Jesus travels to Jerusalem through the Mount of Olives and asks his disciples to bring a donkey and a foal. Zechariah had proclaimed that the Lord would stand upon the Mount of Olives. As our humble king and savior, he would arrive “riding on a donkey” (Zechariah 14:4; 9:9). Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include an account of this entry into Jerusalem, but only Matthew explicitly quotes Zechariah, strongly noting that the prophet’s words are now fulfilled in Jesus.
When Jesus enters Jerusalem, the crowd pays him homage by laying their cloaks and palm branches before him. To the ruling powers of Rome, Jesus’s actions and the crowd’s response created a dangerous situation: here was a man whom the Jewish crowds claimed was their king and liberator, who arrived in Jerusalem during Passover, the symbolic day of God delivering the enslaved Hebrews from oppression. This was seen by Rome as a clear challenge to its absolute rule, one they later eliminated. However, Matthew’s interpretation of the event was this: the one whom Rome would crucify as a threat it its supremacy was, in fact, Israel’s Messiah. They would be instrumental in helping Jesus fulfill the last parts of Isaiah’s prophecy.
In this year, where the Gospel readings are drawn from Matthew, we have to remember that he was a Jewish convert to Christianity. As such, unlike modern Christians who are mostly born into the religion, there is a large possibility that he struggled to find a proper relationship between his past faith and that of Jesus’s teachings. Does he completely set aside the Laws of the Old Testament, or does Jesus provide their full and accurate interpretation? This explains why there are differences in his account when compared to the other Gospels. In his attempt to show a full link between the two faiths, Matthew portrays Jesus as the one who fulfilled the scriptures and prophecies of the Old Testament, thus of the Old Testament, thus completing God’s promise of salvation.