Luke 19:28-40 The Triumphal Entry.
As noted in the previous section, Luke ties the parable on stewardship and the kingdom, with Jesus triumphal entry as the prophet-priest-king (v.28). Jesus traveled to Jerusalem with a specific plan and purpose. Furthermore, it was also important to fulfill everything that was spoken concerning the anointed One. Therefore he sends two of His disciples ahead of Him to get a colt that He might enter Jerusalem on it (vv. 29-35). Luke indicates that this event was predicted in the messianic psalm 118, specifically our verse 26a (v.38 Cf. Mt. 21:9). Something else occurs with Luke’s reference here. It is the same quotation he referred to when Jesus wept over Jerusalem previously (13:35). This is the underlying theme which developed as Jesus headed toward Jerusalem.
This journey mirrored the transition from old covenant to new. What often escapes us is that this move was based on covenant lawsuit judgment on apostate Israel for rejecting their Messiah-the One Moses promised would come after him. This is the meaning of Jesus words when He said, “Your house is left to you desolate” (13:35a). The temple in Jerusalem that they trusted in, would no longer be God’s house! This was also one of the underlying themes of this journey. We should not miss what is a subtlety to us, that Luke only quotes the first part of our verse 26. Verse 26b states: “We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.” But this was not something that was literally happening, and hence the judgment.
However, Luke does show us how it will occur, by his combining 118:26a with Isaiah 57:14b (Cf. Lk. 2:14). This triumphal entry was giving “Glory to God in the highest” (Is. 57:14a; Lk. 2:14a). Mathew also sees additional words from the prophet Zechariah fulfilled here, namely 9:9 (21:5). Like Luke, Mark refers to the first part of Psalm 118:26, but instead of 26b he then quotes Psalm 148:1, which like John, refers to the Messiah as King (11:10). This event is also in fulfillment of the covenant with David. They all understand this as a reference to the sovereign covenant making and covenant keeping LORD as King (12:13)! Then John adds the reference to Zechariah 9:9. It is clear that all the gospel writers wanted to include at least two biblical witnesses to this event.
We can also see allusions to Isaiah 40:9-11 and 62:11-12. The old city would be forsaken, but in its place the true city of the Lord would be established. John makes an interesting point in connection with this event. “His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him” (12:16). John also connects this event with the raising of Lazarus from the dead (12:9-11, 17-19), for which cause the Jewish leadership also wanted to kill Lazarus, because his rising caused people to follow Jesus. However, he says very clearly that it was only after the ascension to the right hand of the Father, and the receiving of the kingdom at His right hand, that the disciples then truly understood this event and Jesus words to them.
This teaches us that people only come to a knowledge of the truth through the mediatorial work of the reigning prophet-priest-king. It also teaches us that this is the nature of His reign-to make His chosen people understand His word and repent and believe in His finished work. It is a priestly kingship that He as the Prophet declares through us. It is also not coincidental of course, that Mark follows this event with Jesus teaching concerning the withered fig tree (as apostate Israel) with the clearing of the temple sandwiched in between as it were (11:12-24). This, as has already been noted, a significant running theme here with all the gospel writers. The gospels are documents which declare old covenant lawsuit and new covenant renewal through the promised anointed prophet-priest-king.
Mathew also follows this event with the cleansing of the temple and the withered fig tree (21:12-22). Luke, on the other hand, follows this event by once again repeating Jesus weeping over Jerusalem before He cleanses the temple (19:41-48). Jesus journey was as the anointed prophet-priest-king, and the laying down of garments by the people was an acknowledgement that he came as a king (vv. 35-36 Cf. Mt. 21:7-8; II Kgs. 9:13). The Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke the people for what they were doing (v. 39). But the people were right, and the Pharisees were wrong. This was in fulfillment of prophecy, and it was the great turning point of history with Jesus as the one focal point of it all. If the people stopped their singing, the stones of the temple itself would cry out (Cf. Hab. 2:11).