March 29th, 2009 – Luke 19:28‐44

The Triumphal Entry

Luke 19:28‐44


In an earlier study we saw that when the Lord Jesus began to present Himself to the nation of Israel, He referred to Himself as the “son of man.”1 Only privately, to individuals, did He confess that He was the Messiah, the Christ of God (e.g., John 4:25‐26). His preaching was clearly focused on the moral and ethical requirements of the promised kingdom. The miracles that He performed authenticated both His message and His person (cf. Matt. 11:2‐6). Those who heard Him and who witnessed His miracles were left to wonder and contemplate who He might be. Some believed in Him – that He was the promised Messiah (cf. John 1:12), but most did not.

The day of His formal presentation to the nation has now arrived. The prophet Zechariah described it long ago: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9). But would the people see its fulfillment in the events of this day?

Our Study of the Text


    The events of this day introduce the second of Luke’s two themes. The first was to picture Jesus as the confronting prophet; like Moses, but one who is greater than Moses (see Deut. 18:15). As such, He called upon the people to repent in order to escape God’s judgment – an appeal they failed to heed. This second theme pictures Jesus as the deliverer. As the greater Moses He leads a new exodus into God’s presence and promises a seat at God’s banquet table (see 14:15‐24). Repentance which results in forgiveness comes to the humble who draw near to God and experience His grace on His terms.

    As the Lord approached Jerusalem, the people spontaneously cried out: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (19:38). No doubt the Holy Spirit prompted the outcry – it was, in fact, a recognition of the presence of their King! The multitude recognized that this incident was a fulfillment of messianic prophecy and responded accordingly.

    Of course, not all saw Him as such. The response of the Pharisees exemplifies the position of the unbelieving nation: “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” (19:39); to which the Lord replied, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”


    Luke alone records Christ’s response as He approached the city. Rather than seeing momentary recognition of His person, He saw the rejection of His person by the nation. He was moved to tears (19:41). The term for tears (Gr. klaiō) is a very strong term. It refers to full sobbing or wailing. It is the term used to describe those who were weeping because of the death of Lazarus (see John 11:31‐33).

    Long ago, through the prophet Daniel, God had revealed the specific time in which Messiah would be presented to the nation Israel. While the nation obviously did not have God’s timetable in mind, Jesus certainly did. This was the specific day foretold by Daniel for Messiah to be presented to Israel.

    Daniel’s prophecy was specific: “Seventy ’sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ’sevens,’ and sixty‐two ’sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty‐two ’sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Dan 9:24‐26a).

    The phrase “seventy sevens” refers to 70 periods of seven years or 490 years. The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes in Nehemiah 2:5‐6 on March 5, 444 B.C.2 Multiplying the sixty‐nine weeks by seven years for each week by 360 days gives a total of 173,880 days. Adding the 173,880 day to March 5, 444 B.C. brings us to Monday, March 30, A.D. 33 – the precise day of the Triumphal Entry! Messiah as the Prince of Peace came on the appointed day to bring peace to the nation. It was the day of the official presentation of Himself as Messiah to Israel. The precise nature of the date adds significance to our Lord’s statement, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes” (19:42).

    Because of their rejection of Him, He not only had announced withdrawal of the offer of the promised kingdom – which would be given to a future generation (see Matthew 21:43), but He also pronounced temporal judgment upon that generation – the generation that had rejected Him: “The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (19:43‐44). This happened in A.D. 70 when the armies of Rome came against and destroyed Jerusalem.

    • Though the kingdom promised to Israel has been postponed, it will be established at the second coming of Christ.
    • Gentiles share in the kingdom blessings because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Are you trusting in Him for the forgiveness of your sins and eternal life?

1 Luke records twenty‐six occasions when the Lord referred to Himself as the Son of Man: 5:24; 6:5, 22; 7:34; 9:22, 26, 44, 56, 58; 11:30; 12:8, 10, 40; 17:22, 24, 26, 30; 18:8, 31; 19:10; 21: 27, 36; 22: 22, 48, 69; 24:7.
1 The dates used in this summary are taken from Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, Harold W. Hoehner, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1977, pp. 137‐138

Comments are closed.