Jesus’ Remarkable Entrance
A remarkable aspect of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was that He entered Jerusalem on a colt (a young donkey). Have you ever wondered why Jesus did not walk into Jerusalem as He had always done before? With the exception of traveling by boat, this is the only instance recorded in Scripture of Jesus not walking somewhere. When we get to verse 3 we read that Jesus instructed His disciples to tell the owner of the colt, “The Lord has need of it”. Why did the Lord need a colt to enter Jerusalem at this time? Jesus needed the colt in order to demonstrate to the people of Jerusalem that He is the Messiah.
About 500 years before Jesus was born, when the Jews were released from exile; “the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah” (Zech 1:1). Zechariah’s primary message was a call to repentance: “Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts” (Zech 1:4). Zechariah called the people to repentance and also prophesied of a future time when the Messiah (coming king) will appear. Zechariah 9:9 says:
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Jesus demonstrated to the people that He is the one Zechariah prophesied about. Jesus, by riding on a colt instead of walking, is showing every pious Jew who knows the Scriptures that He is their King.
The people understood the significance of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt. Zechariah had prophesied that this coming king shall “speak peace to the nations” (Zech 9:10).
The Lord of hosts says He Himself will “set your prisoners free” (Zech 9:11), “protect them” (Zech 9:15), and “save them” (Zech 9:16). The people began to “spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields” (v. 8). Mark writes, “And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” (9-10)
Jesus is the Messiah
The people understood that Jesus was claiming to be the coming king, the Messiah. When they spread their cloaks and leafy branches on the road before Him they were acknowledging His kingdom and submitting themselves to His rule. When they shouted “Hosanna” they were literally saying, “Save us please!”. Their blessing was recognition of who He was and what He is doing.
The Rest of the Story
I wish I were able to tell you: “They lived happily ever after”; but I can’t. A few days after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a colt, is His shameful exit from Jerusalem with a cross. The question we must ask ourselves is: “What happened?”. How did the crowd go from shouting “Hosanna!” one day to “Crucify Him!” a few days later? I encourage you to read the gospel accounts of what happens next for yourself this week.