The irony may have been lost on the people at the time, the way it is lost on most of us today, but Jesus’ “triumphal entry” was not that of a General or a warrior. No, such men ride stallions. Jesus rode in on a donkey. This symbolized that Jesus came on a mission of peace. The donkey revealed Jesus to be a humble peasant on a peace mission, not a military warrior.
This donkey, this symbol of peace is important on several levels. The donkey is the animal that is often used to mock and ridicule others. The word “ass” is not a flattering one, we use it to ridicule people. As GK Chesterton wrote of the donkey, he is the “devil’s walking parody of four footed things.”
But, in the way that Jesus had of constantly turning everything upside down, Jesus rides in on a donkey for his triumphal entry and not only establishes this irony, but lifts up the lowly, in this case, the lowly donkey in the process. This donkey becomes the sacred throne for, not only a King, but the very Son of God. Note that it was a donkey that had carried Jesus and Mary at the beginning of his life just before he was born as they rode into Bethlehem. And now a donkey carries him into Jerusalem just before his death."