Signs of Meekness and Sifters of Joy
Matthew 21:5, 8
Tell you the daughter of Sion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek, and sitting on an donkey, and a colt the foal of an donkey.…

Thy King cometh unto thee, meek; "And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way." The word "meek" is used in Scripture for "not self-assertive," "not seeking one's own." It is not to be confounded with "humility." The apostle puts "humbleness of mind" and "meekness" alongside each other in such a way that we cannot fail to observe the distinction between them. Moses was the "meekest of men," but certainly not the most humble. It is usual to associate our Lord's "meekness" with his riding on so lowly an animal; but this is to transfer our Western ideas of asses to Eastern lands; and it also fails to observe that in ver. 5 there are two assertions, each distinct from the other. Our Lord was "meek;" and our Lord was "sitting upon an ass." If we take the word "meek" here in its usual meaning, "not self-assertive," we may find fresh suggestion in the passage. The signs of joy given in vers. 8, 9 are characteristically Eastern. Bishop Heber thus describes his march to Colombo: "The road was decorated the whole way as for a festival, with long strips of palm branches hung upon strings on either side; and whenever we stopped we found the ground spread with white cloth, and awnings erected, beautifully decorated with flowers and fruit, and festooned with palm branches. These remnants of the ancient custom mentioned in the Bible, of strewing the road with palm branches and garments, are curious and interesting."

I. THE MEEKNESS OF JESUS. This is not the thing which first arrests attention. Indeed, on this one occasion Jesus seems to be asserting himself. Look deeper, and it will be found that he is not. He is not in any of the senses men put into that term. There, riding into Jerusalem as a King, he has no intention of setting up any such kingdom as men expect; he does not mean to use any force; you could never mistake him for a conqueror. There is submission, there is no self-assertion.

II. THE JOY OF THE PEOPLE. In calling Jesus the "Son of David," the people recognized him as the long promised Messiah; and, without clear apprehensions of what his work was to be, they could rejoice in the realization of the national hope. Their joy made it clear to the Jerusalem officials that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. There could be no mistake. They must accept or reject the claim. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

WEB: "Tell the daughter of Zion, behold, your King comes to you, humble, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

A New Kind of King
Top of Page
Top of Page