29 When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30saying, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” just say this: “The Lord needs it.” ’ 32So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ 34They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’ 35Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38saying,
‘Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!’
39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ 40He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’
41 As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.’
We know from the Gospels that Jesus had been to Jerusalem before. But this time is different: a new stage is being set, Christ’s ministry is about to make a dramatic shift. His preaching and teaching, his healing and curing, are about to give way to something few people (if any) saw coming.
What parts of your daily life would you consider part of your ministry?
Are there areas you would like to see God’s hand make a “dramatic shift”?
In Jesus’ day, a military general rode a good looking horse into town, to show their power, their high standing. Jesus rode into town on a colt, the usual choice of teachers, rabbis, and healers. If anyone ever deserved a noble steed, it has to be the Messiah.
Why does Jesus opt for something different? What’s he saying?
When I was 16, my horse was a 1989 Buick Century with power windows that didn’t work and a radio you turned on with a paper clip.
What do you ride into town on? What’s that say about you?
Note verses 37-38. Every once in a while it all seems to come together. Maybe it’s a news story, some world event, or your neighbor finally returns your ladder. There’s a moment when things feel like they’re finally in the right place. We get a glimpse of that here, as Jesus is entering Jerusalem, thronged by adoring crowds.
Not to be a downer, but where are these crowds in a week? Why does he accept such adulation from people who will ultimately betray him?
What are these crowds cheering for? The forgiveness of their sins? Miracles? Political opportunity? Social Justice? What are we expecting Jesus to be for us, and is that in line with the person of Christ?
I love when Jesus tells the Pharisees that, “if these [people] were silent, the stones would shout out.” It’s a great acknowledgement of how all of Creation cries out for its Creator.
Indeed, “Creation crying out for its Creator” is a great picture, but what does that actually mean? Is Jesus telling us the stones will actually burst forth, cheering? (see also Psalm 148:7-14, for more “earth cheering”)
Cheering stones seems like a metaphor, but God has done stranger things with earth. Out of a rock God gave the Israelites water. Out of mud Christ healed the blind man. Out of dust God made Adam. What has God made from the rocks, mud, and dust in your life?
After all this excitement, Jesus looks upon Jerusalem and weeps. Just as Daniel predicted the Messiah’s arrival in Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25-27), so Jesus foretells the city’s fall to the Roman general, Titus. For generations the Jews waited for their Messiah, the one who would free them, who would re-establish them. But in this moment, it becomes clear his message will not be received.
In our mission to “Love God, Love Neighbor”, are we ever this distressed? Are we brought to tears by the lost around us, by the pockets of poverty in our neighborhood, by the effects of lives lived without His message?
Should we be brought to tears, or be filled with hope?
Can we balance both without going crazy?
Often, the easiest way to cope is to focus on what we can change. It’s a very human thing to do. But before we finish, let’s remember to keep our prayers filled with things that we stand no chance of ever fixing on our own.