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.