Luke 19:28-38 (NIV) After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’
Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Despite the fact that Jesus’ role as the Messiah was FAR different from what the Messiah had grown to be in the minds and hearts of the people, it must never be forgotten that He did come to fulfill that role as God had defined it over centuries. This included the combined roles of prophet, one who spoke to God’s people on His behalf; priest, one who presented the blood sacrifice before God’s throne; and king, the ruler of God’s kingdom on earth, who would rule forever.
One of the signs of the Messiah that God had given to the people through the prophet Zechariah (9:9) was the image of the Messiah coming into the city of Jerusalem in triumph on a donkey colt, as opposed to riding on a horse like a warrior. And it was now time for that sign to be fulfilled.
All lay in readiness for Jesus’ arrival. Just ahead, right on the near edge of the village of Bethany, was tied a donkey colt. Jesus instructed two of His disciples to fetch it. And when they brought it back, Jesus mounted it, and started down the Mount of Olives into the gates of Jerusalem.
The crowds going down the road into the city for the Passover was enormous, and those around Jesus, caught up in the moment, began singing Messianic verses from the Psalms, and praising God aloud for the great miracles that they had seen through Jesus’ ministry. Word quickly spread among the crows of who this was riding into the city on the donkey, and the imagery was not lost on them. They quickly took up the chants, laying branches and their own cloaks on the road ahead of Jesus as He passed by (Matthew 21:8-9).
This was a pivotal moment for the Jewish people. In fulfillment of Malachi 3:1, the Lord Himself was coming into Jerusalem to begin the process of purifying for Himself a people, the core of His kingdom. And the fate of the whole city depended on their reception of Him.
Father, unfortunately for the high priests, Pharisees, and teachers of the law, they were all blind, and could neither see who Jesus truly was, nor what He was doing by riding into Jerusalem in this fashion. And the consequences were indeed horrific: they ended up murdering the Son of God, and drawing down consequences on themselves that included death for multiplied thousands and the complete destruction of the city and the temple. Help us, Lord, to have eyes that clearly see, and hearts that quickly receive and fall into line behind You in whatever You are doing. Amen.