JESUS ENTERS JERUSALEM IN TRIUMPH
JERUSALEM’S DESTRUCTION IS FORETOLD
The next day, Sunday, Nisan 9, Jesus leaves Bethany with his disciples and heads to Jerusalem. As they approach Bethphage, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus tells two of his disciples:
“Go into the village that is within sight, and you will at once find a donkey tied and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If someone says anything to you, you must say, ‘The Lord needs them.’ At that he will immediately send them.”—Matthew 21:2, 3.
The disciples fail to see that Jesus’ instructions involve Bible prophecy. Later, however, they grasp the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy. He foretold that God’s promised King would come into Jerusalem “humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a female donkey.”—Zechariah 9:9.
When the disciples come to Bethphage and take the male colt and its mother, people standing nearby ask: “What are you doing untying the colt?” (Mark 11:5) But when they hear that the animals are for the Lord, they let the disciples bring them to Jesus. The disciples place their outer garments on the donkey and on its offspring, but Jesus mounts the colt.
The crowd increases as Jesus rides toward Jerusalem. Many spread their garments on the road. Others cut branches from the trees or “foliage from the fields” and spread them out. They cry: “Save, we pray! Blessed is the one who comes in Jehovah’s name! Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our father David!” (Mark 11:8-10) Pharisees in the crowd are upset over these proclamations. They tell Jesus: “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Jesus replies: “I tell you, if these remained silent, the stones would cry out.”—Luke 19:39, 40.
As Jesus views Jerusalem, he begins to weep and says: “If you, even you, had discerned on this day the things having to do with peace—but now they have been hidden from your eyes.” Jerusalem will pay the price for willful disobedience. Jesus foretells: “Your enemies will build around you a fortification of pointed stakes and will encircle you and besiege you from every side. They will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you.” (Luke 19:42-44) True to Jesus’ words, Jerusalem’s destruction comes in the year 70 C.E.
When Jesus enters Jerusalem, ‘the whole city is in an uproar, saying: “Who is this?”’ And the crowds keep saying: “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee!” (Matthew 21:10, 11) Those in the crowd who had seen Jesus resurrect Lazarus tell others about that miracle. The Pharisees lament that they are getting absolutely nowhere. They say to one another: “The whole world has gone after him.”—John 12:18, 19.
As is his custom when visiting Jerusalem, Jesus goes to the temple to teach. There he cures the blind and the lame. When the chief priests and the scribes see what he is doing and hear the boys in the temple cry out, “Save, we pray, the Son of David!” they become angry. The religious leaders ask Jesus: “Do you hear what these are saying?” He replies: “Did you never read this, ‘Out of the mouth of children and infants, you have brought forth praise’?”—Matthew 21:15, 16.
Jesus looks around upon the things in the temple. It is now late, so he leaves with the apostles. Before Nisan 10 begins, he travels back to Bethany, where he spends Sunday night.