The Sarcophagus of Adelphia: Detail, Jesus' Entry into Jerusalem

This event is recorded in all four gospels: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-38, John 12:12-15. As usual, the image stays close to the details in the texts. Jesus rides on a small ass, one man is putting his cloak on the road for him, and another is in the tree cutting palm leaves to strew in his path.

The two men on the left and right may both be disciples, or since the gospels emphasize the joyful reception of Jesus they may represent the people of Jerusalem, especially as the one on the right seems to have been holding a now lost wand or scroll that could symbolize his authority in the city.

There is a possibility that the man in the tree is Zaccheus, who had climbed a tree to watch Jesus' entry into Jericho earlier on the same day (Luke 19:1-10). The man in our carving does not seem to have a knife to cut with, and at least one palm branch is already on the ground, beneath the ass.

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Photographed at the Syracuse Archeological Museum, Sicily, by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.