A breeze cooled the warm faces of pilgrims and residents awaiting the procession on the slopes of the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. They lined the streets with their palm branches to proclaim “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday, just days before the Passover Seder meal.
They came to walk the same path Jesus once did.
It was nearly 2,000 years ago that the Messiah of Israel fulfilled Zechariah 9:9 as He rode on a donkey as a humble King down the Mount of Olives from Bethpage near Bethany, close to today’s security fence.
Sunday’s traditional procession echoed the writings in the Gospels. Yet the changes from Jesus’ own processional were evident in the heightened security, medical personal and blocked roads. Today Arab villages surround this vicinity. Combat soldiers, similar to the Roman Legions of the time, were weapon-ready in case riots erupted and guarded the entrance to the Church of All Nations, the home to the Garden of Gethsemane.
“This was an experience you can only have in Jerusalem,” Luke Miller from Canada told israel today. “To walk a piece of history especially when it’s an intricate part of what we believe in.”
The procession began with Arab children from school groups and scout clubs singing songs in Arabic proclaiming Hosanna in the Highest. Others held up banners in English and Arabic that read, “We want peace, Jesus is Peace.”
A few Orthodox Jewish girls and some Moslems spectators watched the processional with curiosity. Priests, monks and hundreds of pilgrims who come from all over the world followed the footsteps of the Messiah down the Mount of Olives. Some come every year to reenact this specific moment in history.