The passage of Scripture we are looking at here describes the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. From this moment our thoughts are focused upon His last days leading up to the cross. He deliberately makes a public entry into the Holy City so that everyone would not be mistaken with regards to His intention. The city was overflowing with millions of Jews who were visiting to celebrate the Passover. Jesus’ triumphant entry would speak to them of His claim to be their Messiah.
“And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him” (Mark 11:1-7).
Jesus paused on Mount Olivet near Bethphage, the house of unripe figs, and Bethany, the house of the poor and oppressed. It was at Bethany that Mary anointed Jesus’ feet (John 12:3) It was time for Him to present Himself as Israel’s Messiah, Lord and King, and thus fulfil the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9, “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.” The One who had caused the prophet to pen these words knew that in Bethphage there would be an ass and its foal waiting for Him. This event proves that Jesus is the omniscient Lord. He is not the Christ of liberal theology, but of history and Heaven. God’s word will always be fulfilled exactly as He has spoken, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). The colt had never been ridden by anyone, yet it did not try to throw its Creator off its back. All of this would have been lost on the disciples until Jesus ascended into Heaven, “These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him” (John 12:16).
“And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strowed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest” (Mark 11:8-10).
The Lord rode into Jerusalem upon a road carpeted with clothes and palm branches. “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strowed them in the way” (Matthew 21:8). The crowd that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem was made up of all sections of society. His disciples were there, as were the people who had witnessed Lazarus’ resurrection, “The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle” (John 12:17-18 see 11:1-43). The Pharisees were there too, not to rejoice but to condemn, “The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him” (John 12:19). They also rebuked those who worshipped Jesus, “And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:39-40).
The people cried out, “Hosanna!” This is an exclamation of praise but originally it meant “save us.” By saying, “blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord”, they were proclaiming that He was the promised Messiah. “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 118:26). The mention of King David reveals that they thought that Jesus was about to break the Roman yoke and set Israel free from tyranny. They saw Him as the King who would sit on David’s throne. They, for a moment, were willing to offer Jesus the highest praise. Soon their cries of “Hosanna” would turn into “Crucify Him!”
“And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve” (Mark 11:11).
When He arrived in Jerusalem Jesus went into the temple courts, but notice that He could not find rest there! 1 Samuel 4:21 finds application here, “Ichabod” which means “The glory is departed from Israel.” The One who often had “not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20), did not feel at home in the House of God because He was rejected by the priests and the people.
It is sad to think that the vast majority of the people who worshipped Jesus that day would reject Him a few days later. The Lord sees passed the crowds to the ones who truly believe on Him in their hearts. Even though very few are willing to accept Jesus as God and Saviour, there is coming a day when all, both saved and unsaved, must stand before the “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16) … “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11).