Jesus had finally made it to Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, the place where He knew He was destined to die on a cross in one week’s time. Many of Jesus’ followers, in spite of what He said in the story of the ten servants that we read yesterday, believed that Jesus would immediately set up His kingdom, and they gave Him a king’s greeting as He entered Jerusalem. But the story was anticlimactic. His triumphal entry ended with His looking around the Temple and then leaving the city to sleep overnight in the nearby town of Bethany (see Mark 11:11). So what was the point of Jesus’ dramatic entrance into Jerusalem?
Although Luke didn’t mention it in His Gospel, Jesus actually fulfilled an ancient prophecy as He entered Jerusalem on a colt. Matthew and John both recorded what the prophet Zechariah had foretold: “Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey—even on a donkey’s colt'” (Matthew 21:5).
That was not the only miraculous aspect of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Jesus knew that there would be a colt tied in a certain place, and He knew that when He sent some of His disciples to get it, the colt’s owners would object to their taking it. Jesus also knew that if the disciples told the owners that He had need of the colt and would return it, they would allow it to be taken. Additionally, Jesus knew that the colt had never been previously ridden. And amazingly, the colt allowed Him to ride on its back, not bucking Him off! These are just more proofs that Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus’ great mercy for the people of Jerusalem was revealed as He wept over the city, grieving for the calamity they would face in the future. In about forty years, the Roman army would come and destroy the city, and thousands of people would die violent deaths, many by being hung on crosses. Why would God allow such a thing to happen? It was an act of judgment upon them for their rejection of Jesus, as Jesus said, “Because you have rejected the opportunity God offered you” (Luke 19:44). In this we see both the love and holy judgment of God. God’s love is seen in Jesus’ weeping over the city, and His holy judgment is seen in His predicting and allowing the future disaster to occur. Those who reject God’s love have no choice but to suffer His judgment. Aren’t you glad you’ve received His love?
Q. The hard-hearted Pharisees, as they witnessed the crowds shouting and singing praises to God for the miracles they’d seen, requested that Jesus quiet His followers. Jesus replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” (Luke 19:40). What do you think He meant?
A. He must have been speaking in hyperbole, defined as “exaggeration for effect.” Jesus meant that what His followers were doing was the only appropriate response to what was happening. Those who were not rejoicing and praising God were the abnormal ones who were out of order. The situation demanded praise to God, so much that if people wouldn’t praise God, something else would.
Application: Jesus didn’t try to stop anyone from treating Him like a king as He entered Jerusalem, even to the point of allowing people to spread their garments on the road before Him, creating a long carpet on which His donkey could walk. Jesus knew He was God and acted the part. It would be sinful for anyone else to accept such favored treatment, honor that God alone deserves.