“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming sitting on a donkey’scolt”(John 12:15).
The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is mentioned in all four Gospels, and was prophesied by Zechariah and Isaiah, but only Johncites the words of the prophecy: “Fear not, daughter of Zion.” Zechariah 9:9 announces, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
There is a close relationship between “fear not” and “rejoice greatly.” The multitude that had gathered for the Passover was very diverse: curious people, tourists, true worshippers, those who were indifferent. That great day, Jesus proclaimed the kingdom to all those groups. It was the common people, not the elite inhabitants of Jerusalem, but those who were visiting for the holiday, who gave honor and praise to Jesus with exclamations of joy. Sometimes those who are closest to the Lord’s temple are the farthest from the Lord of the temple.
When I was a girl, my mother tool me to her Catholic Church every Palm Sunday. We were each given a palm branch and we sang “Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” I had no idea what that meant; I hope Jesus accepted my innocent praise. Only when we leave behind all our fear and prejudice are we ready to genuinely praise.
Palm branches were a symbol of victory and triumph. Jesus was conquering the powers of darkness through His own death. He accepted the homage of the crowd gracefully, although those who participated did not realize that they were fulfilling the prophecy. Waving palm branches was also a part of the ceremonies of the Feast of the Tabernacles (see Leviticus 23:40). That day the symbols and their reality met. That group of visitors was unknowingly acknowledging that Jesus was the King of Israel who wouldbring them salvation. This was the only time Jesus accepted an act of worshiptoward Him. He told Jerusalem not to be afraid. He wept for the fearful souls; He wept for your fears and for mine.
Rejoicing and fear cannot walk together; they arc enemies. Fear especially is the enemy of spiritual joy. It robs us of the delight of praise. Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid, my daughter. Rejoice; free yourself of the oppression of fear, and praise Me.”