The Messiah Enters Jerusalem

28After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30“Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’ 32“Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 37When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:28-40).

As Jesus prepared to enter Jerusalem, it is very likely that the city was abuzz with Messianic fervor and excitement, because the fulfillment of Daniel’s timeline prophecy that the Messiah would come, was to be that very day. Daniel the prophet had a visit from an angel that revealed to him the exact date that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem:

25Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven “sevens,” and sixty-two “sevens.” It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble (Daniel 9:25).

Seven and sixty-two makes sixty-nine weeks of years. Several people have taken this prophecy and calculated that, from the decree of Artaxerxes the Persian king to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1-8) in 444 B.C., to the day when Jesus entered into Jerusalem riding on a donkey’s foal, the sixty-nine weeks of years was completed. The sixty-nine weeks of years amounts to 483 years with 360 days to a year.  (Jews reckoned time according to a lunar calendar, i.e. thirty days to a month and twelve months to a year.) In his excellent work, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell has gone into detail on this.[1] We don’t know how many people were aware that Daniel’s timeline for the appearing of the Messiah was at hand. There was an expectation among the Jews that this was the time when the Messiah would destroy the Romans and deliver the Jewish people from the occupation of the Romans. Of course, as Christians, we believe that He will come as a conquering warrior, but that is for a time to come. First, He was to come as a suffering servant and a sacrificial lamb to pay for our sins.

The arrival of Jesus on this fulfillment day of Daniel’s prophecy was planned to the last detail. Jesus would not come into the city riding a white horse, a symbol of war, but on a humble donkey. “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3), yet he had to borrow someone else’s donkey. The password to borrow it was, “The Lord needs it.” Notice that there was no further explanation required once the owners knew that the Lord needed it. That settled it. They were happy to see their resources used by the Lord. What a lesson that is for us. Is everything we have available for the Lord to use? The donkey had never been ridden before (Luke 19:30), yet it carries our Lord without protest.

Three years into His ministry, the Lord now had a price on His head, a price that Judas cashed in on, but we don’t find Him stealing into the city secretly. How bravely He approached the city on the very day about which the prophet Daniel had written. There was rapturous applause by the crowds as Jesus began the descent from the Mount of Olives with the beautiful city of Jerusalem before and below Him. What glorious defiance of the religious rulers who had tried to intimidate Him again and again. He came to Jerusalem as the promised King spoken of by Zechariah the prophet, fulfilling exactly the prophetic Scripture that He would come having salvation and riding on a donkey:

9Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).

Taken from the series on the Book of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 52. Luke 19:28-48, The King Comes to His Temple. Keith Thomas

[1] Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Published by Nelson, Page 200