The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by John Peters. John leads St Mary's and is married to Jenny.

Luke 19:28-44

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As 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. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?' say, ‘The Lord needs it.'"

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?"

34 They replied, "The Lord needs it."

35 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!"[a]
"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 it 42 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."

Reflection

Travelling from Jericho to Jerusalem involves a long, hard climb. Jericho is 800 feet below sea level. Jerusalem is 3000 feet above sea level. The road is dry desert all the way to the Mount of Olives, at which point you see lush vegetation and the Holy City for the first time.  

Jewish pilgrims were always excited when they went up to Jerusalem. This was where God had chosen to establish his name and presence. This was where they would celebrate their stories of liberation with singing and feasting, with friends and relatives.

For Jesus' disciples this wasn't just Passover time, it was Kingdom time. The Passover dream of God's salvation would now be made known. Their long climb would surely culminate in the coming of the Kingdom in power.

Luke focuses on Jesus as King. He decides to ride into the city and commandeers a colt for the purpose (30). Was this pre-arranged or not? It doesn't matter because Jesus always acts with the sovereign freedom of a King.

Then comes the climax; you don't spread your cloaks on the road (36), especially in the dusty, stony Middle East, for a friend or even a respected member of your family. You do it for royalty. When Judas Maccabaeus defeated the Syrian army, he entered Jerusalem and cleansed and rebuilt the temple. The people waved palm branches while singing hymns of praise.
The shout of the crowd is - "blessed is the King who comes" (38) -is taken from a royal enthronement Psalm (118).

The Pharisees get it (39). Jesus predicts the destruction of the city "because you did not recognise the time of God's coming to you" (44).

Prayer

Help me, Lord, to recognise the times of your coming and welcome you in as King.  

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