Day 35 (3/29): Why were the Jewish People and Jesus Going to Jerusalem?

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Week 7: Written by Julie Saffrin

JULIE SAFFRIN and her husband, Rick, reside in Chaska. She loves to travel and wishes Covid was over so she could be found either in Paris, on the French Riviera, walking in Florence, Italy, suntanning on St. Kitts, walking the Napali Coast in Kauai, or discovering her next best place in God’s world. 

Day 35 (3/29): Why were the Jewish People and Jesus Going to Jerusalem?

Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:1,8

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

The temple was in Jerusalem which was, as one commentary puts it, “the center of God’s Presence in the world.” It is where the Jewish people came for the Passover Feast celebration – a holy day where sacrifices were offered at the temple and sins were forgiven by the High Priest on behalf of God’s people).

Jesus was going to Jerusalem to accomplish His Mission on Earth: to redeem us from our sins.

In doing so, Jesus would fulfill what the prophets had foretold. To His disciples in Luke 18:31, Jesus said, “We are going up to Jerusalem and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.”

Luke 9:51 says, “Jesus passionately determined to leave for Jerusalem and let nothing distract Him from fulfilling His mission there, for the time for Him to be lifted up was drawing near.” One commentator writes, “Nothing would turn Him aside from being our Sin-Bearer and Redeemer.”

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus pulled His disciples aside privately, “Listen to Me,” He told them. “We’re on our way to Jerusalem, and I need to remind you that the Son of Man will be handed over to the religious leaders and scholars, and they will sentence Him to be executed. And they will hand Him over to the Romans to be mocked, tortured, and crucified. Yet three days later He will be raised to life again.” (Matt. 20:17) Even having been told what would happen, it was only after “Jesus was glorified,” John 12:16 tells us, that “the disciples realize[d] that these things had been written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.”

This crowd had no idea what awaited Jesus in Jerusalem. They were following Him because He’d befriended, healed, and paid attention to them. They’d been transformed.

I think it’s a good guess that those following Jesus were like those He’d healed in previous chapters, people from as far as Samaria, Jericho, and Bethany and Bethphage. People who had been a part of miracles and healings – men, women, children, the poor, the crippled. Were we in the crowd, might we have spied one of the ten lepers, the bleeding woman, a centurion, Jairus and his daughter, or a reformed tax collector? I also think the crowd was comprised of people like you and me, who understood who Jesus was and is. The Messiah.

The crowd going before and behind Jesus, in triumphant jubilee, created a parade of sorts. They recognized Him as the Son of David. Jesus, in contrast, was headed to Jerusalem to die and fulfill His call to be the Savior for each one of us. To be the Savior of the world.

Reflection: As we begin Holy Week, where we are in the crowd? Do our lives reflect a transformed life, one of exuberance and joy, for what Jesus has done for us or do we need to revisit what Jesus came to Jerusalem to do for you and me? Jot your thoughts here:

Prayer: Precious Savior and Redeemer, thank You for being my Sin-Bearer. May I see You and all You’ve done for me in a new way this week. Refresh my faith in You, deepen my walk and help me choose You. Transform my rebellious heart to be like those in the crowd so that I may truly and joyfully give You all the glory. Amen.