Summary: Events in the Bible that took place on a mountain
We sometimes forget Jesus never reached the human age of 35. After living in the flesh for only 33 years, He was crucified. In our passage today, we arrive at the final week in Jesus’ human life. It begins on Sunday with what is often called Palm Sunday. It was the day of cheers and tears. Luke 19:28-45. On that day there was a joyful parade as Jesus entered the city–then He stopped and wept. Let’s examine both aspects of this day of cheers and tears:
I. THE CHEERS OF THE CROWD
Everyone loves a parade. Whether it’s the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or the Rose Bowl Parade, or the Christmas Parade of lights, there’s just something exciting about a procession on display with floats, marching bands, and Santa Claus! When Jesus entered Jerusalem to die, there was a parade, too. This took place during the Passover season when the population of Jerusalem swelled from about 30,000 to almost 200,000. In this act Jesus was fulfilling prophecy, and previewing future prophecy that still hasn’t been fulfilled.
1. PAST: Jesus entered Jerusalem as a humble King. When a conquering king entered a city after a time of warfare, he would ride on a horse or something even more impressive. History tells us Julius Caesar returned to Rome in 45 B.C. in a golden chariot harnessed to 40 elephants! But whenever a king entered a city on a donkey it was a sign he was coming in peace. As you can see from this picture, people were celebrating by laying their garments in front of Jesus–that’s like rolling out the red carpet. John tells us they were waving Palm branches as well; that’s why it’s called Palm Sunday. Jesus was intentionally fulfilling the scripture God had given through the prophet Zechariah 500 years earlier. The Bible says, “Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)
Four generations earlier, Judas Maccabees, who was called “the Hammer” rallied an army of Jewish men to fight against the Syrians who occupied Jerusalem. In 163 B.C. he entered Jerusalem riding on a massive stallion, and the people shouted and waved palm branches and cheered, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” They cleaned out the Temple, burned incense, offered sacrifices, and lit a huge menorah that burned for eight days. Judas was their hero–and many thought he was the Jewish Messiah. To this day our Jewish friends celebrate 8 days of the Festival of Lights or Hanukkah. Not long afterwards, Judas was killed in battle, buried, and that was the end of the Hammer.
Two hundred years later, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the Jews were occupied by another world power, the Romans. They were hoping Jesus would be a military Messiah to lead them in battle to overthrow the Romans. But Jesus intentionally rode a donkey to let them know He was coming in peace. He was not a revolutionary like the Hammer–He was a Redeemer. A revolutionary is willing to kill others for his cause but a redeemer is willing to die for others.
2. FUTURE: He will enter Jerusalem as a conquering King. Jesus only fulfilled a portion of Zechariah’s prophecy; there is a part of it He will fulfill at the Second Coming. What happened on Palm Sunday is often called the triumphal entry but it was actually a tearful entry. However, there will be a time in the future when Jesus returns and He will be welcomed into the city of Jerusalem as the conquering King. The Bible teaches Jesus is going to return in the clouds and the Christians alive at that time will be instantly “raptured” or removed to be with Him. Then there will be seven years of terrible tribulation on the earth in which a world leader will align the nations of the world against Israel. Don’t you see that happening already? Rev. 16:12 says “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, (where is the Euphrates River? Iraq), and its water dried up for the kings of the East.” (look at the nations to the east of Israel) Then verse 16 says, “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”
Jesus didn’t fight against the Romans 2,000 years ago. But when He comes again, He will fight and win the battle of Armageddon. You can read all about it in Revelation and Zechariah: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True...He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” (Revelation 19:11, 13) “On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west…The Lord will be King over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.” (Zechariah 14:4,9)