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At last!

As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. Luke 19.36


In a subsistence economy, where most people only possessed one outer garment, it is a big deal that so many should spread them in front of Jesus, as he made his way into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. So what was it about Jesus, which marked him out for such adulation on this occasion?


Part of the answer lies in the circumstances and another part in the Lord's flair for signalling. By signally I mean catching people's attention and conveying the deeper significance of what he was doing. Many of us are familiar with the reference to Zechariah 9.9, in which the prophet foretells the arrival of God's Anointed in just the manner Jesus chooses: riding on a donkey, indicating that he comes in peace. But there would also have been in the crowd's mind how, nearly 200 years previously, Judas Maccabaeus had arrived in like manner also, in order to cleanse the Temple of the abomination of desecration committed by the Greek ruler Antiochus Epiphanes, when he sacrificed pork meat to the pagan gods on the altar in his attempt to hellenise the Jews.


By the time Jesus was born, it was the Romans who were the oppressors and people were longing for another deliverer. Could Jesus be the one? That had heard of his miraculous and compassionate deeds, of his wise teaching and his compelling stories. But in putting their hope in him, would they trust his strategy?

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