Summary: Just as Jesus had authority, told His disciples what would happen, and told them what to do, He has the same in our lives and has sent us on a mission to make disciples in this dying world.
Matthew 21: The Triumphal Entry
There are many stories unique to various Gospels, especially in John, but many are also shared between one or more Gospels. This was a very important event that took place the week of His Crucifixion!
Let's read our text -- Matthew 21:1-9
21:1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
21:2 saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.
21:3 "And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."
21:4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
21:5 "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.' "
21:6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.
21:7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.
21:8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
21:9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!"
Before we unpack this text a bit, let's pray.
This is an interesting passage, and two entities are prophesied about here in the text --
First, Jesus. Much is said about Him. He is our Salvation, our King, He is Just and Humble, and He comes to His people in Jerusalem.
Second, the foal that Jesus rode! I'm sure the donkey would never have known her importance in revealing the Messiah.
Donkeys were very common work animals for the people, and there were a few famous donkeys in Scripture, notably this one as well as Balaam's donkey.
One lesson that we can take from this is that the LORD uses all of His Creation.
Another is that Jesus was extremely humble -- our Suffering Servant!
No King with any ego would ride into town on a donkey. Horses and chariots were much more regal, and even then, they wouldn't be without stunning decoration.
Jesus, even though more regal than any King in history, literally the King of Kings, will return on a glorious white horse, and all will recognize that He is King, whether willing or unwilling. Revelation 19 records His return and standing as King of Kings and Philippians 2 records the recognition as King of Kings.
Even so, Jesus used a donkey this time around -- maybe that gives hope to us!
Let's take a look at the process which Jesus took His disciples through in this passage:
I. The Disciples are Sent on a Mission by Jesus
Setting: They were coming from Jericho and were going to Jerusalem for the final time. Jesus would soon be Crucified, and His earthly ministry would soon be over. The Mount of Olives was on the Eastern side of Jerusalem (also called "Olivet"). This area would produce an abundance of olives due to its climate and water source nearby -- the brook Kidron. The Mount of Olives overlooks Jerusalem, and on its peak, you can see just about every part of the city. Quite a good place to pray!
A. Jesus had Authority
Jesus had authority. His disciples followed Him, and even so, Jesus sent them to do His work. Here, Jesus gave two of His disciples a mission.
Jesus would enter Jerusalem in a humble yet quite celebrated way.
B. Jesus told them what would happen
You will find a donkey and its colt…
One or Two Donkeys?
This was a young colt. It was typical for the inexperienced colt to be accompanied by a parent, usually the mother, so the colt would not freak out or run away.
It's likely that Jesus rode on the younger colt.
C. Jesus told them what to do
The Lord has need of them!
Jesus was not telling them to steal the donkeys. Jesus wanted them to get permission from the owner. It's likely that He had known these people or that these people were followers who would have recognized that He was the one who Created these animals and who would return them in good order.
It's worth noting that in the parallel passages of Mark and Luke, the owners are mentioned, as well, and they do allow the disciples.
Two passages are fulfilled by this entry into Jerusalem: