Augustine Sokolovski

To understand what exactly happened in the event of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem, it is necessary to turn to the concept of the Event of Christ, which means everything that was said and done by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is also necessary to pay attention to the gradual development of the biblical mystery in history. The very existence of the biblical people is the History of the Testament. The latter is revealed in the Bible as a story of man's unfaithfulness and God's faithfulness. The biblical books speak of this, the prophets proclaim.

The covenant was accompanied by a promise. God promised man that the Covenant would be fulfilled. And this fulfillment of the Testament took place exclusively in the appearance of the Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth, the servant of God who proclaimed the Kingdom message, clearly testified in His last days that He was destined to die on the Cross. But this death did not have a reverse side inherent in every human death since the time of Adam, the name of which is sin. The departure of the Lord from the land of the living is a sacrifice in which the mystery of the fidelity of the biblical Testament was fulfilled once and for all.

Jesus Himself spoke about this at the Last Supper, forever denoting the reality of His presence with the faithful in the Eucharist. “Taking bread, and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, this is my body, which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Jesus fulfilled the Covenant, at the same time revealing in this world the truth that divine love can be received by man. The election, birth, path, word, and deed of Jesus of Nazareth became the fulfillment of the Covenant and the manifestation of genuine human religiosity - devotion and fidelity to the cause of God in the path of sacrificial service. In the light of the Biblical Word, it is important to understand that Jesus was a truly religious man.

It was the will of God that the humility and kenosis that the Only Begotten Son accepted should be completely fulfilled. Those who followed the Lord were required to believe in Him as the One sent by God, to acknowledge that His words proclaimed the will of the Father. Healings and miracles performed by Him were called to show the salvation that had come, which, according to the Bible, meant the acceptance of the rejected, the restoration of the destroyed, the reunification of the divided and the forgiveness of the condemned. The glory of Jesus until the Resurrection is evidence of the coming Kingdom.

The miracles and signs of Christ testified to the coming of the Kingdom of God in power. But only the Resurrection of Christ made it possible for the apostolic circle to recognize in the deeds and words of the Risen One — God Himself, who was among them. Everything in Christ testified to His divinity, but this evidence was accepted only after the Resurrection.

The New Testament Scriptures speak of Christ in the light of His Resurrection. The Epistles of Paul, the Catholic Epistles, the Book of Acts, the Gospels, and, of course, the Apocalypse were written after Pentecost and reflect the understanding of the New Testament history by the disciples precisely in this Paschal perspective. They look to Christ as the Risen and Glorified Lord. In modern language, this perception is called retrospection - the recollection of what was authentic but remained unrecognized.

Moreover, the entire history of the Church and the Universe after the Resurrection of the Lord, and Pentecost, or the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, in this perspective, is a part of the Event of the Resurrection, is a way of gradually understanding the meaning of Christ's words: "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).

It is important to understand that the God of the Bible is not the immutable, omnipotent, impassive, omnipotent “god of philosophers and scientists,” as Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) writes in his Memorial, but “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” The God of the Bible rejoices and mourns, accepts, and rejects, He, as it is said in the prayer of confession, laments over our sins. And He… chooses. In Christ Jesus the mystery of divine election was fulfilled.

In the messianic biblical perspective, He is the only Chosen One who was able to fulfill the Covenant. He became a human answer - that “infinite self” and “unconditional amen” - who will bring the deliverance of history (2 Cor. 1:20). “Here let human merits perish in Adam be silent and let the reigning grace of God reign through Jesus Christ,” wrote the Father of the Church, teacher of the Carthaginian Church, saint Augustine, in the book “On the Predestination of the Saints” (15:31). The word "saint" is not accidental here. For Jesus the Lord is the image of the divine, and, at the same time, the prototype and source of all human holiness. His name is predestination unto salvation.

Jesus preached, blessed, healed, cleansed lepers, cast out demons. The Lord brought sinners and outcasts closer to Himself. This happened because every human society was a society of division.

Humanity is a community of the divided. The Israel of the time of Jesus Christ was divided to the highest degree. The sick, the sinners, and the dead were cast out, placed in eternal quarantine. But the Lord Jesus gathered His people again.

The earthly ministry of the Lord continued, according to the generally accepted opinion of interpreters, for about three years. According to the Gospel of Luke, the Lord Jesus went out to preach when he was about thirty years old (Luke 3:23).

In order for the salvific ministry of the Lord Jesus to be finally accomplished, He had to reign. That is why He entered Jerusalem. Fulfilling the prophecies about the Messiah, He sat on a donkey - this is the only animal in the Scriptures that was able to see Angels and speak in human language. “The donkey, seeing the Angel of the Lord, lay down under Balaam. And Balaam's anger was kindled, and he began to beat the donkey with a stick. And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam: What have I done to you, that you are beating me for the third time already?” - narrated in the Pentateuch (Numbers 22:27-28).

The entrance of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem was tried to be prevented by representatives of the religious authorities of Israel. They tried to stop the Coming of the Messiah: “When the chief priests and scribes saw the miracles that He did, and the children exclaiming in the temple and saying: Hosanna to the Son of David! They were indignant and said to him, Do you hear what they say? Jesus says to them: yes! Have you never read: Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings You have arranged praise?” (Mt: 21, 15-16). The Lord came as the Messiah, entered Jerusalem to sit on the Throne. For the proper celebration of the Entry of the Lord, any fatalism must be excluded from the perception of this event.

The Lord could reign over Israel and His Messiahship could be fulfilled. But He was rejected, and His Messiahship was suspended. It was suspended by the religious and political leaders of the People and the power of the Empire in the person of Pilate. Just as the rulers of today impose a state of emergency and suspend the operation of the law, the princes of the world of this world, contemporary to Jesus, tried to suspend His Messiahship.

The Lord entered Jerusalem and ascended His authentic Throne. The Cross became the throne. It was on the Cross that the Lord united and embraced - with His human, crippled, but even more powerful hands - the entire human race and the entire Universe. From that moment, History has become an expectation. Therefore, the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem is an eschatological, expected feast. This is the Holiday of the Future. History has become the preparation of the Throne. The “Hetoimasia” - “Preparation of the Throne” in Greek - is one of the most important images in ancient Christian churches.

It is important to emphasize that the Church precisely celebrates the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem. “On this day, the grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us, and we all, taking up Your Cross, proclaim, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest,” is sung in the hymns of the Palm Sunday at Vespers. It is important to remember and understand that palm, willow, and any other branches in our hands on this day are a sign of our, in Christ, independence from ... the Kingdom of Death. "For death shall be swallowed up forever" (Isaiah 25:8).