Luke 19:28-48: Jesus' Entry into Jerusalem

28After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30"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. 31If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' "

32Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?"

34They replied, "The Lord needs it."

35They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37When 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:

38"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"

40"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

45Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. 46"It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it
'a den of robbers.'"

47Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words. (NIV)

Important Ideas from this Passage

1. Jesus is finally making his way into the city where He will suffer and die for humanity.

"he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem..."

Luke has been preparing us for this moment throughout his account (9:31; 9:51; 13:22; 13:34; 17:11; 18:31; 19:11). What is the significance of Jerusalem for Jesus? MacArthur describes it well in one of his sermons on this passage:

Jerusalem...(was) where the altar was, that's where the temple was, that was God's city. That was the holy city, the temple city, the place where God met His people, the place where God was worshiped and the only place where sacrifices were made....He comes to the right city on exactly the right day to be...executed on the very day that Passover lambs are always killed as symbolic sacrifices for sin because He is the real and true sacrifice for sins.1

2. Jesus' coronation reflects the servanthood that characterized his first coming.

"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."

No majestic figure of authority living at this time - such as, for example, a Roman dignitary - would enter a city riding on a colt. But in doing this, Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy of
Zechariah 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." He was also reiterating to the public, by this humble display, that his purpose was not to immediately claim Kingship for himself. "...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mk 10:45) However, there is a time coming when he will return in glory (Rev 1:7) - to bring salvation to those who have been waiting for Him (Heb 9:28) and destroy all who do not know Him (2 Th 1:6-10).

Question for Reflection: When we reflect on who Jesus is, and all He is to us, why is it important to keep His Priesthood in view as much as His kingship, and vice-versa?

3. Once again, we see that Jesus divides. (vv. 37-39 and vv. 47-48)

A few chapters after Jesus has spoken of the way His Lordship divides even the closest of family members (see Lk 12:49-53), we see another display of the different responses to Jesus: contrast the response of Jesus' disciples with that of the Pharisees as the LORD came into the city (vv. 37-39); notice the difference in attitudes again when Christ is teaching (vv. 47-48).

4. Jesus' rule over the universe is such that even creation recognizes it.

"if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

In a way, His statement was a rebuke to the Pharisees, because it was tantamount to saying, "Look, even creation acknowledges my kingship over everything...why can't you?"

Also see Ps 148; Isa 1:3

5. Jesus fulfills the role of the Ultimate Prophet by declaring the demise of Jerusalem, which indeed happened about forty years later.

Isaiah and Jeremiah lamented for Israel (Isa 29:1-4; Jer 6:6-21) and now Jesus, as the final and greatest prophet, does the same.

"hidden from your eyes" - this could refer to the fact that after so many rejections, Jerusalem finally and completely hardens her heart against the LORD; or to the fact that the LORD is keeping her from believing. While the latter interpretation is no less true than the former, it may be the former that Jesus has in view here.

6. Jesus grieves over those who reject Him.

We cannot say that the LORD is pleased when anyone rejects Him. Remember again the words of Eze 18:23: "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?"

It is not that Jesus needs Jerusalem - as if He were incomplete without her - but that she needs Him, because she was made for Him - "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace..."

Question for Reflection: Do we grieve for those who do not believe, as Jesus does? What can we do to cultivate this sorrow?

7. The LORD hates places of worship being turned into places of commerce.

Here is one of those incidents that refute the notion that Jesus is only gentle, affectionate, peaceful, etc. As the great King he has every right to cast away everything that desecrates a place of worship and dishonours the purpose for which it was created.

Question for Reflection: Do I approach a place of worship with a pure heart? Or do I "bring in" things that should not be there - things that compete with the LORD for my heart's affections?

1Taken from John MacArthur's sermon, "Jesus' Humble Coronation, Part 1", on this page: