Arrival in Jerusalem – 29 March 2021

Here the entry of Christ into Jerusalem is like a parade. At the centre of the action is Christ, riding a donkey accompanied by a foal or colt. There are no palms but there are flags, giving the whole the sense that it is rooted in the political hopes and realities of the day. There is bunting, and men women and children wave in excitement. The bright colour palette gives a sense of hope, although the nationalistic imaginings will prove to be misplaced, maybe indicated by the darker border that frames the picture. The visual contrasts of the art of Holy Week will reflect on the populism of Palm Sunday, and the abandonment of Good Friday.


This picture is ‘Christ’s entry into Jerusalem’ by Norman Adams (1991), watercolour on paper, from the Methodist Art Collection.



The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
the King of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:

“Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”

John 12: 12-19



Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
Changes their tune. I know what lies behind
The surface flourish that so quickly fades;
Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
The hardness of the heart, its barricades,
And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
Of a perverted temple. Jesus come
Break my resistance and make me your home.

Malcom Guite, Sonnet for Palm Sunday