Greetings in the name of the Father, the son, and the Holy Spirit.
Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Mark 11:9-10)
Jesus Christ loved and comforted those who were poor in heart, mourned, humble, and hungered and thirsted for justice. Those who came to Jesus heard Jesus’ blessed message, found peace and comfort from God, and followed Jesus wherever He went.
One day Jesus heard the news about John the Baptist, who was beheaded after being arrested and put into jail because he spoke the truth about the unlawful marriage of Herod. As soon as He heard the news, he left on a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat and felt compassion for them. Then Jesus was with the crowd, and the crowd with Him. Jesus had compassion on each of them, although Jesus Himself was suffering from the news about the death of John the Baptist.
That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”
But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.
“Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward Heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. Thus, the number could be as high as 20,000 or even more! Feeding such a huge crowd with five loves and two fish was a miracle that they had never seen before, which attracted more people to Him.
Jesus always loved those gathering around Him, and Jesus deeply cared for them. Jesus had never neglected to feed them with the message from God, which was true spiritual food for them. Jesus also healed their sick. None was alienated, and Jesus welcomed all. Soon all became one under Jesus. Jesus was the good shepherd, and they were the sheep under the good care of Jesus, the good shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. (John 10:11-13)
Jesus was truly only one good shepherd. There were many so-called shepherds, who were religious leaders, teachers of religious law, Pharisees, and Sadducees. They led people with the tradition of the elders and the law rather than God’s mercy, grace, and love. Thus, their teaching was not even close to Jesus’ message, which comforted the people’s hearts with peace and comfort from God.
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law. (Matthew 7:28-29)
Jesus did not stop saying God’s peace and comfort, but taught us to love neighbors and enemies. It was not just saying, but later Jesus showed an example.
Jesus did not revile against those who hated Him, but Jesus kept loving those who hated and falsely accused Him of being crucified on the cross. Even though He was on the cross, He spoke peace and forgiveness. Some mocked and tempted Jesus, but Jesus was endured all. For example,
“He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!” (Matthew 27:42)
But Jesus was silent and patient till He won the victory without paying back at all. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion saw the incredible patience and love of Jesus. The centurion led countlessly many crucifixions, but he had never seen anyone like Jesus.
And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39)
Even the Roman officer confessed Jesus was the Son of God. But the rest, who were the religious leaders, teachers of the law, Pharisees, and Sadducees, completely missed the point. They saw with their own eyes, but they could not see what the Roman officer.
They equally felt that Jesus was a common enemy from day one when Jesus started teaching and brought down the kingdom of Heaven on them through His blessed messages filled with Heavenly peace, comfort, mercy, grace, and love from God. People were increasingly flocking to Him, which made them even more jealous.
One of Jesus’ closest friends was Lazarus. One day Lazarus became seriously ill. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”
But when Jesus heard about it, He said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally, He said to His disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
But His disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”
Then He said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” Then Jesus made Lazarus alive again from Lazarus’ death for three days.
As a result, many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”
Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. Thus, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem for a while. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with His disciples.
It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will He?” Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest Him. Jesus became the number one enemy of the public in the eyes of the leading priests and Pharisees, and they thought that they protected their people.
Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. Dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from the essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with fragrance.
But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
When all the peopled heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus. Jesus knew what was going on behind the scene.
If we were Jesus, what would we do? But Jesus did not flee but he kept walking the walk given to Him:
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
For this reason, Jesus came. Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of His disciples.
As He came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, He sent two disciples ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?”
And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” As they heard from the disciples, they immediately knew the colt would be used by Jesus. They gladly allowed Jesus’ disciples to take the colt.
This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said,
Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt. (Zechariah 9:9)
At that time, a king rode on a horse, not a colt (i.e., a donkey). Although He was the king of kings and the Lord of lords, Jesus humbly rode a colt and entered Jerusalem. Jesus was a humble king, a friend of sinners, and an encourager of those who were poor in heart, mourned, humble, and hungered and thirsted for justice. Jesus was a good Shepherd, the true Comforter, the Savior, and the King.
The two disciples sent by Jesus brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and Jesus sat on it.
The news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him.
When Jesus reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of His followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.
“Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the LORD!
Peace in Heaven, and glory in highest Heaven!” (Luke 19:38)
But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”
Jesus replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”
Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people around him shouted.
The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked.
And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Indeed, His disciples didn’t understand at the time that Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem was a fulfillment of prophecy. Only after Jesus entered into His glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about Him.
Many in the crowd had actually seen both Jesus and Lazarus. Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead. Thus, they became excited and told others about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. This made the Pharisees more troublesome, and they said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”
Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem as the humble King and Savior, but multiple groups of people had different ideas.
First, His disciples expected to get their share of glory when Jesus became the king of the Jews as the Messiah whom they had waited for many years. They followed Jesus for three years and felt that the last three years were well spent. They would get honorable positions because of Jesus, as He became the new king of the Jews on earth.
Those who were poor in hearts, mourned, humble, and hungered and thirsted for justice finally met Jesus. They received Heavenly peace, comfort, mercy, grace, and love only from God, and they expected continuously get such Heavenly peace and comfort from then on. They were joyful in God while shouting:
Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. (Mark 11:9b)
However, the religious leaders felt a clear and imminent threat from Jesus. They gathered and reaffirmed their plan to kill Jesus once and for all. They thought that they should not have lost the excellent opportunity. In Jerusalem, they had the most power and influence. Jesus, Himself, came into Jerusalem, which was truly convenient.
Jesus knew what was happening in the people’s minds surrounding Him as He entered Jerusalem. But, Jesus calmly entered Jerusalem as one and only the truly humble King, the Savior, and the Messiah who would forgive all gathering around Him and those who would harm Him soon in God’s love, mercy, and grace.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthian 13: 4-7)