The Triumphal Entry

One of the readings for this Sunday, Palm Sunday, is Luke 19:28-40, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

After ten chapters of journey on the way to Jerusalem (starting in Luke at 9:51), Jesus finally reaches Jerusalem in chapter 19.  Arriving at the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple, Jesus sends his disciples to get a colt in a nearby village (in Matthew there are two animals involved).  The text is not clear as to whether Jesus had a prior arrangement with the owners of the colt or whether he foreknew where it would be and what they should say.

Jesus’ followers rejoice as Jesus comes down the Mount of Olives.  Luke does not tell of the branches but only of them spreading their garments out in front of him.  They quote Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.”  This psalm was clearly important to the earliest Christians, having also the passage that the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

Another OT Scripture to which this event alludes is Zechariah 9:9, which speaks of the restoration of Israel’s king, coming into town on a colt.  From a historical standpoint, this event points to Jesus’ self-understanding as Israel’s promised king.