Matthew 21:1-11; On a Donkey

Jesus finally makes it to Jerusalem. We must bear in mind that he is coming to die there.

Currid, John D., and David P. Barrett. Crossway ESV Bible Atlas. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.

At Bethphage, probably just a couple miles outside the gates of the throne city, Jesus commandeers a couple donkeys for entry to the city. Typically pilgrims walked into Jerusalem. A king would, of course, have ridden a big horse or be carried on some kind of royal contraption. Jesus chose to ride a donkey.

Did he have supernatural knowledge of the donkeys or was there a prior arrangement? Matthew seems to have no interest in exploring that question, so neither do I.

Matthew invokes Zechariah and Isaiah as prophetic background for this incident. It is difficult to imagine what Matthew had in mind with Jesus riding two animals; perhaps one was used as a pack animal for his luggage. However that went, the crowd with him gets in the. spirit of his acted parable and plays the part of his entourage, preparing his way before him.

“Hosanna” has gone the way of “hallelujah”. That is, it has become a word that is often used without reference to its true original meaning. But in this case, Jesus is entering Jerusalem precisely for the purpose of saving his people. He is the son of David, the messiah. And he is coming in the name of the Lord YHWH.

At least his entourage supported him. The people of Jerusalem did not know who he was. To them he was described as the prophet Jesus from Nazareth, which is fine as far as it goes. They will, however, not generally accept him and will send him to his death before the week is over.

Once Jesus enters Jerusalem, the action is hot and heavy. Prepare yourself for agony and ultimate victory. Jesus is Lord!

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