THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM
Matthew and Mark devote one third of their books to the passion week in the ministry of Jesus, and John allots one half of his book to the same. The week of the crucifixion and resurrection is so vitally important to the gospel message that much space needs to be allocated to its events.
It begins with the arrival of Jesus to the area, and the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Of the events of the week, this one is perhaps the most misunderstood. We have rejoiced at the same events that made our Lord weep, and we have missed the important lessons to be gained from this event.
Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem, amidst shouts of joy, palms carpeting His way into the city. The people were shouting "Hosanna", and rejoicing in the fact that their Messiah had arrived. They expected Him to enter the city, and miraculously, or militarily expel the Romans and begin the new "kingdom" that He had preached about
Matthew 21:1-11 (KJV)
1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
drew nigh unto Jerusalem... were come to Bethphage
Bethphage (which means ‘house of figs’) is about one mile from Bethany, and obviously a town where Jesus had met someone who had some donkeys. Perhaps the man was hoping that when the coming Messiah rode into Jerusalem, it would be on a donkey that he had raised. We do not know if that is the case, but Jesus and he did have an understanding, and the disciples were told to feel free to go, give the message pre-ordained by the Lord and this man, to indicate the time was now for the need of the animals.
The disciples were dispatched to get a colt and its mare, and their excitement likely grew. They forgot the warnings of the Lord concerning His impending death and His promise of the resurrection. Their long held beliefs that the Messiah would expel the Romans, and bring prosperity to the nation began to override all other information in their minds.
Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto Me ...
The Lord had a formerly made agreement with the owner of the colt and mare. The owner likely knew the impending coming of the Messiah and the prophecy of Zechariah. He had the animals tied and waiting the Lord to say that He was ready to use these animals.
When the animals were picked up, the word began to spread that the Messiah was about to proclaim His arrival. The crowd became excited, and the One Who had resurrected Lazarus, and was healing the blind, the lame, etc. as He traveled to Jerusalem, was the obvious Messiah.
This day of entry into Jerusalem was a fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy. Daniel had prophesied (Daniel 9:25) that from the giving of the commandment to return to Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah would be 69 weeks of years.
69 times 7 = 483 years
The command was given in the 20th year of Artaxerxes' reign. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica this was 445 BC, the first of Nisan which was March 14, 445 BC.
483 years times 360 days each is 173,880 days
From March 14, 445 BC until April 6, AD 32 is exactly 173,880 days.
The book called "The Coming Prince" by Sir Robert Anderson tells us that on April 6, AD 32, on the tenth of Nisan, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey, and offered Himself as King and Messiah (Zechariah 9:9, Luke 19:28-44, Matthew 21:1-11).
Zechariah had predicted the ‘how’ that He would come:
Zechariah 9:9 (KJV)
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass
Matthew loves to record the many Old Testament prophecies that the Lord fulfilled in His first coming. This is one that woke up the city, confirmed what many had begun to believe, that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the way
This was common in parades of conquerors, being honored by the people. Yet, many were being reminded of the prophecy of Zechariah, and were seeing this as Jesus announcement to them, of Who He is. So, the crowd began to lay their outer garments and branches broken from the trees into the pathway of Jesus. They boldly called Him to be the "Son of David", which is another term referring to the Messiah.
Jesus rode both a colt and a mare. There has been much argument concerning this, but it is not worth a long debate. Zechariah 9:9 seems to answer the debate of whether Jesus rode one or both.
"Rejoice, greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee, he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."
Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest
This same phraseology was said once daily, for seven days, during the feast of tabernacles. They said it as they marched with palms around the altar. On the eighth day they marched seven times, and called it the ‘great hosanna’.
This crowd on what we call ‘Palm Sunday’, expected Jesus to save them from human enemies, but Jesus had come to save them from sin, death, and the devil. Some of them may have, two days later, cried out for His crucifixion.
The term "HOSANNA" expresses hope and triumph. The basic meaning of such is "SAVE NOW" or "HELP NOW".
Perhaps they had the verse in Psalms 118 in mind,
and were quoting it:
"Save now (hosanna) I beseech Thee, O Lord,
I beseech Thee, send now prosperity."
The terms "SON OF DAVID" is equivalent to "MESSIAH" or "ANOINTED ONE". The crowd was accepting Jesus as the Messiah, the Sent and Anointed One Who had come to bring them help and prosperity. Their eyes was on the carnal prosperity, and not on spiritual prosperity though.
And when He was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
The word moved is the Greek, seio (G4579), meaning to be agitated.
Who is this? The agitated crowd, the pharisees and scribes who days earlier had tried to stone Him, question the crowd. They knew it was Jesus, but they are intimidating the crowd, letting them see their agitation, to make the crowd fearful to admit what they had just acknowledged.
And the multitude said, This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee
The crowd who moments before had said Jesus was the "Son of David" now comes upon the crowd in Jerusalem, which was "moved", ie. agitated by the arrival of Jesus. The ones who had called Jesus to be "the Son of David" now waver in faith, and announce Him to be "the prophet".
Jesus noted their wavering, their backsliding from the revelation they had. This, amidst the hatred of the pharisees, the desire to steal money by Judas, and him impending betrayal of Jesus, breaks the heart of Jesus.
THE SHORT LIVED ‘HOSANNA’
BROKE THE HEART OF THE LORD JESUS
Elijah hid beneath a juniper tree. He felt discouraged, alone, feared being killed by Jezebel, and was weary and tired. God knows when we are physically and mentally drained. He is merciful in those times. God sent an angel to Elijah, provided food, and had Elijah rest. then Elijah was sent to a cave, and there he heard the ‘still small voice’ of God. Elijah, despite his inclination to hide and pout then, was still chosen to return to finish his ministry during the tribulation.
Nicodemus came to talk to Jesus in the darkness of night, in the seclusion of a private area. He was fearful of being seen with Jesus. He was scared to look ‘dumb’. Jesus met with him, and explained ‘born again’. Later Nicodemus was saved, and became a great witness for the Lord. His fear was gone, he could speak of Jesus in the daylight. Even if you are fearful, still, like Nicodemus, talk with Jesus. In the car when alone, on a walk alone, when doing chores alone, talk to the Lord. He will speak powerful messages to you when you are alone
Peter hid by the fire, ‘afar’ off from the trials and beatings of Jesus. He was fearful of ridicule, and of the same fate that Jesus was suffering to come upon him. Many try to blend in with the devil’s crowd today also. Some can say a few curse words, tell a dirty joke or two, and no one will suspect that they are religious.
The crowd will be more comfortable, if they think one is as hell bound as are they. The Lord forgave Peter. He ceased from his hiding ways, and began to stand up for Jesus, even if it meant prison and crucifixion.
The disciples hid in a room, the doors and windows being locked, afraid of suffering the same death as did Jesus. The hatred of the world can be so intense upon we Christians, that we may think to hide from it. The disciples locked the door, locked the windows, and still Jesus paid them a visit. The fear and hiding were unnecessary, but they let their rebellion against the truths that Jesus had told them about the reality of the crucifixion, to blind their hearts from faith. They thought denial of the facts that we suffer if we are Christian from attacks from the devil would save them. It did not, so then they hid. There are many today, not getting stronger to fight the devil, not resisting in faith against his attacks, but simply wanting to deny that there are any attacks. When the attacks do come anyhow, some hide.
All but one of the disciples were martyred. Even that one, John, suffered, for he was put in boiling oil, and did not die, and he was exiled to Patmos, a prison island, and still survived. So, the wrath of the devil and the world can come upon us. The wrath of God will not come to us, we have His love and care. So, we seek the Lord, and reverence only Him.
Anna and Simeon did not hide. They were at the temple daily watching and waiting for revelation, so that they could see the Christ when He would be brought to the Temple for dedication.
John the Baptist did not wimp out. He gathered a crowd wherever he was, and preached repentance, and mentioned by name the sins that needed repentance, even the sins of Herod. It cost him his head, but it gained him the title of the ‘greatest’ of all the Old Testament prophets.
John the Baptist was given revelation about Who the Lamb of God, and His arrival. He had a great number of disciples. The crowds were huge, and many were repenting and being baptized. Then he was suddenly arrested, imprisoned, and was to face the ‘beheader’. Why? He had fulfilled his mission, and had become the ‘greatest of all’ the Old Testament prophets. His honor for eternity is great, due to these trials he had faced.
Paul had revival or riot in his ministry. He started many churches. Yet, he was beaten many times, stoned once, imprisoned often. Finally, he was beheaded. Yet, during all that time, he had visions or visits to paradise, revelations from the Lord aplenty. The troubles of his life, were faced with contentment, and he rejoiced in these troubles, for he saw the great blessings that came with them.
So, we may suffer things that will make us be intimidated by the sinners of this world, and some may be tempted to hide. It would be easy to hide. But, if we stand firm, fight the enemy in faith, we will find miracles and be overcomers for the Lord.
Why do we face trials, persecutions, mockings, and battles? We face them so we can be overcomers. We are told that ‘all things work together for good to them that are called of God and working according to His will.’ That describes what we are to be.
The messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3 says ‘to him that overcometh will.’ God has ‘will’ for each overcomer. The overcomer will receive great blessings for their stedfast faith, for their willingness to not hide.
If there were no mountains, not barriers, no burdens, no trials, no persecution, no battles, there would be nothing to overcome. God gave us armor, not tuxedos and wedding dresses. God gave us a sword, not a lazy boy chair. God gave us a shield, not a ping pong paddle. God said we would be hated, not loved. God said ‘many are the afflictions’ not many are the carnal rewards.
Paul and Silas sang in the dungeon. Job said ‘though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.’ Peter said to Jesus ‘bid me come’ when the Lord was walking on the water. Elijah heard the still small voice, Joseph was made second to pharaoh in Egypt. Why? They were not hiders, they were overcomers.
Why do some saints have bland, pew sitting existences? They have no victories to report, no overwhelming joy to express because they are hiders, not overcomers.
To avoid battle, Jonah took a ship of flight and hiding in it from the storm. Saul hid in baggage. Prophets hid in caves. !3,000 of Gideon’s army would rather be hiding from battle, and 9700 more would like to delay battle for a while so they can refresh themselves. They were rejected from Gideon’s army.
The ones at the triumphal entry were crying ‘hosanna’, but moments later were too scared to speak the same revelation to those who did not want to hear it. We need to beware lest we break the heart of our Lord, He is still deserving of praise, worship, honor, and witness from us.