The Triumphal Entry
The triumphal (1) entry is that of Jesus coming into Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey’s colt, one that had never been ridden before! A miracle! The story of the triumphal entry is one of the few events in the life of Jesus, which appears in all four Gospel accounts. (2)
The disciples spread their cloaks on the donkey for Jesus to sit on, which was an act of homage for royalty. And the multitudes who came out to welcome Him, also laid before Him their cloaks and the branches of palms. (3) The people hailed and praised Him as the “King who comes in the name of the Lord” as He rode to the temple, where He taught the people, and healed them, and drove out the money changers and merchants who had made His father’s house “a den of robbers.” (4)
Jesus’ purpose in riding into Jerusalem was to make public His claim to be their Messiah and King of Israel. The Gospel of Matthew says that the King coming on the foal of a donkey was an exact fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 made five hundred years before.
“Rejoice greatly…See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey…the foal of a donkey.”
Jesus enters His city as a conquering King, through the Eastern Gate reserved for the entrance of kings. And like a king He ascends to His palace, not a temporal palace but the spiritual palace, that is the temple, because His is a spiritual kingdom. No longer does He tell His disciple to be quiet about Him, (5) but to shout His praises openly because only He deserves it. Jesus was openly declaring to the people that He was their King and the Messiah they had been waiting for.
This story is one of contrasts; the King who came as a lowly servant on a donkey, not a prancing steed, not in royal robes, but on the clothes of the poor and humble. Jesus comes not to conquer by force as earthly kings, but by love, grace and mercy, and by His own sacrifice. His is NOT a kingdom of armies and splendor, but a kingdom of lowliness and servanthood. His message is one of peace with God—not a temporal peace. If Jesus has made a triumphal entry into our hearts, He reigns there in peace and love.
1. John 12:1, 12
2. Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19)
3. 2Kings 9:13
4. Mark 11:17
5. Matthew 12:16, 16:20