Jesus triumphant entry is a marvelous scene in the Gospel of Matthew 21:
9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
But what was Jesus riding on…a donkey. You would expect a horse because Jesus is a king right? But not so fast. There’s symbolism about that donkey. In antiquity, riding a donkey conveyed peace as opposed to riding on a horse that conveyed message of war.
By Jesus entering on a donkey this fulfills the Prophet Zechariah:
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
Notice that this king is “humble” which also ties into the donkey symbolism of peace.
Further, he entered on the robes of the people. The common people of Jerusalem were most likely poor with meager means, so them throwing their robes at the feet of their Messiah is a very powerful picture of Jesus being adored by the humblest of people.
Philippians 2:5-9 says this regarding Jesus humility:
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Although Jesus has always been the Son in the Trinity , he became human like us. He walked our dirty streets, was born in a manger, and saw the filth of Israel , but yet never thought the world we live in was under his status or role as God the Son.
Moreover, Jesus encouraged meekness (Mat 5:5), and modeled perfect humility to the cross. That’s the great thing about Jesus Christ. Our savior is profoundly in tune with the human experience so much so that we have a God that we can relate to. In his temptations, miracles, and passion he always gave proper credit and willingly submitted himself to God’s care without worrying.
As we approach Palm Sunday, may we remember our humble Lord and let us seek out his humbleness in our lives.