WelCom April 2023
Palm Sunday – Matthew 21:1-11
When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, “The master has need of them.” Then he will send them at once. This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: Say to daughter Zion, “Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”’
The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.’
And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds replied, ‘This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.’
The Entry into Jerusalem
Matthew’s gospel (21:1-11) describes Jesus riding into Jerusalem on two donkeys, which at first glance seems quite impossible. Matthew’s interpretation may be based on his understanding of Zechariah’s prophecy in the Old Testament, which refers to both a donkey and its colt. Mark more than likely wrote the gospel first then Matthew wrote his gospel later. I believe Mark’s gospel that refers to a single unbroken donkey is factually correct, as Jesus could only ride one.
Matthew’s account tells us the disciples took the donkey and the colt, back to Jesus where they put garments on them, in the context of what happened. We know from Matthew’s gospel that Jesus mounted an unridden colt and rode it before the crowd who were shouting. ‘Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.’
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowd continued their cheering, some asking, ‘Who is this?’ While others were yelling, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.’ What a site! What a crowd! What an uproar! How the enemies of Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees must have trembled in their shoes to see all this adulation – despite Jesus’ entrance on an unbroken small donkey. This was the start of Holy Week. The week when Jesus’ enemies struggled to find a cause to put Jesus to death. Every day their efforts to incriminate Jesus were foiled. Finally, they had to grab Jesus and take him away from his adoring multitude so enable them to ridicule, torture and belittle our Saviour, before crucifying him.
What should we make of the fact that the King of the Jews, our King, chose to celebrate his arrival by riding on a small unbroken donkey? Jesus was the essence of humility. There could be no equal by his action; what he did remains remarkable to this day.