Christ and the Crowd

29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. 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, 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! ’Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” 41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 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. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 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 19:29-44 | NKJV

Bethphage – means the “House of Unripe Figs.”

The village of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives was a most important religious center for the Judahite authorities in the period of the Messiah and the apostles. It was a walled village which was the only area outside the walls and camp of Jerusalem that was considered by the Sanhedrin (the Supreme Court of the nation) to be an official part of the city of Jerusalem. In this village was one of the two seats of the great Sanhedrin of seventy-one members. 

There were specific decisions of the Sanhedrin that were reserved for determination only at this official seat of the court in Bethphage. One of them was: where death sentences for rebellious leaders of the nation were validatedas shown in Deuteronomy 17:8-13.

This place of Bethphage was also the site where the Sanhedrin determined legal measurements for the nation. It was where they set the limits on sacred and secular things (the size of the city, the Temple, the day to start the sacred calendar, when to observe the festival days, starting the census, etc.)

Note that when the Messiah departed on the donkey from Bethphage that the people praised him as the King of Israel (Matthew 21:1-17). The Messiah then returned to Bethany on the east side of the Mount of Olives and the next morning started once again into Jerusalem. He then saw a fig tree (note carefully that this was a fig tree) that had no eatable fruit on it. Indeed, the texts say that it was not yet the time for ripe figs because it was so early in the season. But the Messiah, finding no ripe figs on it, cursed it then and there! This event occurred on the Mount of Olives and right next to the village of Bethphage (the House of Unripe Figs). And soon, that fig tree withered away and died, and this all happened suddenly, within a matter of hours.

Judahites living at the time in Jerusalem (without the slightest doubt in their minds) would have known the significance that the Messiah was placing on that miraculous event. That fig tree was a Tree of Unripe Figs next to the village of Bethphage (the House of Unripe Figs) which was the site where the Sanhedrin determined the limits of things that were holy and things not holy. In effect the Messiah, through the miraculous withering of that fig tree of unripe figs, was showing the demise and final authority of the Sanhedrin to make decisions at Bethphage (the House of Unripe Figs). This symbolic act was taking away the authority of the Sanhedrin and the Messiah said it would be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Recall, the Messiah then went on to the Temple and stated dogmatically: “Therefore say I unto you. The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43).

In the New Testament, Bethany is the name of a village just outside Jerusalem where Jesus stayed during Holy Week. Mary of Bethany was the sister of Marthaand Lazarus.  

Bethany – “house of misery”

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Five Critical Aspects of the Story

The Carry of the Colt 

9 “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.

Zechariah 9:9 | NKJV

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The place where the decision to put Jesus to death is the place where God says Jesus is the Deliverer! 

The where the enemy says this is the end, God says it’s only the beginning.

beast of burden – any animal, as a donkey, used for carrying loads.

“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.”

Isaiah 53:4 | NKJV

You will carry what tried to overload you. The enemy thought you would break. He’s right. You broke! Not down but through!

The Cushion of the Clothes

7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

Matthew 21:7-9 | NKJV

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Praise lightens the load! 

The Clamor of the Crowd

17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”

John 12:17-19 | NKJV

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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, 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! ’Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 

The Comments of the Critics

            It’s too much…..

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39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” 

The Cry of the Christ  

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         If you ignore the call, calamity will come!

43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 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 19:43-44

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