What was going on with Jesus just before He entered Jerusalem?
Let’s set the stage for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. Just what was He doing before that day? Not going to go into detail here, but just going to mention some notable points.
Of course, He was still ministering. He was always ministering. He shared the parable of the householder who went out searching for workers and where He told His disciples “He who was first shall be last and he who was last shall be first (Matt. 20:1-16, Mark 10:29-31).
He prophesied His death to the disciples (Mark 10:32-34).
As He explained the kingdom of God, He told His disciples that they had to receive it like a little child (Mark 10:13-16). That is with absolute trust, not doubting (James 1:5-7).
He shared with the rich man what it took to inherit eternal life? (Mark 10:17-25).
Depending on the gospel, either James and John or their mom (for them) expressed the desire to be on left and right hand of Jesus in the kingdom (Matt.20:20-23, Mark 10:35-45). Jesus had to get that set in order for it was not His to give but for whom it was prepared.
Mary anointed Jesus (for His burial) wiping His feet with her hair (John 12:1-8).
And, of course, He did not neglect healing folks (Matt. 20:30-34, Mark 10:47-52).
In short, He continued doing what He always did - ministered
Now, we’re going to talk about His entry into Jerusalem and the last supper for a bit. This will be a compilation of the events from the four gospels.
Entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-14, Luke 19:29-41 & John 12:12-16)
At Bethpage and Bethany, just outside Jerusalem, Jesus sent two disciples to get a donkey, upon which no man has sat) and her colt for Him to ride into the city. He told them that if any challenged them they would say the Lord needs them and they would be able to bring the donkey and her colt. They set their clothes upon the donkey and then they set Jesus thereon also. Then a great multitude spread their garments and palm branches in Jesus’ path to Jerusalem shouting “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And as He came into Jerusalem, people wondered who He was and the multitude said “Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth!” Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus to quiet the people down and Jesus responded “I tell you that if I should ask them to hold their peace, these stones would then cry out.”
Now, take note that when Jehu was anointed king over Israel the people made a big commotion (2 Kings, 9:11-13). The Psalm and the prophets tell how Israel should rejoice when the rejected stone is become the corner (Psalm 118:1-29), riding upon a donkey (Zech. 9:9). And we need to remember that Jesus was ins the ‘natural’ lineage of King David (Matt. 1:1-17).
Father reminds me of the movie Cleopatra (1963) and all the big fuss which was made over her entry into Rome. I can imagine the atmosphere for Jesus was much the same, just no dignitaries to greet Him. Jerusalem may not have seen such a display since the Magi came looking for the infant Jesus.
The Last Supper (Matt. 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-38 & John 13:1-17:26)
On the first day of the feast of the unleavened bread Jesus gathered with His disciples in the upper room. Jesus had sent Peter and John (Luke 22:8) before to go and follow a man carrying a pitcher of water to meet the man who would provide the room. That evening the twelve sat down with Jesus.
As they ate, Jesus announced that He would be betrayed by one of the twelve, who was eating with Him. Of course, they all wondered who. Jesus said “He who dips his hand with me in the dish. I follow the path given Me, but for he who betrays me, it would be better that he had not been born.” At that point Judas Iscariot asked if it were him and Jesus replied “As you say.”
Jesus then took the bread, blessed it and passed it among His disciples saying “Take, eat, this is My body which is given for you. Do this remembering Me.”
You may say “Okay, we observe the body and blood of Jesus in the bread and wine and that’s cool.” Remember, Jesus IS the Father “in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God (in our midst) (John 1:1-3, 14Matt. 1:23). He had to become and show us that living in His love could be done and in so doing, He would take our sins upon Himself that we would not be burdened by them – for eternity. He gives us the Holy Ghost within our hearts to help us live for Him. His own blood washes us clean from those sins so when the Father looks at us He sees the cleansing of Jesus as the Holy Ghost helps us to live for Him. Those who ‘stand with the Lord shall be found in the ‘book” (Dan. 12:1-3). Those who overcome shall be in the ‘book of life’. We will experience the new heaven and the new earth, God will dwell with us and be our God. There will be no more death, sorrow or pain and He will wipe away our tears. We shall drink of the river of life freely and we shall be God’s sons (Rev. 21:1-7).
We remember Jesus with the bread and wine but it also represents our eternal existence with Him. Hallelujah!
And He took the cup and giving thanks He said “Drink all of it. This is My blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you that I will not drink the fruit of the vine again until I drink it new, with you, in My Father’s kingdom.”
Luke notes that Jesus also told the disciples that He desired to eat this Passover with them before suffering (the cross). Luke also relays what Jesus says about who is great in the kingdom of God and that the twelve will judge the twelve tribes of Israel. He also brings out where Jesus tells Peter that Satan desires to sift him but he is the strength of his brothers (so it won’t happen). Jesus also prophesies that Peter will deny Him three times before the cock crows. And Jesus gives His companions some traveling instructions.
Now, John only ‘mentions’ the supper, but starts his account when Jesus gets up and washes the disciples feet. Jesus sets things in order, who we are, who He is and who the Father is (John 13:5-20). Jesus knows that Satan has entered Judas so Jesus says to Judas “Do what you have to do, quickly (John 13:27).” Then, from that point through the next four chapters (that is through John 17:26) Jesus explains to His disciples, the depth and breadth of love. What it means, what it takes and the benefits of living in love.
Understand, that from the writing of the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament) until the 9th century, the books of the bible were divided into paragraphs for reading purposes. The chapters (as we know them) were developed in the 13th Century. Verses came along when Robert Estienne developed the system we now use in 1551.
Jesus caps these five chapters with “Neither do I pray for these alone but for all those who would believe on Me through their word. I would that they all would be one, Father, as You are in Me and I in You. I would that they would be one in Us that the world would believe that You have sent Me.
And I have given them the glory You gave Me that they may be one as we are one. I in them and You in Me that they would be made perfect in one. I would that the world would know that You have sent Me and that You have loved them just as You have loved Me.
I desire, Father, that those whom You have given Me would be with Me where I am that they might behold the glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Oh, righteous Father, the world has not known You but I have known You and these whom You have sent Me, know You. I have declared Your name to them and I will continue to declare it so that the love with which You have loved Me would also be in them and that I would be in them. (John 17-20-26)”
And when they had sung a hymn, they went to the Mount of Olives.
I didn’t go into detail with these five chapters from John for they equal just about one fourth of that gospel. To talk about all contained in those chapters would take a book again. Read the accounts here from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but don’t just read about the entry and the partaking of the bread and the cup …, but take a special note of the five chapters in John. Ask Father to help us understand what is being said.
Remember, as you read each account, Mathew and Mark relate their accounts of what they felt important of their encounter with Jesus. Luke was an historian who tried to get the ‘facts’ together for people so they might understand (Luke 1:1-4). And John? John tries to get us in touch with the heart of Jesus. After it was he who laid his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper (John 13:23).
May the Lord be with you. Jesus asked as much!