KING JESUS ARRIVES
Holy God, by your Spirit nourish my mind with new truth from your Word, as I read it now.
Read MATTHEW 21:1–11
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]
“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ (v 9).
Our passage is replete with allusions to the Old Testament and hints of God’s coming reign. Jesus approaches Jerusalem, Mount Zion (v 5), where the Temple stands: the heart of Israel’s life. Stopping at Bethphage on the Mount of Olives calls to mind Zechariah 14:4: the day God’s feet will stand on the mountain. This day has yet to come.1
Preparations are made to enter Jerusalem as per Zechariah 9:9 (v 5). Rather than astride a warhorse like a Roman emperor, King Jesus enters in humility on a donkey. Memories of Jehu are evoked as the crowd spreads cloaks on the ground.2 The Feast of Tabernacles and the hopes of Zechariah 14:16–19 are brought to mind as the crowds cut branches to make way for Jesus. They sing Psalm 118, a Passover song, which Jesus will cite concerning Israel’s rejection of God’s cornerstone.3 Surrounding Jesus, they cry ‘Hosanna’ (‘praise!’) to the Son of David. Echoing Saturday’s blind men, they identify Jesus as the Messiah. They sing blessings over him who comes in the name of the Lord.
Questions are raised: ‘Who is this?’ Matthew’s answer is ‘Jesus’! The Christ, the King, God the Son, Son of Man, God with us!4 The crowds could be from the wider populace. The description of Jesus as a prophet shows their failure to recognize him as the Messiah! Alternatively, the crowds are stating that he is the long-awaited Mosaic prophet. If so, we have another Christological title of fulfillment.5 Either way, Jesus arrives to great fanfare. The city heaves with excitement because God is on the move. With the coming of two great prophetic figures, John the Baptist and Jesus, surely this is the day of liberation that the Lord has made.
Put yourself in the shoes of the disciples. What do you expect Jesus to do next? Consider this against what he does do. How does this reveal God? Worship him.
Dear Jesus, I offer a shout of praise to you. I join my voice with the disciples and the Galileans in the crowd, celebrating you as Messiah and King.
1 Acts 1:11 2 2 Kings 9:13 3 Matt 21:42; Ps 118:22,23 4 Matt 1:33; 14:23; 16:16 5 Deut 18:15–18; John 6:14; 7:40; Acts 3:22
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