”They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 37 When 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!”[b] “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 Some 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.” 41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” Luke 19.35-44
The Triumphant Entry is a centerpiece to Jesus’ ministry and arrival into Jerusalem. We celebrate this moment near Easter in our churches by show casing our children holding palm branches and processing into the church singing, “Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!”
Perhaps you’ve been a part of these liturgical parades and loved every minute of it! Yet there’s another aspect than just the celebratory atmosphere that we always seem to skip (it’s much more fun to see the smiling faces of our children parading into the sanctuary.) For shortly after the people shouted accolades to and about Jesus, the Pharisees rebuked him in anger. And then, when Jesus looks upon Jerusalem, he wept. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it….”
Jesus offers words of prophecy right here about what will happen to this great city in their blindness for not seeing him as their coming Messiah. Their enemies will build walls against them, they will dash the people and their children to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on top of another. All this, because they did not “recognize the time of God’s coming.”
Now it’s true that some recognized Jesus, a whole bunch, by the way. But the whole of the city, the majority of God’s people, the main core of religious life would totally reject Jesus as Messiah. Even if they sing songs to him today, in less than a week they would nail him to a cross. The triumphal entry turns quickly to tragedy and then again to triumph when he rises from the grave.
But for now, we see the mixture of emotions in the weeping, rejoicing and rejection of Christ upon his entry into Jerusalem because they did not recognize that the day of the Lord’s coming.
Have we also been blinded to the truth of God? Have we recognized his presence in our midst? Are we living in obedience to his call and commands? Are we like the Jews who love Jesus one moment and hate him the next? I certainly hope not! Let us walk in step with the Lord today, receive his arrival new every morning, and share the Good News of the Gospel of peace when everyone we meet.
“O Lord God, thank you for saving me. Thank you for the gift of life and the grace you offer to all people. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Help me be your hands and feet in this world in need of redemption and salvation. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen