By Leigh Page
Did you notice all the ‘ones’? Five of them? Five, the number of grace … amazing grace. Here, in this passage we see an amazing out flowing of God’s grace at work … the revealing of God’s big picture of salvation established from the beginning, the fulfilment of prophecy, the nature of the character of God Himself … all coming together … if only the people had had the eyes and ears to receive it at the time.
As Eugene O’Neill noted, ‘The grace of God is glue.’ The glue of HisStory, the glue that mends the broken hearted, the glue that binds together communities … grace.
Jesus comes to Jerusalem, the city that he had wept over, the city that ‘was to be the radiating heart of a world of completeness and wholeness’ … of peace … of grace …
Zechariah, the prophet, wrote these words some 480 years before the events unfolding before us …
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Jesus, aware of all that is about to unfold in this week of His passion, comes in the grace and favour of God, fulfilling the Word of the Lord bought by the prophets generations before.
In a lowly manner, on a borrowed colt, over the people’s cloaks and on branches spread out on the road as they did when celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles (the feast remembering God’s provision, the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt and the wandering in the desert).
Compare this approach with the earthly kings of the day who rode into cities upon horses with pomp and all the trappings of human power. Then come the cries of the people, “Hosanna” (“save now”), “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” they shout, welcoming his person. “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” and “Hosanna in the highest! Here are prophetic words echoing loudly in the air, to the great consternation of the chief priest and scribes. Why? Because this greeting and prayer was to be reserved only for the coming of the Messiah, as declared on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. How could this Nazarene be the messiah we are expecting? ‘This makes the event of Jesus entering the city in what is called the ‘Triumphant Entry” (on Palm Sunday) come alive for us as we now better understand its significance.’
Jesus went through the city to the Temple, the ‘epitome of the aspirations of Israel and the symbol of its national hopes’ and looks around at everything … the Temple, designed to be the place of meeting …man with God …designated to be a house of prayer for all nations (all people groups) … What does He find? A place of peace where the rivers of life flow from the house of God to all nations?
What does He see? The corrupted fruit the outcome of religious rules, ritual and reckonings? What does He think? Grief for the people? Remember the zeal ( to earnestly desire something in a protective sense -- a fierce protectiveness.) for his Father’s house? But since it was already late … He went out to Bethany with the twelve. Bethany the home of Lazarus, the one Jesus raised from the dead just a few days ago, of Simon the leper, of Mary Magdalene and of Martha … Bethany, a centre for caring for the sick and aiding the destitute and pilgrims to Jerusalem …