Lukeby Mike Raiter
Finally, Jesus has arrived at His destination. He enters the last week of His life, but His exciting, triumphal march into the city gives no hint of the chaos, conflict, and suffering that are to follow.
Jesus sends two disciples ahead to collect a donkey. Showing His prophetic power, He instructs them how to reply when someone tries to stop them from taking the donkey away (vv. 30–34).
Like Solomon did almost 1,000 years before, the true King enters Jerusalem, riding on a donkey (1 Kings 1:33). Riding a donkey here isn’t a symbol of Jesus’ humility, as we so often think. It is an appropriate sign of His kingly power (Zechariah 9:9).
All the people lay their garments and branches on the road, praising God as they welcome their King into the city (vv. 36–38). Of course, none of them have any idea of how Jesus will come into His kingdom. It will not be by walking into the Temple carrying a sceptre, but by being nailed to a cross wearing a crown of thorns. That is why Jesus greets their praises not with laughter and smiles, but with tears and a prophecy of doom (vv. 41–44). Since they will soon kill their King who has come to save them, the days of this once-glorious city are numbered. What was their sin? They could not “recognise the time of God’s coming to you” (v. 44). Praise God, that He has opened our eyes to see Jesus, the crucified and triumphant King of Kings.
The largest part of the Temple was the Court of the Gentiles, which covered about 26–35 acres. One section was the Temple’s commercial hub. It hosted an immense volume of trade converting foreign money into shekels that were acceptable for offerings in the Temple. However, in their hunger for huge profits, the people had forgotten the Temple’s true purpose: prayer and worship (v. 46).
In the book of Revelation, John sees the new Jerusalem. He writes, “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21:22). On that day, God’s true people will offer true worship to the true Temple.
Why do you think the disciples who praised Jesus as He entered Jerusalem deserted Him a few days later? Is there a lesson and warning in this for us?
How should the fact that the temple is no longer a building but “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb”, affect our understanding and practice of worship?