The multitudes vs. the people of Jerusalem


And a very great multitude  spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  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!’  And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?’  So the multitudes said, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.  Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple…”  Matthew 21:8-12a

“Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and he healed them.  But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ they were indignant…”  Matthew 21:14-15

“Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching…”  Matthew 21:23

“Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them.  But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.”  Matthew 21:45-46

“But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.  Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him…”  Matthew 22:34-35

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples saying, ‘the scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat, therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say and do not do…woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn them monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘if we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’  Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets [because they wanted to kill Jesus].”  Matthew 23:1-3, 29-31

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  See!  Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”  Matthew 23:37-39

As Jesus entered Jerusalem, it was a great multitude that cried out to Him, saying ‘Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  This is the city that He called the city of the Great King (Matthew 5:37), and the multitudes recognized this.  Throughout the Old Testament, God proclaimed that this was the very place and city He wanted to rest (Deut. 12:5, 11, 18, 21; 14:23; 16:6-7, 1 Chronicles 12:13; 1 Kings 11:32, 36; Psalm 132:13-14)  yet the Jewish leaders had turned it in to a place of buying and selling, a place to fulfill their own pleasures and desires, and they did not receive Jesus as King.

The Jewish leaders, the scribes, Pharisees, Saducees, and elders, all came to Jesus, questioning Him, testing Him, over and over again and desired to lay hands on Him to kill Him.  It was the multitudes that recognized Him as a prophet but the Jewish leaders who denounced Him as one.

Jesus revealed that in accordance with history, the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Him, just as in the centuries before the Judean leaders killed the prophets, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Urijah.  They did not receive the very ones God had sent to them.

Yet it is from these very ones that God desired to hear the words “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  For the multitudes were proclaiming it, but it was those in the city of Jerusalem who were denouncing Him.  They did not believe.  This is His city, and the very people whom He established in this city are refusing Him.

Jesus said He often longed to gather the children of Israel under His wings, yet they were not willing (Matt. 23:37).  Because of their denial of Him, their house will be left desolate.  But for Zion’s sake, for this city, God will not keep silent, He will not rest, until His people recognize Him.  He is constantly working for her sake, that they will one day say “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  And it is not from the nations or the multitudes around Israel that He longs to hear this from, it is from the leadership of Judah, the Shepherds of Israel.  These are the ones His heart is burning for, and for whom He will not rest until they see Him for who He is.

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