Triumphal Entry

TRIUMPHAL ENTRY. On the first day of the week in which Jesus was to be rejected and crucified, He entered Jerusalem like a conqueror and king (Matt 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19), thus fulfilling, as Matthew 21:4, 5 notes, the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. The impression is gained that Jesus was deliberately presenting Himself in such a way that His royal claims would be manifest and Israel brought to a place of decision. Yet for all the acclamation He was not such a Messiah as they desired.

Leaving Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem, He passed Bethphage where, perhaps by previous arrangement, the ass with her unbroken colt was obtained. “A great multitude” that had come to the feast were pilgrims, many of them from Galilee where most of Jesus’ ministry had taken place. As they met and then accompanied Him with expressions of praise and joy, the natives of Jerusalem, stirred but puzzled, questioned His identity. Entering the Temple, Jesus healed some, calling forth the praise of the children and the fearful, vain attempts of the rulers to stop the demonstration. Although Matthew seems to put the cleansing of the Temple on this day, Mark indicates that it took place the following day.

One discordant note casts a shadow on this otherwise “triumphal” entry. In the midst of the exultation, Jesus stopped to weep over the Holy City, voicing the judgment that marks the tragic, sinful reality behind the momentary rejoicing.


A. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (1942 reprint) vol. 2, 363-373.