Skip to main content

They didn't know

They didn’t know who he was.

Those disciples who found that donkey just where he said they would. Did those two who were sent by him stare with wide eyes at the large eared beast with its babe? Did they feel the skin crawl on the back of their necks and over their arms—like they must have when the cloth-bound Lazarus walked out of the darkness or the bread and fish fell from their hands? Did they struggle to catch their breath as their fingers fumbled with the ropes? In the sharpness of it all, did they even remember the people asking what they were doing, telling them the words he had said? Did they feel the tightness of the prophet’s ancient words taking on flesh and blood, hoof and bray before them?

Still, they didn’t know. Not really.

And when the rest of those he loved laid their cloaks on the backs of the donkey and its colt, when they watched him lift himself up and sit on her back, when they starred at his face (was he smiling? was he sad? was he resolute?), what were they dreaming of? Of palaces and feasts? Of the backs of Roman soldiers as they fled their Lord? Of new kings and reigns with scepters of gold? Of a world set right for God’s people? Of toppled Rome and risen Jerusalem?

No, they still didn’t know.

And those who saw him riding down that road, men and women flanked about him with set chins beneath edged eyes. The ones who scrambled to cut off branches from the trees and fields and pass them to other hands. The ones who laid the scrub on the dusty road in a cascading and blurred river of green and brown. The children, the women and men, the ones who went ahead of him and those that followed in a moving and throbbing mass, the ones who shouted again and again—

"Hosanna to the Son of David!"

"Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!"

"Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

They didn’t know. They called him prophet, the one named Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee. They didn't know.

What did they make of his words of rocks making sounds? What did they think when he saw the city and wept? Did they wave by the words of crushing and hidden things? Or did some of them hear and wobble then, walk away with eyes in their hearts, wrestling with the man atop the donkey riding into Jerusalem?

They still didn’t know. They didn’t know that this man, the one who stood in the temple at the end of that day, gazing at it all with eyes that knew what was coming, a heart that ached for it all, that this man was the One. That through this man would explode such Life and Love and Right-ness that Death itself would be swallowed whole. That this man was God in the flesh, come to us, touching us, loving us, with us, being us so that we can be.

They didn’t know. They touched the edge of it, this something new and bold and sharp at hand. Their hearts quivered and their souls quickened. But they just didn’t know.

Oh, Lord, let us know. Let us know to our very quick. Let us know.

(Image: mine)