Summary: Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey - PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


(1). The responsibility of the disciples (vs 1-3)

(2). The reason for the instructions (vs 4-5)

(3). The response of obedience (vs 6-7)

(4). The reaction of the crowd (vs 8-11)



• Guess the celebrity from their look-a-like dolls Quiz.

• TRANSITION: Some of you had trouble recognising who the dolls were!

• 2,000 years ago (like today) people had a caricature of what the messiah should be;

• But that image was not always true to the real likeness;

• And so when Jesus appeared he was often unrecognised!


• There was a Jewish tradition that when a male baby was born to Jewish parents,

• The father would hold the baby in his arms and ask God a question;

• He would ask; ‘Is this the one?’

• The Jewish people were looking for and expecting their Messiah!

• And yet, when the Messiah came;

• Sadly they failed to recognise him!


• The British conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham

• Founded a number of orchestras including the Beecham Symphony Orchestra,

• The London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

• Once saw a distinguished-looking woman in a hotel foyer.

• Believing he knew her, but unable to remember her name,

• He paused to talk with her.

• As the two chatted, he vaguely recollected that she had a brother.

• Hoping for a clue,

• He asked how her brother was and whether he was still working at the same job.

• “Oh, he’s very well,” she said, “And he’s still king.”

Jesus had visited Jerusalem many times before:

• As a boy, as a worshipper, as a teacher.

• But never as a king.............. that is until now!

• The question is:

• Would the people and the religious leaders recognise him!


“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, ‘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. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’”

• Jesus sends two disciples ahead into the village of Bethphage,

• Which is a suburb of Jerusalem

• Their orders are to look for and find a female donkey tied up.

• With her would be a colt, also tethered.

• The disciples were to “unloose” and bring back both animals to Jesus.


• If you were to read all four gospel accounts of this incident;

• You might notice that only Matthew mentions two donkeys.

• The other gospel writers only mention one.

• Now different witnesses to a situation;

• Always notice or highlight different details;

• That is one way we can tell that their accounts are genuine and reliable.

• It is not unusual that the other Gospel writers leave out this detail;

• Because to them the donkey, is NOT the important thing in the story.

• It is only a trivial detail.

I think Matthew mentions this fact:

• Because Matthew’s gospel is primarily written for Jewish readers;

• Written to convince them that Jesus was the messiah foretold in the Old Testament.

• His gospel was written from a Jewish viewpoint for a Jewish audience.

• It is therefore hot on Jewish terms and hot on prophecy being fulfilled;

• It is one of its key features.

• And because Zechariah's prophecy mentions two donkeys;

• We should not be surprised that Matthew is careful to point out;

• That the disciples brought two donkeys--exactly as it was prophesied!


• Matthew is making a statement - not so much about possessions here;

• i.e. That is who the donkey belongs to.

• That is not his point!

• Rather he is impressing on us that Jesus is the Christ – the chosen one:

• And as the rightful King, he has the right to anything in creation,

• That is why he uses the expression in verse 3; “say that the Lord needs them”.

• The Lord commands and the subjects obey!

Note: A word about the donkey!

• We tend to think of a donkey as a lowly animal;

• But to the Jew it was a beast fit for a king:

• Israel’s greatest King, David rode on one (1 Kings chapter 1 verses 33-34).

• In war, kings would ride horses,

• But in peace, they entered the city riding donkeys.

• Had Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a horse;

• He would have reinforced the prevalent notion that Israel's leader;

• Would be a great military force who would overthrow the Roman domination.

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