“When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’ 4This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5 ‘Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ 11The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’”
The gospel of Matthew has a unique perspective of connecting Jesus’ ministry and work as the Son of God to the words spoken by prophets of ancient Judaism. Some we can trace to their origins, like this quote in verse 5 to Zechariah. This king, who rides in on a donkey is using the donkey as a symbol for something different. A donkey symbolizes humble origins and surprisingly to learn, also a symbol of peace. Unlike horses, like even today, which symbolized power and even war. Donkeys or colts are usually docile creatures. They are used for transporting heavy goods and an animal owned for work, usually by the poor. And for this new king, this new Lord to choose such a lowly creature as his ride of choice to triumphantly enter Jerusalem was something new indeed.
Blessed are we Lord, that you would humbly enter our hearts and stay. In our prayers may we recognize this humility as something we should emulate as your disciples. In our Lord’s holy name we pray, Amen.