Luke 19

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Jesus' Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem

Verse 28: After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem (NRSV)

  • Jerusalem is the center of the story at this point. It is where we have been building up to for the last several chapters.
  • Jerusalem was the center of the old guard, and Jesus is the center of the new wave. So for the new reader there is a question about who is going to win between these two?
  • Traditionally, people believe that Palm Sunday happened right after Lazarus being raised from the dead. So they had heard about this and were pumped by it. Regardless, Jesus was at the height of his fame here.
  • Entering a city did not happen to become king, but to claim that they are already victorious. Jesus was victorious entering Jerusalem, he didn't come to claim anything he didn't already have.
  • A king would be greeted with cloaks thrown on the ground so that the king would not have to travel on the ground.
  • The people sing Psalm 118, using it as a Psalm to usher in the king. But they add “king” instead of “one.”


Verse 29: When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples (NRSV)

  • Bethany is about two miles out from Jerusalem, no one really knows where Bethphage is, but probably near there.
    • It is possible that Luke just mentioned it because it was in Mark and he used Mark for this part (Stein 478).
  • The Mount of Olives is a name of a place and not a description (Nolland 923).
  • The disciples were sent in two, not because it was needed, but probably because two was the legal requirement for witnesses. So this is a legally justifiable event that people could testify about.
  • These disciples are not mentioned by name, and in fact might not be members of the twelve because of the number of other followers mentioned as being around Jesus earlier (Green 684).


Verse 30: saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. (NRSV)

  • Where the colt is, who owns it, who was sent to get it, none of that matters. But there is a lot of details about the colt. So that is very important.
    • We think the colt is supposed to be a donkey's young, but the word could possibly also refer to a horse.
    • That the colt is tied and needs to be untied is mentioned five times.
  • These orders seems to be likely that this is referring back to Genesis 49:11, where a king coming leaves a colt tied to a vine.
    • Also refers back to Zechariah 9:9 and the king coming with a new colt.
    • In Genesis, the king was all about excess, and ties his donkey off to feed himself. Here, the king comes, but he borrows one instead of owning it, and it is much meeker of an idea while still being kingly.
  • There are two ideas about why this colt needs to be unridden.
    • An animal for the king was not to be used by anyone but the king, hence it being one that had not been ridden before.
    • Also, animals for sacrifice were not to be used ever (Nolland 924), and so the idea of sacrificing this animal to holy purposes of supporting Jesus.


Verse 31: 31 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' just say this, 'The Lord needs it.' ” (NRSV)

  • "Lord" is not being used here just as "master." Lord was the word the Jews said when they meant the name of God. Jews did not speak God's name directly, it was too holy. So instead they said "lord".
  • Another interpretation thinks that "master" refers not to the lord of the person, but to the true owner of the animal (Green 685).
    • Perhaps Jesus already owned it, or was renting it already pre-arranged.
    • More likely, however, this is referring back to the kingly and godly implications here, as the king is in the end the owner of everything in his land, and of course the same with God.
  • Jesus is telling his disciples to let people know that God/the king needs the donkey. The true master needs it. Whether it is the person's master or the animal's master is unclear.


Verse 35: Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. (NRSV)

  • Jesus was only riding for about the last mile (Green 685).
  • When a king came by, people would throw their coats on the ground so that the king would not be dirtied by walking through that muck. It is much like a gentleman of years past putting his coat on a puddle so a lady can walk across on the coat all nice and dry.


Verse 37: As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, (NRSV)

  • ”multitude” of disciples not referring to the twelve, but is a large number, a “host” or “throng”. It does not, however, imply a riot or violence, just a lot of people.
  • The term “disciple” is also not the normal one used of the twelve, but is a more generic “learners”.
  • Making “a great sound” is literally what the people were doing.
  • The people were praising God for all the “power” they had seen. We normally translate that as “miracles” but not necessarily.


Verse 38: saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” (NRSV)

  • This must have been hard for Jesus. It was the one time when everyone praised him for who he truly was. He could have accepted their praise and run for it.
  • They expected Jesus to reveal himself with a blaze of glory now that he was in Jerusalem, his time had come.
  • This is an interesting verse. The poetic quote can be taken a ton of ways. It can be separate ideas, so that glory is about the highest degree. Or because the structure In Greek is consistently odd in both stanzas, it can mean that “highest” is in connection with “heaven” and glory and peace are equated almost.
    • Another possibility (and probably more likely to be honest) is that there is a reference here to the same idea in the Lord's prayer. Peace in heaven, and then glory here on earth. But there is nothing to firmly indicate one way or the other.


Verse 39: Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” (NRSV)

  • Asking Jesus to rebuke his disciples shows that the Pharisees did not think that the disciples were following the will of God in what they were saying. And they expected Jesus to recognize that too.
  • There are more Pharisees in the crowd that just the people who spoke, but what the other Pharisees thought we don't know.
  • This is apparently the last time the Pharisees show up in Luke (Green 687).
  • It is interesting that the Pharisees are in the crowd, but apparently not participating in the celebrations.


Verse 40: He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” (NRSV)

  • Throughout his ministry, Jesus kept telling people not to reveal who he was and why he had come. But this time, all creation could shout it and Jesus would not stop any of it.


Message Ideas/Scripts/Liturgy That Use This Chapter

 VerseDirectionTopicAudienceOccasionCategory
Equipped to Minister1-10God has equippped you to get involved with people, so you can show them love and Christ.EvangelismGeneralGeneralMessage Idea
Meet Me Under the TreeSeven lessons based on the encounters that happen in the Bible under trees.WomenGeneralCurriculum
Palm Sunday 228-40Jesus knew what he was doing that SundayPalm SundayGeneralPalm SundayMessage Idea
Palm Sunday 328-48Jesus knew what He was doing entering JerusalemPalm SundayGeneralPalm SundayMessage Idea