“He who raised Lazarus from the dead enters Jerusalem today as king, seated on a donkey”

Because of all he had done, the simple people believed in the Lord not only with a silent faith, but with a faith that proclaimed his divinity both by word and by deed.

After raising Lazarus, who had been dead four days, the Lord found the young donkey his disciples had brought for him, as the evangelist Matthew relates. Seated on it he entered Jerusalem, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold your king comes to you, the just one, the savior. He is gentle, and rides on a beast of burden, on the colt of a donkey.”

By these words the Prophet shows that Christ was the king he was foretelling, the only true king of Zion. He is saying: “Your king will not frighten those who look upon him; he is not an overbearing kind of person, or an evildoer. He does not come with a bodyguard, an armed escort, at the head of hosts of cavalry and foot soldiers. Nor does he live by extortion, demanding taxes and the payment of tribute and ignoble services, hurtful to those who perform them. No, he is recognized by his lowliness, poverty, and frugality, for he enters the city riding on a donkey, and with no crowd of attendants. Therefore, this king alone is just, and in justice he saves. He is also meek, meekness is his own special characteristic. In fact, the Lord’s own words regarding himself were: “Learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.”

He who raised Lazarus from the dead enters Jerusalem today as king, seated on a donkey. Almost at once all the people, children and grown-ups, young and old alike, spread their garments on the road; and taking palm branches, symbols of victory, they went to meet him as the giver of life and conqueror of death. They worshipped him, and formed an escort. Within the temple precincts as well as without they sang with one voice, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna in the highest!” This hosanna is a hymn of praise addressed to God. It means, “Lord, save us.” The other words, “in the highest,” show that God is praised not only on earth by human beings, but also on high by the angels of heaven.

St Gregory Palamas

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5 Responses to “He who raised Lazarus from the dead enters Jerusalem today as king, seated on a donkey”

  1. Is today Palm Sunday for you? We’re on the fifth Sunday of Easter in the West.

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Yes.

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      • My palm frond cross that I received this year is still in good shape shockingly. The one I received last year I think lasted two weeks.

        Do the Orthodox give out palm frond crosses?

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        • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

          Today I received a palm and a pussy willow.

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          • Ah, yes. I remember the Evangelical church I went to when I was younger gave out the palm leaves (attached to the branch) as well.

            We’d have a re-enactment sometimes where someone would walk in as Jesus. I can’t remember if there was ever a donkey or not though.

            A lot has changed though in that church regretfully and it now broadcasts the main pastor onto different screens…

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