Your King Comes, Lowly and Riding on a Donkey
Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on a humble donkey may have seemed unremarkable at a glance, but in reality, His arrival fulfilled a prophecy of the long-promised King. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul recounts the triumphal entry of Christ.
Chapter 19, verse 28 of Luke’s gospel reads that “When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethpage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, “Why are you loosing it?” Thus you shall say to him, “Because the Lord has need of it.”’” Now, there’s a little bit more information given on this text in Matthew’s gospel. We recall that Matthew’s gospel was written for a Jewish audience. And there are more references or allusions to Old Testament text found in Matthew’s gospel than in any of the other gospels, because he was constantly reminding his Jewish readers of the connection between the Old Testament prophesies and the New Testament person and work of Jesus. So, we’ll look at Matthew’s significant details in a moment.
But here we have Jesus approaching the holy city. And the secret that He has been carefully guarding during His earthly ministry is about to be disclosed, as Jesus is going to make a public display, identifying Himself to some degree with the Old Testament prophesies concerning the coming of the Messiah. Now, we may miss some of the imagery here and its significance. Because we would think, well, if Jesus really wants to announce His vocation as Messiah, why doesn’t He ride into Jerusalem on a golden chariot? Well, the reason is that in the Old Testament, the prophesy of Zachariah, for example, talked about the coming of Jerusalem’s King, who would be riding on the foal of a donkey: “For lo, your King comes, lowly and riding upon a donkey,” and is a cause for the celebration of the daughters of Jerusalem.
So Jesus makes careful preparations for this entry. He doesn’t just casually walk into the city. He said, “Now I want you to go to this certain place and get this donkey that no one has ever ridden before, and bring it here. And if they ask you what you’re doing making this request, you just tell them, “The Lord has need of it,” and they’ll give it to you. And so, this is part of the preparation, the setting of the stage for the entry into Jerusalem itself. “All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘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.”’”