Matthew 21:1-11 Not The Jesus They Were Looking For

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill 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.’”[a]

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]

“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Not The Jesus They Were Looking For

Jesus, when you entered Jerusalem people hailed you as the king.  Perhaps they thought that you would overthrow the Romans.  You could have, but you didn’t come for that.  You came to overthrow something more profound.  You came to overthrow individuals.  As they hailed you as king, they wanted you to take care of the problems they thought they had, not the problems you knew they had.  They wanted to transform their land back to the glory days of David and Solomon, but you wanted to transform their hearts.  Although they spoke the truth, their interpretation was a lie.  They would soon kill you when they found out that you weren’t following their agenda.

Jesus, I pray that you would conquer us.  I pray that you would slay our selfishness, our hedonism, and our isolation.  I pray that you would form yourself in us.  We would become humble, thoughtful, and unswerving from our purpose.  We were born to establish your authority as king:  First in our own hearts and then in the hearts of others.  Help us to cry Hosanna, but help it to be for better motives.  Help us to lay down what we have at your feet and declare that it is all yours.  Help us to connect with you.  Then help us to follow, even if the way leads to the cross.


  1. What was Jesus to ride into the city?
  2. Why did the people greet him as they did?
  3. What is the difference between the city and the crowds?
  4. Are you a city member, a crowd member, or a disciple in your approach to Jesus?
  5. What does Jesus being king mean to you?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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