Matthew 21:1


We cannot tell whether our Lord's exact description of the locality where the ass and colt were to be found was derived from his superhuman knowledge, or whether, as seems more likely in so simple a case, he had agreed with one of his Judaean disciples to have the animals in readiness at an appointed time. However this may be, we can see from the whole incident that Jesus paid especial attention to the arrangements for his entry into Jerusalem. This was very unlike his usual habit. Let us consider its significance from two points of view.

I. THE LORD'S NEED.

1. Jesus needed one of God's humblest creatures.

(1) This throws light on the lowliness of Jesus. In his Divine glory all the wealth of the universe was at his disposal. But in his earthly humiliation he had very simple wants. He required bread, water, rest. It is a mark of a genuinely low estate to have need of what the great despise.

(2) This shows how what is most humble may yet serve the highest. The ass is needed by the Christ. If a very lowly animal can be thus honoured, much more may the most obscure of men and women, Christ's own brothers and sisters, render him valuable service.

2. Disciples obtained what their Master needed. He told his need; at once the two chosen messengers set off to have it supplied. It is not enough that we serve Christ in our own way. We have to discover what he really wants. Sometimes it may not be at all what we have chosen. But if it is serviceable to our Lord, that should be enough to determine our course of action.

3. The unknown owner of the animals was obedient to the message of Christ's need. "The Lord hath need of them" was the talisman to silence all remonstrances. Jesus may claim what is far more precious to us than any dumb animal. Yet if he calls, he needs; and if he needs, his claim is paramount. He may want a child in the other world; or he may require the child in the mission field. Then it is not for us to withhold our dearest from him.

"Why should I keep one precious thing from thee,
When thou hast given thine own dear self for me?"

II. THE USE OF THE ASS. Why did the Lord need the ass and its colt?

1. To fulfil prophecy. We do not often come across the conscious and intentioned fulfilment of prophecy. Usually the prediction comes true in spite of the ignorance of the actors in the fulfilment, or while they are aiming at something else than simply carrying out what a seer of old foretold. But now Christ sets himself deliberately to put into practice an idea of Zechariah (see again John 19:28). What is best in the Old Testament is followed by Christ in the New.

2. To aid in a solemn triumph. Jesus had long forbidden a public confession of his Messiahship. But now he will make it for himself; for now it can do no harm. He is to ride in triumph, but in triumph to the cross. That glad entry to Jerusalem was to be just marching into the jaws of death.

3. To express the peaceful and gentle character of Christ's Kingship. Jesus did not choose the spirited war horse. Following the idea of the prophet, he selected the lowly ass, an animal which, although it was very superior in the East to the ill-treated ass of the West, was still associated with quietness and simplicity. It was to be a rustic triumph, an old world triumph, quaint and antique, and therefore a protest against the vulgar fashion of earthly glory. - W.F.A.









And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Beth-phage.
I. IT PRESENTS AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE RELATION OF CHRIST TO THE RELIGIOUS FEELING OF MANKIND. We are religious beings. Our very nature is grained with sensibilities for the sacred and the Divine. This scene shows how it is affected by Christ.

1. He rouses it to activity. The multitude was deeply moved. Not merely patriotism or earthly emotion, but earnest spiritual feeling. From Jesus streamed all this awakening power.

2. He inspires it with gladness. There was holy rejoicing. There is a moral awakening which has no joy in it. The natural man is afraid of God. Jesus takes away these terrors.

3. He also encourages the expression of religious emotions and convictions. Christ would have His people speak their joys.

II. AN EARNEST OF THE SAVIOUR'S GLORIOUS KINGHOOD. The symptoms of glorious consummation are visible in the scene before us.

1. We here see the world serving Him. He commands both men and beasts, and causes them to obey His will.

2. We see here the whole multitude of His disciples filled with joyous exultation. All sorrows were for the hour quite swallowed up in the abounding blessedness.

3. We here see the most unlikely prophecies touching His kinghood fulfilled to the very letter.

4. The sorrowful hopelessness of Christ's enemies when He begins to let His royal majesty forth.

III. The text suggests IMPORTANT IDEAS TOUCHING CHRIST'S PERPETUAL COMING TO HIS CHURCH.

1. He comes with the illuminations of His Spirit.

2. He comes to His Church except when it is made impossible by the unbelief of men.

3. The way to enjoy Him in His Church is clearly indicated. We must welcome Him as the Son of God.

IV. As JESUS ENTERED INTO JERUSALEM, SO HE STRIVETH NOW FOR ENTRANCE INTO EVERY HEART.

1. He approaches all of us as He approached the holy city. He comes to us as a King, as the promised One.

2. But for His coming to be a blessing we must do as did the happy ones in the text.

3. Great is the blessedness of those who thus receive the Lord Jesus.

V. THIS ENTRY OF THE SAVIOUR INTO THE HOLY CITY CALLS UP OUR PUBLIC ENTRY INTO THE SPIRITUAL CITY, OF WHICH JERUSALEM WAS A TYPE. Christ entered to be condemned; we to be absolved: He to die; we to live.

1. Like His yours is a triumphal entry.

2. Like His, however, your entry is not full triumph yet.

3. It needs to be marked with meekness and courage.

4. It shall soon be crowned with everlasting victory.

(J. A. Seiss.)

I. BY THUS RIDING THROUGH THE STREETS IN STATE CHRIST CLAIMED TO BE A KING. This claim had been kept in the background till now; but in the hour of deep humiliation He makes an open claim. He was a spiritual King, therefore He went not to the palace temporal, but to the palace spiritual; He rides to the temple.

II. WHAT SORT OF A KING HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN IF HE HAD PLEASED, AND WHAT SORT OF A KING HE MIGHT BE NOW, IF HE WILLED IT If Christ chose He might make His Church rich and powerful, and religion magnificent; but He does not care for this world's glory.

III. WHAT KIND OF A KING HE IS, AND WHAT KIND OF A KING HE CLAIMED TO BE. Different from other kingdoms.

1. It is a kingdom in which the disciples are courtiers. Here discipleship is the highest degree.

2. It is a kingdom m which the king's laws are none of them written upon paper; they are written upon the heart.

3. It was a kingdom in which riches were no part whatever of its glory. It was poverty's own temple.

4. It was a kingdom without armed force.

5. It was a strange kingdom because it was without any pomp.

6. He came to establish a kingdom without taxations. All its gifts are of love.

7. It was a kingdom in which all creatures were considered.

8. It was a kingdom of joy.

IV. THE PRACTICAL OBJECTS OF THIS KINGDOM.

1. That the whole city was moved. Everybody had something to say about it. Some would say that "the whole thing was contemptible." Many say that the kingdom of Christ is ridiculous. They want more pomp. Others in Jerusalem were no doubt filled with curiosity. Some looked on with envy. Some were moved to rejoice. Christ is sure to make a stir.

2. That Christ went to the temple. He drives out selfishness, and purifies religion.

3. He held a grand levee, of all whom He had healed and blessed.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THAT THE LORD JESUS HAS EVEN NOW BRIGHT AND GLORIOUS DAYS OF SPECIAL MANIFESTATION IN HIS CHURCH

1. They usually occur after the Lord has visited His beloved and quickened them. He came into Jerusalem after He had raised Lazarus from the dead.

2. When His disciples were obedient to Him. He told His disciples to go and they went. Disobedience hinders the advance of the gospel.

3. Another indication of glory-days will be found in the prompt and cheerful obedience which His disciples will make.

4. The glory of Christ is seen when He is publicly proclaimed as king. We must desire the blessings of the gospel to be widely made known and extended.

5. On such days, one part of the glory consists in many going forth to meet Christ. Pray that there may come a great wave of religious thought over the minds of people.

6. Another sign is prevailing enthusiasm.

7. There was inquiry.

8. His enemies were quiet. Such are the marks of the glorious days of Christ.

II. THAT ON THESE GLORY-DAYS OF JESUS CHRIST IN HIS CHURCH LIKE HONOURS ARE PAID TO HIM NOW AS THEN.

1. He is at this time as loudly praised and as greatly rejoiced in among His people as He was then.

2. He received then as now homage from all kinds of people.

3. The little ones were conspicuous.

III. CHRIST EXECUTES THE SAME DEEDS AS HE DID THEN.

1. Compassion for souls is prominent. He wept over the city.

2. Judgment. "Now they are hid from thine eyes."

3. He purged the temple.

4. He healed the sick who came to Him, in the temple.

5. His foes were all confounded.

IV. When Christ came into Jerusalem, ALL WAS NOT GOLD THAT GLITTERED. "Hosanna" was changed into "Crucify." When hearts are impressed with the gospel, we must not expect all to be steadfast to Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"Who is this?"

I. WHAT WILL STIR LONDON? A reigning Saviour riding in triumph. The shout of a king is not in the Church; the ancient glory has departed. The world cares little about the Church so long as Christ does not reign in her palaces.

II. WE MUST BE ABLE TO ANSWER THE QUESTION. "Be ready always to give an answer," etc. You must have a knowledge of Jesus Christ. The answer should be clear and distinct.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. To-day, as long ago, Jesus Christ is the true object of the enthusiasm of mankind.

II. There may be outward devotion to Christ while the heart remains a stranger to His nature, His claims, and His love. What are our religious protestations worth?

III. Beware of regarding emotional excitement as identical with religious feelings and states of mind and heart. The religion of some people exhausts itself in hallelujahs; they possess no constant principle.

(J. R. Bailey.)

I. A SORROWING SAVIOUR AND A REJOICING MULTITUDE.

II. A FIRM SAVIOUR AND A FICKLE MULTITUDE. Why was this multitude so fickle?

1. Because they had no true and deep understanding of what they were shouting about on Sunday.

2. Because an influence from a different quarter and of a different kind was brought to bear upon them on Friday.

III. THE SAVIOUR ADVANCING TO THE MOST GLORIOUS DEED OF ALL HISTORY. The multitude advancing to the most atrocious deed of all history.

1. Here is a word of caution.

2. Here is a word of exhortation.

(W. Jones.)

I. THE LORD HAS NEED OF YOU.

1. Your prayers.

2. Your praises.

3. Your talents.

4. He may need your most cherished one, that which your heart holds fastest.

II. NATURE'S REPLIES TO THIS CLAIM.

1. Unbelief denies the claim.

2. Weakness hesitates till the opportunity is past.

3. Simulation seems to do it, but does not.

4. Selfishness hugs her own.

5. How much affliction passes over a man before he is willing to comply with the just demands of his Creator.

(J Vaughan, M. A.)

I. WHO COMES? .No temporal deliverer. A Divine King. The Son of God. God the Son. Upon the doctrine of Christ's divinity depend the truth of His teaching, the perfection of His example, and the infinite value of His sacrifice.

II. To WHOM DOES HE COME?

1. To a world needing a:Redeemer.

2. To humanity wanting a Ruler.

3. To individual souls seeking a king. To be "thy King," He must reign in thy heart, over thy thoughts and affections. The will must be surrendered to Him.

III. IN WHAT MANNER DOES HE COME?

1. Meek.

2. Lowly. Twin graces are these. We need them. Pride was the principle of our ruin. Through pride Adam fell. Pride is a false imitation of God — the imitation of His independency; but He has said, "My glory will I not give to another." The two deepest movements of the human soul are desire and anger; meekness and lowliness are the correctives of both.

IV. How OUGHT WE TO PREPARE TO RECEIVE HIM? We must go forth to meet Him —

(1)by a holy desire and longing for His presence;

(2)by putting away our sinful habits and desires;

(3)by imitating His virtues;

(4)by obeying His laws;

(5)by praying for a loving, forgiving spirit.Blessed Jesus, reign within us; cast down every imagination and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of Thyself, and bring every thought into captivity to Thy holy will. Reign within us, till Thou hast put every enemy, every movement of our corrupt nature or the remnants of it, under Thy feet. Reign within us by Thy grace here, and so transform us that we may become like unto Thee in Thy glory hereafter!

(W. H. Hutchings, M. A.)

Here is a multitude:

(1)Attracted by marvellous intelligence;

(2)Following the example of the few;

(3)Rendering regal honour to the son of a carpenter;

(4)Looking for material aggrandisement;

(5)In a little while exchanging "Hosanna" for " Crucify Him."

(F. Wagstaff.)

I. This history as it regards our LORD. Christ really prophesied, and events proved His prophecy truth. There is accuracy of detail, most wonderful. There was miracle as well as prophecy; miracle wrought upon mind; poor men were made willing to give up their property at the bidding of strangers. A striking exhibition of power appropriate as striking. It taught the disciples that Christ's presence was not necessary to His guardianship, that He could act on their enemies as well from a distance as when near; that His knowledge and power extended to minute and mean things.

II. THE CONDUCT OF THE DISCIPLES. They obeyed the command without hesitation. It seemed a wild errand; looked like robbery, improbable of result. We should do well to imitate their obedience; a readiness to fill the lower offices. We are active enough in great enterprises, but have no taste for the humbler duties. All employment for Christ is noble.

III. THE CONDUCT OF THE OWNERS OF THE ASS AND THE COLT, We do not know the circumstances and character of these men. Whatever their acquaintance with Christ they acted as stewards of their property; not as proprietors. It will be a new era in the Church when to show that " the Lord hath need" of this or that thing shall suffice to secure its cheerful bestowment. It is thus with children and friends, "The Lord hath need of them." In a thousand ways God is saying that He has need of our time, talents, property. Let us yield cheerfully.

1. The vast honour given to humble individuals in that they were allowed to contribute to the progress of the Saviour when accomplishing an ancient prediction. We may all do something towards the sublime consummation for which the Church prays.

2. When He comes in triumph He will acknowledge the services rendered Him.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

He speaks as a man of need. He who could see all things and foretell all things confesses to His personal necessity. The head that carried all knowledge had not where to sleep, of its own right and title. And again in that very self-same sentence He used a word which throws the term need into striking contrast — Lord. Such strange mixture do we find in the talk of this Man. Lord and need in the same sentence. He does not give up His royalty because of His necessity, nor does His royalty and lordship save Him from need. And yet what need could lie have who had but to express the wish and it was instantly complied with? It was a sweet necessity, it was the pain of that hunger which had wherewith to satisfy itself.

(Dr. Parker.)

A prophecy may be said to be fulfilled four ways.

I. When the self-same thing comes to pass which was literally delivered in the prophecy.

II. When the thing allegorically signified is fulfilled.

III. When as neither the thing literally nor allegorically meant, but some other like is done.

IV. When as it is daily more and more fulfilled.

(John Boys.)

Plutarch mentions it as a circumstance of respect shown to Cato the Younger upon a particular occasion by the soldiery, that they laid their garments for him to tread upon as he marched.

(C. Bulkey.)

The silence and obscurity of Christ never troubles the world; He may be an underling, without any stir; but if He do but put forth Himself never so little to bear the least sway amongst men, now their blood is up, the whole city is moved. Neither is it otherwise in the private economy of the soul. O Saviour, while Thou dost, as it were, hide Thyself, and lie still in the heart, and takest all terms contentedly from us, we entertain Thee with no other than a friendly welcome; but when Thou once beginnest to ruffle with our corruptions, and to exercise Thy spiritual power in the subjugation of our vile affections, now all is in a secret uproar, all the angles of the heart are moved.

(Bishop Hall.)

When Mr. Dawson was preaching in South Lambeth on the offices of Christ, he presented Him as prophet, and priest, and then as the King of Saints. He marshalled patriarchs, kings, prophets, and apostles, martyrs and confessors of every age and clime, to place the insignia of royalty upon the head of the King of Kings. The audience were wrought up to the highest pitch of excitement, and, as if waiting to hear the anthem peal out the coronation hymn, the preacher commenced singing " All hail the power of Jesus' Name.': The audience, rising as one man, sang the hymn as perhaps it was never sung before.

(Foster.)

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