8 Things Most Christians Don’t Understand about Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

  • Dr. Roger Barrier 24 March 2021
  • Preach It, Teach It
jesus triumphal entry

God never missed an opportunity to use powerful symbols throughout Scripture. The triumphal entry – Jesus’ famous ride on this lowly animal reveals much about Christ’s character and purpose. 

Prior to entering Jerusalem, Christ instructed his disciples to acquire for him a donkey Matthew 21:1-5. (In Matthew’s Gospel a donkey and a colt, two poetic Hebrew parallel phrases.)

Why did Jesus ride a donkey? 

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Boonyachoat1. Christ is claiming His rightful place as the prophesied Messiah.

1. Christ is claiming His rightful place as the prophesied Messiah.

Zechariah wrote: “Behold, your king comes to you, triumphant and victorious. He is humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9) KJV. 

Every Jew would know Zechariah’s messianic prophecy. That’s why the crowds hailed Jesus as their king shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9). Jesus is the true Davidic Messiah and king.

2. Jesus rode a donkey to symbolize peace.

Why didn’t Jesus ride a warhorse, as He did in Revelation? Mark Boda explains:

In the ancient Middle Eastern world, leaders rode horses if they rode to war, but donkeys if they came in peace. First Kings 1:33 mentions Solomon riding a donkey on the day he was recognized as the new king of Israel. Other instances of leaders riding donkeys are Judges 5:10; 10:4; 12:14; and 2 Samuel 16:2.

The mention of a donkey in Zechariah 9:9-10 fits the description of a king who would be righteous and having salvation, gentle.” Rather than riding to conquer, this king would enter in peace. 

Zechariah 9:10 highlights this peace: “I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

Note the many details symbolic of peace in this prophecy:

  • “Take away the chariots”: an end to the main vehicle of war.
  • “Take away… the war-horses”: no need for horses used in war.
  • “The battle bow will be broken”: no need for bows or arrows for fighting.
  • “He will proclaim peace to the nations”: His message will be one of reconciliation.
  • “His rule shall be from sea to sea”: the King will control extended territory with no enemies of concern.

Jesus fulfills this prediction of Zechariah. Worldwide peace proclaimed by this humble King will be a fulfillment of the angels’ song in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (NKJV). 

Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock/sedmak3. Christ's journey on a donkey harkened back to the foreshadowing of a father sacrificing his own only son.

3. Christ’s journey on a donkey harkened back to the foreshadowing of a father sacrificing his own only son.

Isaac, a type of Christ, rides a donkey to be slain by his father Abraham on the altar (Genesis 49:10-12).

4. Jesus’ triumphal entry on a donkey symbolized God’s blessing to His people.

Jacob’s divine blessing over his son Judah includes a reference to a donkey and a donkey’s foal (Genesis 49:10-12): 

“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.”

Jesus is born of the tribe of Judah, eternally enthroned. Jacob’s prophecy describes a king who washes with wine (His blood) and has white teeth (purity). Incidentally, read verses 14-16 about Isaachar, the rawboned donkey, who bows in submission!

Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock/airspa5. Jesus' triumphal journey teaches us that after all of the sacrifices offered for sin, we can enter the rest of faith because of His final sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12).

5. Jesus’ triumphal journey teaches us that after all of the sacrifices offered for sin, we can enter the rest of faith because of His final sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12).

Exodus 23:12 states God’s clear command:

 “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.” 

6. Emissaries sent donkeys overloaded with gifts to appease the wrath of an enemy, preventing bloodshed.

Jacob sent donkeys packed with treasures to avoid the wrath of his brother Esau (Genesis 33:8). Abigail brought donkeys packed with food to keep David from killing her family. Nabal, her husband, had angered the king-to-be. The wise woman knelt before David and said in 1 Samuel 25:26:

“And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal.” 

Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock/RomoloTavaniDonkey on the mountain

7. God used a donkey to speak His judgment!

Yes, Balaam’s donkey actually warns the prophet of His disobedience. In Numbers 22, Moses writes:

“… Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?’ Balaam answered the donkey, ‘You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.’ The donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?’ ‘No,’ he said. Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the Lord asked him, ‘Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.’”

Samson defeated the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. (Judges 15:15). 

God sent a lion to devour a false prophet in 1 Kings 13:27-31, while his donkey safely stood and watched. The lion did not eat the donkey. The donkey carried the slain prophet back home at God’s behest.

King Jehu rode a donkey into Samaria, a kind of false Jerusalem, in order to destroy the temple of the false god Baal (2 Kings 9:11-10:28). 

Christ entered Jerusalem’s temple and pronounced judgment as He overturned the money-changer’s tables in Matthew 21:12

“My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” 

8. Jesus demonstrated that he was the burden-bearer who came to save us.

Baby Jesus was born in humility. Remember, a donkey carried a poor, pregnant mother named Mary all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. (Luke 2:4-7). This gentle beast of burden carried the Savior of the World. Jesus used the image of Mary’s donkey to connect with the common people. He came for them. 

Jesus embraced the poor, weak and oppressed during his time here on earth. Christ’s sweet, simple story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:33-34 is a perfect symbol of his love and compassion: 

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.”

The Bible is rich in symbolism. Enjoy the triumphal entry in a deeper way this year.



What Is God Really Like?

by Greg Laurie on Mar 12, 2021

I heard about a little girl who proudly announced to her mom that she was going to draw a picture of God. As she grabbed her crayons and a piece of paper, her mom said, “Honey, no one knows what God looks like.”

The girl replied, “They will when I’m done!”

But what is God like? Is God a smiling God or a frowning one? Does He look at us with approval or disapproval?

Because the Bible often refers to God as our Father, we can respond to that in different ways, depending on what kind of father we had when we were growing up.

But regardless of whether our earthly fathers did a good job or a bad job, we need to look at God in an entirely different way. We must look at Him in the pages of Scripture, where He reveals himself.

In the Old Testament book of Numbers, God describes Himself for us in a blessing that He instructed the priests to pronounce over the people of Israel: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24–26 NKJV).

The Book of Numbers is a record of the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness. Numbers gives an account of the trials they faced and the mistakes they made as they were journeying to the Promised Land.

We, too, live in a wilderness in a manner of speaking. We’re passing through to another place. We face trials in life, and we make mistakes. We’re fallen people living in a fallen world, and we’re in need of a lot of help.

From this blessing in Numbers 6, we can discover six things about God. We learn how God looks at us, how He feels toward us, and what He wants every believer to know.

“The Lord bless you.” God loves to bless us. Yet what does the word “bless” really mean? We often hear people use it. But really, “bless” is a biblical word. It’s something that only a Christian can fully appreciate and experience.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus both began and concluded His earthly ministry by blessing people. He also said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 NKJV). God loves to bless people. It is His joy.

“The Lord . . . keep you.” The Hebrew word used here for “keep” means “to guard, to watch, or to put a hedge around.” God wants us to constantly know that He will keep us. It’s good to have that reassurance in such an uncertain world.

The psalmist wrote, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:2–3 NKJV). God is always watching us. He always has an eye on us. God is protecting us and keeping us.

“The Lord make His face shine upon you.” God smiles on us. That’s what this verse is saying. Now, this isn’t the picture that a lot of people have of God. But the picture of God that the Bible gives us is that of God shining with pleasure toward His people.

When God sees us, His face lights up with joy. I think sometimes we feel that our failures come as a surprise to God, as though He didn’t know we were going to do that. But remember, He loves us, and He smiles on us.

“The Lord . . . be gracious to you.” God is gracious to us. We need to be constantly reminded that God has extended His grace toward us. And grace is a word that is very important for us to understand. We see it many times in the Bible, especially in the New Testament.

Grace has been defined as “God’s unmerited favor.” But I think one of the best ways to define grace is by contrasting it with other words like justice and mercy. Justice is getting what we deserve, while mercy is not getting what we deserve. And grace is getting what we don’t deserve.

We need God’s grace on a day-by-day, even moment-by-moment basis, because we sin every day.

“The Lord lift up His countenance upon you.” The phrase “lift up his countenance” means “to look, to see, to know, to be interested in, to have one’s full attention.” God is saying, “I watch you every day. You have my full attention.”

Have you ever poured your heart out to someone, and it seemed as though they weren’t even listening? Maybe you were speaking to someone, and they looked past you while you were talking. Or worse yet, they took a phone call: “Wait one second. . . . Hello? . . . Yeah, how are you doing? . . . Oh, I’m not doing anything.”

God isn’t that way. He’s interested. He cares. Of course, there might be times in your life when you’ve wondered whether God really was attentive to you. While it’s true that life is a wonderful adventure when you’re walking with Christ, it’s also true that you’re going to have adversity. You’re going to have hardship. But you’ll never walk through any of those things alone. God will be with you.

“The Lord . . . give you peace.” As we consider all these things, it should change our outlook. No matter what we’re going through, we can have peace because we know the Lord is blessing us. He’s keeping us. He’s smiling on us. And He’s extending his grace to us and paying attention to us. And that should bring peace to our hearts.

However, this is something that only the child of God can experience. Jesus, for all practical purposes, was cursed so that we could be blessed. He died so we could live. He was forsaken so that we could be forgiven.

God said to the Israelites in the wilderness, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV).

You have a choice. Choose to be blessed.

Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.

This article was originally published at WND.com.

A Faulty Focus


Human beings are good at putting two and two together to draw intellectual, logical and systematic conclusions. But when it comes to spiritual conclusions, we excel at missing the mark. Still, we tend to make spiritual conclusions quicker than the speed of light – to our detriment. Because our spiritual conclusions tend to be erroneous, they come appended with Jesus’s words: ‘If you had known what these words mean’ (Matthew 12:7), you are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God’ (22:v29), and ‘Listen and understand’(15:v10).

Although many listen, they do not understand because spiritual things are ‘spiritually discerned’ (1 Corinthians 2:14). When Jesus was saying profound things about the Kingdom of God and Satan’s kingdom, many drew conclusions from a humanistic perspective. They used their intellect and logic which brought about intellectual and logical conclusions, and so missed the point. This happened, ‘as Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ (Luke 11:27).

The woman shifted her focus from Jesus to His ‘mother’. It was a faulty focus. Unfortunately, this focus has been carried on decades later because some take their petitions through Jesus’s ‘mother’ crying out, ‘Hail Mary!’. Revisiting the genealogical records of Jesus, only two mothers are mentioned; ‘Salmon the father of Obed, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed whose mother was Ruth’ (Matthew 1:5). When it comes to Jesus no mother is mentioned, it is written, ‘Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ’ (v16).

Mary was just a vessel whom God used to fulfil the prophesy of long ago; ‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel’ (Isaiah 7:14). Unfortunately, many take sign, symbols, and instruments which God uses, to be sacred – shifting their focus from the Holiness of God. Mary herself exclaims, ‘the Mighty One has done great things to me– holy is his name’ (Luke 1:49).

Mary’s focus was on the spiritual for she knew the Scriptures. She knew that the Child she was about to bring forth would bring Salvation to all mankind, including herself no wonder she says, ‘the Mighty One has done great things to me’. Mary only saw herself as a servant and declares that the Lord, ‘has been mindful of the humble state of his servant’ (v48). And so if the woman in the crowd had a spiritual focus, she would have known that Jesus had no mother or father because there is no beginning or end to Him. He is the ‘Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End’ (Revelation 21:6).

When the woman in the crowd shifted the focus from Jesus to His ‘mother’ and called her blessed, Jesus replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it’ (Luke 11:28). This response matches another instance when someone told Jesus that His ‘mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you’ (Matthew 12:47), Jesus changed their earthly focus by asking, ‘Who is my mother and who are my brothers?’ (v48). He then proceeds to give a spiritual perspective, ‘For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’ (v50).

When one holds a faulty focus and exalts other people and things other than God, they follow in the footsteps of Satan whom Jesus rebukes, ‘Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men’ (16:v23). When prosperity and success was the portion of the King of Tyre, his focus shifted to himself. God says to him, ‘In the pride of your heart you say, ‘I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas’ (Ezekiel 28:2). Seeing his faulty focus, God quickly reminds him, ‘But you are a man and not a godthough you think you are as wise as a god’ (v2).

Not only does God remind those with a faulty focus in words, but He does so in deed to display His might, and so to the King of Tyre, He says, ’Because you think you are wise, as wise as god, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom and pierce your shining splendor . . . Will you then say, ‘I am god’ in the presence of those who kill you? You will be but a man, not a god in the hands of those who slay you’ (v6-7,9).

Like the King of Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar was ‘contented and prosperous’ (Daniel 4:4) because he had ‘become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth’ (v22). Nebuchadnezzar then held a faulty focus and praised himself saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?’ (v30). Before he could even finish speaking, and ‘the words were still on his lips’ (v31), God was about to shift his focus and tells him, ‘You will be driven away from people, and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle.

Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes’ (v33). After seven years, Nebuchadnezzar then shifted his focus and says ‘I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes towards heaven and my sanity was restored’ (v34). Without a faulty focus, he says, ‘Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble’ (v37).

When we hold a faulty focus, we are to know that the devil is at work. When he approached Eve in the garden, he urged her to eat the forbidden fruit saying, ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’ (Genesis 3:5). Having no new tricks under his sleeve to deceive men, the devil still promises men ‘enlightenment’ for he ‘masquerades as an angel of light’ (2 Corinthians 11:14). He himself was an angel of God stationed in ‘Eden, the garden of God’ (Ezekiel 28:14) and it is said of him, ‘You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found you’ (v15). God says that his ‘heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour’ (v17).

To date, Satan uses his corrupted wisdom to make as many people as himself. He deceives men by convincing them that they are gods. He convinces them to eat the forbidden fruit by engaging in acts to make them reach a state of consciousness, a state of awakening- until they become gods. He labels his deceptions with terms such as ‘New Age’ or ‘Spirituality’, and those who don’t know the Scriptures and the power of God fall victim to the devil’s schemes. They are blinded by the god of this word who deals in lies and misquotes Scripture, bringing them out of context.

It is only through Jesus Christ that we can radiate the image of God, be made like God. Those who use the devil’s devices and think they are god by their own merit or attainments, a day is coming when God will shift their faulty focus and tells them like to Sennacherib, the King of Assyria, ‘But I know where you stay and when you come and go and how you rage against me. Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came’ (Isaiah 37:28-29).

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things’ ~ Colossians 3:1-2