When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away. Now this happened to fulfill what the prophet said, Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.” The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them. Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee” (Matthew 21:1-11, Common English Bible).
When Jesus and the disciples came into Jerusalem there were cloaks and palm branches in the air and on the ground marking the way Jesus was to go. It was Jesus being treated as a king. There were people who were shouting and praising as they lined the route into the city. People were saying “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who came in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Before we could turn around there comes a question, “Who is this?”
Really? “‘Who is this?’ THEY asked.” Really? You just sang praises to “the Son of David!” Now you have to ask “Who is this?” Really? You threw your cloak on the ground for his donkey to not only walk on but to do other things donkeys do as they walk the road, and now you ask, “Who is this?” Really? You took the time to cut palm branches. That would mean you had to climb the palm trees to reach them. You waived those branches at him as you sang and now you have to ask, “Who is this?” Really?
Yes, really, that was the question of not one, but when Matthew wrote “they” the word means more than one. While there is no way to know how many, Matthew at least makes it sound like they are several people. I would love to say, “What a stupid question.” In reality, however, the question should actually be, “What a sad question.” The Messiah is right in front of them and yet they do not see it.
The answer to their question quite possibly is even more sad than the question itself, if that is even possible. “It is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Think about that for a minute. Here is Jesus, riding into the city. He is treated like the royalty he is at one moment, the crowds asking him to be the Messiah and “save us (see “Blessed…Amid Shouts of Hosanna”)” and before Jesus can even dismount the donkey, he has gone down in status from Messiah to prophet.
Let there be no doubt, Jesus was not the Messiah the Jews were seeking. They missed the sign of the donkey (see “Blessed…On a Colt) that Jesus came in peace. Still, Jesus had not yet had the chance to disappoint the crowds as to the kind of Messiah he would be. And yet, he went from Messiah to prophet in just a moment’s time.
If Jesus could go from Messiah to prophet in the blink of an eye, it is little wonder how the same people could be shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” five days later.
What kind of Messiah do you expect Jesus to be?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved