March 15, 2024


The Gospel acc. to John (12, 12-15)

The following day a large crowd had arrived for the festival and news that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem spread quickly. They took palm branches and went out to greet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the king of Israel!’ Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written: ‘Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.’



Dear Readers,

we are living in the Passiontide. Jesus, the King of Israel, rides into the city on a young donkey. The crowd welcomes him enthusiastically. Of course, the young donkey does not know that a king is riding on it. Nor does it know what a burden lies upon him. He is carrying the Redeemer and Savior of the whole world on his back. He carries the Savior Jesus. He carries the Messiah, who will soon die the atoning death on the cross of Golgotha. 


This king humbly rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. He does not come proudly on a noble horse like other kings. He does not come in a golden carriage drawn by eight horses. He rather rides on a “workhorse”.


The Swiss stamp shows such a workhorse, a “packhorse”. Packed with baskets, it carries letters and goods to a Swiss mountain village. The man leading it, is the letter carrier. The word "Post" can be read on his hat.


The way mail is delivered has long since changed. But waiting for the letter carrier has remained the same. We often wait impatiently for parcels that we have ordered. Or for a letter with good news.


The people back at this time waited eagerly for the new king of Israel. They hoped for the strong man who would free them from the Roman occupying power and chase their troops out of the country. But Jesus did not fulfill their false expectations. Jesus completed his mission on the cross. He came to serve us. He came to redeem us from the power of sin.


Jesus Christ carries the burden of sin to the cross. This is what the prophet Isaiah proclaimed (chapter 53, 5): “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”


This is the best news ever! God offers us his peace. He wants to be reconciled with us because he loves us unconditionally! God wants to take the burden of sin off our shoulders so that we can breathe a sigh of relief and become free. Jesus Christ is like a love letter to humanity. He wants us to bring our burdens to him. 


What burdens do people today submit to the Lord Jesus? The burden of a failed marriage? The burden of unresolved guilt? The burden of an illness or a disability? Jesus invites us to put all our burdens on his back. He tells us in the Gospel of Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


The “stamp-donkey” must have been relieved when he had finished his job. In my mind, I can see him standing contentedly in the stable. He has his back free again. Just like us, bringing our burdens to Jesus. Jesus wants to free our backs. Nothing should weigh us down; nothing should burden us. 


Thank you very much for listening to me. I wish you a blessed Passiontide. May God's love touch your heart. I cordially invite you to the next devotion on Easter. Until then, I wish you God's blessing and protection in spirit, soul and body through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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© 2023 Hans-Peter Nann