The account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is found in all four gospels. Compare Matthew’s account here with those in the other gospels: Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, and John 12:12-19. What details are consistent in all four gospels? What are the differences? Are the differing details enough to change the meaning or impact of the story?
For example, in John, Jesus just finds a donkey and sits on it, whereas in the others, he sends the disciples ahead to find one. Why might that have been an important detail to the others, but not to John? Matthew and John both refer to Zechariah 9:9, which reads, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The prophet was probably attempting to drive home the point that the Messiah would arrive in humility. A donkey was far less impressive than the steed that most royalty would ride, and a colt even less so. But the author of Matthew seems to misunderstand that detail, so has Jesus riding both the donkey and the colt, an awkward thing to imagine. What a gift it is to examine the same story through the perspective of different authors!
In prayer today, offer thanks for the wisdom, the beauty, and the complexity of the bible.