“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to the, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” – Matt. 21:1-3 (NIV)
Evidence of the Supernatural
Jesus informed the disciples that as they entered the village they would find a female donkey securely tied and with her would be a colt, also hitched. The disciples were to unloose and bring back both animals and that they would be questioned by the animals’ owners – “As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” – Luke 19:33 – (NIV) as to what they were doing and their response was to be, “The Lord has need of them.” This was not a pre-arranged agreement, rather, it provides a dramatic example of the Lord’s exercise of supernatural knowledge whenever the circumstances demanded. The owners of these donkeys were obviously disciples of Jesus as they did not hesitate to give the donkeys out.
The Adoring Crowds
As the Saviour rode down the road towards Jerusalem, two groups of people converged upon Him – a massive crowd coming out of the city and another group following Him “The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, ”Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” – Matt. 21:9 (NIV). These people were mostly those who had been surprised by the effect of the Lord’s miracles, especially the resurrection of Lazarus which was current – “When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen” – Luke 19:37 (NIV). Some paved the road with their garments and others with palm branches shouting hosanna – a symbol of submission.
Jesus fulfils prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” By His entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus publicly testifies that He is the predicted King and Messiah.
Jesus is not just “a conquering King” to fight the oppressive Roman regime. Rather He rides in to Jerusalem in humility – ready to take up the cross and die to save mankind from the oppressive rule of Satan and conquer sin and death. Jesus’ humble entry is a deliberate symbolic act to show that His Kingdom is not of this earth and that He did not come to rule the world with force or violence. His kingdom is spiritual, He is the Prince of Peace. He did not choose to ride into Jerusalem on a horse – a symbol of war, but on a foal of a donkey – a symbol of peace.
A Moment of Sadness
When Jesus came near to Jerusalem, He looked across the city and wept – “As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it” – Luke 19:41 (NIV). This is one of the three instances in the New Testament where Christ shed tears. The Man of Sorrows grieved over the fact that so many of His people had closed their eyes to the truth of His identity and mission – “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him” – John 1:11; and that the very peace they sought would be taken from them and, in its place would come their enemies – the Roman armies – actually God’s armies.
A FEW THINGS WORTHY OF NOTE
Jesus’ Divine Sovereignty
He asked the disciples to go to the village and untie a donkey and bring it for His use and when questioned to say that the Lord has need of it. It is noteworthy that:
- The disciples obeyed and went;
- They were questioned as Jesus had said, the owner unhesitatingly released
- The colt yielded to the Lord’s ride – though no one had ever ridden on it, it was not afraid;
- Adoring crowds – They came from everywhere and responded spontaneously. They recognised the coming King and shouted in praise and adoration – Hosanna – originally meaning save us now but also used to praise;
- They recognised Jesus as one coming in the name of the Lord;
- They identified Jesus as the promised heir of the throne of David – salvation would accompany His work;
- He would be enthroned as King to usher in His Kingdom Luke 1:32-33;
- Peace would result and God would be glorified.
- There was strong opposition from the Pharisees.
- They wanted Jesus to silence the adoration, praise and joy of the crowds! But Jesus says that the stones will take up the praise if the people are stopped – when God is doing something no one can thwart Him.
All the gospels speak about Jesus’ Triumphal Entry which we call “Palm Sunday,” the day when a whole city threw a parade for Jesus. As He rode into the city, the people threw palm branches in anticipation of His coming as Messiah as we read in Zech. 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” – (NIV). The day marked the celebration of Jesus being worshipped and praised. But barely a week later, the same crowd that shouted “Hosanna,” “Hosanna” were loud with their “Crucify Him,” “Crucify Him.”
Many of them were following Jesus as part of the crowd and did not really know Him.
What about you? Hosanna means “Save Us.” Do you want Jesus to save you from sin, Satan and death? Or you are just following the crowd? Think about it!