This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey. The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.’” (Matthew 21 v 4-6)
Matthew is writing his gospel perhaps at the time when Peter and Paul was still alive (approx. AD60) and it would seem that he has a church composed largely of Jewish Christians in mind as his gospel often cites Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled in Jesus.
Here he does it again quoting Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Your king … This title is important for Matthew. Entering into this final week he makes sure that we see Jesus as the King (27:11; 27:29; 27:37 and 27:42).
Jesus didn’t ride on a warhorse but an animal representing the common people. He rode from the house of poverty (Bethany) to the oppressed and the marginalised. There will come a day when He will ride a horse of judgment. But here He rides in saying ‘I’m not that kind of hero you are looking for’. I’m here as a different king to the one you are used to. The tables have indeed turned. The true king has come and He is found in the marketplace. He has actually come from a manger not a palace; his triumphal ministry is a ransom ministry and that is his own life.
Why does Matthew mention a donkey and her colt when the other gospel writers only use the colt? Mark and Luke say the colt was so young it had never been ridden before. Therefore the picture is of Jesus the King riding this unbroken animal into a crowded noisy scene calmed by the presence of her mother next to her. Today, whatever you are facing, wherever you are going, with Jesus your King you can know the peace that He brings.