It doesn't mean that there is not a battle. There is! A cosmic battle...spiritual warfare where the crowd is torn between Hosanna and pre-meditative murder. There is also the idea that the people who actually knew Jesus (those riding into Jerusalem with him) and the people who came out to meet him, thought that they were laying down palm branches and cloaks for a King that would take Israel, where it always has wanted to be...Over All Other Nations.
But Jesus didn't come so that Jews would have civic power or political domination. Jesus came so that Jews and Gentiles alike could be reconciled back to God, once and for all. Jesus came for peace. A peace that passes our understanding. A peace that brings hope back to the people. Maybe not the hope they wanted, but the hope they needed.
He came in triumph. He hadn't even had his final battle yet. That was to come at the end of the week. And the ultimate victory would come the following Sunday. It was a battle no one could conceive was coming. It was the end of the war and yet, in all the celebration, in all the parade and fanaticism...people rightfully gave praise, even if it was for an entirely different and maybe wrong-headed reason.
The world will always be at war. We fight battles every day. We fight for the rights of the oppressed. We fight to keep our value systems strong and in place. We fight terrorists as a nation. We fight personal demons of sin. And we fight for the Kingdom of God. But Jesus didn't go around bombing clinics, hating those who sin, or using the poor and needy as a way to make himself look holier. Jesus came with an extra measure of peace...and the world hated him for it.
The world wanted war and a king that could drive out those in power. The Jews wanted a Messiah to free them from bondage of other rulers so that they could control their own destiny (which in their minds would surely help them redirect their nation and people back to purity with God). But Jesus didn't come to change the world. He came to save it. He came to save it from itself. He came to save the prisoner and the free. He came to save the wealthy and the poor. He came to save the oppressed and the advantaged. He came to save the lost and the godly.
And when Jesus comes to save he rides a donkey. Now who saw that coming?