Bible Insights

Jesus’s Triumphal Entry

Today’s passage: Matthew 21:7–11, Mark 11:7–11, Luke 19:35–38, and John 12:12–16

Focus verse: The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9)

Having secured the colt for him to ride, the disciples lay their coats on the donkey as a makeshift saddle for Jesus. Mark and Luke tell us that no one had ever ridden the colt.

Therefore, the animal has never carried anything on its back and would instinctively buck if someone tried to mount it. Yet Jesus climbs on with no problem.

As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, the people spread their coats on the road, a traditional gesture worthy of a king (see 2 Kings 9:13). Those without a coat cut branches to lie in the road (see Leviticus 23:40).

Only John says these branches are from palm trees. Even so, we call Jesus’s triumphal entry Palm Sunday.

Jesus’s grand entry into Jerusalem parallels that of a victorious king returning from battle, riding on a donkey, which signifies him coming in peace. Jesus likewise rides into Jerusalem. The people hail him as their king.

They call out their praises to Jesus. “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

Though we now think of hosanna as proclaiming praise, the word means “save,” as in “save us” or “Lord, save us” (see Psalm 118:25).

The people see Jesus as their Savior. However, they perceive him as a physical savior, a military hero who will rescue them from Roman oppression. They don’t understand he is a spiritual savior who will rescue them from sin’s oppression.

“Blessed is he who comes in the Lord’s name,” they shout (see Psalm 118:26). “Hosanna in the highest heaven.”

Mark gives us a fourth line: “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” While Luke adds, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

As this grand procession approaches Jerusalem, they create quite a stir. This grabs the people’s attention. They ask in amazement, “Who is this?”

The throng responds, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee” (see Deuteronomy 18:15).

Luke adds that the Pharisees implore Jesus to silence the people’s adoration. He doesn’t. Instead, he says that if the people keep quiet, the stones will instead cry out in praise of him (see Habakkuk 2:11).

Mark includes another detail. He says that after his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus goes to the temple courts and looks around. But since the day is late, he leaves.

What he sees there, however, foreshadows what we’ll cover later on.

What none of the accounts mention is the two disciples returning the donkey and her colt after Jesus’s triumphal entry. I’m sure they do, but confirmation would be nice.


  • What have we borrowed that we need to return?
  • How do we better trust Jesus as our Savior?

Prayer: Jesus, may we follow you as our Savior. May our praise be as exuberant now as what we read in today’s passage.

Discover more about celebrating Jesus and his passion to save us in Peter’s new book, The Passion of Jesus. It is part of the Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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