Week 108: Luke 19:28-44
Read Luke 19:28-29
“When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”” (Luke 19:28–31)
Bethphage and Bethany are cities just outside of Jerusalem to the East and just over the Mount of Olives. Olivet is only 200 feet above the city of Jerusalem. The mount and the Kidron valley below it are intimately connected with the devotional life of Jesus.
“And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet.” (Luke 21:37, NKJV)
He spent time in these places alone with his Father. From here and just out of the city, He often sat with his disciples and told them of things to come. From Olivet, he told them the parables of the Ten Virgins and the parable of Ten Minas. These parables speak of his final return and earthly reign. Not too many days hence, He will be arrested in the shadow of Olivet in Gethsemane. After his death, when he rises from grave, he will spend forty days with his disciples and ultimately take his disciples back to the Mount of Olives. After a parting blessing, He will ascend to heaven from there.
Bethphage is tucked up behind the Mount of Olives. It is only sabbath walk, a half mile, from Jerusalem. Here Jesus has two disciples acquire a donkey’s colt for his entrance into Jerusalem.
While his first kingly entrance is marked by a quiet humility, His second return will be marked by conspicuous authority.
“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.” (Zechariah 14:4, NKJV)
Friend, where is your Mount of Olives? Where is your get-a-away where you spend unhurried time with the Lord? If you would have a life of deep devotion with Jesus, there are three things you must find and hold with an iron grasp: A quiet place, a quiet hour and a quiet mind.
Let Jesus be our example. Everything of eternal value in our lives will begin and end from our sacred places of devotion with the Lord. Some of us are still walking, many years later, in the blessing of answered prayer that we wrestled for from our own special places of prayer.
Read Luke 19:30-34
He sends his disciples on a mission of faith. He knows the outcome, though they do not. All blessed work in the Lord comes by faith and trusts God with the outcome. We may plant, or may water, but it is God who will bring the fruit. Whatever you are doing for the Lord, believe that.
“He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:8, ESV)
Jesus knows the outcome of their mission. The owners of the colt are secretly known to him. They will gladly yield it for the Lord’s use.
Richard Wurmbrand, and Christians like him, were persecuted relentlessly in Romania in the underground church. He once noted that scriptures like this made sense to him after persecution broke out. Christians under threat, operated very secretly by necessity. Jesus’ final days were under such an increasing threat that stealth was key. Were these owners of the donkey and her colt known to the disciples? Probably not.
But they were known to the Lord.
Many Christians like me have benefited from the ministry of Christians that we don’t know. My stepfather was resistant to Christian faith, though I had tried to share Christ with him. My wife and I prayed, and our kids prayed for him. When he came down with cancer, his oncologist was a bold Christian.
The Lord used that doctor to turn his attention to eternity in a critical hour.
Never be surprised to know that God has others, unknown to you, who will do his bidding. Elijah thought he was the last one left. But what did the Lord tell him?
Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”” (1 Kings 19:18, NKJV)
The Apostle Paul must have been in need of encouragement one night in the city of Corinth:
“And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”” (Acts 18:9–10, ESV)
Jesus knows who are his.
He has people everywhere. There are many he has, that we know not of. They may be a secret to you, but they are not a secret to God. And he will wonderfully employ them in life’s emergencies.
Read Luke 19:32-38
Jesus procured a colt that had never been ridden. Not a horse, but the colt of a donkey. Never ridden, meaning this colt had one life purpose: to escort the Son of God into Jerusalem. There, the coming king will be rejected and crucified according to the divine purpose.
The Old Testament predicts Christ and here Jesus reveals himself, again, from scripture. Listen to the words of Zechariah from five centuries earlier:
““Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9, NKJV)
Both his humility and his mission of peace were symbolized by the animal on which he rode. The Judean Jews had many disciples of Christ. Jerusalem’s Jews would not be as welcoming. These believers in Jesus praised Him as the King and Messiah who was long expected and now on the colt before them. They lay their outer garments on the road, a welcome more beautiful than any red carpet. They echo the angels of Christ’s birth.
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” 19:38
Make no mistake about it, this King’s first mission was to bring peace on earth, by making peace between God and man through His sacrifice.
What did Jesus say to so many that he healed, “Go in peace your sins are forgiven.”
The greatest healing isn’t new walking legs, or newly seeing eyes, as wonderful as those things are. The greatest healing is bringing peace back to a people who are severed from God and headed for judgment. Jesus came to bring the kind of peace that satisfies justice. He did that by his own sacrifice.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 5:1, NKJV)
The mission of Christ will be completed by his second coming. Jesus will not come then upon the humble colt of salvation and peace, but upon the white horse of conquest and war over the enemies of God.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” (Revelation 19:11, ESV)
Read Luke 19:38-40
When the people praise Jesus with acclamation that he is king, the Pharisees are irritated. “Rebuke your disciples!”, they say.
Jesus told a parable to his disciples just before they descended from the Mount of Olives. It was the parable of the Ten Minas:
“He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’” (Luke 19:12–14, TNIV)
And here is the rub:
The Pharisees didn’t want Jesus to be king. In the end, as a whole,
His own Jewish brethren
in Jerusalem will reject Him.
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:11–12, TNIV)
For the pharisees, the final solution for the Jesus problem would be crucifixion. And the Jerusalem crowd would chime in, “Crucify!”. Jesus doesn’t rebuke the many followers who are praising Him. He defends them with a rebuke to the Pharisees:
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40, TNIV)
Whether men praise Christ or not, he will, and shall, and must be praised. He is King and He is God! The Puritan Matthew Henry noted that, “at his crucifixion, when his disciples were silent, ‘the earth did quake and the rocks were split.’” (Matthew 27:51)
Whatever men may think, Jesus is King and God. Every knee shall bow, both detractor and devoted disciple. When he returns some of us will be eager with praise. Others will lament with regret.
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11, NKJV)
Read Luke 19:41-44
From a place of elevation descending down to Jerusalem, Jesus saw the city and wept for it. When it says He saw the city, what did he see?
He saw its history. From its founding to the present and every godly soul who lived and served there in between. He saw David’s founding of it. He saw Solomon building it up. He saw its destruction by the Babylonians because of Israel’s wickedness. He saw Nehemiah weeping over it and rebuilding it.
He saw its present. He saw a city full of the people He loved missing their divine moment to be saved. For the moment some are praising him, but in the days ahead, many will be calling for his crucifixion. This present time was the time of His coming, yet they would not receive him. The peace that would profit them was hidden from their eyes.
“but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13, NKJV)
He saw its future. His words couldn’t be more alarming, Jerusalem would come down and with it all of her children. He saw fire and annihilation with every stone to the ground. With their rejection of Him, a great judgment did befall them only thirty years later. Rome would burn it to the ground. Jesus wept over a people on the brink of being cast into the nations.
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,” (Hebrews 3:7–8, NKJV)