LUKE 19:28-44 JULY 26, 2015
“PEOPLE LOVE A PARADE!”
In the early days of traveling circuses, a circus company would stage a parade as they entered into a new town as a means of provoking interest and encouraging people to come out to the circus. When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the Passover celebration; he entered the city with great fanfare. On previous occasions he entered Jerusalem quietly. This time he was openly proclaiming that he was the promised Messiah.
Many of the people wanted a Messiah who would be a military leader who would drive out the Roman armies and set up a Jewish state. Jesus chose a method of entering Jerusalem that would let people immediately know the type of kingdom he was going to establish. It was a well known practice that leaders, including rabbis would borrow an animal on which to enter into the city. Jesus asked his disciples to go to the village, which was a few miles from Jerusalem, and told them they would find a colt there which had not yet been ridden. Jesus did not choose a horse but the colt of a donkey.
By his actions, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy in Zechariah. Zechariah 9:9-10 (NIV) “9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
Luke mentions that the people spread their cloaks on the road, which was a sign of respect and honor. Luke did not mention the palm branches as told in the other gospels. Remember, Luke was writing his gospel record for a Greek audience, which would not have understood the Jewish custom. Luke 19:37-38 (NIV) “37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
It was the disciples who began praising God and quoting the prophecy from Zechariah. The disciples were also quoting from a Psalm about the blessing that comes with the king. Psalm 118:26 (NIV) “26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.” The disciples are shouting praises to God for sending Jesus, the Messiah. They are joyfully proclaiming their faith in Jesus, the Messiah.
Every Jewish person would have quickly made the connection of the disciples shouting praise to God and quoting from the prophets and from Psalms. In much the same way, as it only takes one person to begin clapping to get others started and joining in, so too the crowd joined in the celebration of Jesus’ arrival. Many of the Jewish people were not sure about Jesus and seemed to take a “wait and see” attitude. We know that later in the week many of these same people joined in and asked for Jesus to be crucified.
Even today, people are confused about Jesus and have mixed ideas and emotions concerning Jesus. Who is this man that demands I be honest with myself, and admit I am a sinner? Many people are also not willing to pay the cost of being a disciple. Who really wants to give up control of one’s life and even be willing to die for one’s faith in Christ?
Not everyone joined in the celebration of Jesus’ arrival, as there were Pharisees in the crowd listening to the shouts of the disciples praising God and announcing the arrival of the king. It is not surprising that they objected to the shouts of praise by the disciples. Luke 19:39 (NIV) “39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” The Pharisees were offended by the claims of the disciples.
Two thousand years have passed and things remain the same. People are still offended by the claim that Jesus is the Messiah, and the only way to be saved. We are living in a politically correct time; in which our claims about Jesus, being the only way to God, offend most everyone.
Listen to how Jesus responds to their criticism. Luke 19:40 (NIV) 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Creation cries out when injustice is committed. In Genesis 4:10 (NIV) “10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” James 5:4 (NIV) “4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.” Jesus indicates that an absence of praise on the behalf of men would have resulted in the stones crying out in praise. This is a rebuke of the Pharisees as Jesus declares that they are so thickheaded that they are blind to the truth.
As Jesus approached Jerusalem with the knowledge that he was going to the Cross he was moved with compassion about the fate of the people in the city. Luke 19:41-44 (NIV) “41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
This entry into Jerusalem by Jesus was not a joyful occasion as he knew what was going to happen to the people who refused to acknowledge that their Messiah had come. There were many individuals who did come to faith in Christ, but the nation rejected him. The scriptures are filled with references to the curses that will befall the nation when they fail to be faithful to God. I will list one from Deuteronomy 28:15 (NIV). “15 However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” After this verse there are four chapters that indicate the curses that will befall the people for unfaithfulness.
We know from the historical writings of Josephus that over 250,000 Jews were killed or taken captive when the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. Jesus even foretold how the Roman armies would lay siege to the city by building a wall around the city. The Temple was utterly destroyed, where not one stone was left upon another.
This passage should remind us of the consequences that occur when people reject Jesus. This should encourage us to be about our Master’s business: telling others the Good News of the Gospel. We do not know how much longer we may have before He returns so we should be busy doing the work which Jesus gave his disciples to do. “Go and make disciples for Jesus, telling people the wondrous news of the forgiveness of sins.
Let us pray.