At His command,two of the disciples brought an ass's colt that He might ride into Jerusalem.They spread their garments upon the beast, and placed their Master upon it.
As soon as He was seated, a loud shout of triumph rent the air. The multitude hailed Him as Messiah, their King. More than five hundred years before, the prophet had foretold this scene:
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; . . . behold, thy King cometh unto thee; . . .lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."Zechariah 9:9.
All in the rapidly increasing throng were happy and excited. They could not offer Him costly gifts, but they spread their outer garments, as a carpet, in His path.
They broke off the beautiful branches of the olive and the palm, and strewed them in the way.They thought they were escorting Christ to take possession of the throne of David in Jerusalem.
The Saviour had never before allowed His followers to show Him kingly honours. But at this time He desired especially to manifest Himself to the world as its Redeemer.
The Son of God was about to become a sacrifice for the sins of men. His church in all succeeding ages must make His death a subject of deep thought and study. It was necessary, then, that the eyes of all people should now be directed to Him.
After such a scene as this, His trial and crucifixion could never be hidden from the world.It was God's design that each event in the closing days of the Saviour's life should be so plainly marked that no power could cause it to be forgotten.
In the vast multitude surrounding the Saviour were the evidences of His miracle-working power.
The blind whom He had restored to sight were leading the way.
The dumb whose tongues He had loosed, shouted the loudest hosannas.
The cripples whom He had healed leaped for joy, and were most active in breaking the palm branches and waving them before Him.
Widows and orphans were exalting the name of Jesus for His works of mercy to them.
The loathsome lepers who had been cleansed by a word, spread their garments in the way.
Those who had been raised from the dead by the life-giving voice of the Saviour were there.
And Lazarus,whose body had seen corruption in the grave, but who was now enjoying the strength of glorious
manhood, was with the happy throng that escorted the Saviour to Jerusalem.
As new numbers were added to the throng, they caught the inspiration of the hour, and joined in the shouts that echoed and re-echoed from hill to hill and from valley to valley:
"Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest." Matthew 21:9.
Many Pharisees witnessed this scene, and were displeased. They felt that they were losing the control of the people. With all their authority they tried to silence them; but their threats and appeals only increased the enthusiasm.
Finding that they could not control the people, they pressed through the crowd to where Jesus was, and said to Him: "Master, rebuke Thy disciples."
They declared that such a tumult was unlawful, and would not be permitted by the rulers.
Jesus said,"I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Luke 19:39, 40.
This scene of triumph was of God's own appointing; it had been foretold by the prophets, and no earthly power could stop it. The work of God will ever go forward, in spite of all that man may do to hinder it or tear it down.
As the procession came to the brow of the hill overlooking Jerusalem, the full splendour of the city met their view.
The vast multitude hushed their shouts, spellbound by the sudden vision of beauty. All eyes turned upon the Saviour, expecting to see in His countenance the admiration which they themselves felt.
Jesus halted, and a cloud of sorrow gathered upon His countenance, and the multitude were astonished to see Him burst into an agony of weeping.
Those who surrounded the Saviour could not understand His grief; but He wept for the city that was doomed.
It had been the child of His care, and His heart was filled with anguish as He realised that it would soon be made desolate.
Had her people given heed to Christ's teaching, and received Him as the Saviour, Jerusalem would have "stood forever."
She might have become the queen of kingdoms, free in the strength of her God-given power.
There would then have been no armed soldiers waiting at her gates, no Roman banners waving from her walls.
From Jerusalem the dove of peace would have gone to all nations. She would have been the crowning glory of the world.
But the Jews had rejected their Saviour; they were about to crucify their King. And when the sun should set that night, the doom of Jerusalem would be forever sealed. (About forty years afterward, Jerusalem was utterly destroyed and burned with fire by the Roman army.)
Reports had come to the rulers that Jesus was nearing the city with a vast company of followers.They went out to meet Him, hoping to scatter the throng. With a show of much authority they asked: "Who is this?" Matthew 21:10.
The disciples,filled with the Spirit of inspiration, answered: "Adam will tell you, 'It is the Seed of the woman that shall bruise the serpent's head.'
"Ask Abraham. He will tell you, 'It is Melchisedek, King of Salem, King of Peace.'
"Jacob will tell you, 'He is Shiloh of the tribe of Judah.'
"Isaiah will tell you, 'Immanuel, Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.'
"Jeremiah will tell you, 'The Branch of David, the Lord, our righteousness.'
"Daniel will tell you, 'He is the Messiah.'
"Hosea will tell you, 'He is the Lord God of Hosts, the Lord is His memorial.'
"John the Baptist will tell you, 'He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.'
"The great Jehovah has proclaimed from His throne, 'This is My beloved Son.'
"We, His disciples, declare, 'This is Jesus, the Messiah, the Prince of Life, the Redeemer.'"And even the prince of the power of darkness acknowledges Him, saying, 'I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God!'"