As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said, “and you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them here. If anyone asks what you are doing just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately send them.” (Matt. 21:1-3 NLT)
A throng of followers including the twelve specially chosen disciples along with Jesus were making their way to attend the Passover week in Jerusalem. This would be Jesus’ final visit to the holy city prior to his crucifixion. He was fulfilling the Law of Moses which required all Jewish men to attend at least three festivals – Passover, Pentecost (Firstfruits), and Feast of Tabernacles.
As they approached a village called Bethphage meaning “house of figs,” the entourage stopped. Jesus sent two of his disciples who are unnamed into the village to get a donkey and her colt for the remainder of his journey into the city.
Jesus told them where to find the animals, unhitch them, and bring them both back to him. If the owner tried to stop them, they were to simply say, “The Lord needs them,” and permission would be granted. This was not a pre-arranged agreement which allows us to make several observations:
(1) Jesus exercises his omniscience by telling the disciples exactly where to go to find the animals. He even knew that they were hitched because he said, “Untie them and bring them to me.”
(2) Jesus uses supernatural knowledge in knowing in advance that the owner would give permission for their release. Only someone with divine insight could have accomplished this task.
(3) Jesus chose the colt that had never been ridden as the one to ride. It is noteworthy that the young colt never bucked, lurched, or gave any resistance signifying his divine sovereignty over the animal kingdom.
(4) The two disciples chosen for the task obeyed his instructions without hesitation, complaint, question, or resistance revealing their trust and commitment.
Their actions reveal to us the importance of following the Lord’s will without questioning his reasons or purposes. It also gives us great confidence in knowing that God’s power to accomplish his plan and purpose far outweighs any opposition that might arise. Finally, it reminds us that we are to be submission and follow the leadership of those that he places over us.It is obvious from the context that Jesus was in the process of fulfilling the redemptive plan that had been determined in eternity past by the Godhead. His “time had come” to lay down his life as the Passover Lamb.