdened with the fear of death. We are not abandoned like the donkey which He
chose for his ride. Since we are called by Jesus and paid by Him, we enjoy the
victory of salvation.
Our Salvation is a gift that we are indebted to our Heavenly Father. A precious
sacrifice was offered against our sins. The Lamb sacrificed for our sins is the
only begotten son of God. He is the one sitting beside with His heavenly Father.
He sacrificed himself on the cross. He descended from his eternal position with
his father, the Almighty God. He left His heavenly abode for the sake of our
sins. He redeemed us by His precious blood. He freed us from an unending heavy
bondage. He saved us from a merciless death. He raised us from the unending fire
and grinding of the teeth. The wrath of our generation is removed from us by the
precious sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He gave us a new birth of
salvation by removing our death caused by our sins. The sprinkling of His
precious blood helped us to pass the death of angel from our generation. We are
able to inherit our promised eternal possession. We are able to stand before the
heavenly throne where the fiery angels are trembling.
Are you able to praise Him the praise of Hosanna? Are you able to enjoy the
heavenly happiness with Heavenly Angels? The Hosanna we are celebrating is a
mystical one that we are called to celebrate with our savior Jesus Christ. Our
salvation by Jesus Christ purchased through His sacrifice is capable of breaking
away the satanic bondage. Get the assurance of salvation through the cross which
Jesus Christ died for us. Let us enjoy the new birth of a heavenly creation.
Wash out the Fear of our death from our hearts and from our lives. Walk straight
to the doors of heavenly paradise. That is what hosanna means. Bow our head
before our savior. Let Him rule over us. Let Him guide us to the Heavenly Temple
of God. Let us become a donkey chosen by Jesus Christ for His trip to the temple
of Jerusalem. Let us go with our Savior to the temple, then to Calvary and then
to the empty tomb. While we do that, reflect and meditate on the enormous
sacrifice made by Jesus Christ to buy us out of our bondage.
So, on this Palm Sunday, pay special attention to that donkey when we sing with
the multitude waving the branches of palm trees:
Hosanna, Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Rejoice with all your heart, people of Zion!
Shout in triumph, people of Jerusalem!
Look! Your King is coming to you:
He is righteous and victorious.
He is humble and rides on a donkey,
on a colt, a young pack animal.
"Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!"
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