The Book of Luke, The Triumphal Entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem - Lesson 207
Our previous lesson concerned the command of our Lord to his disciples to go into the nearby village and get two animals for Him, a donkey and its colt.
The disciples had obeyed their master and had taken the donkey and its colt, answering the question of their owners with the simple statement that "the Lord has need of them."
This satisfied the owners immediately without any objection, indicating their understanding of the sovereignty of Jesus Christ and his ownership of all things, including the animals on which the livelihood of these owner’s depended.
As we continue to read of this event in Luke 19, we are given the purpose of these animals in what is known as the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.
As we shall see this identifying name is a misnomer for this was anything but a triumphal entry in the mind of Christ for Christ weeps over the city of Jerusalem as only he can see its coming destruction.
Let us read of this in Luke 19:35-44, And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. 36And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. 37And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; 38Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 41And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Last week we showed how this event was the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy by reading how it was referenced in the Gospels of Matthew and John.
It appears from the context of this passage that not everyone in Jerusalem participated in the triumphal entry, but mainly those who could be called His disciples.
Matthew tells us in his account that all the city was stirred as would be expected, for no doubt, the reporting of this event was widespread.
It would seem that the majority of those involved in this celebration were those not from Jerusalem, but those pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem, either to celebrate the Passover or to follow Jesus there, or both.
37And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
These celebrants were those who had seen the mighty works of Christ.
They were there to proclaim as witnesses, those mighty works.
But one thing we do know is that these disciples and those who joined in did not really understand the meaning and significance of what they were doing as they welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem.
Only after Jesus returned to the Father, did they realize the full significance and importance of these events.
As we are told in John 12:16, These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
Their seems to be many who are caught up in the moment, thinking that this is the time when great things are about to happen.
Matthew records the crowds answering the question as to who Jesus was by simply saying that he was the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.
Their was little if any understanding by the crowds of Jerusalem as to his Messiahship.
We also are allowed to see our Lord’s response to the "triumphal entry,"
This is not the response of a true triumphal entry for this response is based upon rejection of Him, not a reception of Him as Messiah, for the crowds did not know what they were doing.
Some of the disciples did look upon Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem as the entrance of Israel’s King, but their understanding seemed to lean toward an immediate kingdom.
There is also nothing to indicate that Jesus told his disciples to prepare his way into Jerusalem but he did not stop them from doing it.
And in addition there is nothing that tells us that Jesus told his disciples what he was going to do with the donkey and the colt.
But it is easy to conclude that the disciples put two and two together, that of knowing Zechariah’s prophecy, and how the specific mission on which they were sent fit that prophesy.
They did not need to be told what to do, they simply responded to the prophecy they thought was being fulfilled.
And so Jesus did not need to tell the disciples what to do once the donkeys arrived for they spontaneously did what they knew should be done in the circumstances.
So we see that even though Jesus Christ did not push his disciples to do what they did, he presented them all of the circumstances for what to happen, to happen.
It is no wonder that many thought that the coming of the kingdom was at hand.
But the response to this so called triumphal entry, was a failure by Christ’s own words.
So what was the reason for this?
Why would Jesus encourage such an event, which did nothing more than to excite the crowds, but produced no kingdom?
I believe the first reason for this event is that it was absolutely necessary for Christ to publicly identify Himself as the King of Israel, even though it resulted in His rejection and death.
His act of riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was His way of emphatically saying, "I am the King of Israel."
The second reason was to declare His deity, and therefore His right to be worshipped by all men.
We have seen that the protest of the animal owners at the disciples’ taking of the donkeys was the framework which revealed the authority of Jesus to possess them.
And in this triumphal entry the protests of the Pharisees over the praise of Jesus by the crowds, is the framework to His right, as the Messiah, to be praised.
The Pharisees, of course, not only rejected Jesus’, but also His identity as Messiah.
How, then, could they allow Him to be praised?
They insisted that Jesus stop the people from praising Him.
Luke 19:39, And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
Basically they were saying "Stop your disciples from praising you as Messiah."
But Jesus refused saying that if the people were silenced, the stones would immediately cry out.
God will never command you to stop praising Him or His Son.
Some people do not like it when you say "Praise the Lord", do they, for it disturbs their conscience.
But you can praise God and His son all that you like, without limit.
Jesus is the Son of God and as the Son of God he fully deserves praise and worship and that praise and worship cannot be silenced.
You and I can either join in that praise and worship or we can even refuse, but based upon the sovereignty of God and His will He will be praised and worshiped even if it takes the rocks and the stones to do it.
If you acknowledge Jesus to be the Son of God, to be your Savior, then He must be praised.
Heaven will be an eternity of praise.
Philippians 2:9-11, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Another reason why Jesus Christ set these things in motion is that they provided the strongest of reasons to the Jewish religious leaders to use the power of Rome to their benefit, that is to have Rome put this man to death.
In words of today Jesus pushed all the right buttons to get the Pharisees to act in accordance with their nature.
The triumphal entry event convinced the Pharisees that they must act quickly and decisively to get rid of Jesus for his very presence was threatening their place in Israel.
It was obvious that He was winning the people over and therefore He must be stopped, and must be stopped quickly.
So if we are to call this event the triumphal entry it must be related to the fact that Christ entered Jerusalem to allow his blood to be shed and to die for us, that we may have a triumphal entry into His presence in heaven.
But Christ would not have called this a triumphal entry into Jerusalem because of the reception of the crowds, for he knew what the future held for this city.
His reaction was one of weeping as we read Luke 19:41-44 from the Amplified Bible:
41 And as He approached, He saw the city, and He wept [audibly] over it, 42 Exclaiming, Would that you had known personally, even at least in this your day, the things that make for peace (for freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin and upon which your peace—your security, safety, prosperity, and happiness--depends)! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For a time is coming upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank [with pointed stakes] about you and surround you and shut you in on every side. 44 And they will dash you down to the ground, you [Jerusalem] and your children within you; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, [all] because you did not come progressively to recognize and know and understand [from observation and experience] the time of your visitation [that is, when God was visiting you, the time in which God showed Himself gracious toward you and offered you salvation through Christ].
So then this is the contrast.
The crowds gave him a joyful reception but the reaction of Christ was one of weeping.
They thought they had received Him in a way that was appropriate and fitting for a king but Jesus viewed the event as leading to disaster for Jerusalem.
They failed to grasp the things which make for peace.
There is nothing new under the sun is there, for the world today still fails to grasp the things which make for peace.
Many think that peace will come by the use of the sword or even threats of the sword.
Others think that peace will come by the absence of the weapons of war.
In Israel many believed that Messiah would bring peace to the nation when He appeared.
They therefore supposed that when Messiah came, He would use military might, and that He would throw off the shackles of Rome.
But Jesus wept because Jerusalem did not know what would bring about true peace.
He wept because He knew what lay ahead for this sinful, wayward, nation.
He knew that it was not by the Messiah’s use of force and power, not by the death of Messiah’s enemies that peace was to be brought about, but by the Messiah’s death, at the hand of His enemies.
The overall goal of man is to bring peace on earth, good will to men but that goal is sought without seeking the Prince of Peace, who is the only one who will bring true peace, and that is peace with God.
Man thinks that the war is between man and man and men and nations go about promoting peace between men, but the war is not between men and men but between God and man.
So God has provided the only peacemaker that can truly bring peace to the hearts of men.
The people who strew palm leaves on the ground for Jesus to pass over were looking for triumph and an immediate kingdom come by force.
But Jesus Christ would provide them what was thought of as a tragedy, the tragedy of the cross in order for ultimate peace to come, that is peace with God.
Men seemed to suppose that the kingdom would be founded on acts of power and might and by more miracles, but Jesus was fixed on fulfilling the will of the Father.
And this will was to bring about the kingdom by personal pain, rejection, and suffering by way of the cross.
And this is the pattern for his children.
If we are to be followers of our Lord, we should expect to take up a cross, even as Jesus said.
And along with this cross bearing shouldn’t we expect rejection and suffering, even as our Lord Jesus experienced?
Shouldn’t we let go of our possessions as the owners of the animals let go, so that His kingdom may be furthered?
Shouldn’t we make sure that we praise Him as we ought so that God does not have to raise up stones to praise Him.
We ought not to think of His kingdom in terms of what it can do for us but of the glory it will bring the Lord Jesus Christ.
How often it is, that we think of God’s service to us, as the children of Israel did at this triumphal entry event.
But the right thinking is not that of self serving but of self sacrifice for all that Jesus did was the will of the Father which had sent Him.
Jesus is Lord, and as Lord He is to be preeminent and His will is to be preeminent.
That which is in our hand must be yielded to His hand, that which comes from our mouths is to be praiseworthy of Jesus Christ and our will must be submitted to His will in order that His purposes will be brought about.
Had this been done in Israel this entrance into Jerusalem would have indeed been one of Triumph.