Even though he was celebrated upon his entrance to Jerusalem, Jesus would be treated with much more disdain and disregard as the offering for all our sin just a few days later. And as Jesus stood in the temple courts after hours, I wonder what he thought…
1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
This is Palm Sunday. I often recall Matthew’s account of this day, yet Mark’s version has just a bit more detail to paint the full picture of that day. The crowds cheered for him and praised God for the Anointed One who comes in the name of the Lord.
This is the most and the most fitting praise Jesus will receive. It’s the height of his fame in Jerusalem. By the end of this week, Jesus is arrested and is tried for blasphemy. How could this be? The contrast is staggering. No wonder the disciples were confused and unsure of what to do next. On Sunday they thought the throne of David would be restored. Friday, their King was crucified…
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he went to the temple courts. He looked around and then went back out to Bethany, about a mile and a half from Jerusalem. It was late. He had looked around the temple courts, yet the afternoon offerings had likely finished by then.
Jesus, the ultimate offering for the sin of all people, showed up at the temple after business hours. Today would not be the day for his sacrifice…
No. Today Jesus had the opportunity to reflect upon what was happening at the temple – he could see how things worked. The money changers were done for the day. The snakes who were making the temple courts into a mockery were gone for the day, their tables or stalls vacated. Still, this was offensive to the Lord.
The place where the glory of the Lord formerly dwelled was now a shell of that former glory, and further desecrated by those who used it for profit. Jesus would return the next day to deal with them.
In the meantime, perhaps Jesus spent some time reflecting on how offerings were treated in Jerusalem. Even though he was celebrated upon his entrance to Jerusalem, he would be treated with much more disdain and disregard as the offering for all our sin…