A Triumphal Temple Entry
Jesus enters Jerusalem and the temple to begin the last week of His intentional life. What do we learn about His prophesied coming and purposeful entry?
The timing of it all! Passover! The lamb was coming on His own initiative. The passages are pregnant with deeper meaning, prophecy and fulfillment. This is the culmination of Luke 9:51 where it was said when His time came for Him to be taken up that he set His face to go to Jerusalem.
A donkey… unridden and a tomb… unlain (Luke 23:53, Zechariah 9:9)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
– donkey was royal before David; after they switched to horses
– a burden carrier, just like Jesus
– Jesus does not use our leftovers. He wants our best.
Blessed… Psalm 118:26 (and notice context!) The “He” in the Psalm was the king. “Peace and glory…” reminiscent of the angels’ declaration in Luke 2:14.
John 12:13 “they took palm branches” “Hosanna!” means save us! He would, but not politically.
Stones cry out… (Habakkuk 2:14)
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”
God’s glory and love is so great that someone must testify! Do our lives proclaim Him with joy? Or will God need to raise up rocks?
Destruction… AD 70
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was a decisive event in the First Jewish-Roman War. It was followed by the fall of Masada in 73. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in 66. The city and its famous Second Temple were destroyed in 70.The destruction of the temples (both first and second) is still mourned annually as the Jewish fast Tisha B’Av. The Arch of Titus, depicting and celebrating the Roman sack of Jerusalem and the Temple, still stands in Rome. (Wiki)
Josephus said, “…it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it [Jerusalem] had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor had anyone who had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he [a foreigner] were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it.” (Wiki)
Titus reportedly refused to accept a wreath of victory saying, “there is no merit in vanquishing a people forsaken by their own God”. (Wiki)
Daniel 9:25-26 prophesied both the rebuilding of the temple (after Babylonian captivity) and that the anointed one would be cut off and Jerusalem eventually destroyed with its temple, saying “and to the end there shall be war.”
Jesus weeping because this throng of adorers and the city beyond would not be preserved from judgement. They wanted better lives without personal change.
Perhaps he weeps also because God longed to deliver but His chosen people had chosen people..They’d played favorites. In fact, they were sure they were God’s favorites.
Enter the temple…
House of prayer.. for all nations
Isaiah 56:6-76 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant- 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
At the temple’s dedication, Solomon had voiced God’s intentions to hear the prayers of the nations in 1 Kings 8:43.
“hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.”
“The temple was to be used for Gentile evangelism.” (Hughes)
“den of robbers”…
Jeremiah 7:9-15 “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known,10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’ – only to go on doing all these abominations?11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD… 15 And I will cast you out of my sight…
Being in the temple does not protect you from God if your heart is not right with Him. Jeremiah 7:2-4 says, “Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, ‘This is the temple of the Lord (3x).'”
Just as the temple was allowed to be destroyed and Jerusalem conquered after Jeremiah’s prophecy, so would both experience destruction after Jesus’. Religion without relationship is dead and destined for destruction.
Jesus takes possession and teaches boldly there for a week. But his possession of that temple is not the one he really wants.
Matthew 12:6 “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.”
Revelation 21:22 “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.”
Your heart is a temple. He wants to make a triumphal entry into the depths of your life. He wants to give you a new heart. A new life.
It’s about Jesus’ presence and how He comes to His people. It’s not about a building or a nation.
The power of Palm Sunday is that Jesus has come with determination to set things right before people and His Father. Even when sinful man obscures His love and grace to all peoples, God is determined to reveal it afresh. He has “broken down the dividing wall” (Ephesians 2:11-14).
He came in history to announce His reign, to prove His power and demonstrate His love. He is so passionate for His Father’s glory and our freedom from sin that He weeps over us! What will be our response to His passion?