John T. Willis

Friday, July 12, 2013

Jesus approaches Jerusalem as King of Peace--Luke 19:28-40

Jesus has just taught the Parable of the Pounds in Luke 19:11-27 in which he compares himself with a nobleman who went into a distant land to get royal power for himself and then return. This prepares the hearers for Jesus' next movement to actually go to Jerusalem and enter the city as king of peace. This account appears in Luke 19:28-40, which naturally falls into three parts. I. Jesus sends his disciples to secure a colt on which Jesus will ride into Jerusalem. Luke 19:28-35. a. After Jesus taught the Parable of the Pounds in Luke 19:11-27, he "goes up" to Jerusalem. This trip from Jericho where Jesus had been (Luke 19:1-10) to Jerusalem is a very steep, challenging walk for anyone (see the statement in the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30 when a man was "going down" from Jerusalem to Jericho). Jesus "going up" foreshadows Jesus' ascending into heaven to his heavenly Father after his resurrection and calls to mind the three men who "went up to God" at Bethel in 1 Samuel 10:5. 19:28. b. As Jesus travelled, naturally FIRST he had to come to Bethphage, a small village on the Mount of Olives often identified with Abu Dis southeast of Bethany and lower down on the southeastern side of the Mount of Olives. SECOND, Jesus naturally came to Bethany on the hill approximately 2.7 kilometers east of Jerusalem overlooking Jerusalem from the east above the Kidron Valley. See Luke 24:50. In modern times, Bethany is the site called el-`Azariyah, named after Lazarus, whose grave was identified there by the Bordeaux Pilgrim ca. 333 A. D. The Mount of Olives extends for approximately two and a half miles from north to south and has three main summits, the highest of which is Mount Scopus or Ras el-Mesharif in the north approximately 2,690 feet above sea level. The central summit is the Mount of Olives, which is 2,660 feet above sea level directly across the Kidron Valley from the area of the temple on which rests Kefr et-Tur. See Zechariah 14:4. The southern summit is now called the Mount of Corruption or Offence which rises above the village of Silwan. See 2 Kings 23:13. 19:29a-b. c. When Jesus arrived at this point on the Mount of Olives, he told two of his disciples to going into "the village" [apparently Bethany] to find a colt that had never been ridden, untie it and bring it to Jesus. 19:29c-30. d. Jesus tells his two disciples that if anyone asks why they are untying the colt, tell him that "The Lord needs it." See Mark 11:3. The two disciples followed Jesus' instruction, and these events occurred. 19:31-34. e. Accordingly, Jesus' two disciples brought the colt to Jesus where he was on the Mount of Olives. Then, they threw their cloaks on the colt, and set Jesus on the colt. 19:35. II. Jesus goes down the Mount of Olives and approaches Jerusalem. Luke 19:36-38. a. Jesus rode along on the colt on the Mount of Olives, and as he did this, the people along the way spread their cloaks on the road as a gesture of a "red carpet" welcome to Jesus. The cloaks on the road call to mind the homage the people of North Israel paid to Jehu as the new anointed king of the Ten Northern Tribes in 2 Kings 9:13. 19:36. b. As Jesus approached the path down from the Mount of Olives on the western slope going down to the Kidron Valley, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen. Praising God our Father loudly is a recurring phrase in Lukan material, as seen in Luke 2:13, 20; Acts 2:47; 3:8-9. 19:37. c. In praising God our Father, the worshippers sang this song: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!" The worshippers acknowledge Jesus as the king, which emphasizes two important truths. 1. This entire account is based on Zechariah 9:9-10. 2. This "king" is the anointed one subservient to God the Father. God the Father is suzerain; Jesus the Christ [the Anointed One] is vassal under Yahweh our Father. Jesus repeatedly emphasizes that he is subservient to his Heavenly Father. 3. This entire account calls to mind the entry of Solomon into Jerusalem as king of peace. As a typical gesture at the coronation of a new king, his servants would bring the king on his own mule and bring him down to the Gihon Spring or Well and blow the trumpet, saying, "Long live King Solomon!" or any other king. This symbolizes two things: the new individual is now king, and he is subservient to Yahweh the God of the universe and the God of his people. See 1 Kings 1:33-34. Thus, Jesus enters Jerusalem as the vassal king under Yahweh his Heavenly Father and as a man of peace like Solomon. In Luke 10:5-6, Jesus told his disciples to bring peace to people But in Luke 19:38, Jesus brings peace in heaven. Thus, Jesus now brings peace in a fresh, new way involving both earth and heaven. See Acts 2:33. 19:38. III. Some Pharisees demand that Jesus stop his disciples from doing this. Luke 19:39-40. a. Certain Pharisees had accompanied Jesus from Luke 13:31 following. See Luke 14:1, 3; 15:1; 16:14; 17:20. Luke 19:39-40 is the last mention of the Pharisees in the Gospel of Luke. These Pharisees approached Jesus and demanded that he order his disciples to stop what they were doing. 19:39. b. Jesus strongly rejected the demand of these Pharisees, declaring: "If these people were silent, the stones would shout out." This statement may be an allusion to Habakkuk 2:11, which describes a threat uttered against a nation that plunders people and gets gain by violence. Yahweh will not allow sinful people to win the day. They may seem to prevail, but this will happen only for a brief time, and ultimately Yahweh will be victorious and have his way from his heavenly throne. 19:40. Share YOUR insights and thoughts and shortcomings and desires with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis