Ascent of Jesus: Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

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Now something strange happens once the colt is brought to Jesus. The disciples lay their garments on the colt and set Jesus upon it (which Lk 19, 35 mentions, but is absent in Mt 21, 7 and Mk 11, 7). What Luke mentions in 19, 35, is what we could find in the First Book of Kings in the account of Solomon’s installation on the throne of his father, David. There we could see that David commanded Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah like this: “Take with you the servants of your lord, cause Solomon my son to ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon; and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel” (1Kgs 1, 33-34).

The spreading of the garments likewise belongs to the tradition of Israelite kingship (cf. 2Kgs 9, 13). What the disciple do corresponds with the gesture of enthronement in the tradition of the Davidic kingship. Further, it points to the messianic hope that grew out of the Davidic tradition. This enthusiasm of the disciples is now transmitted to the pilgrims that came to Jerusalem. They too now spread their garments on the street along which Jesus passes and plucked branches from the trees and cry out the verses from Psalm 118. This Psalm contains the words of blessing from Israel’s pilgrim liturgy, which on lips of the people become a messianic proclamation (Mk 11, 9-10; cf. Ps 118, 26).

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