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The Cartoon Gospels
Sixth Sunday of Lent (when Palm Sunday) (A22)

Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus Unhitches a Ride

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately." [...] The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."

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Matthew's source for (or understanding of) Zechariah 9:9* is incorrect and leads him to place Jesus on two donkeys. If this isn't funny enough, Luke, who is primarily writing to a Gentile audience (versus Matthew writing to a primarily Jewish audience) gets it right (Luke 19:28). Regardless of the discrepancy, the symbolism points to Jesus as a king of peace and love.

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*Note: Zechariah 9.9 should read:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Hebrew parallelism or pairs: rejoice and shout are a pair; Zion and Jerusalem are the same; triumphant and victorious equate to humble (an interesting pair but makes sense for a king to ride a donkey in peacetime and a horse during war ... so humble fits with triumphant and victorious); donkey, colt and foal are all one in the same animal. Matthew's version "and on a colt" changes this last parallelism by adding another animal.

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