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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

JESUS ENTERS JERUSALEM

Matt 21:1-11 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 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. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 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. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when He was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. (Also See Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-19)

Having journeyed from Galilee, Jesus and His apostles drew nigh unto Jerusalem. They came into a village called Bethphage, which is located on the road coming from Jericho, near the town of Bethany. These suburban towns lay approximately one mile east of Jerusalem and near the Mount of Olives, which overlooked the city. Arriving here, Jesus sent two of His disciples on an errand with these instructions: 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. Horses were rare in Palestine, and those that were found there were used primarily by military officers. Asses, or donkeys, were more common and thought to be symbols of peace. Therefore they were usually ridden by royal family members when traveling and especially when entering towns and cities in a pompous manner in order to demonstrate their regal status among the ordinary population (See Judges 10:4; 12:14; 1 Kings 1:33).

As far as we are told, Jesus was a Man of poverty, having no worldly goods to call His own. He had no animals to transport Him, and had to rely on the kind benevolence of others to provide Him food, clothing, shelter, and, in this case, an ass on which to ride. The ass that Jesus requested would, indeed, fill that very duty - to transport the "King of the Jews" into Jerusalem in a royal manner. It is probable that the owner of the ass and colt was well acquainted with Jesus and readily rendered this service to Him. One may ask why Jesus, who spent His entire ministry traveling the entire nation from north to south and east to west, would now need an ass to ride less than a mile into the city of Jerusalem. Jesus tells us in verse 4: All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 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 (See Zech. 9:9 for the exact wording of this prophecy). Jewish historians confirm that this prophecy was always applied to the coming of the promised Messiah. "Tell ye the daughter of Sion" means to announce to Zion, that is to Jerusalem, the capital city of the Jewish nation, that thy King - the promised Messiah that was to save the world, was entering her gates in a regal manner, sitting upon an ass. A truer fulfillment of prophecy regarding the coming of the Son of God cannot be found in the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God.

In the eyes of the world, Jesus the Savior cannot be denied. After suitable clothing was put upon the ass, they set Him thereon. Worshipfully, the multitude of believers spread their garments and palm branches before Him in the way, and cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. The multitude joyfully exclaimed "Hosanna," which means "save us now," or "we beseech thee to save us now." "Hosanna" in its highest form, is a prayer to God to save them by the coming of the promised Messiah. Entering Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is This? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. Amen!