After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “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. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As 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, saying,
“Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, 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. They 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.”
Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, “It is written,
‘My house shall be a house of prayer’;
but you have made it a den of robbers.”
Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.
Jesus knew how to make an entrance, huh? He entered Jerusalem riding a donkey, of all things, while a multitude of people followed behind Him shouting and singing His praises. I imagine the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but with Jesus instead of Santa. And once He gets there, the first thing He does is storm in to the Temple and throw out all of the merchants and money changers. THEN He began preaching. In the Temple. I’m no expert of ancient Jewish customs, but I imagine that one did not simply preach in the Temple whenever they felt like it. And certainly not with the authority Jesus always spoke with.
But despite all of this, the Jews (especially the Pharisees) did not recognize Jesus. That’s why they lost Israel, AGAIN. Everything Jesus said came to pass. All that’s left of the ancient city now is a single wall. There is now a Mosque where the Temple once was.
I feel sort of bad for them, really. As a modern-day person who is used to Messianic hoaxes, cult leaders, and doomsday prophecies, it’s easy for me to understand why they didn’t believe. When you spend thousands of years waiting for something, you start to envision it kind of permanently in the future, subconsciously eliminating all possibility of its existence in the present. I hope I recognize Jesus when He comes back. He’ll need to make a much bigger scene than He did in Jerusalem to get anyone in this era to notice.
I love what Jesus says in verse 40. “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” That’s what loving God is really, isn’t it? It’s about being so excited about Him that nothing could hold it in. Even if you were a stone you would have to rejoice! I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like that. Maybe I’ll have to wait until I’m in His presence too… But I hope not.