Calvary Road Baptist Church

“PREPARING TO RIDE A DONKEY COLT INTO JERUSALEM”

Matthew 21.1-7; Mark 11.1-7; Luke 19.29-35; John 12.12-16

 

One of the great events of history is the triumphal entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem the Sunday before His crucifixion. Triumphal entries are known throughout the ages, from Alexander entering conquered cities to the Caesars returning to Rome from foreign conquests to the Allies entering Rome and Paris and Berlin during and at the conclusion of World War Two, to the ticker tape parades in New York City after World Wars One and Two. Of course, there will come our King’s triumphal entry at His Second Coming in power and great glory. However, that will be a triumphal entry of conquest. What I propose that we consider at this time in the Lord Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry in peace, offering Himself as Israel’s long-awaited Messiah.

Because the passages are so long and so numerous, I would ask you to set your Bible aside to follow along as I proceed at a fairly rapid pace to unfold to you several aspects leading up to our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Sunday before His crucifixion: 

First, THE DONKEY COLT 

Matthew 21.1-2:

1  And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

2  Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 

Mark 11.1-2: 

1  And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,

2  And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him

Luke 19.29-30: 29    And it came to

29  And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,

30  Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither

Look at the map of Jerusalem (below) showing the approximate locations of the small towns of Bethphage and Bethany. Let me also describe their relative locations. The East Gate, known as the Golden Gate, is directly to the East of the Temple Mount. That is the gate that has been closed for centuries that our Lord Jesus Christ will return through at His Second Coming. Farther East, across the Kidron Valley, is the Mount of Olives, on the side of which is located the Garden of Gethsemane. On the back side of the Mount of Olives was Bethphage, about two miles away, half way to Bethany.[1]

Therefore, we know from John’s Gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ arrived at the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha in Bethany from Jericho on Friday afternoon. He spent the Sabbath in the home of His friends, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Then, on the first day of the week, on Sunday, as they walked from Bethany to Bethphage, He dispatched two of His disciples to where there was a donkey and its foal tied up, a young colt that had never before been ridden. He instructed them to untie the donkey colt and bring it to Him. By the way, the town of Bethphage is not mentioned in the Bible except in connection with our Lord’s triumphal entry.[2]

What, pray tell, is the significance of a donkey colt? There are several significances:    First, Psalm 18.10 informs us, 

“And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.” 

Our Lord Jesus Christ could have been born along on the back of a powerful and majestic angel, but He chose instead to ride a little donkey. Second, it was a borrowed colt, reminding us that He not only did not have a place to lay His head but that He possessed no property or riches of any kind. The One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine left it all behind when He left heaven’s glory to come to this earth. Third, our Lord has no intention of skulking into Jerusalem to hide His presence from His enemies. No, He will enter the city in full sight of everyone, in a procession that proclaims by His actions His claim to royalty. Fourth, consider our Lord’s various uniquenesses. Born to a woman who had never known a man or delivered children, He would be buried in a tomb that had never held a body, as He prepares to ride on the back of an animal that has never born a rider. What an incredible series of events! 

Next, CHRIST’S DEITY IS ASSERTED 

Matthew 21.3-7:

3  And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

4  All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5  Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

6  And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,

7  And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 

Mark 11.3-7:

3  And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

4  And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.

5  And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?

6  And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.

7  And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. 

Luke 19.31-35:

31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.

32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.

33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?

34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.

35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. 

John 12.12-16:

12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.

16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. 

I think it is very significant that the Lord Jesus Christ asserts His deity in three ways when He directs two of His disciples to fetch the donkey colt for Him to ride: First, He displays His omniscience by knowing the exact circumstances of the colt’s location and disposition next to its mother, as well as His awareness that His disciples would be challenged when they took the colt. Omniscience, as you know, is an attribute that only God possesses. Only God knows everything. Second, He claims the honorific title of “Lord” when He instructs His disciples to refer to Him as “the Lord” when explaining what they were doing with the owners’ animal. He “knew the two would be challenged as to why they were leading off the property of another, and He told them to reply, ‘The Lord needs it’ (Mark 11:3). In referring to Himself as the Lord, Jesus was asserting His authority as Messiah, for in Psalm 110:1 this title is used of Israel’s King, David’s Descendant.”[3] Thus, by referring to Himself as the Lord, He identifies Himself to be David’s Lord while being David’s descendant, which is only possible if He is God. Third

“In riding the unbroken colt, Christ demonstrated His authority as Creator over all creation. By divine appointment (Gen. 1:26) creation was subjected to the authority of man, and that authority would be exercised by the Son of Man (Ps. 8:4-8). Now as the Son of Man Jesus was exercising authority over creation. . . . Thus began a procession that would take Jesus from Bethany over the Mt. of Olives, through the Kidron Valley, and into the city of Jerusalem.”[4] 

Ever try riding a wild horse, mule, or donkey that has never been ridden before? That is precisely what the Lord Jesus Christ did. Why did the previously unridden donkey colt not buck and kick? He knew who his Master was, the Creator and Lord of all.

In Matthew 21.3-4 reference is made to two prophecies, the first half found in Isaiah 62.11 

(“Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.”), 

and the later half found in Zechariah 9.9 

(“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass”). 

Do you not think the people in Jerusalem that day were not aware of these two prophecies? Only one person would ever ride into that city riding on the foal of an ass. None ever did before, and none has ever done since. When Solomon was enthroned, he rode into Jerusalem on his father’s full grown mule.[5] When Alexander the Great entered Jerusalem, he was almost certainly riding his famous horse Bucephalus. You certainly do not think the Babylonians rode anything other than war horses or the Romans as well when their general Pompey the Great conquered the region. “The multitude recognized that this incident was a fulfillment of messianic prophecy and responded accordingly, “shouting ‘Hosanna’ to the Son of David (Mark 11:9).”[6] Why were the people so thrilled? Their salvation was coming, whatever they understood that to mean. The prophecy was being fulfilled. That was obvious. God was working in their midst at long last. Were they particularly concerned about being saved from their sins? To some degree, perhaps. However, their delight was also in anticipation that the hated Roman rule would be overthrown. At the same time, Jerusalem swelled with pilgrims. For the high holy days, there would be a corresponding influx of Roman troops from Caesaria to augment those permanently stationed in the Antonia Fortress that overlooked the Temple and its courtyard. These were a constant reminder of Roman authority and oppression. As the Lord Jesus Christ asserted Himself as Messiah, so would the Romans and the religious establishment, who believed the Romans to be invincible, forcefully push back.

In John 12.16, we are told the disciples of our Lord Jesus simply did not grasp the significance of what was happening around them: 

“These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.” 

They were in a kind of spiritual fog and did not fit the pieces together in their thinking until Jesus Christ was glorified. 

Let me conclude by stating that you and I are in a better position to benefit from the Lord’s preparation for His triumphal entry than anyone who was alive and witness to the actual events as they occurred. How so? Consider the limitations of geography. If you were witness to the events in Bethany, then you did not see what happened in Bethphage. If you were witness to the events that unfolded in Bethphage, then you did not see what happened afterward. And if you were standing outside the East Gate to see the Savior’s triumphal entrance, you saw nothing in Bethany, nothing in Bethphage, and your ability to apply what you knew from God’s Word to what you saw unfolding before you was limited. We, on the other hand, have an inspired account of everything that happened, along with the opportunity to consider, to ponder, to meditate, to compare prophesies from the Old Testament, and to see how everything fit together in a way that absolutely defies the possibility of coincidence because of the astronomical probabilities of these series of events. On top of what we have looked at in this message from God’s Word, we also have everything else found in the Word of God, from the predictions made centuries before in the Old Testament to the fulfillments that are recorded in the Gospel accounts, all showing that Jesus Christ is God, that Jesus Christ is the Son of David, that Jesus Christ is Israel’s long-awaited Messiah, and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of sinful men’s souls.

Consider, if you will, what you will do with this body of truth, this bin full of truth, that you neglect to your eternal damnation. What should you do? What ought you to do? What does God want you to do? What did the Savior suffer and bleed and die for you to do? What did He rise from the dead for you to do? What do your friends, loved ones, and brothers and sisters in Christ pray that you will do? What does the Devil not want you to do? What do your sinful nature and self-will not want you to do?

Trust Christ.

Come to Jesus Christ now.

Believe on Him to the saving of your wretched soul, now!

__________

[1] Matthew Poole, A Commentary On The Whole Bible, Volume 3, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers), page 96.

[2] See footnote for Matthew 21.1 from John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 1431.

[3] J. Dwight Pentecost, The Words & Works Of Jesus Christ, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), page 372.

[4] Ibid.

[5] 1 Kings 1.44

[6] Pentecost, page 373.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org