Episode Two: Through the gates

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. It has been attacked many times, and has had lots of different people living in it. The walls that we see today are not the walls that Jesus saw as he headed towards Jerusalem. The photo above is of a model of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. It is a large model, and it shows the temple, the houses and the gates. Jerusalem had big thick walls to protect it, and gates to enter in and out of the city. The photo below is of one of the gates in the wall that you can see today.The walls are dented from years of fighting. These walls are scarred by bullet holes. 

Jesus and his friends have walked a long way up the hill. As they arrive at the city, they get caught up in the crowds. Its hot and dusty with people pushing their way through the gates. Lots of people are arriving in the city to be there for the Passover feast. This is the feast celebrated by the Jewish people to remember how God saved them from Egypt many years ago. 

Jesus and his friends have to find their way through. Peter calls out, "Watch out for that donkey, mind that pile of dung!" 

Things are tense. Jesus' friends start to get worried, as crowds push and shove and people shout at each other. Everyone is on edge. James looks across and sees a line of Roman soldiers along the side of the wall by the Antonia Fortress. Their spears glisten in the sunshine. This is a city under Roman rule, and the Romans are not too happy about this crowd. They are worried that a fight is going to break out. 

And there are some mutterings and mumblings about Jesus. They have heard rumours that the leaders of the temple are plotting something. These leaders don't like Jesus. They are upset at what he has been saying. It all feels a little bit scary for them all. But Jesus is calm. He looks across at them and smiles, and continues to weave his way through the crowd. 

People start talking. The crowd notices Jesus. "Hey, isn't that Jesus?" "Look! It's Jesus". The word spreads. Jesus is in town. By the next day lots of people know that Jesus in Jerusalem. A crowd starts to gather outside of Mary and Martha's house in Bethany. 

It's morning and Jesus and his friends step out the front door. It's wall to wall people! And they are excited. They start shouting"Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!”

Some of them have palm branches and they are waving them around.  Jesus' friends are confused. What's going on? These people would have carried these palm branches with them up to the city. And waving a palm branch was a symbol of revolution for the Jews and a sign of victory and triumph for the Romans. These people in the crowd were tired of having the Romans ruling over them. They wanted someone to fight and be victorious. They thought Jesus was going to be that person. He would be their king and he would kick the Romans out. 

But they were in for a surprise...  

(*This post is based on John's account in John 12)

Other episodes: 
Episode One: The journey begins
Episode Three: Things get tense



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