LIFE OF CHRIST
last lesson, Jesus was having supper with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and we have
few more verses to look at regarding that event starting in:
John 12:9 Now a great
many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake
only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the
dead. 10 But the chief
priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also,
11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and
believed in Jesus.
Many times when the Jews
are mentioned in the Gospels, it is talking about those who were opposed Jesus.
But sometimes it is used to refer to the Jews who believed in Him as in our
verses here. When the Jews found out Jesus was there, they went to see Him and
Lazarus who had been raised from the dead. I imagine some of these people
touched Lazarus to see if he felt any different from anyone else. He would
certainly be getting more attention than he ever had in his life.
Many of the Jews
believed in Jesus because of this great miracle of raising Lazarus from the
dead, which put Lazarus on the chief priests’ hit list. They probably thought
if they could kill him, it would stop more Jews from believing in Jesus.
Next, Jesus is going to
make His triumphal entry toward Jerusalem, which is recorded in all four gospel
accounts: Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12. Since all four accounts
cover this, I was trying to figure out the best way to look at all four
accounts. What I decided to do is to blend parts of the various accounts along
the way to capture the full picture. Then I will offer some commentary when I
start getting into John’s account.
Matthew 21:1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage (and Bethany [Mk.
and Lk.]), at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into
the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a
colt with her (on which no one has sat. [Mk. and Lk.]) Loose them and
bring them to Me. 3
"And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of
them,' and immediately he will send them."
4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was
spoken by the prophet, saying: 5
"Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly,
and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.' " 6 So the disciples went and did as
Jesus commanded them. (Mark 11: 4
So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the
street, and they loosed it. 5
But some of those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing,
loosing the colt?" 6 And
they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. Luke 19:34 And they said,
"The Lord has need of him." So they let them go.) 7 They
brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on
As I blended these
accounts together, we now have a complete picture. One difference not mentioned
above is that both Mark and Luke only mention the colt, but Matthew mentions
the donkey and the colt. We also saw that another prophecy is being fulfilled,
but I will talk about these differences as we continue blending, but this time
our main text will be John’s account.
John 12:12 The next day a great multitude that had
come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to
Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went
out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He
who comes in the name of the LORD!' The King of Israel!"
Now some of this will overlap, but I want to add parts of this great
event from the other accounts as the say similar things, but add more details.
See, if you can catch them.
Matthew 21:8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut
down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went
before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of
David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the
highest!" 10 And when He
had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is
this?" 11 So the
multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of
Mark 11:8 And many
spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the
trees and spread them on the road.
9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried
out, saying: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the
LORD!' 10 Blessed is the
kingdom of our father David That comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the
Luke 19:36 And as He
went, many spread their clothes on the road. 37 Then, as He was now drawing
near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples
began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they
had seen, 38 saying: "
'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!' Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest!"
This is known as the
triumphal entry and it is recorded in all the Gospels. The use of Palm branches
was customary for the reception of popular heroes and Kings.
F.F. Bruce notes:
From the time of the Maccabees palms or
palm-branches had been used as a national symbol. Palm-branches figured in the
procession which celebrated the rededication of the temple in 164 BC (2 Macc. 10:7)
and again when the winning of full political independence was celebrated under
Simon in 141 BC (1 Macc.
13:51)… On this occasion, then, the palm-branches may
have signified the people’s expectation of the imminent national liberation,
and this is supported by the words with which they greeted the Lord (F.F. Bruce
The Gospel and Epistles of John p. 259).
This explanation makes
sense because most of the Jews believed that when the Messiah came that He
would establish an earthly kingdom. Since these Jews believed He was the
Messiah, they thought He would help them overthrow the Romans and establish a
kingdom like they had under David. Not only did they put down the palm
branches, they even put down their own clothes on the pathway. They praised Him
saying things like Hosanna in the highest.
Hosanna literally means
“help” or “save, I pray” (BDAG). They welcomed Him in the name of the Lord and
even called Him the King of Israel.
John 12:14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young
donkey, sat on it; as it is written: 15 "Fear
not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey's
Jesus was fulfilling a
prophecy about Him:
Zechariah 9:9 " Rejoice greatly, O daughter
of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming
to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a
donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut
off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow
shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall
be 'from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the
Notice, He would come in
riding on a donkey and not on a horse. A horse represented war and a donkey
represented peace and humility.
According to Raymond
Kings … would enter upon an ass or mule, which
was symbolic of their humility and their desire to be at peace with their
subjects. It was not appropriate for a king to enter a city upon a horse,
but rather to enter meekly and humbly upon an ass. Jesus is the king
of His kingdom, the church. It was appropriate for Him to enter the
holy city the way that a king would enter it, riding upon an ass (Denton
Lectures electronic edition on John).
In Matthew’s account it
Mat. 21:5 "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold,
your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of
a donkey.' " 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus
commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt,
laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.
Just as the prophecy
states, He was riding a donkey showing His humility and His desire for peace.
Some think there is a contradiction in Matthew because it says they put their
clothes on the donkey and the colt, and they set Jesus on them. They think Matthew
has Jesus riding on two donkeys at once, while the other accounts have Him on
First, it grammatically possible
for the colt to represent both donkeys according to a rule called “plural of
class” (Winer, Grammar of New Testament). However, a much simpler explanation
comes from Raymond Hagood:
The explanation is found in Luke's account in Luke 19:30,
when he says "whereon yet never man sat." Luke is describing a young
animal still attached to his mother. They are linked together
because of their mother-and-son relationship. The Lord would be
riding a young, untamed colt, still closely attached to its mother, which is
the reason the Lord needed them both, even though he would ride the young colt
only. The mother would provide the comfort and support to allow this
young animal to perform his important task (Denton Lectures electronic edition
This is just another
case where the whole counsel of God gives us the complete picture. Matthew lets
us know the mother donkey was there beside the colt, but Jesus was riding the
colt. This humble act should have showed the people that He was not coming to
overthrow the Roman government because He was the King of peace.
John 12:16 His disciples did not understand these
things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these
things were written about Him and that they had done these
things to Him.
This passage teaches us
that Jesus’ disciples did not fully understand the spiritual significance of
this event because they were thinking of a physical kingdom too. There was much
they did not understand. For instance, they did not understand that Jesus was
going to be raised from the dead (Jn. 20:9).
However, after Jesus was raised from the dead, their eyes became open,
especially after they received the Holy Spirit who guided them in all truth (Jn. 14:26).
John 12:17 Therefore the people, who were with Him
when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore
witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him,
because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The
Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are
accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"
This 7th miracle
in the gospel of John of raising Lazarus from the dead is the one that drew the crowds to Jesus. The Jews
who witnessed this miracle were letting every person know what He had done.
Even though the opposing Jews did everything in their power to make Jesus out
to be evil, they had failed. These Pharisees believed the whole world had gone
Since all these people
were calling out to Jesus and basically calling Him the Messiah, Luke’s account
tells us this:
Luke 19:39 And some of
the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your
disciples." 40 But He
answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent,
the stones would immediately cry out."
You could just imagine
how horrified the opposing Pharisees were to hear the disciples praising Jesus
and claiming that He is the Son of God, the Messiah. So, they tried to get
Jesus to rebuke them for offering up such praise to Him, but Jesus makes it
clear that even if these people were silent, the stones would cry out the same
With such a powerful
moment, you would think things would turn out different for Jesus, but we know
that rest of the story and how this praise would turn into some saying, crucify
Him, crucify Him.
Next we read:
Luke 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known,
even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your
peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
43 "For days will come upon you when your enemies will
build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every
side, 44 "and level you,
and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one
stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
point, Jesus has not made it into the city, He is on the descent toward the
city from the Mount of Olives, which gives Him a great view of the entire city.
As He looks at the city and knows what everything that God has done for this nation, it causes Him
to weep. Relying just on the English translation of the word wept, we might
think that this weeping was the same as the weeping that Jesus did when He saw
Mary and the other weeping for Lazarus, but it is not. When Jesus wept for Mary
and the others, the Greek word used primarily means to weep and shed tears
while remaining silent or doing it quietly, but the Greek word behind wept when
Jesus looked at the city, means that he bewailed, this is the same word used to
describe how people wept about Jarius’ daughter and how Peter wept after He
denied Jesus 3 times and heard the rooster crow.
should be able to image Jesus crying and mourning loudly as He looked at the
city knowing that many of them would suffer a cruel death. In fact, listen to
what McGarvey says about this:
The summit of Olivet is
two hundred feet higher than the nearest part of the city of Jerusalem and a
hundred feet higher than its farthest part, so that the Lord looked upon the
whole of it as one looks upon an open book. As he looked upon it he realized
the difference between what his coming might mean to it and what it did mean to
it; between the love and gratitude which his coming should have incited and the
hatred and violence which it did incite; between the forgiveness, blessing, and
peace which he desired to bring it and the judgment, wrath, and destruction
which were coming upon it. The vision of it all excited strong emotion, and the
verb used does not indicate silent tears, but audible sobbing and lamentation.
I want to
read part of our text again, but as I do
pay attention how this describes the destruction of Jerusalem that would
take place in A.D. 70.
42 saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in
this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are
hidden from your eyes. 43
"For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment
around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 "and level you, and your
children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone
upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
talk about the destruction of Jerusalem in much greater detail, which is known
as the Olivet Discourse, but even if all we had was these few verses, we could
still know that Jerusalem and her people would end up being surrounded by their
enemy, which we know was the Romans. Since, we will discuss this in more detail
later, let’s just take in the sadness of this all. While God’s people had every
opportunity to accept Jesus as their Messiah, many rejected Him and their
rejection would not only cost them their lives in A.D. 70, it would cost them
their souls because they denied Christ and would not follow Him.
events that just happened, happened on Sunday.
Now Mark’s account will move us from Sunday to Monday.
Mark 11:11 And Jesus
went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all
things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve. 12 Now the next day, when they had
come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13
And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He
would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves,
for it was not the season for figs. 14
In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever
again." And His disciples heard it.
pretty straight forward. It is late in the evening, but Jesus took some time to
look around in the temple area, He and His 12 apostles went back to Bethany to
sleep on the next day, which is Monday, they head back to Jerusalem, but on the
way, Jesus is hungry and sees this fig tree in the distance with leaves.
Usually a fig tree will produce its fruit before the leaves, so it has leaves,
it should certainly have fruit, but this one did not because it was not the
season for figs. Jesus will use this fig tree on the next day to teach His
disciples a lesson, but I want you to notice what the Gospel Advocate
commentary says about what Jesus said and did here.
McGarvery says? “The fact it was
not yet fig time made it worse for this tree. On this kind of tree the fruit
forms before the leaves, and should be full grown before the leaves appear: so
this tree, by putting on its foliage before the time for gigs, was proclaiming
itself superior to all the other fig trees. This made it a striking symbol of the
hypocrite, who, not content with appearing to be as good as other people,
usually puts on the appearance of being a great deal better.”
It was barren, and therefore
worthless. This was the point Jesus was emphasizing and from which he drew his
lesson. Its signs were false, it general appearance was deceptive. It was thus
an emblem of the hypocrite, and particularly of the Jewish people, with their
high professions, their show of ritual and formal worship, without the fruits
of righteousness (Jer. 2:21; Luke 13:6-9). The Jews professed to be worshippers
of God – they had all the outside appearance – all the signs, but they were
barren of the fruits of righteousness. This was the point Jesus drove home to
the Jews. (Gospel Advocate – Mark p. 264).
teaches us a great lesson today. You can act like a Christian and talk the talk,
but if you do not walk the walk and actually produce the fruit of
righteousness, then you will not be pleasing to God. So, do not be a fake
Christian and think you can somehow fool God by your outer appearance because
He can see into your heart and can know if you are a real Christian who
reminds me a lot of the parable that we looked at earlier in this series, which
Luke 13:6 He also spoke
this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his
vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 "Then he said to the keeper
of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig
tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' 8 "But he answered and said
to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 'And if it bears fruit, well.
But if not, after that you can cut it down.' "
Nothing good will come from being unfruitful no matter how pretty your
leaves are. Next Jesus clear out the temple area for the second time. This is
recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but as I did before, I will blend these
together to give you a complete picture.
Matthew 21:12 Then Jesus went into the temple of
God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned
the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, "It
is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it
a 'den of thieves.' "
Mark 11:16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the
We need to realize that there was nothing wrong with someone purchasing an
animal for a sacrifice because this was allowable under the law as can be seen
Deuteronomy 14:24 "But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to
carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put
His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you, 25 "then you shall exchange it
for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD
your God chooses. 26
"And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen
or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall
eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your
clearing out the money changers because they were abusing the practice and
basically robbing people with their prices for money exchanges and animals. I
have drawn this conclusion from Jesus saying that they had made this place into
a den of thieves.
there are many O.T. prophecies associated with what Jesus was doing here such
as Mal. 3:1-4; Ezekiel 40 – 48; Zechariah 6:12-13. Jesus would not let anyone
carry any merchandise through this area of the temple, which was in located in
the Gentile court. Some would view this a unloving act, but Jesus had every
right to make His point about this being a house of prayer, not a den of
let’s read the 3 accounts together, even
though some of the information overlaps.
Matthew 21:14 Then
the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed
them. 15 But when the chief
priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children
crying out in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!"
they were indignant 16 and
said to Him, "Do You hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to
them, "Yes. Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing
infants You have perfected praise'?"
Jesus was working more
miracles by healing the blind and the lame, which means they could not walk
because something was wrong with their feet or legs. The opposing Jews become
very angry about how these children were praising Jesus as being the Son of
David. When they complained, Jesus quotes Psalm 8:2, which teaches that young
children speak what they know is true. Even young children under the age of 3,
would have praised Jesus because He was the Son of David, the Messiah. Mark’s
Mark 11:18 And the
scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for
they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.
Luke. 19:47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But
the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy
Him, 48 and were unable to do anything;
for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.
Jesus knew that His death was near, but this did not stop Him from going to
the temple daily right in the midst of these very men who had asked people to
let them know if they saw Jesus. Well, here He was, right in plain sight in the
temple area, but they did not touch Him because they feared Him because of how
much the people were enamored with Him. Oh, how I wish people today were so
enamored with Jesus and His Word that they would listen carefully to what the
Word of God teaches and that they would obey it.
Finally, we read:
Matthew 21: 17 Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged
is over, and as we will see, there is a lot recorded about what happens on
Tuesday, and it will take several lessons to cover it.