Mat_21:1-3. And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come the Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
The time was for our Lord to finish his great work on earth, and his going up to Jerusalem was with this intent. He now determines to enter his capital city openly, and there to reveal himself as King. To this end, when he came near to the city, Jesus sent two disciples to bring him the foal of an ass whereon he would ride. His orders to the two disciples whom he commissioned, when they were come to Bethphage, are worthy of our serious attention. He directed them as to the place where they should find the animal: “Go into the village over against you.” The Lord knows where that which he requires is to be found. Perhaps it is nearer to us than we dream: “over against you.” He told them that they would not have to search: “straightway ye shall find.” When the Lord sends us on an errand, he will speed us on our way. He described the condition of the creatures: “an ass tied, and a colt with her.” Our Lord knows the position of every animal in the world, and he counts no circumstances to be beneath his notice. Nor did he leave the disciples without orders how they were to proceed: “loose them, and bring them.” Demur and debate there would be none; they might act at once. To stand questioning is not for the messengers of our King: it is their duty to obey their Lord’s orders, and to fear nothing. The two animals would be willingly yielded up by their owner when the disciples said, “The lord hath need of them;” nay, he would not only give them up, but “straightway he will send them.” Either the owner was himself a secret disciple, or some awe of the Lord Jesus was on his mind, but he would right joyfully consent to lend the ass and its foal for the purpose for which they were required. What a singular conjunction of words is here, “the Lord” and “hath need”! Jesus, without laying aside his sovereignty, had taken a nature full of needs; yet, being in need, he was still the Lord, and could commend his subjects, and requisition their property. Whenever we have anything of which the Lord’s cause has need, how cheerfully should we hand it over to him! The owner of the ass and her colt regarded it as an honour to furnish Jesus with a creature to ride upon. How great is the power of Jesus over human minds, as that by a word he quietly moves them to do his bidding! We have here the record of two disciples being sent to fetch an ass: those who do little things for Jesus are honoured thereby. Their errand appeared strange, for what they did might seem like robbery; but he who sent them took care to protect them from the least shade of suspicion. The messengers raised no question, offered no objection and met with no difficulty. It is ours to do what Jesus bids us, just as he bids us, and because he bids us; for his command is our authority.
Mat_21:4-5. 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.
Matthew is always reminding us of the Old Testament, as well, indeed, he may, for our Lord is always fulfilling it. Every point of detail is according to the prophetic model: All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. The Old and New Testaments dovetail into each other. Men have written “Harmonies of the Gospels”; but God has given us a Harmony of the Old and New Testament. The passage referred to is in Zec_9:9. It represents Zion’s King as meek and lowly even in the hour of his triumphant entrance to his metropolis, riding, not upon a war-horse, but upon a young ass, whereon no man had sat. He had before said of himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart,” and now he gives one more proof of the truth of his own words; and, at the same time of the fulfillment of prophecy: “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy king cometh unto thee, meek and sitting upon an ass.” He did not, like Solomon, fetch horses out of Egypt to minister to his pride; but he who was greater than Solomon was content with a colt the foal of an ass, and even that humble creature was borrowed, for he had none of his own. The tenderness of Jesus comes out in the fact of his having the ass brought with her foal that they might not be parted. He was, as a King, all gentleness and mercy: his grandeur involved no pain, even for the meanest living thing. How blessed is it for us to be ruled by such a King!