The Triumphal Entry


The Triumphal Entry
Matthew 21:1–11 “And the crowds…were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the
Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” (v.

Until the last week of His
life, Jesus warned people not to disclose His
identity (Matt. 8:1–4; 9:27–31;
16:20). Any talk of His being a king would
have aroused Rome’s ire 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.
Jesus’ approach to establishing His kingdom,
however, was radically different
than the many others who tried to overthrow

On the outskirts of
Jerusalem, Jesus orders two disciples to retrieve a donkey
and her young colt
(Matt. 21:1–3) from a nearby village (Bethany, see John
12:1–15). The colt
will be His mount (Matt. 21:7) and has never been ridden
before (Mark
11:1–2). This is probably why our Savior asks also for the
mother; when a
donkey was broken in for human use in first-century Palestine,
the animal’s
mother was kept close by. The mother donkey would also be a
comfort to the
colt as He carries 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.

Our Lord directs these
actions to reveal Himself to the people, since the
sight of a son of David
riding upon a donkey into Jerusalem has undeniable
messianic overtones. David
revealed that Solomon would replace him as king of
Israel by having him ride
upon his own mule (1 Kings 1:28–40). 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 the promised King of kings,
He does not come to Jerusalem as
a conquering king. In fulfillment of
Zechariah 9:9, 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 (Rev.
19:11–16), but not until His
return to renew the heavens and earth.

While the people greet Him by
saying “Hosanna!” or “Save us!” (Matt. 21:8–11),
most of them do not want the
kingdom He offers. This acclaim will not last
long; soon it will be replaced
by demands for His death (27:15–26).

Coram deo: Living before the face of
Matthew Henry comments on the
laying of palm branches and clothing upon Jesus’
path, saying, “Those who
take Christ for their King must lay their all under
his feet.” This crowd, in
the end, did not want Jesus to rule over them in the
way He designed, hence
their praises were hollow. Sometimes we act the same
way, holding onto sin or
not sacrificing for the kingdom even while praising
Jesus with our mouths.
What must you lay at our Lord’s feet this day?

For further

Judges 5:10–11

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