As we have journeyed together through the book of Luke for the last 16 months, we have heard Jesus say again and again that he must go to Jerusalem. In fact, since his first foretelling of his death in 9:21-22, Jesus reminds his disciples nine times that Jerusalem is his final destiny. Now finally, on Palm Sunday, we witness the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the beginning of the terrible and wonderful drama of the cross and resurrection. Everything Jesus has been planning for and heading toward now culminates in his entry into Jerusalem.
There are at least two remarkable things happening in this passage. First, Jesus is being acclaimed as the rightful King. There is so much powerful imagery happening in this passage, from the untying of the colt to the coats laid in the road, which testify to Jesus as the promised Messiah King. King David fled Jerusalem many centuries before this to abandon his kingship to his son’s rebellion, now Jesus the true Son of David returns to Jerusalem to claim the everlasting throne. He is the true King come to bring lasting peace and renewal for all things!
Second, and quite paradoxically, Jesus signals through his weeping and lament (v.41-44) that this is the not the kind of coronation that anyone expected. While many of his disciples expected Jesus to claim his kingship through violence and force, Jesus shows through his tears and sorrow that his kingship will actually be claimed through the way of suffering and sorrow. Jesus does ride into Jerusalem as the King, but he does not do so triumphantly to sieze power but he does so humbly to give up power and die. This is the unexpected, paradoxical nature of Jesus’ Kingship. His lasting reign is coming, but not until Jesus journeys through the darkest pit of sin, death and hell. He willingly takes that journey as he drives forward in love.
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28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As 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. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When 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!”[a]
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some 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.”
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They 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.”