Skeptics Annotated Bible A Response

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#35 - On what did Jesus ride into Jerusalem?

Response by Wendell Leahy

( be posted...)

Response by Dave Marr

The skeptic's bewilderment:

On an ass and a colt.
"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. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon." Matthew 21:5-7

On a colt.
"And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him." Mark 11:7
"And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon." Luke 19:35

On a young ass.
"And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon." John 12:14

Matthew 21:5-7 basically answers the dispute. He rode on an ass and a colt. Perhaps he rode on the colt longer than he rode on the ass, and that’s why it was mentioned in two of the Gospels with the colt by itself. John, whose Gospel is known for adding subtle spiritual details in its content, mentions only the ass. This point is important to notice: Mark, Luke, and John do not say “He sat on an ass only” or “He sat on a colt only. Matthew and John are known for having more exposition by Jesus on deeper spiritual truths, especially John. That is why John, knowing the prophecies, mentions that He sat on an ass. He may not have mentioned the colt because they were already written in the previously documented accounts, Mark and Luke. Matthew, himself one of the disciples like John (who both witnessed the event), listed the ass and the colt, perhaps because he was more meticulous, as he came from the profession of tax collecting.

Also, it is crucial to note that, in Mark and Luke, Jesus rides the colt before- and as- they waved palm branches in His path and worshipped Him. John records Jesus riding the ass immediately after this event.