The image of Solomon entering Jerusalem on a donkey as a sign of David’s (and God’s) choice for the new king plays into the scene in Matthew 21 (1 Kings 1:38-40). The prophetic preparation for a new king, the king, comes from Zechariah 9:9. Extended from that is another prophecy:
Isaiah 62:11b ESV
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
All of this Matthew brings together to demonstrate that this was not a simple case of a pretender king. Rather, prophetically and now in fact, the one riding on the donkey is none other than the promised king, “Your King, O Jerusalem.” Whether Jerusalem is ready only with words: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 118:26) or with the heart (Matthew 23:37) remains to be seen.
The question that Matthew the catechizer brings to us today in this text is simple: do we too recognize this one coming into Jerusalem as King, the King of kings, our King. Jesus fulfills prophecy, he offers himself as the full sacrifice for our sins. The rest of Holy week takes us on to the rest of the story. He is the totality of God’s love and righteousness and justice… for us. He reigns over us, now and forever.
Palm Sunday gives us an appropriate time to reflect, mediate upon, and grow in our understanding and appreciation of that truth. But most of all to grow in our faith and trust in him, that he really is who Scripture declares him to be. Hosanna (“save now!”) was the response on that first Palm Sunday. It becomes our response today!
Hosanna to the Son of David!