After the flags and the palm branches and the manic crowd laying their cloaks in the road, the so called triumphal entry looks a little different the morning after. It’s a bit like a party at which something unwelcome has happened half way through, or someone uninvited turns up late and a little too drunk. The mood turns sour. Of course the unwelcome guest was Judas and his message was betrayal. We’ll finish that story later today with our dramatic reading of the passion. But I want to draw your minds back to the end of last year, our celebration of Christ the King because John Davies (strangely, not a welsh bishop) preached on exactly this point. Jesus arrives at one gate of Jerusalem on a donkey. No royal clothes, no band of soldiers just a crowd summoned up from those who followed him there and a few curious onlookers. Perhaps the families he was with at Bethany came with him. If I wanted to be bold I might suggest he even planned this at Lazarus, Mary and Martha’s house. It has the hallmark of a planned event. A covert operation. Even the Donkey and Colt were pre arranged with what might seem to be a code word ‘The Lord has need of them’. At another gate, and perhaps even at the same time arrives the Roman ruler to ‘keep the peace’ during the Jewish festival. he arrives expecting full patronage, with an armed guard and courtiers. Jesus’ entry is mocking the Roman rule. He is setting himself against Pilate, against the system that dominated their lives and he is suggesting that God is on the side of the poor and the marginalised, not the rich and the mighty. To say that this annoyed the Roman rulers is an understatement. They had no choice, their system demands the death of those who disrupt their power, for how else are you to keep peace, and yet here stands the embodiment of a different way. And even the Roman ruler Pilate seems to suggest there is no guilt in this man. And the centurion at the foot of the cross confesses his understanding. And finally it is accomplished. The prayer out of the tradition of Iona reads:
Jesus, the master carpenter, who at the last through wood and nails accomplished our whole salvation. Wield well the tools in the workshop of this world, that we who come rough hewn to your bench may be fashioned to a truer beauty of your hand.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves It is only Palm Sunday. I’m sure Jesus and Peter had a conversation or two after this event – I wonder what that might have been after that little stunt at the gates of Jerusalem.
Did you really ride to Jerusalem on that Donkey?
Well, Yes Peter, you were there.
Sort of Jesus, I was er, taking in the mood of the crowd.
Were you scared Peter?
So, How was the mood?
The mood Jesus?
Of the crowd Peter, you know, the ones shouting a lot.
Oh that, well they seemed to think you were some sort of King.
They shouted Hosannah a lot!
Yes, I heard that one!
They seem to think you are going to overthrow the Roman Rulers.
Oh. What do you think Peter?
Well… You have been talking a lot about your Kingdom and the hour being
Been listening Peter, Iʼm impressed.
So, are you Jesus?
Going to overthrow the Roman Rulers?
Yes Peter, but not in the way they think!!
Theyʼre going to kill you for that Jesus.
I know Peter. (pause) Peter, are you hungry?
Iʼm always hungry Jesus, you know that!
Well go on and ﬁnd the others, theyʼll be setting up for the Passover meal.
What is it about you and food?