1 When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
2 telling them, “Go into the village in front of you, and soon you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.
3 If anyone asks anything, you should reply, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, who said,
5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.
8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
prisoners of hope
The Old Testament prophecies of a coming Messiah dug deep into the souls of the Israelites in Jesus’ day. They were well aware that their political situation was an impossible one. But they dared to believe these prophecies, and thought about them as a way of dealing with the harsh reality of oppression under foreign rule.
So, when Jesus’ disciples borrowed a donkey and her colt, explaining that the Lord needs them, they thought of this prediction from Zechariah:
“Rejoice excessively, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; he is triumphant and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The seeds of hope had grown within them, and produced a harvest of excessive joy. They shouted “Hosanna” in direct obedience to this prophecy, which was being fulfilled that very day. His choice of these two meek animals as his means of transportation was not unheard of in the ancient near east. Sometimes a conquering ruler would ride into his newly conquered city on a humble beast instead of his war horse. It would serve as a symbol of his triumph over the opposition. Zechariah predicted that the Messiah’s triumphant entry would be both a symbol of his conquering power and his true humility.
Zechariah went on to declare that the rescue of these “prisoners of hope” would be “through the blood of the covenant.” Their real rescue was not from political bondage but from the “waterless pit” of death itself. Jesus knew that this symbolic triumphal entry must be followed by a humiliating torturous death for himself on the cross. To truly set these “prisoners of hope” free, he had to die in their place.
LORD, inspire us again with the hope for rescue we had when you first showed us our coming king. Remind us again of the victory and the peace that is now ours because of the price Jesus paid for our deliverance. Hosannah!
 Zechariah 9:9.