Running With the Crowd

37 As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38 shouting: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:37–38 (NASB95)

Read Luke 19:28-44, Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

Jesus was poised to make his triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Messiah. He was walking ahead of his entourage, no doubt pondering the severe ordeal awaiting him. But then he stopped in his tracks and turned to summon a pair of his disciples to find him a colt never before ridden in the nearby village. Expecting some resistance, he told the men, “if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” (v. 31) The meaning of the word “Lord” in this instance was “owner.”

So just as he said, a colt was waiting for them in the town, tied to a post. Entry into Jerusalem on a colt or donkey was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, but it is unlikely the beast’s owners would understand its application here with perspicuity! They released it to its rightful owner nonetheless.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Reading through Luke one must be mindful of who is physically with Jesus. In this case there were the twelve, a larger group of “faithful” followers, and it appears, his detractors, the Pharisees, who lurked in the background. I’d been under the impression since my flannel board days that when Jesus entered Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday” the people in the city shouted the “hosannas,” but this was not the case. His people less the Pharisees made the joyful noise in celebration of his many miracles. At this point in time, in theory, the jury was still out on the citizens of the city. (Luke 23:13)

As Jesus moved to the threshold of Jerusalem, he foresaw her rejection of him and wept. You see, there seemed to be two important turning points, or points of no return, in Jesus’ earthly ministry, when it was clear the nation would not receive him as Messiah. First, was his use of parables instead of straight talk (Luke 8:10), and the second was this very moment. He pronounced, “If you [Jerusalem] had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:42) John puts it bluntly, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11)

As Jesus stood there weeping, in his mind’s eye was the leveling of the city by the Romans in some forty years, and the killing of its people and children. In this frame of mind he rode in with a rugged cross awaiting. The shouts of praise around him fell on deaf ears. The rocky streets of the city before him, now covered with the cloaks of his followers, would become stained with his blood as he staggered to Golgotha, again outside the city. He did not leave as he entered.

The events during the coming Passion Week signaled a prolonged delay in the establishment of his kingdom on earth. There would be a collective cry out “what have we done” when Jesus hung lifeless on the cross. Those who unwittingly shouted “crucify him, crucify him,” now realized the error of their ways, returning to their homes beating their breasts in sorrow. (Luke 23:48) But it was too late.

The begging question is this, are you a Christ follower, or have you thrown your lot with the Pharisees? The people in the city, while complicit in Jesus’ execution, would still have a chance at redemption, as we all do until our last breath is drawn, or until the Lord comes again. It’s perhaps harder now to accept him as Lord sans the miracles, but the owners of the colt responded to his mere statement of need, sight unseen. Therefore I ask, which crowd are you running with?

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1–2

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for nearly 45 years and counting.
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