This is the Lent 2015 series. We’re reading through Luke, from Jesus conquering temptation in the desert to the Passion, His crucifixion and resurrection.
As we begin Holy Week we’ll be reading through Luke 19-24. Luke 19 begins with the story of Zacchaeus, if you weren’t with us when I wrote the Zacchaeus series, A Little Man With A Big Story, you can read it here.
Jesus arrived in Jerusalem five days before Passover. This is Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday. It is the start of Holy Week- the week before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Passion Sunday follows Jesus’ path of miracles and begins His journey to the cross.
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King (Luke 19:28-44)
Jerusalem was crowded with people who were in town to celebrate Passover. Those people had heard of Jesus and the miracles that He was performing and they lined the streets to see him. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey fulfilling the prophesy in Zechariah 9:9, Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples walked ahead of Jesus singing and sharing the news of His arrival as Jesus rode behind on the donkey. The Pharisees told Jesus to quiet his disciples and Jesus responded: “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40).
Jesus knew that the Passion lay ahead. He knew how the next steps; and he grieved for those in Jerusalem who would reject Him, those who had not RSVP’d.
“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 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. 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. 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.” (Luke 19:42-44)
The same crowds who lined the streets to welcome Jesus on Palm Sunday, shouting “Hosanna” and waving palm branches, would line the streets shouting “crucify Him” less than a week later.
Jesus at the Temple (Luke 19:45-48)
After He entered the city of Jerusalem Jesus went to the temple. He found it filled with people who were selling hypocrisy. Jesus turned over the tables and said “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ (Luke 19:46).
After Jesus restored purity in the temple He resumed teaching. “Every 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. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.” (Luke 19:47-48).
The chief priests and scribes, and the chief of the people, the great Sanhedrin (click here to read more about who made up the Sanhedrin), that should have attended him, and summoned the people too to attend him, sought to destroy him, and put him to death. Till his hour was come his interest in the common people protected him; but, when his hour was come, the chief priests’ influence upon the common people delivered him up. (Matthew Henry, Commentary)