THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY
Mark is now going to focus on the last five days of Jesus earthly ministry. The cross of Calvary was before Him and still His disciples refused to see it, even though Jesus kept pointing them to it. They were still arguing over who was going to get the place of honor in the kingdom, while Jesus is speaking of His death!
Now in Johns Gospel chapter 12, John takes us back to six days before the Passover, and as Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem He comes to Bethany, a town about 2 miles southwest of Jerusalem. And keep in mind this was not an easy journey from Jericho to Jerusalem. Those 20 miles were difficult because you were ascending upward from Jericho. You see, Jericho is about 1290 feet below sea level while Jerusalem is about 2,550 feet above sea level.
And here in Bethany Jesus has a meal at the house of Simon the leper and Mary and Martha and Lazarus were also there. And at this meal Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair. And Many Jews as well as religious leaders were there, many too see Lazarus. And the religious leaders were upset with Jesus because His following was growing while theirs was diminishing. And so they plotted to kill Lazarus, the one Jesus brought back to life, to destroy any witness of His power.
It is the next day after this meal, 5 days before the Passover, that Mark picks-up on this story as Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem.
1. Jesus is now on the east side of the Mount of Olives, and is traveling over to the west side where He will see the city of Jerusalem. And it is a beautiful view of the city as you stand on the Mount of Olives. Now as they are traveling Jesus sends two of His men off to pick-up a colt. And just as the Lord spoke, that is what took place. They found the colt, began to take it, the owner questioned them, and they spoke the words Jesus told them to say, and they were on their way with this unbroken donkey.
2. When you think of a king, you may picture him riding in on a white horse, for that is how the victorious king returned from battle. But that is not what we see Jesus riding on. He comes in on a unbroken donkey, which is difficult to ride. But I guess when you are carrying the King of all creation, you are broken very easily! Now a king would ride in on a donkey as a sign of peace up until the time of David. And thus, Jesus was coming to Jerusalem not as a political revolutionary, but a man of peace.
3. What Jesus is doing here was fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy given by Zechariah in around 487 BC or so, some 520 years before this event took place. In Zechariah 9:9 we read "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey." Thus, we see Jesus as the fulfillment of what the Old Testament prophets spoke of. And we are going to see that even more in a few minutes.
1. As Jesus sits upon this donkey, the people are placing their garments and palm branches before Him, honoring Him as the Messiah the King. They are singing the Hallel Psalms which are Messianic in nature, Psalms 113-118. These were the Psalms sung at the feast of Passover, the feast of Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacles. And keep in mind that the feast of Passover is just a few days away, and Jerusalem was filling with people to celebrate this day.
2. An interesting point here is that this is the only time Jesus allowed the people to worship Him as king. In fact, in John 6:15 we are told, "Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone." Why did He do that? Because His time had not come yet! Turn to Luke chapter 19, as Jesus is descending the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem, we read beginning in verse 37, "Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, Teacher, rebuke Your disciples. But He answered and said to them, I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out. Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." Luke 19:37-44.
The thing I want you to focus on, is this. Is it fair that Jesus is holding them accountable for not knowing this day? Yes it is! The reason is simple, the Old Testament prophets spoke of it, and specifically Daniel gives to us the very day that Jesus was to ride through the eastern gate of the temple as the Messiah! In Daniel chapter 9, some 570 years before this event transpired, listen to what is said beginning in verse 24, "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times." Daniel 9:24-25.
Daniel is told that the time period of this prophecy is seventy weeks, and it is dealing specifically with the nation of Israel. The Hebrew word for "weeks" is SHABUA which literally means "sevens" or a week of years much like the English word "decade" means ten years to us. So Daniel is told that seventy seven year periods or 490 years are the time frame for the completion of this prophecy. And as we are going to see, this prophecy is divided up into 483 years and then the last 7 years.
Now they key to this prophecy is the starting point, which God wants us to "know" and to "understand." The time frame is seven weeks and sixty-two weeks or 49 years and 434 years if you multiply them out. Thus, at the end of those 483 years the Meshiach Nagid or the Messiah the king will come forth. Now Daniel, being a captive in Babylon, used their calendar which had 360 days per year. Thus, 483 years of 360 days comes to 173,880 days. Now if we know the starting point we will know when the Messiah would come.
We are told that the starting point is the command to rebuild and restore the walls of the city of Jerusalem. Remember, during the time of Daniel the nation was in captivity in Babylon! This command was given by king Artaxerxes on March 14, 445 BC according to Nehemiah chapter 2.
Now if we would count off 173,880 days from March 14, 445 BC we would come to our end point, the revealing of the Messiah as King. Here is how it is done:
MARCH 14, 445 BC
MARCH 14, 32 AD
IS 476 YEARS
(FROM 1 BC TO 1 AD IS ONE YEAR, THERE IS NO YEAR FOR ZERO)
476 YEARS TIMES 365 DAYS PER YEAR = 173,740 DAYS
ADD FOR LEAP YEARS = 116 DAYS *
MARCH 14 TO APRIL 6 = 24 DAYS
TOTAL = 173,880 DAYS
* 1 DAY FOR EVERY 4 YEARS, (476 YEARS DIVIDED BY FOUR, 1 LEAP YEAR FOR EVERY FOUR YEARS, GIVES US AN ADDITIONAL 119 DAYS), SUBTRACT 3 YEARS, FOR CENTENNIAL YEARS ARE LEAP YEARS, ALTHOUGH EVERY 400 YEAR IS A LEAP YEAR, GIVING US 116 DAYS IN LEAP YEARS.
So, 173,880 days from our starting point of March 14, 445 BC, given by Artaxerxes Longimanus brings us to the only day that Jesus Christ came as King! April 6, 32 AD, we call it Palm Sunday! Daniel tells us the exact day that the Messiah was to be presented to the nation of Israel, and they did not recognize Him. This same crowd that is crying out "Hosanna!" or "Save now!" will be crying in just a few days "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" They were accountable to know this prophecy, and yet they did not see it.
Again in Daniel chapter 9, beginning in verse 26, we read "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate." Daniel 9:26-27.
Now after this sixty-nine seven year periods, after the Messiah comes as King, it says that He will be "cut off." It comes from the Hebrew word "KARAT" which means "to kill, to destroy, or the execution of a criminal." Literally it speaks of a person being punished with death by piercing. Sound familiar?
Jesus was executed for a capitol crime, to the Jews it was blasphemy, to the Romans it was for the insurrection He was causing. And that phrase "but not for Himself" speaks of Jesus being innocent of the crimes He was charged with.
Then Daniel speaks of "the people of the prince who is to come." The "people" are the Romans who in 70 AD under the Roman general Titus Vespasian, destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the second temple, just as Jesus said would happen back in Luke chapter 19. And this came upon them because they did not know the day of His visitation!
Now the "prince who is to come" is not speaking of Christ but of the Antichrist who will come out of the revived Roman empire and will make a covenant with the Jews for 3½ years only to break it and pour out his violence upon all that dont receive him as god. Now understand this, the break we see between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel is known as the church age or the age of grace. But there is coming that last 7 year period of time, which we know as the tribulation period where God will pour out His wrath upon a Christ rejecting world prior to the setting up of His kingdom on this earth.
What I want you to understand from this is that Israel was accountable for knowing what day it was, and so are we. The Bible is made up of 25% prophecy, and God wants us to understand these things so that we can look at what is happening in the world and see what God has said, and know that we need to look up for our redemption is drawing near, the Lord is coming back!
1. On this day He enters Jerusalem, looks at the things that are taking place in the temple, and because it is late, He heads back to Bethany for the night. But He is going to return to the temple the next day and deal with those who were perverting and trying to profit off of God. What a day this must have been as Jerusalem and the surrounding towns were swelled by the millions by people coming for the Passover feast. There was lots of excitement in the air, but for one, the cross of Calvary was before Him!