“On Your Mark”
God Comes to His Temple (Chapter 11 Verses 1-11)
The gospel of John indicates this was the Sunday prior to Jesus’ death, and that the enthusiasm of the crowd is generated by the raising of Lazarus. The two villages mentioned lie on the road to Jerusalem which is the main destination (v1). The entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem will not be on foot this time, he will ride. So he employs two of his men. The instructions with regards the colt’s fitness are specific (Numbers 19.2; Deuteronomy 21.3; 1Samuel 6.7). The divinity of Jesus is pointed to once more in regard to his supernatural knowledge in these specific instructions (v3-4), and of course as the Messianic prophecy is fulfilled (Zechariah 9.9), that surely is suitable. We conclude that the owners of the colt were friends of Jesus and his disciples, and would be only too glad to assist them with their request. The disciples follow Jesus’ instructions, this is called obedience (vv5-6). The adulation is phenomenal, the crowd exhausting their resources in doing so, while they rightly praise the Messianic King (Psalm 118.25-26). One can only wonder at this, knowing the outcome of the week’s events, that these shouts of Hosanna, the welcome shouts of “blessed…..that cometh in the name of the Lord”, are all ordered from a higher source (Luke 19.40). But of course the disciples themselves later confessed they did not really know what they were doing, or why, till later (John 12.16).
The entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem and the Temple courts is most significant, it is a symbolic and rightful Messianic claim to David’s City, and the Temple which was God’s dwelling place amongst his people. Now the Lord had come to his Temple, now a greater than the Temple was here, Immanuel. To the Jews the Temple had become everything, as long as they had the Temple they had God, or so they thought. The truth is God had long departed, they were left with the empty shell of religion, they had nothing but a brick building, and everything that took place in that building (vv12-19), was symbolic of the condition of their hearts, shambolic. Anything but worship that was in spirit and in truth. But it is a condition so very easy to slip into. The keeping of our hearts, not our church buildings, is what is so very important, the devotional side of our walk. We must remain in Christ, walk in the Spirit, pray without ceasing, meditate on the Word of God regularly. This implies separation from the world, renouncing our sinful natures, and obeying God’s will as we understand it.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)