Searching for God: ‘Palms and Passion’


Today Pastor Jim continues the Searching for God sermon series by taking a closer look at Matthew 21:1-11. 

All four Gospels mention Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem during the Hebrew Passover. Matthew tells the story with a twist. In Matthew Jesus sends his disciples into Bethphage to pick up two animals: a female, or “Jenny,” and her colt, or “foal.” He explained that these animals, who (ahem) were owned by somebody else, would help fulfill ancient prophecy. He even quoted from the backside of the Bible, Zechariah 9:9, which says that the King of Zion would ride into the city humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Again, ahem. Guess what happened, according to Matthew? Jesus sat on both animals. See above. I’m not trying to cause any trouble here, I’m just saying…what gives?

Some think it is a mistranslation of Matthew’s words from Greek into English. Matthew uses the Greek word “kai” which is normally translated as “and.” “Kai” can also mean “also.” Maybe what Matthew meant to say was what Zechariah meant; in other words, that Jesus rode on a donkey who was also a colt.

Some scholars think that Matthew was following the requirement of “two witnesses” to prove something happened. Two animals equal two witnesses, I suppose. Others say that the other three Gospels don’t deny that there were two donkeys; they just ignore the fact. It makes my brain hurt.

One of the good things that has come out of our current tragic situation is that we seem to be more focused on what really matters. We have neither the energy nor the inclination to get caught up in controversies and arguments that go nowhere.

The point is that our Lord road into Jerusalem, and he didn’t stop at the city gates. He kept going, all the way to the cross. I say “Hosanna!” which means “Save us!” We need saving. Don’t we?

Praise God. He came to save us all!