|April 5, 2020
Zechariah’s Strange Prophecy
“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 21:4-5)
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an unbroken donkey colt on that momentous first day of the week, just a week before His resurrection, the multitudes quickly recognized that He was fulfilling an ancient prophecy and thereby specifically claiming to be their long-awaited Messiah. The prophecy was that of Zechariah 9:9, and the people in turn began to fulfill David’s even more ancient prophecy, laying palm branches in His path, and crying out: “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 118:26).
This is one of the few events in the life of Christ that are recorded in all four gospels, though only Matthew notes it as the fulfillment of prophecy. And what a strange prophecy it was! One would think that the anticipated King would come riding on a great white horse, ready to put down all His enemies (and indeed He shall do exactly that some day—see Revelation 19:11).
But here He comes riding on a colt, the foal of an ass, not high and mighty, but meek and lowly! Ah, but as Zechariah prophesied, He comes “just, and having salvation” (Zechariah 9:9). And the salvation He was bringing was not deliverance from Roman subjugation but eternal deliverance from sin and its awful wages.
These same multitudes that hailed Him soon were following their high priest in clamoring for His crucifixion. Nevertheless He someday will fulfill Zechariah’s later prophecy: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him” (Zechariah 12:10). Then, finally, indeed, “the LORD shall be king over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:9). HMM