Sunday School Lesson 5 - Luke 19:29-40 - BLESSED IS THE KING OF KINGS!
BACKGROUND: Last week, in Luke 19:1-10, we met Jesus on His journey to Jerusalem as He came into the nearby city of Jericho, where He encountered a tax collector named Zaccheus and invited Himself to stay at this man's house. When the crowd criticized Jesus for staying at the house of a despised tax collector, He informed them, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). As disciples of Jesus, this broad statement effectively defines our mission on the following points: (1) Nobody is beyond redemption and repentance, not even those whom we see as vile sinners. (2) When sharing the gospel with obvious sinners, We shouldn't be more concerned about ourselves than we are about taking the gospel to the lost. (3) Since our mission is active, we need to seek people out rather than wait for them to come to us. (4) Seeking and saving the lost may require us to go into places we wouldn't normally go.
Since we started this series in Luke 10, we've been following Jesus on His journey to Jerusalem and to the cross, and the journey came to an end in Luke 19:27. Today in Luke 19:29-40, we've cover the account known as the Triumphal Entry, which occurred on Sunday, the beginning of Passover Week, which became Passion Week-because on Friday, Jesus was crucified. It begins the story of Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem, much of which takes place around the Temple. As this segment of Luke's gospel continues, it's followed by Jesus' cleansing of the Temple (19:45-48), His institution of the Last Supper (22:14-38), His prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane (22:39-46), His betrayal, arrest, and trial (22:47-23:25), His crucifixion (23:26-49), His burial (23:50-56), and His resurrection (24:1-50). Thus, Jerusalem is where Jesus will die but is also where He will be resurrected and where the church will be born at Pentecost (Acts 2).
Read Luke 19:29-34 - A COLT ON WHICH NO ONE HAS EVER SAT
29 When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mountain that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, "Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' you shall say this: 'The Lord has need of it.' 32 So those who were sent left and found it just as He had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" 34 They said, "The Lord has need of it.""
v. 29a: "When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mountain that is called Olivet" - We don't know much about Bethphage, but Bethany, less than two miles Jerusalem, is the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, where Jesus stayed while in Jerusalem and also where He raised Lazarus from the dead. "Olivet," the Mount of Olives is a range of hills overlooking Jerusalem from the east.
v. 29b: "He sent two of the disciples" - The identity of these two disciples isn't revealed but very possibly were Peter and John.
v. 30: "saying, "Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here." - Under Torah Law, an animal used for religious purposes must be without blemish and also be "one on which a yoke has never been laid" (Numbers 19:2). A "colt" may either be a donkey or horse, and the parallel accounts in Matthew and John specify that it was in fact the colt of a donkey (Matthew 21:2-7; John 12:14); and the colt of a donkey was a small animal that could barely carry a grown man. A king, typically, would never stoop to ride a colt or a donkey but would ride a well-trained adult horse, usually a large stallion. So, why did Jesus-coming as the Messiah King-choose the colt of a donkey to make His entrance? Because Jesus came as a different kind of king; He did come as a conqueror but came in peace, to serve, and, ultimately, to die. Therefore, the colt of a donkey, a humblest of mounts, sent a message of who was and His purpose for coming-salvation rather than domination.
v. 31: "And if anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' you shall say this: 'The Lord has need of it." - Notice that Jesus exactly knew the location of the animal and the predisposition of its owner. According to Dr. John MacArthur, such detailed foreknowledge is a clear demonstration of Jesus' divine all-knowing nature and authority.
vv. 32-34: So those who were sent left and found it just as He had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" 34 They said, "The Lord has need of it." - These two verses illustrate and confirm the divine authority of Jesus as "Lord" pointed out in v. 31. Though Mark doesn't mention it, it likewise fulfills the OT prophecy: "Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is righteous and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9).
Read Luke 19:35-36 - THEY PUT JESUS ON IT
35 And they brought it to Jesus, and they threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 Now as He was going, they were spreading their cloaks on the road.
v. 35: "And they brought it to Jesus, and they threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it." - This is the only record of Jesus ever riding an animal. He did this in order to symbolize the return of King David to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 19:20), as well as the entrance of Solomon for his enthronement (1 Kings 1:38-40). Kings normally did this riding a large stallion to denote their authority as conquerors and rulers, but in this case, Jesus is mounted on the colt of a donkey to demonstrate His humility.
v. 36: "Now as He was going, they were spreading their cloaks on the road" - According to several commentators, the population of Jerusalem would multiply ten-fold during the Passover, as many as two million people. So, the entry of Jesus into the city, with this festival-type atmosphere, means that He might have been seen by tens of thousands of people that day. The other gospels (not Luke) reveal there were two groups of people that made up the crowd following him: (1) A large number of followers who had come with Him from Galilee and (2) those in Jerusalem who had heard of Him and anticipated His arrival. The spreading of "cloaks on the road" was a symbol of homage being paid to an approaching king.
Read Luke 19:37-38 - THE WHOLE CROWD OF DISCIPLES BEGAN TO PRAISE GOD
37 And as soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38 shouting: "BLESSED IS THE KING, THE ONE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
v. 37: "And as soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen" - Notice that Luke specifies that is only "disciples" (which includes followers from Galilee) who offer praise rather than the people of Jerusalem, while the accounts reported in Matthew and Mark are more general. Also, people who had witnessed His miracles not only included Galileans but Judeans who had seen Him raise Lazarus from the dead and heal blind Bartimaeus on the road.
v. 38a: "shouting: '"BLESSED IS THE KING, THE ONE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD'" - This comes from Psalm 118:26, except that Luke adds "BLESSED IS THE KING. It was traditionally recited by Jews at the Passover as part of the great "Hallel" (Psalms 113-118). Matthew 29:9 also added "Son of David," which effectively proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah foretold by centuries of OT prophecy.
v. 38b: "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" - At Jesus' birth, the angels sang "peace on earth" (Luke 2:14) so that it might seem that the idea of "peace in heaven" is somewhat out of order. I mean, wouldn't we think of heaven as a place that's inherently free of the kind of conflict that afflicts people on earth? Yet, Satan's presence at the Temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13) should remind us that there's a cosmic conflict that exists in the spiritual realm that will not be fully resolved until Jesus returns (Revelations 20:10).
Read Luke 19:39-40 - IF THESE STOP SPEAKING
39 And yet some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!" 40 Jesus replied, "I tell you, if these stop speaking, the stones will cry out!"
v. 39a: "And yet some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him," - Thus begins the final and fatal opposition to Jesus, in this instance "by some of the Pharisees." All along, the Pharisees have taken offense with Jesus. Now, they are offended at Jesus' disciples when they said, "BLESSES IS the King, THE ONE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, " which identifies Him as the Messiah. Ironically, this will be the last reference to the Pharisees in this gospel. From this point on, the chief priests, the scribes, and the "leading men among the people" (19:47) will take over the leadership role in opposing Jesus.
v. 39b: "Teacher," - In the this context, this is a put-down that, a refusal to recognize who Jesus is.
v. 39c: "rebuke Your disciples!" - The Pharisees are demanding that Jesus tell His disciples, in effect, to retract what they had just said about Him-that they lied; that He's not really the Messiah. So they are really asking Jesus to tell a lie about Himself! Do you see that?
v. 40: "Jesus replied, "I tell you, if these stop speaking, the stones will cry out!" - Jesus is saying that if the disciples stopped expressing their praise, the very "stones will cry out" because all of creation was made to worship this King, who is Lord of all. The time had come for the world to know Jesus as Messiah, and God would not allow the created order to be silent.
CENTRAL BIBLICAL TRUTH: All of these events in Jesus' triumphal entry (Including the parallel accounts in Matthew and Mark) completely validate that Jesus was at that time and still is the long-awaited Messiah foretold by OT prophecy! However, there was a problem. For the most part, the crowd knew who He was (His public ministry had by then made Him famous), and many of them were familiar with OT prophecy. But, He wasn't the type of Messiah they were expecting-one who would deliver them from the bondage of Rome and restore Israel's past glory-i.e., a political and military figure. But that was never His mission. Jesus didn't come to deliver them (or us) from political or economic oppression, but to "seek and save that which was lost" (Luke 18:10)-He came to save us from our sins and to reconcile us to a holy and righteous God.
Among the crowd, there was a mixed bag of reactions to Jesus' triumphal entry. Many were confused as to who He was and His reason for coming. Although Jesus was no stranger to Jerusalem, no one had expected Him to come riding into the city in the midst of a horde of people singing His praises and declaring Him to be their Messiah! Conspicuously absent from His welcome were the official representatives of the nation. Oh yes, they already knew about Him but had rejected Him as Messiah. In fact, the religious leaders were already been making plans to discredit and, indeed, to destroy Him.
Ironically, in this crowd, you had the same types of individuals who always seem to "follow" (using the word in the broadest sense) Jesus even today. So, let's identify and describe them:
APPLICATION QUESTION: Do you know anyone who is in one of the last five groups mentioned above-someone who hasn't taken the final step of repenting and accepting Jesus as their savior? If you do, you should tell this person that Jesus doesn't leave us the option of a neutral position. They need to know that if they aren't fully committed, the window of opportunity will close at some point, and they have no assurance of tomorrow.