The story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem is found in the Gospel of Matthew 21: 1-9. It tells us how he sent two of his disciples to a village to get a donkey with a colt beside it. He told them to bring them because he wanted to ride the donkey on his way to Jerusalem.
But why a donkey?
In the ancient biblical era, a leader rode on a horse if he was coming in war and a donkey to signify peace. When we read of horses in the Bible, they are almost always connected to kings and war, while donkeys are associated with ordinary people. The donkey was used in the people’s livelihood, agriculture as well as trade. He used the donkey to connect with the people. Life was also not easy for a Jew living under Roman rule in the 1st century and even more challenging for the poor. But Jesus embraced the poor and sick people during his time here on earth. Jesus made his triumphant entry while riding a symbol of peace. His choice of a donkey instead of a horse was God’s way of saying that he came as a king who will serve and save the oppressed.
Jesus’ choice of ride is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9,
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
When he rode a donkey into Jerusalem, it was victorious because he did it without bloodshed on the people’s side.
Roman generals entered their conquered cities in chariots drawn by white horses. The horse’s white colour represented purity or victory.
Jesus is returning.
However, this time He will be riding a fiery white charger, bringing judgment, just as He had promised. Revelation 19:11 states, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war”.
The rider, Jesus, will go forth to be the triumphant conqueror victorious over Christ’s enemies.
As we draw closer to Easter, we must remember there is salvation, and there will be a judgement. Although all those we know will stand alone before God, the King of Kings has invited us to join Him now and share the message of victory. Please don’t let this season pass without asking someone to hear God’s redemptive story.