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Why Did Christ Ride a Donkey on His Triumphant Entry?

The story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem can be read in the 21st chapter of Matthew and it tells us how he sent two of his disciples to a village to get a donkey with a colt beside it. He told them to bring the donkey and the colt to him so he can ride the donkey on his way to Jerusalem. But why did Jesus choose the lowly donkey instead of getting a magnificent horse to ride on?

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Jesus rode a donkey for three reasons. The first one is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, making his triumphant entry while riding a lowly animal a symbol of peace. When horses are mentioned in the Bible they are almost always in relation to kings and war, while donkeys are mentioned in relation to common people. The donkey’s purpose was in agriculture as well as trade.

Christ_rode_a_donkey
“Jesus used the donkey to connect with the common people.”

Smaller than horses and gifted with cautiousness, that can sometimes be mistaken for stubbornness, donkeys were not usually used during times of war. Zechariah 9:9 prophesied the coming of a king “righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” This prophecy was fulfilled in Matthew 21:1-11 when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem and it was triumphant because he had done so without bloodshed on the side of the people.

Second, in the ancient Biblical world, a leader rode on a horse if he was coming in war and a donkey to signify peace.

Third, Jesus used the donkey to connect with the common people.  Life was also not easy for a Jew living under Roman rule in the 1st century—more so for the poor. But Jesus embraced the poor and sick people during his time here on earth. His choice of a donkey instead of a horse was God’s way of saying that he came as a king who will serve and save the oppressed.

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33 thoughts on “Why Did Christ Ride a Donkey on His Triumphant Entry?

  1. Hello, I was wondering if you have a representative store in London, England. Your shipping costs for the Timeline posters are just astronomical.
    There is this CLC shop in East London which functions as an intermediary for Rose Publishing / Ascension Press where I get all my pamphlets from.
    I thought I had bought the Amazing Timeline as a poster way back when, but I don’t remember ever receiving it. But I might be wrong, or it could be in Limbo
    somewhere, wherever that is …
    God bless
    Chris

    1. Hi Chris: You are correct about the postage. Unfortunately because of the size of the chart it must be shipped as an oversize box – it can’t go first class or any rates by UPS or DHL. We are working on a solution. As to distributors, you point out that you know a store that handles pamphlets. Once again the size of the Chart is an issue. Very, very few bookstores are willing to carry a chart of this size.

      The answer? If you can get a friend or two to order with you, we can ship them in the same box. You will get the 25% volume discount on the poster plus split the postage cost. If three of you ordered the standard timeline, the cost with shipping would come to $27 which is the same as priority shipping in the US. Hope this helps!

    2. Hi Chris: You are correct about the postage. Unfortunately because of the size of the chart it must be shipped as an oversize box – it can’t go first class or any rates by UPS or DHL. We are working on a solution. As to distributors, you point out that you know a store that handles pamphlets. Once again the size of the Chart is an issue. Very, very few bookstores are willing to carry a chart of this size.

      The answer? If you can get a friend or two to order with you, we can ship them in the same box. You will get the 25% volume discount on the poster plus split the postage cost. If three of you ordered the standard timeline, the cost with shipping would come to $27 which is the same as priority shipping in the US. Hope this helps!

    3. It also was showing that he was royalty. Because, royalty usually was the ones who had the donkeys the more they had, the more wealthy they were.

    4. I am in awe that the donkey is the animal that his fur makes a cross in his back …. every donkey

    5. I was wondering if The King James Bible was being used?
      Or which Versions were I haven’t seen any indications of that.

  2. In this context, the English term “donkey” tends to be misleading and derisive; a more proper term for the animal is “ass”.

    The ass is the mount of a king.

    Granted, in battle kings employ horses for their soldiers and couriers and chariots; but the king himself goes to battle riding in a horse-drawn chariot, and not mounted astride a horse; consider Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, I Kings chapter 22.

    The ass is the mount of men of honour and influence; consider Balaam, Numbers chapter 22.

    The ass is the mount of the wealthy; consider the woman of Shunem, II Kings chapter 4.

    Here is a link to a web site which discusses the distinction between various animals of this general category:

    http://tbnranch.com/2012/01/13/donkey-ass-burro-mule-hinny-what-they-all-mean/

  3. Thank for the teaching,may the lord continue to uphold you in Jesus Name.

  4. When rulers ride on donkeys, that means peace, but when they ride on horses, it usually means war.

  5. I am trying to figure out if Christ rode on both a donkey and her colt. And what is the significance of Him riding on both?
    Matthew 21:4-8 “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
    5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
    gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]
    6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.”

    1. Jesus rode only one animal, namely, the foal of an ass. Your confusion arises from the fact that the Greek conjunction KAI has the meaning “and” or the meaning “even”, depending upon the context. Always, the meaning of a word or a phrase is governed by the context in which that word or phrase appears.

      Translated properly, the prophecy reads, “an ass, EVEN on a colt, the foal of an ass”. But the account of the fulfillment reads, “the ass AND the colt”.

      The presence of the mother of the foal not only attests to the fact that prophecy indeed has been fulfilled, but also is an indication of the fact that the foal never before has been ridden (indeed, the foal likely was not yet weaned), and thus is “sanctified” to this honourable commission.

    2. I think “riding on a donkey, and a on a colt, the foal of a donkey” is just the way hebrews used to write texts with a lot of redundancy. That’s a writing style which is common especially throughout the OT.
      That means Jesus rode on a single animal, not two.

  6. I think it is significant that Jesus rode the foal, an animal that was unbroken and yet allowed The Christ to sit him. It fulfills the prophesy and again reveals His deity and sovereignty. All of creation testifies….

  7. Jesus’s Triumphant Entry to Jerusalem ignites another thought, the favors and honors received by the donkey, I’m sure it never received such a warm welcome or attention in his life – people were putting their shawls and leaves on the road, praising Hosanna – Please save-
    imagine what would have been the fate of Donkey if he’ll go to the same crowd without Jesus on it?
    let’s always wait for lord to travel on us, when he’ll be with us we will be better cared and attended, when he will get down.. wait for him to ride on us again

    1. Thank you

  8. The Hebrew word for donkey is חֲמוֹר (chamor).

    חומר (chomer) is the Hebrew word for clay (matter).

    Perhaps “riding on a donkey” alludes to “mind over matter” or even elevation of the soul…?

    Consider the bible as a map—without a legend (or a key to the hidden meaning), it may be impossible to understand.

    “Make for yourself a Rav (teacher), buy yourself a friend, and judge everyone favorably.” ~Yehoshua ben Perachia

  9. Hi, thanks for the great article. I am just wondering if I recall correctly that Jesus came riding in sitting backwards on the ass?

  10. What was the significance of the colt/donkey ? Mark 11:24-25

  11. Friend in Christ
    To me its just like Jesus wanted everybody to be welcomed and reaches Him warmly and free

  12. Thomas cherian, my name is Zach Matthews I loved your reply. But here’s something to go with that. Jesus rode an ass that he borrowed correct. Well the Bible says we are bought with a price!! He borrowed Lowely perfect donkey and bought an old rotten sinner like me and all of us. The donkey experienced the God of creation, the God of the universe, the King of Kings for a day and that same God is loving inside of every born again believer!!! Wow it’s such a wonderful feeling to know how God loves us so much. I’m a young evangelist and I love Jesus but I’m so glad that I love him because he first loved me. If anyone has any questions concerning salvation or anything such as that text
    678-988-9985

  13. Good day, I am interested in purchasing the amazing bible timeline chart, but just wonder if you ship to Botswana and how much it would cost.

    Best regards

    1. We can although international shipping is more expensive. You can email at talktous@amazingbibletimeline.com or call toll free 877-966-7300 between 8AM and 5PM CT Monday through Friday if you need any help. Thank you!

  14. Regarding Jesus riding on an ass and its colt, could there be a significant connection with Exodus 13:13?
    “Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.”
    The donkey colt is the only animal God calls out for redemption by a lamb. Could it be that Jesus was demonstrating himself as the ultimate redeeming lamb of both donkey colts and men?

    1. Erik, that’s a great observation…makes sense. God always uses this type of teaching as a parable. This one Jesus is the one, The Lamb that redeems both the donkey and men, truly fulfilling prophecy and the law. I agree with your significant connection! Thanks. 🙂

  15. If we the donkeys are not redeemed we deserve judgement by breaking our necks.

  16. Is this still available? If so do yous do orders to ship to Australia please

    1. Hi Ina yes it is available and we do ship to Australia. You can order from our website at https://amazingbibletimeline.com/product/amazing-bible-and-world-history-timeline-with-free-bonuses/ or call toll free 877-966-7300 between 8AM and 5PM CT Monday through Friday. Thank you!

  17. Hi my name is prophet Yuma from south Sudan .Their were many animals in the world but GOD used donkey Mightily in the old testament the Donkey of Balaam prophesied (Num 22:30) while in the new testament Jesus did not use byscle,vehicle or any other animal one,machine needs maintenance fuel ,driver and clean road an evangelist dose not need only clean road other animals are weak but the donkey is strong (Mathew 21:1_11)
    . the donkey symbolis exoltation,new level there is a stage in life that take’s donkey to make things better (fulfill the gospel), the donkey can be your car,marriage,finance things that pushes you to do the will of God better or to meat other people (poor,widow and the orphan) Jesus entered Jerusalem as a king.
    . prophesys fulfillment (Zechariah 9:9)
    .

  18. Give you 3 points as to why a donkey and his mother.
    1 Jesus wanted a slow riding Brest so that all slow by age or health could caught up to him
    2 Jesus wanted a low riding beast so all those low form stuck in the muck people could reach up to him as he passes by
    3 the Tow He pulled a 2 beast slow and low so all who wanted to go with him would have an available ride.

  19. I share 2 points of the attitude of Jesus as he rode in on a donkey colt
    Zechariah said he came in lowly
    Meaning depressed heavy heart broken we see this in him stopping to weep over the city with the prophecy of 70 ad in his mind with the destruction of the city and the temple and the lose of a million lives. We know it must way heavy on him what he was face and endure at Calvary we see this in the garden
    So he was lowly in demeaned
    Matt 21 says we came in meekness
    Meaning power and authority but under control. Meekness meaning he knew God was in control and he was in the very perfect plan of God and all was going to come our positive for him in his resurrection!
    But he hey himself under control and stayed meek!
    We are to have these savne to ways of deneaner
    In this of service to Him as his yoje partner Matt 11:28-30 so we can find rest calmness of our souls and the burden to be light and the yoke to be easy.
    In Ephesians 4:1-2
    So we can find our calling our vocation to however God chooses to use us to be found worthy of our calling!
    I used this in the message Palm Sunday night

  20. Shalom beloved.
    I would like to order the Amazing bible timeline chart. I’m in Cameroon.
    Is it still available ?
    How Can i get it ?
    Thanks a billion time. Looking forward to having you

    1. Yes we ship internationally. Simply enter in your address information on the order page. Thank you!

  21. Another significance of the two donkeys is the Jewish and the newer (youngster) Gentile church He came to form. I read somewhere that a asses colt could not have carried a grown man’s weight (only about 45#), and as He came to the Jews first, it is likely he rode the mother and the colt was “tied” to her as the gentiles are to the former Hebrew (Old Testament) people of God. If he rode the colt He was levitating about 3/4 of His weight the whole time, which would not surprise me, but that role reversal seems unlikely and disordered chronologically with the symbolism.

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