the triumphal entry


Mark's account

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ ” They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” 

Mark 11:1-11 NIV

John's account -

“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.” 

John 12:12-16 NIV

Cultural and Prophetic Significance

Jesus’ rode into Jerusalem making public His claim to be their Messiah and King of Israel in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Matthew says that the King coming on the foal of a donkey was an exact fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus rides into His capital city as a conquering King and is hailed by the people as such, in the manner of the day.

There are three festivals for which Jews make a pilgrimage to Temple in Jerusalem, as commanded by the Torah: in Hebrew Shalosh Regalim (רגלים שלוש), are three major festivals in Judaism—Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Feast of Weeks or Pentecost), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Tents or Booths). In Jerusalem, they would participate in festivities and ritual worship in conjunction with the services of the kohanim ("priests") at the Temple. In Jewish tradition, the palm is one of the four luxuriant species carried for Sukkot, as prescribed for rejoicing at Leviticus 23:40, “On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees— from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.” The palm branch is a symbol of victory, triumph, peace and eternal life originating in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world. The palm (Phoenix) was sacred in Mesopotamian religions, and in ancient Egypt represented immortality.




the golden gate

To the Jew, the Golden Gate was to be the sight of the Messiah's return to establish His kingdom on earth; and free the Jewish people from the nations of the world. The Golden Gate was to be the entry point for the Jewish Messiah into Jerusalem. Christian tradition places the Golden Gate as the site of the Triumphal Entry by Jesus into Jerusalem. By entering the eastern gate Jesus knew all too well what He was doing. As stated in Ezekiel, and believed by Jews of Jesus' time and today, the Messiah would return to rule Jerusalem through the East Gate.

Thus, when Jesus performed His Triumphal Entry He was proclaiming Himself as Messiah by entering Jerusalem from the east. He fulfilled the passage in Ezekiel about the Prince returning and entering by the eastern gate. This bold and daring move on His part set the stage for the showdown with the scribes and Pharisees, led to His arrest and ultimately to His crucifixion.

Suleiman the Magnificent was determined to thwart the Jewish tradition of the Messiah returning via the Golden Gate. Thus in 1540-41 AD he sealed the gate shut. Consequently, a Muslim cemetery was also built in front of the Golden Gate, which stands today. This cemetery, coupled with the gate being sealed shut, were Islamic attempts to dissuade the Messiah from returning to Jerusalem.