(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
31 THE CLOSING MINISTRY IN JERUSALEM (Friday to Tuesday of Passion Week)
(1). Jesus At Bethany (Friday Afternoon)
“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover.” This was one of the most sacred times for the Jews as a nation as they recalled their freedom from slavery in Egypt by sacrificing the Passover Lamb and in the celebration of the Passover meal. The sacrifice of the Passover Lamb and the sprinkling of its blood constituted their ceremonial cleansing, such that in accordance with the Law of Moses, no alien (gentile) person was allowed to participate, and the Jew was not allowed to enter any gentile house or establishment during the Passover week .
The sacrifice of the Passover Lamb was an O.T. “picture”of our Lord Jesus as the eternal sacrifice for our sins, which according to the Law of Moses, could only be celebrated in the place “appointed by God – the place where He chose to dwell – Jerusalem”, so it was mandatory that our Lord Jesus had to be in Jerusalem for the current Passover celebration. So it is recorded that the people “kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, ‘What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the Feast at all?’” God’s time for Jesus to make His appearance had not yet come!
The Jewish leaders had already determined that this was the occasion on which they would “arrest Him” and “kill Lazarus as well” as many of the Jews were turning to Jesus “putting their faith in him”because of the raising of Lazarus. So here we find that, “Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.” He was participating in a dinner given in His honour.
(2.) The Triumphal Entry To Jerusalem (Sunday – From Bethany and Back)
“Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.” . In comparing the four accounts there appears to be a discrepancy in Matthew’s Gospel where he records there was a donkey and her colt; Jesus instructs His disciples to bring both to Him. It is further stated that, “They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.” . Since it is impossible for anyone to ride two animals at the same time it must be understood that our Lord Jesus rode one of the animals, the other three writers stating that He rode the colt, the mother-donkey would have come anyway considering the fact that the mother would not allow her colt to be taken away without her following it. Furthermore, since our Lord would have required only one cloak as a saddle, the mother-donkey served to carry the other cloaks belonging to the disciples. Matthew also states, “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to the Daughter of Zion,’ ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” . This was an indication that our Lord Jesus was not entering Jerusalem as a conquering King at that time, but as God’s humble Servant to fulfill His first assignment as The Eternal Sacrifice for mankind’s sin. On a future day God will exalt His Servant when He will return to earth to set up His kingdom and reign as King of Kings .
As our Lord approached and entered the city of Jerusalem the people recognized Him as “a coming king” but again we see that they were looking for an immediate deliverer from Roman occupation. “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’” . Matthew also records that many of the people “asked, who is this?” while John states that, “Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, [the raising of Lazarus] went out to meet him.”, Matthew also records that He performed miracles in healing the blind and the lame that came to Him in the Temple.
The NIV Study Bible indicates that the word “Hosanna”is a Jewish expression that means “Save”, and this is seen in the O.T. quotation of Psa.118:25-26 where the term is used to describe the “one, who with God’s help, had defeated the enemies” as is seen in verses 10-16 of the Psalm. As was always the case, Jesus’ miracles only raised the indignation of the chief priests and teachers of the law who were looking for some reason to arrest Jesus . Luke also records in his account that as our Lord Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem “He wept over it” lamenting the fact that the people had not recognized and accepted the “peace” that He came to bring to them. Their rejection of Him would now only bring further and continuing conflict with their enemies and with their God “because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” . At the end of the day our Lord returned to Bethany, “since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” .