The Scriptorium

The King's Entrance

Jesus enters Jerusalem. Matthew 21.1-11

Matthew 21: The End of the Beginning (1)

Pray Psalm 118.7-9.
The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes.

Sing Psalm 118.7-9.
(St. George’s Windsor: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come)
For the Lord stands next to me; He will give me victory!
Over all who hate my life, I will triumph through the strife!
In His grace I refuge find; in His steadfast love so kind.
Trust not princes, trust not men – Christ shall be our haven then!

Read and meditate on Matthew 21.1-11.

1. How did Jesus enter Jerusalem?

2. How did the people respond to His entrance? What did they say about Him?

Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem might seem like the beginning of the end of His story. We know what will take place over the next week or so. But Luke reminds us that the accounts of Jesus in the gospels are just the beginning of Jesus’ work (Acts 1.1). That being the case, Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem marks the beginning of the end of the beginning – the end of His work of redemption, which He will accomplish over the course of the next week. He entered Jerusalem at the first of the week, and He would finish the beginning of His work by the beginning of the next week.

Jesus had been to Jerusalem before, but never with such fanfare and display. He staged this entry to fulfill the ancient prophecy of Zechariah 9.9 (v. 5). He waited while the two disciples procured the donkey and her colt, and He allowed the people – “a very great multitude” (v. 8) – to announce His arrival in the words of Psalm 118.26 (v. 9). That psalm ends – as this week will – with the sacrificial lamb being offered to God for His praise and glory (Ps. 118.27-29).

The sovereignty of Jesus is demonstrated in the finding of the donkey and her colt. As other gospel accounts report, the owners of those animals questioned why the disciples were taking them, but acquiesced in the Lord’s will, just as Jesus said they would (vv. 3, 4; cf. Mk. 11.4-16; Lk. 19.32-35). He demonstrates His humility by riding, not on a powerful steed (think: Alexander the Great on Bucephalus), but on a lowly donkey’s colt. And He demonstrates the truthfulness of His claim to be the Son of God and King of Israel by allowing the people to declare Him as the Son of David Who brings the salvation of God to His people (v. 9).

But the people are perhaps more enthusiastic than truly perceptive. They still regard Jesus merely as “the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee” (vv. 10, 11) – rather than their true King. No wonder it will be so easy for them to abandon Him, when they see Him beaten and bloody on Friday.

1. How did the crowds welcome Jesus? How did they actually regard Him? Is it possible to be excited about Jesus, but wrong about Who He is? Explain.

2. What do we learn about Jesus from His entrance into Jerusalem?

3. If someone would ask you Who Jesus is, what would you say?

Even when the crowds grasped that something great was happening, their inward thoughts remained uninformed, lowly, unworthy and lacking in understanding. But Jesus did these things in their presence not to display pomp but as I have said, to fulfill prophecy, teach self-denial and to comfort his disciples, who were grieving for his death. He was showing them that he would suffer all these things willingly. Mark well the accuracy of the prophets, how they foretold all these things, some from David’s psalms, some from Zechariah. They had proclaimed them beforehand.
John Chrysostom (347-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 66.3

Lord, give me an opportunity to tell someone about You today, and I will…

Pray Psalm 118.14-29.
Call on the Lord for His strength today. Seek His power to do His ongoing work of bringing the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Pray that He will grant you a greater measure of His salvation.

Sing Psalm 118.14-29.
Psalm 118.14-29 (St. George’s Windsor: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come)
In the Savior we are strong! He is all our strength and song!
To His grace now raise your voice; in His righteousness rejoice!
For the Lord does valiantly; we shall live eternally.
Praise His works with all your breath, you whom He redeems from death.

All who know Christ’s righteousness His great Name now thank and bless!
Though His gate full righteous is, He our saving mercy is.
Cast aside and left alone, Christ is now our Cornerstone!
God has made His Son and Word our salvation: Praise the Lord!

Blessed are they who in His Name come and Jesus’ grace proclaim.
God His light upon us shines in the Savior’s sacrifice.
Praise and thanks to You, O Lord; we extol Your holy Word!
Thanks to You for You are good! Thanks to our great loving God!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore