The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
John 12:12 – 16
Why, then, did Jesus enter Jerusalem as he did on Palm Sunday? There are several answers to that question, the first of which is that he came to die. Here Mark’s account is most explicit, for he tells us that Jesus explained this to his disciples just two days earlier that is, on the Friday preceding the Passover at which he was killed.
“They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. ‘We are going up to Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise’ ” (Mark 10:32–34).
Against this background it is certain that Jesus entered Jerusalem as he did, not to win over the people (the time for that had long passed) but rather to the events that he knew awaited him.
The second reason why Jesus entered Jerusalem as he did was that he might fulfill Scripture. To us this may seem like an inverted way of doing things. We think that Jesus, as God, should be bound by nothing. But Jesus did consider himself bound by Scripture as an infallible expression of the will of the Father, as many other Scripture-led actions throughout his ministry also indicate. As a side line, this is a good example to all of us who seek to be pleasing to the Father and constantly within His will and plan for us. Thus, both Matthew and John refer to the prophecy of Zechariah in which was written,
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9). John tells us that the disciples did not understand this at the time but that they came to understand it later.
The apostle Paul alludes to Christ’s fulfillment of scripture in his letter to the church in Rome, for the apostle writes, “… in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5.6
The apostle says, “In due time…” At the “predetermined” time Christ died for the ungodly. Here we see the Greek word, kairos (καιρος), “a strategic time, a time determined by a set of circumstances which make that particular point of time part of the efficient working of an action or set of actions.” This word hints of predetermination, prearrangement and the foreknowledge of God and His divine plan as given through prophesies. Christ died “at the appointed time.” Christ died “at the set time.” Everything was according to plan and occurred at the proper time.
As we read the New Testament we may be astonished to see the number of verses which express further points in connection with the idea that Christ died according to plan, and at a set time.
In Revelation 13:8 we read that Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” In Ephesians we read that the believers were chosen by God in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (1:4), and all this was “according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (1:11).
In Galatians we are told, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law” (4:4, 5). The word used by the apostle for “The fullness of time” is, prothesmia, which means some point of time selected in advance. In the apostle Paul’s mind, the time element is linked to the past taking us back ages ago when God in His wisdom and grace appointed a time when His one and only Son would give Himself in our place as an Offering for our sins.
All of this, bringing us to God’s predetermined plan as revealed in the scriptures. So, Paul defined the essence of the gospel as “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3).
And so, on that appointed day of April 6, 32 A.D., Jesus said to His disciples, “Go over into the city and on a corner you’ll find a colt that is tied. Untie him and bring him to me. And if while you are untying him the master say, ‘What are you doing untying my colt?’ just tell them that the Lord has need of him.”
They went over and just where Jesus told them they saw the donkey tied and they untied it. The owner said, “Why are you untying my donkey?” And they said, “The Lord needs him.” And so they brought the donkey to Jesus and they began to lay their garments in the path between Bethany and Jerusalem. And they began to wave palm branches as they cried, “Save now, save now, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” Psalm 118 – a Messianic Psalm.
Psalm 118 declares, “This is the stone which was rejected by the builders, but the same has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s work and it is glorious in our eyes. Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord. This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Just as the apostle said, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” Further evidence in the form of the written testimony of the scriptures that Jesus Christ is who He said He was. God, who came in the flesh to take our place on the cross to pay the price for our sins, so that we can have that intimate relationship with God that He so desires to have with us because He loves us.
Perhaps you say you believe, but for some reason, you still have doubts and reservations about God. I invite you to take a closer look at the scriptures, for it is there, that you will find evidence that will dispel all your doubts and warm your heart today.