April 14, 2016
From our vantage point in history we know that Jesus is God and that He fulfilled hundreds of prophecies which foretold of the Messiah. But in the days that Jesus walked this earth there was a certain blindness and very few people understood who He was. Even the twelve disciples had a hard time understanding exactly who He was and on the final journey to Jerusalem Jesus tried to help these men understand. Jesus knew that He was soon to be crucified and the disciples needed to understand. “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death. And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.” Matthew 20:18-19.This seems to be very clear, but the disciples didn’t really understand. These words would soon be crystal clear, but for now they continued their trip to Jerusalem. Passover was coming and everyone who was able to make the journey to Jerusalem was required to be there. Jesus led His group of followers to Jerusalem where instead of offering a sacrificial lamb He would offer Himself as the once for all sacrifice for our sin.
Events that had been foretold by the prophets of old were about to be fulfilled. The time had come for Jesus to present Himself as the Messiah. As often happened many people were following Jesus on this final trip and He even took time to stop and restore sight to two blind men. When they came to the small village of Bethphage Jesus sent two of His disciples ahead “Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.“Matthew 21:2-3. This was done in fulfillment of prophecy found in the book of Zechariah. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Zechariah 9:9. Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem on an unbroken colt and the people would hail Him as Messiah.
Excitement filled the air and multitudes gathered along the way to see Jesus as He rode by. “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” Matthew 21:8-9. Can you feel the excitement? There were multitudes of people gathering in Jerusalem for the coming Passover. They csme from far and near to celebrate their release from bondage in Egypt. Was this the same multitude who had come with Him and had seen the blind men healed? Were the two blind men there giving their testimony of what Jesus had done for them? Jesus had been ministering for three years and had healed many people of leprosy, blindness, deafness, and many other infirmities. How many of those people were in the crowd? At long last the people hailed Jesus as the King! The King of kings had come, humbly riding into Jerusalem on a donkey colt. One day He will come riding on a white horse and will destroy all enemies, but on this He humbly allowed the people to declare His majesty. They shouted and cried out hailing Him as the Messiah as they sang the Messianic Psalm of David. “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.” Psalm 118:26. The people sang this, but the Pharisees were not happy. They knew that by singing this particular psalm the people were hailing Jesus as the Messiah. “And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.” Luke 19:39. The Pharisees are always a good indication of what is really going on. When we read these passages we might miss the fact the crowd was proclaiming Him as their Messiah, but the Pharisees didn’t miss the point. Because of their protest we can be sure that the people were embracing their King. Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!
This happened in the Jewish month of Nisan which was the month ordained by God for the Passover. Because of this the sacrificial lambs were being inspected for perfection and then would sacrificed before God. Jesus was the true Lamb of God who would soon be sacrificed for the sin of the world. When Jesus first began His ministry on earth, John the Baptist had proclaimed this truth “…John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. Jesus is our perfect Sacrificial Lamb. He and He alone is the once for all sacrifice. After three years of not allowing anyone to call Him by the title He is so worthy of, He finally allowed the multitude to call Him the King…Messiah. But the story doesn’t end there.
The people accepted Him, but the Jewish leaders rejected Him. They rejected Him and conspired to have Him killed. They got help from an unexpected source. One of the twelve men who had followed Jesus went to the Pharisees and betrayed Him. “And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.” Mark 14:10-11. Judas had followed Him for years, heard His teaching, and witnessed the miracles but he was never truly a part of the disciples. He had the same opportunity of salvation as anyone, but he chose to reject and betray Christ. It’s easy to be fooled by someone professing faith in Jesus, but their actions will show their heart. Many people claim to follow Christ but don’t truly know Him and will reject Him by their actions.
The events that followed that Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem are well known. Jesus ran the money changers out of the Temple, He healed people who were blind and lame, He had disputes with the religious leaders, and He taught many lessons. Then came what we refer to as the Last Supper. During that final meal Jesus told Judas to go and do what he had to do. Jesus knew each of His followers well, and knew Judas would betray Him. He knows each of us today and knows who among us truly follow Him or if we will betray Him. After Judas left on his mission of betrayal, Jesus didn’t hide. He openly went to Gethsemane where He prayed. He knew that this was where Judas would lead a band of men to arrest Him. “Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.” John 18:3. And so Jesus was arrested. He was first taken to Annas “Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.” John 18:12-13. The long night of illegal trials began.
Annas sent Him to Caiaphas who sent Him to Pilate. In the hours that followed, Jesus was interrogated, beaten, scourged, and mocked. Then He was returned to Pilate with a crown of thorns and a purple robe mocking Him as the King of the Jews. There was a custom that a Jewish Prisoner would be released at Passover. Pilate presented Jesus to the people along with a robber named Barabbas. The people would choose which one was to be released. “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus…Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.” Matthew 27:20, 22. Was this the same multitude who had praised Him singing Hosanna to their King? Had any of the people in this crowd heard Jesus teach or been touched by His healing power? Now the crowd was easily influenced by the chief priests and the elders and called for Him to be crucified. Barabbas was guilty of crimes and would have be justly punished, but they called for him to be set free. As for Jesus, God who humbly entered His creation who was without sin, what was their desire? “ Let him be crucified“.
We can look back and judge them for hailing Him as King then a few days later crying “Crucify Him”, but take a good look into your own actions. Do you hail Him as King when you are caught up in a frenzy of emotion? When you walk down that aisle and confess Him as Lord of your life you proclaim “Hosanna to the King”! What do you do when temptation comes? That’s when you need to take up your cross, die to self, and follow Him. “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:24-25.
Hosanna or crucify Him. Which crowd are you in?
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.