Summary: The Messiah’s dramatic triumphal entry into Jerusalem helps us understand the Hand of God behind the: 1) The Preparation (Luke 19:28–35), 2) The Adoration (Luke 19:36–38), and 3) The Condemnation (Luke 19:39-44).
For some time now, migrant journeys from hostile lands to European and North American countries have been making headlines. Great masses of peoples have left their home countries, many of which are war zones, seeking safety and security. Yet the mass migration of peoples have resulted in riots, security issues, financial burdens and fears.
For the journey of Jesus into Jerusalem, from the outset of His ministry the religious leaders were intimidated by Jesus and quickly came to hate Him. He knew that any kind of open popular acclaim would escalate the leaders’ animosity toward Him and bring about His death prematurely. During the Passover in His final entry into Jerusalem, however, the divinely determined time had come for Him to die, so He accepted such a massive display of popular acclaim (by some estimates, there were one to two million people in Jerusalem and the vicinity for the Passover celebration, and some surmise as many as one hundred thousand may have been involved in the triumphal entry) that the leaders of Israel could not wait any longer to eliminate Him—especially with their fear that Jesus would lead the crowd in a rebellion against the Roman forces and they would all lose their power and position (John 11:47–50). Their plan was to seize Jesus and execute Him after the Passover, when the massive crowds had dispersed. They were afraid doing so during the festival might trigger a riot (Matt. 26:3–5). His arrival at Jerusalem marked the end of the Lord’s journey, not just this final journey to Jerusalem that began in Luke 9:51, but of His life’s journey from Bethlehem to this moment. Here He faced His greatest challenge and completed the salvation work for which He had come. The people, with no thought of Messiah as a sacrifice for sin (in spite of Isaiah 53), were still focused on the earthly kingdom they fervently hoped He would establish. But there could not be exalted glory until there was shame; there could not be a kingdom until there was a cross; there would be no royal crown without a thorny crown. That would happen at the end of the Passion Week.
In the journey of our lives, it is too easy to look at events surrounding us or even in our own lives itself from a mere surface point of view. We see natural disasters, terrorist acts, war, famine, and drought. From our own lives or those close to us, we face sickness, disease, unemployment, hostility and doubt. From the surface it seems like God is absent from these situations and does not care. Examining the facts behind Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem should remind us to look beyond the outward sentiment or hostility to the orchestration by God to fulfill His kingdom plan. The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem recorded in Luke 19:28-44 is a story of hope and assurance in a world of suffering, hostility and fear.
The Messiah’s dramatic triumphal entry into Jerusalem helps us understand the Hand of God behind the: 1) The Preparation (Luke 19:28–35), 2) The Adoration (Luke 19:36–38), and 3) The Condemnation (Luke 19:39-44).
1) The Preparation (Luke 19:28–35)
Luke 19:28–35 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. (ESV)
The phrase these things refers to the parable the Lord had told in vv. 11–27. After that instruction, Jesus continued on ahead up the road leading from Jericho up to Jerusalem. About two miles (John 11:18) east of Jerusalem were the small villages according to verse 29, of Bethphage and Bethany, at/near the mount that is called Olivet (the Mount of Olives). Bethany lies on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives two to three miles from Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives lies directly east of Jerusalem 2,660 feet above sea level. To reach Jerusalem one would proceed west down the Mount of Olives, through the Kidron Valley, and into the temple area through the eastern gate, later called the Golden Gate. (Stein, R. H. (1992). Luke (Vol. 24, p. 478). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)