April 10, 2022
A One-Man Parade
Parades are fun to watch. I generally watch Macy’s Thanksgiving parade every year. But my favorite is the Christmas Day Parade at Walt Disney World
In 1983, my wife Kathy and I got up at about 5 a.m. and drove to Disney World from West Palm Beach to watch the Christmas Day Parade. The temperature at parade time (10 a.m.) was 27 degrees. It was so cold the poinsettias were drooping.
Disney has their parade come up Main Street on Christmas day instead of down Main Street. So we had a perfect view along the parade route and even saw Regis Philbin, who was the man on the street for ABC’s coverage.
After the parade was over, everyone started going further into the park. But Kathy and I had lunch reservations with some friends in Epcot, so we headed the other way. It was challenging to get through the crowds of people, but we did and made it to lunch.
The following day, we were having breakfast at the Polynesian Hotel. I had brought the complimentary Orlando newspaper down to the restaurant. Kathy was looking at the lifestyle section, where she found a half-page photo of the parade. She handed the newspaper to me, and something caught my eye as I perused the image.
I said to Kathy, “There’s us.” Sure, enough, it wasn’t hard to pick up out of the crowd. We were the ones going the opposite way from everyone else, and Kathy had been wearing a white coat with a fur collar. So there we were, with me holding her hand, leading the way as I pushed through the crowds to leave the park.
Here we are 39 years later. We still have that newspaper, and we are still avid Disney fans.
Jesus was also in a parade on what we call Palm Sunday. But He rode on a donkey, towards Jerusalem, for a very different reason.
“And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now, they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:28-44
Allow me to highlight a few points from this passage for you.
- Jesus’ followers who were praising Him and welcoming Him as He rode his colt towards the Mount of Olives were fulfilling a prophecy from Zechariah 9:9.
- “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
- That Prophesy was right on the money.
- The people didn’t understand that Jesus did not come to establish an earthly kingdom.
- As we know, He came to die on the cross for everyone’s sins. His sacrifice will open the gates of eternity for everyone.
- Unfortunately, the people of Jerusalem and the Pharisees were not looking for what Jesus brought to them; love, forgiveness, and peace. Instead, they were looking for a warrior King on a White Steed to lead them to victory over Roman rule.
- And so, Jesus cried for Jerusalem. He knew what would happen in the not too distant future to His beloved city.
- Jesus’s words, “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you because you did not know the time of your visitation,” were a prophecy.
- Jesus was describing the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. The city would fall because the people did not recognize who He was and what He was about to do for them. Sacrifice His life so that we may live.
Parades can be fun, like the ones at Disney World. But this parade on that first Palm Sunday was anything but fun. Instead, it announced Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem one last time. He was there to fulfill the prophet’s prophesy of a savior and save the world from itself.
Dear Jesus. Sometimes it seems it’s easier to believe in You and what you did for us on the cross because we live on this side of history. Help us to never forget your sacrifice. Thank you for giving us the opportunity for eternal life through your death and resurrection. Amen.