Jesus, on a donkey, entering Jerusalem. AD 30.

Freeflowingvisuals is a website dedicated to spiritually motivated performance art. The purpose being, to explore and appreciate the true nature of performance art, not only contemporary artists but examples from the past which have a strong performative nature. Jesus of Nazareth was a religious person who by his life and teachings disrupted the religious conventions of the Jewish people. Not all that he did was performance art; not the feeding of the five thousand or the raising of Lazarus from the dead - the miracles. But riding on the donkey into Jerusalem is, because it uses conventional iconography and symbology, to engage the populace.
AD 30, in a small village two miles from Jerusalem, the Son of Man devises the performance - to ride a donkey into the city of Jerusalem. He took this idea from Zechariah of Hebrew scripture. A warrior king always entered a city riding upon a horse but a king on a mission of peace and friendship always entered riding upon a donkey. The chief priests of Jerusalem, the Pharisees and Sanhedrin had ordered his arrest and death. And this visit to Jerusalem was in defiance of this order but also, he knew that the authorities were afraid to arrest him in the face of an enthusiastic populace. So this performance was carefully crafted as to possible risk of arrest and gainful engagement with the people of Jerusalem.
The performance engaged a wide cross section of Jewish people, from the common folk to the educated classes. The concept of a Prince of Peace was utilised against the common notions of him as king of the Jews. This had people talking, creating a huge wave of popular enthusiasm. But this was not so for the believers of Jesus, (the early Christians), who knew that the kingdom that he talked about was not of this world.
The performance image was visually powerful - the prince of Peace, on a donkey, entering the city gates, the multitude of people in a state of religious fervour, throwing branches & clothing in the path of the donkey. The Pharisees and Sanhedrin standing back from arresting him in case the crowds disapproved of this. And after all this, the anti-climax, because nothing bad happens. The show was over and the satisfied multitude make their way home.

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