Triumphal entry into Jerusalem
|Events in the|
|Life of Jesus|
according to the canonical gospels
|Portals: Christianity Bible|
This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem took place in the days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of his Passion, his time of suffering, death, and resurrection celebrated during Holy Week.
In John 12:9-11 crowds gather around Jesus and believe in him after he raised Lazarus from the dead, and the next day the multitudes that had gathered for the feast in Jerusalem welcome Jesus as he enters the city.
In Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19, Jesus descends from the Mount of Olives towards Jerusalem, and the crowds lay their clothes on the ground to welcome him as he triumphantly enters Jerusalem.
The triumphal entry is traditionally commemorated on Palm Sunday.
The Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is narrated in Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44 and John 12:12–19. The following comparison is primarily based on the New International Version (NIV).
|Jesus' task||Matthew 21:1–5
|Fetching the donkey(s)||Matthew 21:6–7
|Entry and reaction||Matthew 21:8–11
All four canonical Gospels contain an account of the triumphal entry, which according to Bart D. Ehrman therefore passes the criterion of multiple attestation in order to (re)construct the historical Jesus. But there are contradictions between the Gospels, which each account telling a different story of how the triumphal entry occurred. For several reasons, it is improbable that the entry of Jesus happened historically in accordance with one of the four accounts transmitted by the canonical gospels, and some elements may have been invented for theological purposes.(10:17)
The crowd and geography
- Synoptic Gospels
According to the preceding narratives in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 20:29; Mark 10:46, and Luke 18:35–36), an ever-growing large crowd of people had been following Jesus and his Twelve Disciples around by the time they departed from Jericho – where Jesus healed one or two blind men, who also joined the crowd:7 – and set out on their way to Jerusalem via Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives.:59 Grant R. Osborne (2010) stated that Jericho was traditionally a place for pilgrims to cross the Jordan River on the way to the Passover festival in Jerusalem, so the presence of many people travelling in the same direction would have been 'natural', but the texts (e.g. Matthew 20:29) specifically say that a large crowd was following Jesus, 'undoubtedly as a result of his fame in Galilee.' After Jesus mounted (a) donkey(s), these people accompanying Jesus started shouting 'Hosanna!' and prophecy-related statements (according to Luke 19:37 upon passing the Mount of Olives).
- Gospel of John
The Gospel of John, on the other hand, never mentions Jericho, but has Jesus and the Twelve flee to Ephraim in the wilderness to keep out of sight of the priests after the upheaval caused by the Raising of Lazarus (John 11:46–57). Six days before Passover, Jesus and the Twelve depart from Ephraim to visit Lazarus, Mary and Martha in Bethany (John 12:1–3), where a large crowd gathered when they found out Jesus and Lazarus were there (12:9). However, verses 12:12–13 seem to indicate they went home again the same day after this brief encounter in Bethany. 'The great crowd', apparently the same people, is said to come out of Jerusalem again the next day to meet and greet Jesus and the Twelve, and these Jerusalemian crowds are the ones shouting 'Hosanna!' and that a prophecy has been fulfilled (instead of the people accompanying Jesus from Jericho according to the Synoptics) according to John 12:12–15. John 12:16 states that the disciples don't understand why the Jerusalemians are shouting these things, while in Matthew, Mark and especially Luke they appear to be participating in this shouting themselves, presumably aware of the words' meaning. Verse 18 repeats the claim that 'the crowd went out to meet him' (rather than a crowd already following Jesus), and connects it to the Raising of Lazarus, which is not narrated by the other Gospels.
Osborne (2010) argued that the crowd accompanying Jesus to Jerusalem (e.g. in Matthew 21:8–9) was a mixture of pilgrims who had been following Jesus around from Galilee, and 'pilgrims (many coming out of Jerusalem after hearing Jesus was coming, John 12:12).':755–756
In the synoptic gospels, Jesus sends two disciples ahead to the nearby village of Bethphage in order to retrieve a donkey and if questioned, to say that it was needed by the Lord. New Testament scholars Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan characterize this as a pre-planned "counterprocession" in contrast to that of the Roman prefect who would have traveled with his troops from Caesarea Maritima to maintain order during the festival. Professor John Bergsma says that this is widely seen as a "recapitulation" of the enthronement of Solomon, (described in 1 Kings:1) where, at David's direction, he is anointed at the Gihon Spring and rides his father's donkey into the city to the acclaim of the people.
Jesus then rode the donkey into Jerusalem, with the three synoptic gospels stating that the disciples had first put their cloaks on it. Matthew 21:7 maintains that the disciples laid their cloaks on both the donkey and its colt. Heinrich Meyer suggests that "they spread their outer garments upon both animals, being uncertain which of them Jesus intended to mount". Matthew is the only one of the Synoptics to mention two animals. According to the NAB this reflects Matthew's understanding of that section in the Old Testament Book of Zechariah 9:9 which he cites, and does not take into account "…the common Hebrew literary device of poetic parallelism", mentioning the same animal twice in different ways.[Matthew 21:7] Bart D. Ehrman agreed that the Gospel of Matthew misunderstood Zechariah 9:9, which states '[Your king comes] riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.' This repetition is a Hebrew poetic figure of speech which says the same thing twice in different words, but Matthew accidentally turned this into two separate animals which Jesus rode simultaneously instead of one donkey which is described twice.(12:01) John 12:14–15 refers to the same passage in Zechariah 9:9, but in his case there is only talk of one donkey.
Ehrman argued that the triumphal entry did not pass the criterion of dissimilarity, because the king entering Jerusalem on a donkey could have been invented by Christians in order to have Jesus fulfil Old Testament prophecy. The fact that Matthew mistakenly turned Zecharia 9:9 into two animals to literally fulfil this prophecy underlines this theological motive, and questions whether Matthew wanted to give a historically reliable account.(10:17)
The crowd is said to be shouting various prophecy-related statements that are somewhat different in each Gospel. The shout hosanna (mentioned by all Gospels except Luke:10) derives from Hebrew hosia-na, meaning "save us",:10 "save, we pray", or "save now". The one shout all four Gospels agree on is 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' (although Luke replaces 'he' with 'the king':10), which is a quote from Psalm 118:25,26; Matthew 23:39 and Luke 13:35 also recite this verse. Psalm 118 is part of the traditional festive Hallel, sung each morning by the temple choir during the Feast of Tabernacles, so every Jew would have known this phrase.:70
In Matthew and Mark, the crowd claims that Jesus will soon ascend to the kingship as the 'son' (descendant) of King David. Edward Schillebeeckx (1974) stated that Matthew and Mark thus emphasised the claim that Jesus had a hereditary right to the throne of Israel. In Luke and John, the crowd explicitly claims that Jesus is the king of Israel already, without any reference to David.:10 According to Huffman (2012), Luke portrayed Jesus' coming kingdom as spiritual, seeking 'peace in heaven', rather than a political threat to the Roman Empire.:10
The cloak- and branch-spreading
The Gospels go on to recount how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and how the people there laid down their cloaks in front of him and also laid down small branches of trees. Huffman (2012) noted: 'Luke does not mention (nor deny) tree branches, but only John specifies branches of palm trees (John 12:13).':12
Flevit super illam
On his entry into the city, Matthew's account suggests that Jesus evoked great excitement - "all the city was moved". The people of the city asked "Who is this?" and "the multitudes" answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee”.
In Jesus and Judaism (1985), E. P. Sanders asked: 'If the entry was what we are told it was, why did it take so long for the Romans to execute Jesus?' A large-scale event as portrayed in the Gospels, in which Jesus is loudly proclaimed to be the (future) king of Israel, would have been an act of rebellion that the Romans would surely have punished with immediate execution, Sanders reasoned, suggesting it may have been much smaller and humbler than narrated to avoid Roman interference.:51 Following Sanders, Ehrman argued that the triumphal entry did not pass the criterion of contextual credibility: 'If Jesus actually did enter into the city with such fanfare, with crowds shouting their support for him as the new ruler of the Jews, the king who fulfils all prophecies – who would therefore have to overthrow the present ruler and his armies in order for himself to rule – it's nearly impossible to understand why the authorities didn't have him arrested on the spot and immediately taken away, if this really happened.'(13:22)
King of peace
Bethany was located east of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. Zechariah 14:4 states that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives: Matthew 21:1-11 refers to a passage from Book of Zechariah[Zechariah 9:9] and states: "All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass."
Though Jesus had been to Jerusalem several times to celebrate the three pilgrimage festivals, his final entry into Jerusalem had a special meaning. He was solemnly entering as a humble King of peace. Traditionally, entering the city on a donkey symbolizes arrival in peace, rather than as a war-waging king arriving on a horse.
The Golden Gate is located in the north section of the east wall of the Temple Mount. In Jewish belief, the gate is called 'The Gate of Mercy' (Sha'ar HaRakhamim), and is considered to be the place from which the Messiah will enter in the end of days. According to Jewish tradition, the Shekhinah (שכינה) (Divine Presence) used to appear through the eastern Gate, and will appear again when the Anointed One (Messiah) comes (Ezekiel 44:1–3) The gate is believed[by whom?] to be the place from which Christ entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, thus implying his own messianic status.
Old Testament parallels
The prophecy referred to by Matthew recalls Zechariah 9:9 ("Exult greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! Behold: your king is coming to you, a just savior is he, Humble, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.")
The triumphal entry and the use of palm branches resemble the celebration of Jewish liberation in 1 Maccabees 13:51 which states: "And entered into it … with thanksgiving, and branches of palm trees, and with harps, and cymbals, and with viols, and hymns, and songs."
- Life of Jesus in the New Testament
- Entry of Christ into Jerusalem (van Dyck) (1617)
- Christ's Entry Into Brussels in 1889 (1888)
- "Online Bible – New International Version". Biblehub.com. 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Bart D. Ehrman (2000). "L20 Last Days Of Jesus". The Historical Jesus. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
- Osborne, Grant R. (2010). Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Matthew. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Academic. p. 747. ISBN 9780310323709. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- Huffman, Douglas S. (2012). "Receiving Jesus as Messiah King: A Synoptic Study on the Way to Luke's Triumphal Entry Account" (PDF). Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 16 (3): 4–17. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- Timothy James Nicholls (December 2007). "Waving Palm Branches: The Markan Triumphal Entry In Light of Historical Criteria" (PDF). Reformed Theological Seminary. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
The crowd mentioned which surrounded Jesus on his way to Jerusalem are both immediately, the disciples (Mk 11:1b), but also presumably those who have been with him on his travels through Jericho (Mk. 10:32–52, and possibly even beyond that in his Galilean and Perean ministry).
- Evans 2003, pp. 381-395.
- Borg & Crossan 2007, p. 5.
- Bergsma & Pitre 2018, p. 546.
- Meyer's NT Commentary on Matthew 21, accessed 7 February 2017
- "Psalm 118 – Berean Study Bible". Biblehub.com. 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- Schillebeeckx, Edward (1974). Jezus, het verhaal van een levende (in Dutch). Baarn: Uitgeverij H. Nelissen B.V. p. 368–414. ISBN 90-244-1522-5. Retrieved 9 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Boring & Craddock 2004, pp. 256-258.
- Majerník, Ponessa & Manhardt 2005, pp. 133-134.
- Also see Josephus, Flavius, Bellum Judaicum, II,13,5 and Antiquitates Judaicae, XX,8,6
- Mutholath 2018.
- MacArthur 2008, pp. 17-18.
- Davies & Allison 2004, p. 120.
- "Sha'ar Harahamim", Agency for Jewish Education, 1995
- "Bab al-Dhahabi", Archnet
- Evans 2005, pp. 114-118.
- Bossuet 2019.
- Bergsma, John; Pitre, Brant (2018). A Catholic Introduction to the Bible. Ignatius Press. ISBN 978-1-64229-048-6.
- Borg, Marcus J.; Crossan, John Dominic (2007). The Last Week LP: A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus's Final Week in Jerusalem. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-112128-9. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Boring, M. Eugene; Craddock, Fred B. (2004). The People's New Testament Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22754-8.
- Bossuet, J. (15 April 2019). "The Humble Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem". Catholic Exchanges. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
- Evans, Craig A. (2003). The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke. Volume 1. David C Cook. ISBN 978-0-7814-3868-1.
|volume=has extra text (help)
- Evans, Craig A. (2005). The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: John's Gospel, Hebrews-Revelation. David C Cook. ISBN 978-0-7814-4228-2.
- Davies, W. D.; Allison, Dale C. Jr. (2004). Matthew 19-28. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-0-567-08375-3.
- MacArthur, John (2008). John 12-21 MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Moody Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8024-8083-5.
- Majerník, Ján; Ponessa, Joseph; Manhardt, Laurie Watson (2005). Come and See: The Synoptics: On the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke. Emmaus Road. ISBN 978-1-931018-31-9.
- Mutholath, Abraham (21 March 2018). "Jesus' Triumphal entry into Jerusalem". St. Thomas SyroMalabar Diocese of Chicago. Retrieved 2021-03-30.
- Media related to Triumphal entry into Jerusalem at Wikimedia Commons