Despite the prevalence of skepticism in our culture, there is little reason to question the substance of this account. Later storytellers would probably not have thought to have invented accurate allusions to Jerusalem Passover customs, such as an acclamation from Psalm 118 (which was recited during festivals); this suggests genuine historic tradition in the triumphal entry. If Jesus rode an ass into Jerusalem, he himself probably intended an allusion to Zechariah (E. Sanders 1993:254). And why not, if Jesus both read the Hebrew Bible and knew himself to be descended from David?
More important, this narrative both portrays Jesus as a king and defines the significance of his kingship. Because his kingship was so different from worldly models of authority (20:25), Jesus subverts the worldly understanding of kingship to suggest a reign of a different order.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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