The roar of the crowd echoed into the city. Jesus was on His way into town, but this time, He was not sneaking. He was not moving in stealth, rather, crowds of believers flocked to line the way into Jerusalem. There were approximately 2 million people that would come into Jerusalem on any given Passover Week, so the city was bustling with people from all parts of Judea and Galilee. Many of these knew Jesus and had seen His miracles, leaving no question as to His identity. The most recent miracle, raising Lazarus from the dead, finally authenticated His claim to be God. He was indeed the Messiah.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass…As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. – Zechariah 9:9, 11
The roars of the crowd carried with them the prophetic ring of the psalmist and of Zechariah. Jesus had arrived on a young donkey as foretold in Zechariah. Zechariah spoke that the Messiah would come, but He also mentioned that there was “blood of thy covenant” that the Messiah would take part in. No doubt, the last part of the prophecy was lost on those that day. They noticed that Jesus had shown up fulfilling the prophecy and that He was the Messiah, but they did not fully understand how He was their Messiah. They expected deliverance from their Roman oppressors, but He had come to offer deliverance from “the pit wherein is no water.”
Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD. God is the Lord, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. - Psalm 118:25-28
As the crowd shouted, they sang the refrains from Psalms 118. “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” But they didn’t finish the rest of the song, “Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” This was a song of great praise, but it was also a song about a sacrifice that needed to be made. Jesus had come to completely fulfill the prophecy. Even though the cries of the crowd stopped at the beginning of the prophecy, Jesus had come to make a covenant with His own blood, and to offer Himself as a bound sacrifice to bring the glory to God that was prophesied.
The trap that the religious leaders so delicately set had snapped under the weight of Jesus’ timing. They were waiting for Him to sneak into the city for Passover, and He had ridden into town like a King with waving palm branches and shouts in the streets. The Sanhedrin thought that they had a plan for Jesus this week, but perhaps, He had His own plans that He was seeking to unfold during this Passover Week. They were now just five short days away from Passover, the day to commemorate those who bound the sacrifice and made a blood covenant to receive deliverance at the hand of a glorious God.
The boldness of Jesus, and the reception of the crowd left the priests feeling abandoned. Finally one exclaimed, “We have accomplished nothing, the world is gone after Him!” It seemed to be that Jesus was now running Passover week, not them. It would take a miracle for them to turn the tide now.
Food For Thought: Identify three things that were fulfilled by Jesus coming to Jerusalem on this Passover week from the prophecies of Psalm 118, and Zechariah 9.