Summary: Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey - PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(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!
(1). THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE DISCIPLES (vs 1-3)
“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.