“The Triumphal Entry”
BIBLE READING: Matthew 21
Until the last week of His life, Jesus warned people not to disclose His identity ( Jesus’ approach to establishing His kingdom, however, was radically different than the many others who tried to overthrow Rome.; ; ). Any talk of His being a king would have aroused Rome’s rage and put His life at risk before the appropriate time. The emperor did not look kindly on potential rivals and would move quickly to crush any threat to his power.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Jesus orders two disciples to retrieve a donkey and her young colt from a nearby village (Bethany, see When a donkey was broken for human use in first-century Palestine, the animal’s mother was kept close by. The mother would also be a comfort to the colt as he carried Christ through the enormous crowds into the city. Jesus is going up to Jerusalem during Passover week when Jewish pilgrims from around the world increase the city’s population six-fold.). The colt was to be His mount and had never been ridden. This is probably why He asked for the mother.
Our Lord directs these actions to reveal Himself to the people, since the sight of a son of David riding on a donkey into Jerusalem has undeniable messianic overtones. David revealed that Solomon would replace him as king of Israel by having him ride on his own mule (). Around two hundred years before Jesus came to Jerusalem, Simon Maccabeus, one of the rulers of Israel, entered the city upon a donkey with great fanfare.
Although Jesus designs this event to show Himself as the promised King of kings, He does not come to Jerusalem as a conquering king. In fulfillment of , the Messiah enters the city as a humble king on a donkey, not a triumphant warrior on a horse. Indeed, this victorious arrival will come ( ), but not until His return to renew the heavens and earth.
While the people greet Him by saying “Hosanna!” or “Save us!”, most of them do not want the kingdom He offers. This praise will not last long. It will soon be replaced by demands for His death.