Text: Matthew 21:1-17
COMMON SENSE UNDER HOOF
You don’t throw a victory parade until you’ve won the battle. This common sense seems to be tramped under donkey hooves as Jesus leads a victory parade into Jerusalem before winning the victory. The great battle on the cross is still a few days away, and the great victory in the resurrection is even beyond that. Why can Jesus organize a “Pre-Victory Parade?” Because he believes the Scriptures, and believes the God of Scripture. Jesus trusts God that he would win the victory and so acts as though he had already won the victory.
WELL-SCRIPTED IN SCRIPTURE
The triumphal entry is a well-scripted event which was planned in the Old Testament Scriptures. Notice the biblical support for Jesus’ transportation, the crowds’ chants, the responses of everyone and everything. The “whys” of this passage are answered by pointing back to God’s word in the Old Testament. Why the Donkey? Bible. Why the temple destruction? Bible. Why the children hollering “Hosanna?” Bible.
REJOICE, HERE COMES THE KING (ZECHARIAH 9)
Matthew 21 begins with Jesus sending two disciples on a mission (vs 1-4). Jesus organizing the donkeys intentionally follows the scripted directions from Zechariah 9:9––a king riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. A war horse is fit for battle, but a donkey for the victory parade. So when Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, he is announcing that the battle has been fought and the victory secured. Zechariah shows the king doesn’t declare war on the nations, but speaks peace to the nations. He doesn’t carve out a corner to rule, but his kingdom covers sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth. He doesn’t conquer through spilling others blood, but his own (Zech. 9:10-11).
HOSANNA TO THE SON OF DAVID (PSALM 118)
The disciples obey and, of course, everything happens just as Jesus says (vs 6). As they move closer to Jerusalem, the expectant crowd lines the road and cry out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!” (vs 9) They quote Psalm 118:25-26 which is a good choice as Psalm 118 declares the Lord’s triumph of life over death (vs. 17-18). Temple Overturned and Outcasts Gathered (Isaiah 56) Jesus enters the temple and rampages (vs. 12). Jesus again returns to the Scriptures to justify his actions. “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers.’” In Isaiah 56, the Lord specifically highlights that the deliverance He is preparing is not just for Israel, but absolutely includes the “foreigner” (Is. 56:6-8). When the temple is overturned, the outcast are gathered in (vs 14).
PRIESTS IN DIAPERS (PSALM 8)
The chief priests and the scribes are indignant at the kids’ continued chorus (vs. 15). Jesus gives a sharp response, “Have you never read?” ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” (vs. 16) Again, Jesus explains by quoting Scripture. In the psalm, the kids are praising the LORD our Lord (Ps. 8:1) And who are the kids praising in the temple? The high priests have failed to praise God in the temple, so the children take over.
PRE-VICTORY PARADE OF FAITH
How could Jesus do all of this in his pre-victory parade? He had faith in what God said. We have the advantage of reading the story knowing the events from the last chapter. Jesus lived the story trusting God for the last chapter. Faith confidently celebrates with a parade before the final victory. Because Jesus entered Jerusalem in his pre-victory parade, we can join the celebration, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”