Tuesday, February 26, 2013
THE ENTRY OF CHRIST INTO JERUSALEM
Another densely populated icon. Here Christ is welcomes into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. His disciples follow behind Him. People are laying their cloaks before the feast of the donkey and children are cutting branches from the trees to lay in His path. The crowds press forward to receive Him and some look on from the walls. Even the demons (under a black canopy in the top right quarter of the painting) look on aghast and bemused. Christ enters not as a conquering King nor does He come in pomp and display of wealth. There is nothing here of the world's pursuit of pleasure, power, wealth and fame. As in His cleansing of the Temple the Lord uses the minimum necessary for the event. His choice is to come non-violently, in humility and poverty, accessible and vulnerable. He comes to Jerusalem in the way of a pilgrim but the crowds sense that He is more than He seems and respond with adoration. How fickle is man. Within a week they will turn against Him, deny and condemn Him. They will join in His unjust and humiliating trial, His scourging, His mockery and the cruel bearing of the Cross to Calvary. Then they will gather round for His crucifixion. The Lord knows their hearts. It was because humanity had become corrupted and was weighed down with sin and passions that He came to set us free. He enters Jerusalem to complete the mission for which He entered the world: the salvation and liberation of man.