Archives For Triumphal Entry

In reading Luke’s account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Lk. 19:29-40), we see not only the jubilant, worshipful response of the disciples to Jesus, but also the Pharisees inappropriate response and request for them to be silent. Though stated with the religious weight of the experts on the law, their response and request revealed both their spiritual deadness and spiritual blindness. In fact, true worship of Jesus, the Messiah and King, cannot be negated. Even if human beings would have been silent, the stones would have cried out.

Here are a few thoughts, comments and applications.

First, Jesus is the agent of creation, which means all has been created through him and for him (Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11). Although not all recognize his Lordship at present, all will at some point in the future (Phil. 2:9-11). Even creation at present groans, including stones, longing to be set free from its bondage to corruption (Rom. 8:18-23). This is an eschatological statement of what will happen. And amazingly, Christ’s resurrection means that this eschatological reality is not only future, but is present, and through faith in Christ that eschatological end-time truth is experienced now in the present. It certainly awaits an future day, but it is also experienced in the present-day. 

Second, Jesus is also the Redeemer which means he is to be worshipped. It is fitting and appropriate to worship the king who brings peace. For who Christ is and what he has done, his words “it is finished” (Jn. 19:30), the last words uttered on the cross, are completed by some of his first words spoken after the resurrection, “Peace be with you” (Jn. 20:21). In other words, the peace Jesus offers is accomplished through the cross. This means peace is first and foremost “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) and then, secondly, peace with others (Eph. 2:14-16).

Third, more specifically to this incident, in asking Jesus to silence the disciples from praising and worshipping him would have been asking them to respond inappropriately to him. He is the Messiah, the king, the one who brings peace. The Pharisees are, whether they realize it or not, asking Jesus to renounce who he is.  

Fourth, it is impossible to squelch praise and worship of the Messiah, the king. Even if Jesus were to silence the disciples, which he would not do, even the stones would cry out. The stones cry reflects two truths. Not only would they cry out in praise and worship of their Maker, the Lord Jesus Christ, but they would also cry out in judgment (cf. Hab. 2:1) against the Pharisees who attempted to silence the appropriate response to the Jesus (cf. Lk. 3:8, where John says “God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.”)

Fifth, Jesus’ person and presence generate a response, and it requires an appropriate response. Silencing Jesus or disciples will not negate that he is the king nor will it negate God’s purposes. The response will manifest the person’s true condition.

Sixth, since no one remains exempt from responding to Christ, there are only two responses: one of praise and worship, the other of silence. As aptly concluded by C. S. Lewis, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” 

Finally, and in sum, there is “deep irony” in Jesus’ response. “In an ardent refusal to stop the messianic confession of his followers,” concludes Darrell Bock (Luke, vol. 2, 1560), “he says that if they ceased, creation would cry out in testimony to him. Creation is aware of Jesus but the leadership of the nation is not. That which is lifeless knows life when it sees it, even though that which is living does not. Luke portrays their rejection as a tragic, stinging indictment of their lack of judgment.”

Luke 19:29-40: When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.'” So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near– already on the way down the Mount of Olives– the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Yesterday we remembered and celebrated Palm Sunday, the day in the church year in which we focus on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This is the beginning of his final week prior to the cross, the culmination of his earthly ministry he came to accomplish.

This is one of my favorite texts as I ponder these last days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Consider the following:

  • Jesus gives a task to his disciples and informs them what they will find even before it happens.
  • Jesus requests what the disciples are to do and what they are to say when they request the colt from its owner (notice that this colt is specific, one that has never been ridden).
  • The disciples do what is requested and the owner grants the request without any questions (at least the text does not inform us of any objection). The statement “The Lord has need of it” was sufficient.
  • All the behavior toward Jesus was reflective of a triumph. This response was given to a king.
  • All those following him, “the whole multitude of his disciples,” worshipped and praised God for what the mighty works they had seen performed by Jesus.
  • In this worship, the disciples’ response reflects the Old Testament Scriptures as they quote from Psalm 118:26. This text is sung in light of all that is happening with and around Jesus.
  • One of the key truths to this quoted expression from the Psalms, this “worship” song, was the blessing given to the king. This is a royal psalm, one which was recited during the enthronement of the king. This informs and prepares them for the Messiah and the nearness of the eschatological fulfillment.
  • Since Jesus comes in the name of the Lord, to praise and worship him is to praise and worship God. To deny this praise and worship is not only to reject Jesus, it is also to reject God.
  • This text also indicates that Jesus is associated with peace, much like Luke records the peace that accompanies Jesus’ birth (Lk. 2:10-14) and the peace that he brings and offers after his crucifixion and resurrection (Lk. 24:36).
  • In contrast, the Pharisees were scandalized by this expression of praise and worship given to Jesus. To them, this response was completely inappropriate and needed to be corrected immediately. They demanded of Jesus that he silence the disciples.
  • Jesus gives the divine response: this response was fitting and appropriate, and if not expressed by human beings, those created in the image of God, then “the very stones would cry out,” God’s inanimate creation.

A few questions:

  • What do you highlight as you read this text?
  • What do you appreciate about what it teaches?
  • What are the applications in your life?

In tomorrow’s blog post (Part 2) I will conclude with a few comments and applications.