The Triumphal Entry


‘The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the king of Israel!’ Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: ‘Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.’ At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realise that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him’. John 12:12-16

The ‘next day’, we know from the Gospels that this was the first day of the week and we see the city of Jerusalem was crowded with Passover pilgrims, many of whom would have been disciples of Jesus. As He approached the city, a crowd accompanied Him, and another crowd went out to meet him, ‘the crowds that went before him and followed him’, Matthew 21:9, ‘the whole multitude of the disciples’ Luke 19:37

The crowd, already excited at His potential arrival, John 11:56, now hear that Jesus is on His way to the feast. Great excitement overtakes them, they have heard of the raising of Lazarus and all the other miracles He had done before. Many must have believed that He was the Messiah and was about to restore the Kingdom to that which was in David’s time.

A King’s Welcome

A welcome for a king is being written of here, as they spread their garments on the road, along with some palm branches before Him, Matthew 21:8 / Mark 11:8. Many carried branches of palm which are symbols of victory, Revelation 7:9, and of the righteousness and vigorous spirituality of God’s children, Psalm 92:12. They point to the joy of victory, the feeling that everything will now be better, it’s clear, that the people were expecting something to change.

The Saviour

‘Hosanna!’ they cry, this was a joyous call, meaning ‘save’ or ‘save us now’, it hadn’t become a simple exclamation of surprise such as we use ‘hurrah’ today. The call had a great deal of meaning to it, Psalm 118:25-26.

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ is an extract from Psalm 118:25-26. The context of the Psalm is of a Messianic tone, indicating that they considered Jesus the Messiah, still expecting Him to establish some sort of earthly kingdom. The balance of the call that rang out seems to confirm this idea, ‘Blessed is the King of Israel.’

John tells us that ‘Jesus found a young donkey,’ but Matthew 21:1-2 tells that He sent two disciples to find and bring a donkey and a colt. Luke 19:30 says ‘a colt on which no one has ever yet sat’.

The donkey was traditionally ridden by Kings who came in peace, if He had come on a horse instead, that would have reflected a more aggressive tone. The Gospels tell us that this was a young donkey, not yet ridden by any man. Jesus was the first on the back of this

The Messiah

Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah, His so coming is in fulfilment of Zechariah 9:9 / Matthew 21:4-5. The crowd of disciples wanted Him to assert publicly that He was the Messiah and He did but in such a way as to assert the peaceful nature of his kingdom, Zechariah 9:10.

The horse was the symbol of war and conquest and the donkey was the symbol of peace. The disciples only made this connection between Jesus, the king of peace, the donkey and the Scriptural quotation after Jesus had ascended and they had received the Holy Spirit. Much became obvious to them at that time.

The words in John 12:13 are quotes from Psalm 118:25-26, this psalm was part of the ‘Great Hallel’, Psalms 113-118, recited at the Feast of Tabernacles, Mark 14:26. They now acclaim Jesus as the Messiah, ‘He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel’.

‘The Son of David, he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ Matthew 21:9

‘He who comes in the name of the Lord, the kingdom of our father David that is coming’. Mark 11:9-10

‘The King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Luke 19:38

Jesus Wept

‘As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.’ Luke 19:41-44

Luke tells that as Jesus drew near to the city and He wept over it, sobbed like a child, why? Because He foresaw and described the disaster coming to a people who rejected the Messiah. This is a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, by the Romans, Matthew 24:1-35.

The Reaction

‘When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’ Matthew 21:10-11

Matthew tells us that the whole city was stirred which means ‘agitated’, in other words, they went wild with excitement. Remember that most in the crowd had seen Lazarus raised from the dead, so they would be witnesses to this, John 12:17.

‘Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’ Luke 19:39-40

The Pharisees objected, but Jesus tells them that the very things we would assume could never speak or respond, that is, the stones, Habakkuk 2:11, would actually give testimony to the Sonship of Jesus. If the stones of the city of Jerusalem were in the mind of Jesus when He made this statement, the meaning again would be obvious, Jerusalem would be levelled by the Romans in A.D. 70.

Jesus was basically saying to the Pharisees, ‘you can’t hide from what is happening right now, even if you could silence everyone, these very stones would have shouted glory to God because even they recognise that it’s God’s Son who is entering Jerusalem’.


We’re living in a society where Christians are being told to ‘shut up’, by the ‘politically correct’ brigade, if we speak out against sin, any sin, we get told we’re judging and need to ‘shut up’. It’s almost like we’re allowed to have our faith, but we’re not allowed to express our faith in any shape or form as some people will find it offensive.

Society is permitted to speak out against Christians, but it seems as time goes on, Christians aren’t being permitted the same freedom of speech to defend their beliefs. The world can try and silence Christians because they find their faith offensive, but the truth is, God would be even more offended if Christians didn’t share their faith with others.

Let’s continue to praise Him and lift up His Holy Name before the world because the time is coming when every being in heaven, everyone on earth, and every demon in hell, are going to bow down and confess what Christians have been confessing for years.

‘Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ Philippians 2:9-11