14 June 2012

Luke 19:29-40

"I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out." (v. 40)


Here Jesus is approaching Jerusalem ready for the annual festival of Passover. It would be normal for pilgrims to Jerusalem to travel the way that Jesus did.

Yet as the story progresses we see that Jesus had specific plans to make the final couple of miles not on foot but instead on a colt; a donkey. For Jesus this was no accident but was carefully planned- it is possible that arrangements with the owners had already been made in advance (verses 30-31). The disciples were despatched to fetch the donkey. In Zechariah 9:9 we are told "our king comes to you ... humble and riding on a donkey". This act of Jesus was to be interpreted as a messianic act, a fulfilment of the prophecy. He was showing to the people in a powerful and dramatic way that he was the king, the Messiah they had been waiting for. Jesus did not enter Jerusalem quietly to avoid attention, but quite the opposite. He came not on a horse as a warrior king, but came in peace upon a colt. The disciples treated Jesus like royalty by laying their cloaks on the ground.

In Luke's Gospel there is no mention of Hosannas and palm branches (as in Matthew 21:8-9; Mark 11:8-10), but the words said echo Psalm 118, which was used in Jewish worship to celebrate God's plan, and also those of the angels at Jesus' birth (Luke 2:14). The Pharisees in the crowd are anxious by the display they see in front of them. For the disciples to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and for him to accept those claims, was blasphemous. Yet in Jesus' response we see that the time for silence has gone, God will not allow silence. The whole world that God created recognises who Jesus is as even "the stones will shout out". The Pharisees yet again show their blindness to the unveiling events.

To Ponder

The disciples were told to fetch the colt - what do you think they might have been thinking? How obedient are you to the commands of Jesus?

Are you joining the crowd and singing God's praises whilst everyone else is? Are you still with Jesus when everyone else is against him?

Bible notes author

Meg Prowting

After having studied theology at university, Meg went on to teach religious studies in a large secondary school. She now works for the Connexional Team as the youth ministries development officer, where she enjoys the opportunity to work with young people and their workers/leaders..