photo 5

Luke 19 v 38 – 39 “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in Heaven and glory in the Highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

After a long journey Christ eventually came to Jerusalem. But this famous story which is celebrated as Palm Sunday in churches worldwide, begs a question. In what capacity is Christ coming into Jerusalem? Is he coming as Israel’s king? Is he coming as Messiah? Is he coming as Saviour? All three are true of course, but in this instance he comes first to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9 verse 9 which foretold that Zion’s king would come to her “just and having salvation, lowly and riding upon a donkey, even upon a colt, the foal of a donkey”.

So when Jesus reaches the nearby town of Bethphage and Bethany he sends two disciples into a nearby village to obtain the donkey. Verses 30 to 34 need comment. Why would Jesus simply take someone else’s donkey? The answer is that this demonstrates his lordship over all things. No doubt this was all arranged before time, but it is recorded in such a way as to present Jesus as a king whose needs are paramount. He is the heir to David’s throne and now he is about to enter David’s city/Jerusalem to present himself publicly. This is a change from when he told his followers not to tell anyone who he was. Things are now moving to a climax.

Then comes the joyous and very public entry into Jerusalem, garments spread along the road and the shouts of joy recorded in verses 35 and 39.

There were Pharisees among the bystanders who were offended by what was being said about Jesus. They asked Jesus to rebuke them, assuming that he would reject the titles the crowd were giving him. But they were dead wrong.

Instead Christ confirmed what they were saying in the strongest terms. He was the king who comes in the name of the Lord. And as a result of his coming there would indeed be peace in Heaven i.e. the reconciliation between God and people who believed in him. And there certainly would be glory in the Highest. In the deepest reaches of both the seen and the unseen world, what Jesus came to Jerusalem to do, would be seen as glorious beyond compare.

The Pharisees in the Gospels always appear to be a problem, don’t they? They were scrupulous, hard and legalistic, but in some cases sincere. The problem was they were blind. They could not see who Jesus was. They were also deaf. They did not understand or respond to his many teachings and parables with regard to himself. And yet, maybe they did. It is possible that there was something in their hearts that simply refused to accept who Jesus was. Did this stubbornness close their eyes and deafen their ears? Who knows?

Make sure it is not true of you and keep praying for others to see spiritually and hear the voice of God.