Read: Matthew 21
Consider: Reading about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem you probably think that his arrival was not fitting for a king. Kings just don’t arrive with very little pomp and ceremony and they certainly don’t enter a city riding on a donkey. It’s probably fortunate that Jesus didn’t ask his disciples how he should arrive in Jerusalem to make the maximum impact on the occupants and the religious elite. I don’t think they would have thought of such a low-key way for him to arrive in the city.
How would you have chosen for Jesus to enter Jerusalem? There a plenty of good verses from scripture that speak of kings. Perhaps you would have thought Jesus should follow the example of David when he brought the Ark into the City of David (2 Samuel 6), or perhaps you would use Solomon as an appropriate example of how splendid a king should be (1 Kings 10:14-29).
Would you have chosen the words of Psalm 45:3-4 as a good indication of how a king should enter the city? The psalmist says: Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendour and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds (Psalm 45:3-4).
It was no coincidence that Jesus would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Looking at the reports of this incident in the gospels it is clear that Jesus knew what he was doing. He told his disciples to go to the city and there they would find a donkey (colt) tied up and they were to bring it to him. He even told them what to say if they were challenged when taking the donkey.
The gospels tell us that when Jesus was entering Jerusalem the people were shouting ‘Hosanna!’. This word means ‘Save’. It gives us a very clear indication why Jesus came into the world and why he entered Jerusalem the way he did. He did not come to establish an earthly kingdom. His mission was a spiritual one and his kingship is spiritual. As king he did not come offering salvation from Roman oppression, but freedom from sin. Look at Matthew’s use of Zechariah 9:9. In Matthew 21:4-5 it is quoted as: This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to Daughter Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” ’ The emphasis in Matthew is on Jesus’ gentleness, not on his victory. That would come later when he rose from the dead after the crucifixion.
Pray: Father, we thank you that Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he entered Jerusalem. He knew that this would lead to his death on the cross, but ultimately to his resurrection. Only by following this path could he pay the price for sin. Amen