I hope that none of you get too carried away with April Fool jokes this year especially as it also happens to be Palm Sunday. Its association this year with ‘All Fools Day’ has led me to ponder the following question – ‘Was Jesus a fool to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey’. The only time I have personally witnessed people riding on donkeys was in the summer, at the seaside, in the 1950’s. Furthermore the riders were children not adults. Donkey riding then, has to do with school holidays and fun, doesn’t it? Not with the arrival of a man into a capital city with people cheering and shouting praises to God. In popular film a man riding on a donkey is a subject of ridicule (remember Captain Anthony Trumbell’s ‘horse’ in the film The Pride and the Passion)

It was certainly not the way for a saviour of the common people to arrive at the headquarters of the authorities in power. I seem to remember from my school history lessons that folk heroes who rode into capital cities to challenge the authorities in power normally came to a sticky end. (In 1831 the leader of ‘The Peasants Revolt ‘ Wat Tyler, was killed, in London, when he met to negotiate with King Richard II and his head was displayed on London bridge)

Outward appearances then would suggest that the answer to my question is ‘yes’. Common sense would have told Jesus this was an extremely foolish and dangerous act. Jesus was not, however, interested in safety, his passion was to fulfil God’s purpose for his life on earth. Jesus had a mission to complete and Jerusalem was the only place that mission could be completed. He had read what the prophet Zechariah had written - “Rejoice greatly O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey.” He also knew that his body would need to be put on display ‘when I am lifted up from the earth I will draw everyone to me’ (John 12:32)

Saving the people of the world by dying for them does seem foolish but commenting on the death of Jesus on the cross Paul wrote ‘the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. (I Corinthians 1:25). The answer to my question then remains - ‘Yes’ , but it was God’s foolishness. It was a foolishness that has enabled us to see the love of God and to experience his grace and strength in our lives.
God Bless You,
Major David