During Passover, the population in Jerusalem increases by multiple times. It was just five days to go before Passover. Jesus knew his time on earth is coming to an end. Passover was a time to get together for Jews along with their relatives. Jews around the surrounding cities gather in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover as a custom. The city was in a festive mood. Jesus chose to stay in Bethany each night and traveled to Jerusalem.
Five days before the Passover festival Jesus reached the village of Bethphage from Bethany on his way to Jerusalem. He asked his disciples to get a young donkey (colt). There was no mention of Jesus traveling on a donkey before this incident across the four gospels. He lived a humble and content life. Jesus mostly walked and when he need to cross the lake, Jesus used the boat. It was the first time and the last time he preferred a donkey.
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah.
Rejoice, O people of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious,
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey-
riding on a donkey’s colt.
As Zechariah prophesied Jesus is a victorious king. He never fought a war on earth. But He fought a spiritual battle and crushed the head of Satan. The satan lost his power over the death. Jesus took the keys of death. Jesus said, “I am the living one. I died, but look-I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”
Jesus came to conquer the spiritual death. He came to open the gates of heaven to everyone independent of nationality, color, and race. The God of heaven and earth applied his humbleness even while celebrating his victory march. People in Jerusalem were very much aware of the victory march. Julius Caeser had four victory marches in the city of Rome. Pompey had three. Jesus had one in the city of Jerusalem just five days before the crucifixion. But the world is still celebrating his victory even after two thousand years.
Coming back to the palm Sunday celebrated 2000 years ago, two of his disciples went into the village to fetch the young donkey. The owner of the donkey allowed the disciples to take the donkey as soon as the disciples said, “Lord needs it”. Yes, the Lord needs it. Whatever he needs belongs to him. That includes us. He died for us because we are so precious to him. He needs us. We belong to him.
Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem
When the disciples brought the donkey, they put their own robes on the donkey and put Jesus on top of it. As they approached Jerusalem by descending from mount Olivet all the people who believed in Jesus joined the procession. They spread their robes on the road. Many went and cut the palm branches and put them on the road. A royal welcome to the special king and a savior who is going to save and forgive everyone from their past sins. Some of the disciples went ahead of him and shouted, “Hosanna. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. A messianic welcome to Jesus. The people who saw and heard the resurrection of Lazarus were glad to see him in the royal march. They joined along with everyone and rejoiced. Is it out of excitement or do the followers of Jesus truly rejoice without realizing the full context? It’s hard to say whether the crowd truly believed Jesus as the Messiah or it was just the festive spirit. The same Jesus who was praised by the crowd was dragged through the roads of Jerusalem five days later.
Pharisees rebuked the messianic call of Jesus’s disciples. For them, it was blasphemy. But Jesus made it clear if the people do not declare him as Messiah then stones will declare. Jesus is the true Messiah. Jesus knew the time has come to declare it loud and clear. There is not much time left.
Foretold Jerusalem’s Fall
When Jesus was descending from the mount of Olivet and about to enter Jerusalem he stopped and wept over the city of Jerusalem. He wept for the city’s spiritual ignorance. During the Passover, the Jews sacrificed a blemishless lamb. Jesus is the actual blemish-less lamb, who was crucified after five days for the sake of spiritual freedom. Jesus was standing right there before the city of Jerusalem. The Pharisees and Sadducee could not recognize him. Their search for a Messianic leader continued beyond Jesus when the Messiah was right before them.
Jesus foretold the brutal destruction the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44) would face in AD 70.
But as he (Jesus) came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.
Jews continued to pursue their physical freedom from Roman rulership. They miscalculated the messianic spiritual freedom to political freedom. The thirst for political freedom led to an open rebellion against the Romans. The Romans under the leadership of Titus with fighting against the zealots and the Judean army. The Roman army surrounded the city of Jerusalem. Brokedown the first and the second walls. In AD 70 the Roman army entered Jerusalem. They massacred many citizens. The fire started by Jews to stop the advance of Romans led to counter-fire from Romans and finally led to the destruction of the temple for the second time. In the history of Jews, the holy temple was broken down for the second time. First in BC 586 by Babylonians and Second time in AD 70 by Romans.
Jesus prophetically foresaw the brutal destruction of Jerusalem city and its temple. Knowing the number of people who are going to die, his heart melted and he wept. If only Jews would have realized who is the true Messiah, they could have avoided an armed conflict with the Romans and unnecessary bloodshed.
There is only one Messiah and he had already come. The world did not accept him. But he lived his life on earth as foretold prophetically. He died for everyone’s sin and was resurrected. He is a king not only for Jews but for the entire universe. Those who believe in him will have eternal life.
By the time Jesus reached the temple, it was late in the day. Hence Jesus went back to Bethany to spend the night. It was 5 days before his crucifixion.
Dear friend, do you want to accept this Jesus in your life? Jesus is waiting with his open arms. He loves you and gave up His life just for you. He cares for your future. Will do a small prayer along with us? Please pray the below prayer along with us in your own words. We are praying with you. Jesus is listening to your prayers.
Dear Jesus, I come to you with a humble heart. I realize today the sacrifice you have made for my life. You are a Messia, who came to save my life and forgive all my past mistakes. Let me follow you remembering all the suffering you have done for me. Jesus, you are my God. You alone can lead my life. Forgive all my past mistakes. Give me a new heart. A heart that always loves you and follows you. Please hold my hands and lead me. In Jesus’s mighty name, I pray. Amen.
If you have a prayer request, please contact us. We are here to pray for you. May God Bless you.