Matthew 21:1-5. “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to 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 ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them: and straightway he will send them.” 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.”
Jesus was setting the stage for another fulfillment of prophecy when He sent for the donkey and her colt. He did not, as some would have us believe, think that He would now be accepted by the Jews as their Messiah, and plan to ride into Jerusalem as a king soon to be crowned. He knew exactly what would happen to Him in Jerusalem. There were no false hopes in His heart as He prepared to face what was ahead.
The name of the village they were in was Bethphage. The word means house of unripe figs, which is significant in this chapter later on. Knowing all things, He knew there would be a donkey with her foal. As Creator of all things, He owns all things; the donkey was already His, and He had every right to make use of her (Psalm 1:10, 11). He knew that the heart of the donkey’s master would be prepared and open to allow the disicples to take her and her colt for the Lord’s use. His words demanded obedience, and He was indeed obeyed.
The prophecy soon to be fulfilled is found in Zechariah 9:9. Jewish scholars recognized that passage as a Messianic prophecy of the coming of Christ. The dramatic fulfillment of that prophecy should have stirred the hearts and minds of the Rabbis, priests, scribes—all who knew the Old Testament scriptures. Perhaps it did, but not enough and not for long.