Summary: 1) The End of the Pilgrimage 2) The Exactness of Prophecy 3) The Epitome of Praise 4) The Element of Perplexity
If you have been following any of the G-20 meetings in Great Britain, there is tremendous pageantry. The G-20 (more formally, the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors) is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 economies: 19 of the world’s largest national economies, plus the European Union (EU). It also met twice at heads-of-government level, in November 2008 and again in April 2009. Collectively, the G-20 economies comprise 85% of global gross national product, 80% of world trade (including EU intra-trade) and two-thirds of the world population.
The pageantry surrounding theG-20 leaders was seen from leaders like Barrack Obama, with full security escorts and scores of reporters hanging on his every word. You have leaders from all the other G-20 nations that have entourages surrounded by the British monarchy and guard. Then you have Stephen Harper who may have one aid with him and a few guards near by. Yet with all this humble approach, Canada is regarded as a model of fiscal stability and prudent restraint.
Matthew 21:1–11 portrays the most significant coronation the world has yet seen. It was a true coronation of a true King. He was affirmed as King and was, in a sense, inaugurated into His kingship. But there was no pomp, no splendor, and a nondescript sort of pageantry. The “Triumphal” Entry epitomizes the upside-down values of the Kingdom. Jesus radically shifted the world’s paradigm of greatness, showing greatness to be found in humble service, not arrogant rule (Comfort, Philip Wesley: Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 11. Carol Stream, Ill. : Tyndale House Publishers, 2005-c2006, S. 267).
Traditionally, this coronation has been called Jesus’ triumphal entry. It was his last major public appearance before His crucifixion and was an extremely important event in His divine ministry on earth, an event that is frequently dramatized but seldom studied carefully or understood for its true significance.
This final week is so important that the Gospels give a disproportionate amount of space to it. Jesus lived thirty-three years. His active ministry occupied three years. But large portions of the Gospels are given over to the events of just the last eight days. Matthew devotes one-fourth of his Gospel to it (chaps. 21–28). Mark uses one-third of his Gospel (chaps. 11–16). Luke gives a fifth of his chapters to the events of this last week (chaps. 19:28–24). Most remarkable of all, John gives half of his Gospel (chaps. 12–21). Taken together, there are eighty-nine chapters in the Gospels, but twenty-nine and a half of these (exactly one-third) recount what happened between the triumphal entry and Jesus’ resurrection. Such is the case because these are the climactic events not only of Jesus’ life but of all history. They were planned from before the foundation of the world, and our salvation from sin and wrath depends on them (Boice, James Montgomery: The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2001, S. 434).
In this passage of Matthew 21:1-11, we see who Jesus is, what we expect of him, to what degree we can rely on God’s word, how we tend to interpret scripture to our liking, and what He expects of us in worship of Him.
In this final week, starting with the Triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, which we recall this Palm Sunday, we see: 1) The End of the Pilgrimage (Matthew 21:1a), the 2) The Exactness of Prophecy (Matthew 21:1b-7), 3) The Epitome of Praise (Matthew 21:8-9) and 4) The Element of Perplexity (Matthew 21:10-11)
1) THE END OF THE PILGRIMAGE: MATTHEW 21:1A
Matthew 21:1a [21:1]Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, (then Jesus sent two disciples), (ESV)
After healing the two blind men in Jericho and leading Zaccheus to Himself, the Lord made His final journey to Jerusalem.
• When Jesus was 12 years old, he went up to Jerusalem with Mary and Joseph to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. This was something pious Jews did every year (see Luke 2:41, 42). So we can assume that Jesus made many trips to Jerusalem to observe the Passover. But this time was different. Jesus was very much aware that he was going up to Jerusalem to die. Along the way he told his disciples at least three times that he was going to be handed over to the chief priests and condemned to death but that on the third day he would rise again (see Matthew 16:21; 17:22, 23; 20:17–19).(Albrecht, G. Jerome ; Albrecht, Michael J.: Matthew. Milwaukee, Wis. : Northwestern Pub. House, 1996 (The People’s Bible), S. 292)
As He drew near/approached Jerusalem, He also approached the end of His three years of ministry, which had been preceded by thirty years of obscurity He was about to reach the final goal set before Him by His heavenly Father. As the multitudes followed along with Him to celebrate the Passover, little did they know they were accompanying the Passover Lamb Himself.