August 18, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Savior at Olivet
“When He was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany
at the mount called the Mount of Olives,
He sent two of His disciples . “
The Request for the Colt
He came near to the city of Jerusalem, possibly walking down the gentle slopes of the mount; He sent two of His disciples to bring Him a colt. He was going to present Himself to the city in keeping with Zechariah’s prophecy. His credentials were impeccable. His instructions were detailed, carrying with them the ring of authority: “The Lord hath need of him.”
The Release by the Owners
Luke tells us that the “owners,” implying more than one, asked why they were loosing the colt. Perhaps their financial condition was such that they could not each afford a colt and shared the animal. If so, their sacrifice was even more significant. But what joy it must have brought the Lord Jesus Christ, that in some unnamed village, there were unnamed men who recognized His claims as Lord! He was soon to have every claim rejected by Jerusalem; but here at the slopes of Olivet, He found those who recognized Him as Lord.
Their recognition was costly as they readily yielded what they had to Him. Their faith had grasped the identity of this itinerant preacher; and their faith brought Him joy.
The Response of the Multitude
As He made His way to the descent of the mount, those who were with Him were met by others coming from the city and a spontaneous scene of joy and praise literally erupted. They were praising the arrival of the King. Their words, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest” are reminiscent of the song of the angels at His birth (Luke 2). For a brief fleeting moment, praise and adoration filled the air at the foot of Olivet. The King was in the midst and the hearts of the people were lifted up in praise. Unfortunately, they were expecting the kingdom to be established, the dread and hated yoke of Rome to be broken, and national prestige and power restored. They welcomed the King, but on their terms, not His.
Soon, many that had witnessed the scene and possibly even been caught up in its enthusiasm, would be among the motley crowd calling for His death.
The Rebuke of the Pharisees
Some of the Pharisees, ever conscious of the propriety which the law demanded, insisted that Christ silence the crowd. His response is difficult to understand. Did He mean that literal stones would cry out? Did He mean that the stones of Jerusalem, reduced to rubble by Rome would cry out about the nation’s disobedience? Did He mean that Gentiles (Luke 3:8) would recognize and receive Him?
The Remorse of the Lord Jesus
The moment of enthusiastic reception did not deceive the Lord Jesus. He knew of their eventual response to His claims – a cross. And He knew of the ultimate fate of the city – a catastrophic judgment. And as He beheld the city, He sobbed or wailed aloud over its fate, not over His suffering. He esteemed others better (of more value) than Himself (Phil 2:3).