Triumphal Entry or Humble Approach?


April 15, 2014

Zechariah 9:9

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”


Before we get too much further into Passion Week I want to revisit what I consider to be a major misnomer we often find in our bibles. Misnomer– it comes from a French word which means to wrongly name. Remember back a few days ago with me to “Palm Sunday,” and the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem “humble and mounted on a donkey” the prophecy read.

Anyone remember the two words that appear in most of our (English) bibles as the heading over this passage of Scripture? Here is the misnomer. They are these:

Triumphal Entry.

These subheadings, mind you, are not the Word of God. They are, rather, the work of translators. Likely the translators were themselves playing with the irony. I will leave that to those smarter than I. Suffice it to say though, this word, “Triumphal” is precisely the wrong word. Yes, it’s the word we want and like but its wrong. Why not, the “Humble” Entry or at least the “Prophetic” Entry.

Entries matter a lot. Just in case we entered this week with any notion of “Triumphal,” as in “We will Rock You”  in our spirit, there’s still time to run back outside the gates and come in again. Crawl this time.

Passion week is not our annual opportunity to put yet another exclamation point on our theological dogmas and doctrinal foundations. Passion Week is the annual invitation to become disoriented by the Holy Love of God, shaken to the core of our comfortable being, and dispossessed of our sentimental illusions about grace.

For all practical purposes, the best two word caption I can think of for all that is about to unfold. . . . Hell Week. The only one making a “Triumphal” entry into Jerusalem was Satan himself. This is the week that the very Gates of Hell were opened, unleashing ALL HELL  on the Son of God. Remember that time in the desert when we were told that after unsuccessfully unseating Jesus with his tawdry temptations, “he left him until an opportune time”?


J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at

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