Hidden in plain sight
All four Gospels tell the story of Jesus and His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Matthew, in chapter 21 , however, gives a detail that is not mentioned in Mark, Luke, or John.
1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
Verse 5 is a direct quote from Zechariah 9:9. Matthew made the connection that what was witnessing was fulfilling Old Testament prophesy.
Matthew indicates that Christ used two animals as He rode to Jerusalem, A colt and its mother. As scripture does not give detail of why two animals were needed, there are several theories that have been given. One thing we can count on is people putting their own spin on what they do not know as fact.
I n every depiction of what we call Palm Sunday that I have seen, Jesus tides into Jerusalem on one donkey and no other animal is nearby. In every picture that I have viewed, there is only one Jackass portrayed. Why then, if there were two animals do 3 of the gospel writers not mention it? I once heard a preacher say that the Gospels do not contradict each other but were written by each author based on their personal interpretation. It's possible for two people to hear and see the same thing and repeat it in different manners. You could look at it as 3 reporters covering the same story but from different angles. One might give a detail that the others do not. Here is Mark's version of events.
Mark:11:1, And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
What Luke and John have to say
Luke emphasizes that Jesus used a colt and does not mention the mother.
Luke 19:29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
There is something to consider about Matthew and the way he wrote. He seems to have been a stickler for detail. In chapter 2 of his writings he says that the wise men found a child in a house, not a babe in a manger. This seems to be backed up by the fact that Herod had boys age 2 and under murdered. The magi were not at the manger yet this is where they are placed each Christmas season. Back to Palm Sunday this is what John said.
John 12:14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,
15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
Matthew does not tell us why a donkey and her colt were needed for the Lord but there are several theories floating around. One is that perhaps Jesus rode on one animal, and the coats were placed on the other. Another idea that has been looked at is perhaps Jesus did not want to separate the foal from its mother and had her to walk along beside them. The third consideration is the one that makes the most sense to me. This line of thinking is that Jesus did indeed ride both animals, only at different times. It is believed by some that he first rode the ass through rugged terrain and over the hillsides because the mother was stronger than the colt. He then switched to the younger beast of burden just before entering Jerusalem. Although we cannot prove or disprove any of this one thing is clear. Zechariah and all four gospel writers agree that Christ rode on the foal during His triumphant entry into the holy city.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston