Summary: The Jews longed for freedom from the Romans. They desired too little. They were too easily satisfied. They wanted freedom in the present from sinful men when the King had come who would forgive their sin and grant them eternity. The true King had come.
Have you ever been in a situation where you really needed some help? A situation just got out of hand. It was too difficult, too painful, you were trapped and there was nothing you could do about it. You really needed someone who could come into your situation and make things right. That had often been the situation with the Jews of the Old Testament. Whether in bondage to the Egyptians, the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, or even their own corrupt leaders they found themselves many times in a situation of oppression that they could do nothing about. They needed a Deliverer.
Centuries before God had promised a Deliverer but He seemed to never come. In the Old Testament, there are various prophecies concerning a Savior, a Messiah, a Promised One who would come to deliver the Jews. These prophecies were embedded in the hearts of the Jewish people. Throughout the centuries the hope of a Messiah was their strength in times of suffering, defeat, and exile.
In the days of Jesus, the people were under the brutal rule of the Roman Empire. This caused them to desire even more for their Messiah, their Deliverer, their King. Different men during this time in history would rise up and gain a group of followers. People would begin to hope that each of these men was the Promised One, but then he would either be killed or discredited and the people would return to what seemed to be endless waiting. Life was unbearable under the Romans, but what other option did they have? In the days following Jesus’ birth, they had no idea that in the city of Nazareth the promised Messiah had already arrived.
As we read the story of Jesus Christ we see how He began His public ministry at the age of 30. His ministry was confirmed by the authority by which He taught and the working of signs and miracles. The blind received sight, the lame walked, those who had leprosy were cured, the deaf heard, the dead were raised, and the good news was preached. All of this was in preparation for what would occur this last week of Jesus’ life.
In Luke 19:28-40 we see a remarkable event. It was Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. This story is recorded in all four of the gospels. Up until this point, Jesus had been drawing back from public notice as much as possible. He did not seek large crowds, even though they at times sought Him. He did not aim to perform for public approval.
In Matthew 16 Jesus commanded His disciples that they should ''tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.'' In Mark 5, when He raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, it says that ''He straightly charged them that no man should know of it.'' In John 6, after feeding the 5000, John records that ''When Jesus perceived that they (the multitude) would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.'' Even while descending from the mount of transfiguration, Jesus ordered His disciples that ''they should tell no man what things they had seen till the Son of man was risen from the dead'' (Mark 9:9). Much of Jesus’ ministry had been away from Jerusalem in the areas around the Sea of Galilee, but here, in the triumphal entry, Jesus was finally making a very public proclamation as He entered Jerusalem. His time had now come and He very intentionally turned their attention towards Himself. King Jesus had come.
At the time of this story, it was the time of year to celebrate the Jewish Passover. Thousands upon thousands of Jewish pilgrims from all over the known world had gathered in Jerusalem. From census information of Jerusalem at this time we know that over 250,000 lambs were slain each year at the Passover feast. The law regarding the Passover lamb said that there had to be a minimum of ten people per lamb, which would bring the possible number of people in and around Jerusalem at Passover time to over 2.5 million.
In the midst of this religious celebration, Jesus presented them with a picture, where His claims of being the Christ (Messiah), would be unmistakable.
Luke 19:28-40 is a story of Jesus entering Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.
28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”