Matthew 21:1-3

When they got near Washington, about as far as Arlington, Jesus sent two of his apprentices, with these instructions:

"Go a few blocks ahead and in the first parking lot you come to, you'll find a rusted-out Dodge Dart with the keys over the visor. Bring it back, and if the lot attendant says anything to you tell him, 'It's for the new President,' and he'll send you on your way."

We're often used to thinking about Jesus as being some kind of Merlin, knowing and predicting the future. But these are ordinary instructions. Maybe you've even done something similar yourself. You have friends. You've arranged to borrow your friend's car, and you ask someone else to do you a favor and pick it up at the prearranged time and place. That much is ordinary.

What is out of the ordinary is the incongruence between the mode of transportation and the title Jesus claims for the occasion.

I'm not aware of any President yet who rode in a Dodge Dart for his inauguration parade. Lords do not ride donkeys.

This is not, as is commonly said, a demonstration of Jesus' humility. (One does not refer to oneself as Lord, in the 3rd person, when trying to show how humble one is.) This is the staging of a protest march. Jesus the "President" rides in to claim the high office of a nation with a rusted-out political establishment more concerned about lining the pockets of their elite than caring for its people. All this during peak Cherry Blossom tourist season.

It's no wonder Jesus was on the authorities' watch list. If you didn't already know the story, you would still know at this point, how it is likely to end.

So consider this as we maintain our social distance this coming Holy week: What would you say if Jesus called to ask if he can borrow your car for a little project he's working on, and you might not get it back?

(Photo by Reza Tahvili on Unsplash)