When Jesus Commands the Disciples to Drop Their Swords & the Angels to Stand Down

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the twenty-first chapter of this New Testament book. “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if Anny man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Simon, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him there on. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strayed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem , all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:1-11).

            “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money hangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, it is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and ducklings thou hast perfect praised? And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there” (Matthew 21:12-17).

            “Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing there on, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforthward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, how soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and bout not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:18-22).

            “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority do I these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? For heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of the father? They say unto him, The first, Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him” (Matthew 21:23-32).

            “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and dogged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandman, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandman, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandman took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandman saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” (Matthew 21:33-40).

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the beginning of what has been commonly know as “The Passion Week,” or the beginning of the passion of Jesus. What makes this particular portion of Scripture is that ever since the sixteenth chapter Jesus has been teaching and speaking unto His disciples concerning His journey unto Jerusalem. This is even more unique when you think about and consider the fact that Jesus had visited Jerusalem a number of times during those three and a half years of public ministry, and the New Testament gospel of John describes a number of occasions when Jesus would journey unto Jerusalem. In fact, if you read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find that much of Jesus’ movement not only centered around the city of Jerusalem, and not only centered around the Temple which stood in the midst of the city, but you will also find that His movements were directly impacted by the Jewish feasts. You cannot read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that much of Jesus’ movement was centered upon and around the Jewish feasts which the Jews themselves would journey from throughout Galilee and Judaea unto Jerusalem to celebrate them in the city of David. The New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John is a powerful picture of a number of occurrences when Jesus the Christ would indeed and would in fact depart from Galilee and make His way and His journey unto the city of Jerusalem. More often than not—when we find Jesus in the city of Jerusalem during times of great celebration, we find Him angering and offending both the Jews as well as the religious elite which were present in the midst of the city. In addition to the gospel narrative written by the apostle John describing the movement and ministry of Jesus as being directly linked and connected to the city of Jerusalem and the feasts which the Jewish people would celebrate, we often find Jesus working wonderful works which would so anger and offend the Jews, as well as the religious elite during those days.

            It is truly something unique to think about and consider how Jesus would be no stranger to the city of Jerusalem, and would be no stranger in the Temple of the Lord which stood in the midst of it, for Jesus Himself would often visit the Temple and teach in the midst of it. Time and time again around the Jewish feasts which were celebrated by the Jewish people in the midst of the city of Jerusalem we find Jesus Himself journeying unto Jerusalem at the time of the feast. You cannot read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John without and apart from coming to this wonderful and powerful understanding of Jesus and the city of Jerusalem, as well as Jesus and the feasts which the Jewish people would celebrate in the midst therein. Much of Jesus’ movement would indeed be defined and center around the city of Jerusalem and the feasts which were celebrated in the midst of the city, and it would be in that context of pilgrimage and celebration that Jesus would oftentimes find Himself at the center of much affliction, much opposition, and much persecution by those who would seek to destroy and put Him to death. If there is one thing the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John points to and reveals it’s that Jesus would indeed journey unto the city of Jerusalem, and yet there in the midst of the city you will find Him continually being at the center of the wrath and rage of the Jews and the religious elite—not only because of the works which He would perform, but also because of the words which He would speak. This opposition would be seen as early as the second chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John when Jesus would enter into the Temple and would not only overturn the tables of money, and would not only drive out the money changers, but would also drive out all those who bought and sold from the courts of the house of the LORD. In addition to this, Jesus would emphatically declare that His Father’s house ought to be a house of prayer for and unto all nations, and how they had turned it into a den of thieves and a marketplace or place of commerce.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that there was a great deal of the public ministry of Jesus the Christ which was centered around and centered upon His journeying unto the city of Jerusalem around the time of the feasts. It would be as Jesus would journey unto the city of Jerusalem that He would deliberately and intentionally heal certain individuals—and not only would Jesus heal certain individuals, but He would also heal them on the sabbath. In fact, it would be the very fact that Jesus healed on the sabbath—and not only this, but also those individuals in turn demonstrating their healing on that particular day—that would so anger and infuriate the religious elite, as well as the Jews. Initially it would be Jesus’ works that would draw the ire and anger of the religious elite and the Jews within the city of Jerusalem, however, that anger and that offense would be taken to an entirely different level when Jesus would begin teaching, speaking and opening His mouth to speak. We dare not, we ought not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely incredible this truly is, for there were many times when Jesus would journey unto Jerusalem, and in the process of His journey unto the city of Jerusalem Jesus would find Himself at the center of tremendous controversy with the Jews and the religious elite because of the works which He wrought and the words He would speak. The New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John brings us face to face with just how frequently Jesus would make His way and His journey unto the city of Jerusalem at a time when the city would itself be filled with a great multitude of people who were there to celebrate the feasts of the Jews. Jesus would come unto the city of Jerusalem—not only during times of the feasts of the Jews, and not only during times of celebration, but Jesus would also come unto the city of Jerusalem during and at times of great multitudes and crowds which would be present in the midst of the city.

            The more you think about and consider the words and language that is found in the twenty-first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew the more you can’t help but be directly and immediately confronted with the fact that Jesus had been teaching His disciples how He must needs journey unto the city of Jerusalem, for it was in the city of Jerusalem He would not only suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel, but would also be mocked and scourged by the Gentiles, and would ultimately be killed and crucified. At least three times within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus teaching His disciples how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem, for there was an important work which needed to be accomplished there in the midst of the city. What truly makes this astonishing and incredibly powerful to think about and consider is when you consider the fact that Jesus knew that even though He had journeyed unto the city of Jerusalem numerous times and on numerous occasions—there would be that one single time when Jesus would journey unto Jerusalem to fulfill and accomplish one final thing. In all reality, it’s almost as if all the persecution, all the opposition, all the anger, all the hatred, all the offense, and all the affliction that He would experience in the midst of the city would indeed be preparation which would lead up to this final journey unto the city of Jerusalem. Jesus had indeed traveled and journeyed unto the city of Jerusalem on numerous occasions, and those journeys unto Jerusalem would more oft3en than not find Him at the very center of much opposition, persecution and affliction at the hands of the Jewish people and the religious elite. It’s quite interesting to think about the fact that when Jesus described unto the disciples that He must needs journey unto Jerusalem there would indeed be a time when His disciples would speak to Him concerning His journey unto Judaea and the city of Jerusalem, and how the Jews sought to kill and destroy Him. What we find within this final week which would be Jesus’ passion would not be the first time Jesus would experience persecution, anger, outrage, offense, resentment, and the opposition of the Jews and the religious leaders, for Jesus would almost regularly experience and face such realities each time He journeyed unto the city of Jerusalem.

            As you begin reading with and from the opening verse of the twenty-first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find the beginning of preparation for Jesus to journey unto Jerusalem—a journey which would indeed be one of His final times journeying unto the city. It would be at this particular point in time when Jesus would journey unto the city of Jerusalem—and not only journey unto Jerusalem, but also remain within and around Jerusalem. If there is one thing you will notice when reading the four gospel narratives which were written by the apostle Matthew, as well as the other gospel authors it’s that when Jesus came unto the city of Jerusalem during and at this time He would remain close by the city of Jerusalem, for there was a great work which needed to be done in the city. Essentially, it would be during this final week when Jesus would once more visit it, and would once more manifest Himself directly in the midst of it before His suffering would begin, and before He would ultimately be killed and crucified. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely awesome and powerful truth that Jesus the Christ would indeed visit the city of Jerusalem one more time—almost as if to plead with and reckon with it one more time. In all reality, I can’t help but think about this final week which is considered Jesus’ passion—as being a time when Jesus would indeed reckon and plead with the inhabitants in the midst of the city one more time. It would be during this time when I am convinced Jesus would once more make a passionate plea before and unto the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem—together with all those Jews who would come unto the city at the time of the Jewish feast—that He might indeed call them unto Himself. In all reality, I get the strong sense that the entire three and a half years Jesus walked upon the earth in the form of human flesh was indeed a wonderful and powerful visitation that would take place among them in their midst, however, this particular week would indeed be the ultimate and final visitation of Jesus among them and in their midst. It would be during this week when Jesus would ultimately weep over the city of Jerusalem and declare unto them that they did not know, nor did they discern the hour of their visitation. Because they did not know and because they did not discern the hour of their visitation, there would be swift and powerful judgment that would come upon them as a direct result of it.

            THE INTRINSIC LINK BETWEEN SUFFERING AND JUDGMENT! THE INTRINSIC LINK BETWEEN THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS AND THE JUDGMENT OF JERUSALEM! THE POWERFUL CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DEATH OF JESUS AND THE JUDGMENT THAT WOULD BE POURED OUT UPON THE CITY OF JERUSALEM! Oh I can’t help but think about and consider how Jesus would make His way and would journey unto the city of Jerusalem one more time—and would do so during the time of one of the main and major feasts celebrated by the Jews—for there would be a number of Jews from Galilee, Judaea and the surrounding regions who would have journeyed unto the city to celebrate the feast. Oh I can’t help but think about and get the strong sense that this final week of Jesus’ passion would indeed be the ultimate and consummate visitation which He would give them before He would begin to suffer and ultimately be killed and crucified. What makes this even more astonishing and remarkable is when you think about and consider the fact that there appears to be this intrinsic and powerful link between the suffering of Jesus—and not only the suffering of Jesus, but also His death and crucifixion—and the judgment that would come upon the city, for it’s almost as if the suffering of Jesus would prepare the city for that judgment. Their rejection of Jesus throughout the three and a half years He walked among them would finally reach its pinnacle and zenith during this final week, for there would be the ultimate rejection and despising of Jesus—that which would indeed not only set in motion the suffering of Jesus, and His death and crucifixion upon the cross, but would also set the stage for a future judgment that would come upon the city. Oh that judgment would not be manifested for almost forty years after Jesus was crucified, was risen from death to life, and ascended unto the right hand of the Father, however, what we find and what we witness within this week would indeed be preparation for that judgment which would come when the Romans would enter into and invade the land of Judaea, would capture and destroy the city of Jerusalem, and would ultimately destroy the Temple of the Lord in the midst of the city. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for I am absolutely and completely convinced that it is during this week when we see the words which the prophet Isaiah prophesied as was recorded in the first and opening chapter, as well as the words which are found in the fifty-third chapter of the same prophetic book, and even the words which are found at the end and conclusion of the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew collide and come to a head. Consider if you will the following words which are found within each of these passages concerning Jesus the Christ and the work which He would bring about within and upon the earth:

            “Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; Give ear unto the Law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. TO what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts: and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, Who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; It is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: They are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: Yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. COME NOW, AND LET US REASON TOGETHER, SAITH THE LORD: THOUGH YOUR SINS BE AS SCARLET, THEY SHALL BE AS WHITE AS WOOL. If ye will be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. How is the faithful city become an harlot! It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Therefore saith the LORD, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: and I will my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: and I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellers as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed. For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water. And the strong shall be as tow, and the make of it is as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them” (Isaiah 1:10-31).

            “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgressions of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).

            “Wherefore, behold, I sent unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jeruslame, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:34-39).

            I fully realize and recognize that this is a lot of text found within Scripture concerning Jesus the Christ and His suffering within and upon the earth, however, it is absolutely necessary that we truly recognize and understand that which is presented before us within these passages. It is what we find and what we read within these passages that bring us face to face with the intrinsic link and connection between the visitation of Jesus unto the city of Jerusalem, the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus, and ultimately the destruction of Jerusalem. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found in the opening chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah, for it is within that first and opening chapter we find the LORD pleading with the people to come and reason together with Him that their sins which were red like crimson would be made white like wool. It is within this passage of Scripture we find the LORD—through the prophet Isaiah—indicting the people for their many feasts, their many celebrations, and the offerings and sacrifices they brought before and unto them. It would be within this passage of Scripture the LORD would indict the people of Judah and Jerusalem for their offerings and sacrifices which were brought unto Him, as He would declare unto them that their hands were stained with blood. Oh if the hands of the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem were stained with blood during these days and times of the prophet Isaiah—how much more would their hands be stained with blood after shedding all the innocent blood of the prophets, as well as the blood of the sinless and spotless Lamb of God? When you read the words which are found in the final verses of the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus declaring unto the inhabitants of Jerusalem during those days that upon them would come all the righteous blood which was shed upon the earth—from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias. If during the days and generation of Isaiah the prophet Isaiah the hands of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were indeed and were in fact stained with blood—how much more would their hands be stained with blood when they would crucify and kill the Son? In fact, this is precisely what the parable Jesus spoke which was recorded in this passage is all about. Consider if you will the following words which are found within a certain parable Jesus spoke unto the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem during this final week of His passion:

            “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lod’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet” (Matthew 21:33-46).

            The words which we find within this parable Jesus spoke are such that are absolutely remarkable and astonishing, for the words contained therein not only bring us face to face with the blood of the prophets which was shed, but it also brings us face to face with the blood of Jesus which would also be shed there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely incredible these words are, for they bring us face to face with just how awesome and tremendous this particular week would have been for the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we will ultimately see in the city of Jerusalem is not only the precursor for the judgment which would come upon the inhabitants of the city less than forty years after Jesus would ascend unto the right hand of the Father, but it was also the culmination of all the blood which was shed within and upon the earth. From the time when Cain first slew Abel in that second generation after Adam and Eve we find the blood of the righteous servants of the most High God being shed in the midst of the earth, and that shedding of blood would ultimately culminate in the blood of Jesus which would be shed there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. The blood of Jesus would not only be shed as a direct result of His being scourged, and not only as a result of the crown of thorns placed upon His brow, and not only as a result of the nails which were hammered into His wrists and feet, but also from the spear that would pierce His seed after He was already dead. How absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that even after Jesus was dead He would continue to shed blood in the midst of the earth, and would shed blood one last time as the Roman centurion would thrust a spear into His side, thus causing both blood and water to flow forth. Oh we must needs realize and understand just how absolutely incredible and tremendous this truly is, for the blood which was first shed in the midst of the earth during the days of Cain and Abel would ultimately find its culmination in the person of Jesus the Christ. Of course we know that the blood of the apostles would also be shed as they themselves would be martyrs for the cause and name of Christ in the midst of the earth, however, we must needs realize and understand the words which Jesus spoke unto the Pharisees concerning the blood of all the righteous in God from the time of Abel until that time would fall upon that generation as they would be guilty of shedding the blood of Jesus the Christ in the midst of the city.

            I sit here today thinking about how this particular chapter begins and opens, and I find myself being reminded of the words which Jesus would begin teaching unto His disciples—and pretty much immediately after Simon also called Peter would emphatically declare and proclaim that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus would declare unto Simon called Peter that he was blessed because flesh and blood had not revealed this unto him, but His Father who was in heaven. Jesus would then go on to declare that upon this rock He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. What makes this all the more remarkable and astonishing is when you think about and consider the fact that almost immediately after this revelation Jesus would begin teaching and showing His disciples how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem suffer many things, and ultimately be killed before rising from the dead on the third day. Undoubtedly the disciples had witnessed and beheld the persecution and opposition Jesus had experienced in the midst of the city of Jerusalem during previous visits, however, no one ever laid any hands on Jesus, nor was Jesus ever arrested or taken into custody. Despite the anger, the offense, and the malice of the religious elite and the Jews during those days no man could lay hands on Him because His time had not yet come in the earth. This particular time, however, Jesus would declare as being entirely and altogether different, for Jesus would declare unto His disciples that He must needs journey unto Jerusalem, and there in the midst of the city He would not only suffer many things, but would ultimately be killed. I can’t help but think about what that would have sounded like for the disciples who had undoubtedly seen the persecution and opposition of Jesus within the city of Jerusalem—not only at the hands of the Jews, but also at the hands of the religious elite during those days.

            In order for us to truly understand that which is found within this passage of Scripture we must needs realize and understand that what we read in the opening verses is Jesus preparing to enter into the city of Jerusalem—and not only enter into Jerusalem, but entering into Jerusalem to fulfill prophecy, as well as to ultimately suffer and be killed. If we want to truly understand that which is found within this particular chapter we must needs recognize and understand that leading up to this particular journey unto the city of Jerusalem Jesus would teach and speak unto His disciples concerning His needing to journey to Jerusalem where He would suffer many things at the hands of the religious elite, be mocked and scourged by the Gentiles, and ultimately be killed and crucified before being raised from death to life on the third day. The words and language we find in the twenty-first chapter is Jesus preparing and making Himself ready to enter into Jerusalem, and although Jesus would indeed enter into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding on a donkey, and although initially those within the city would shout “Hosanna”—there would come a point in time in a week’s time when the mob would effectively and essentially cry out in the hearing of Pontius Pilate, saying, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly astonishing and remarkable reality, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that what we find before us is Jesus beginning to walk in and fulfill that for which He was sent—and not only that for which He had been sent, but also that for which He had taught the disciples and spoken unto them. Three different times on three different occasions Jesus would teach and speak unto the disciples concerning His need to journey unto Jerusalem and suffer many things before ultimately being killed and crucified, and here within this passage we find Jesus actually beginning to walk in Jerusalem. Everything He had taught, everything He had said, everything He had done was entirely and altogether preparation for and leading up to this moment when He would journey and make His way unto Jerusalem this final time before He would ultimately be killed and crucified. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew in chapters sixteen, seventeen and twenty concerning the words Jesus spoke to His disciples concerning His journey unto the city of Jerusalem:

            “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father which his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:21-28).

            “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry” (Matthew 17:22-23).

            “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again” (Matthew 20:17-19).

            It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for the words which are found within each of these passages bring us face to face with the knowledge Jesus had concerning His need to journey unto Jerusalem—and not only His need to journey unto Jerusalem, but also what awaited Him there in the midst of the city. Perhaps one of the most remarkable and astounding realities found within this passage of Scripture is that Jesus knew what awaited Him in Jerusalem, and yet He not only did not shy away from it or avoid it, but He steadfastly set His fact to go unto Jerusalem. Much like Abraham rose up early in the morning according to the word of the Lord to sacrifice his only son Isaac in the place he would show him, so also would Jesus the Christ make His way and take His journey unto the city of Jerusalem that He might present Himself as a sacrifice unto suffering and as a sacrifice unto death. Just as David would journey unto the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite which was in the region of Moriah to build an altar and present an offering and sacrifice unto the Lord, so also would Jesus make His way unto that same region that He might present Himself as an offering unto suffering and unto death. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely tremendous and incredible this truly is, for the words we find within this passage bring us face to face with the truth that Jesus the Christ would not only make His way to Jerusalem, but Jesus would also enter into Jerusalem. It’s quite interesting to think about the fact that Jesus would enter into Jerusalem meek and lowly riding upon a donkey, and yet in that very city He would be scourged and mocked by the Gentiles. Although Jesus would enter into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding upon a donkey He would suffer many things at the behest of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of Israel. Jesus would indeed and would in fact enter into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly, and yet there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem He would face a tremendous amount of suffering—suffering beyond the persecution and opposition He had previously faced and experienced at the behest of the Jews and the religious elite.

            I continue to be absolutely and utterly fascinated with and by the fact that the suffering of Jesus—and not only the suffering of Jesus, but also His subsequent and ultimate death—would be the prelude and the precursor for the judgment that would come upon the city and the inhabitants therein. It would be in the city of Jerusalem Jesus would be scourged and tortured almost to the point of death before He would then be forced to carry His own cross along the Via Dolorosa to the place of the skull which was known as Golgotha. Having already had His body decimated and devastated by the scourging of the Roman whips Jesus would then have a crown of thorns placed upon His brow before being forced to carry His cross across His weakened form and bring it to the place where He would ultimately be crucified. It would be there in the place of the skull where Jesus would have His hands and His feet nailed to the wooden beams of the cross and would be forced to hang there upon the cross for six hours before He would ultimately give up the ghost and commit His spirit into the hands of the Father. For six hours Jesus would hang there upon the cross, and even as darkness descended upon the place of the skull Jesus would hang there upon that cross fulfilling that which the Father had ordained and appointed for Him to fulfill and accomplish within the earth. There upon the cross in the place of the skull Jesus would be offered as a living sacrifice which was holy and acceptable in the sight of the Father as an atonement and offering for the sin of humanity. Oh how truly incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it, for it calls and draws our attention to what awaited Jesus upon His journey unto the city of Jerusalem.

            The more I think about and consider these words the more I am brought face to face with the fact that when Jesus journeyed unto the city of Jerusalem He would indeed bring one final visitation unto and in the midst of it. It would be during this week of the passion of Jesus we find Him once more visiting the city and the inhabitants therein—almost as if to make one more passionate plea before and unto them before He would ultimately suffer and be killed and crucified. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus’ journey unto Jerusalem was not only to position Himself in that place where He would suffer many things at the hands of the scribes, the elders of Israel and the chief priests, but also to make the same type of passionate plea which was proclaimed through the prophet Isaiah. This visit was indeed a wonderful and powerful plea from the heart of the Father through His Son unto the inhabitants of the city, and it was one final plea before the suffering would begin. Jesus would come unto the city of Jerusalem that He might once more plead with the inhabitants of the city to come and reason together with the LORD, for although their sins were as scarlet, they would be made as white as wool. Jesus would make His way unto the city of Jerusalem that they might indeed have one more visitation and one more plea of mercy that would be made in the midst of it before the time of Jesus’ suffering and death would be at hand. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for there is not a doubt in my mind that the suffering Jesus would face and experience—and not only the suffering, but also His death and crucifixion upon the cross—would in and of itself be a passionate plea given unto men once more. There would indeed be an hour of visitation that would take place during that week of Jesus’ passion, however, with that hour of visitation we find Jesus the Christ also giving the ultimate plea for reconciliation through His suffering and through His death. I firmly believe that through His suffering and through His death—not only was Jesus making a passionate plea unto men to come and reason together with the LORD that their sins which were red like crimson would be made white as wool, but Jesus was also setting the stage for the coming judgment. It would indeed be true that Jesus would suffer and be crucified and killed after coming unto Jerusalem, and I firmly believe that His suffering and His death was a powerful portent and prophetic witness to the coming judgment.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that Jesus’ journey unto the city of Jerusalem was not only to enter and step into that suffering which He would ultimately face, but it would also be a powerful and passionate plea given unto the inhabitants of the city. It would be in the final verses of the twenty-third chapter of this gospel narrative we find Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem because they did not know, nor did they understand the hour of their visitation. Jesus wept over Jerusalem because it would be in Jerusalem where the prophets of old would be stoned and killed, and now once more it would be in the city of Jerusalem where blood would once again be shed—this time, however, it would not be the blood of the prophets, but it would be the blood of the eternal and only begotten Son of God. Everything we read and everything we find within this passage of Scripture wonderfully and powerfully points to the tremendous truth that Jesus’ journey unto the city of Jerusalem was to once more call the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem to the place of repentance, and to the place where they would reason together with the LORD because of their sins and because of their transgressions before the LORD. Jesus would come unto the city of Jerusalem that He might make one final plea and give one final offering of mercy before He would ultimately suffer and be killed and crucified. What makes this even more interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that Jesus would enter into the city of Jerusalem humble, meek and lowly riding on a donkey, and would even be welcomed in the city, and yet there in the midst of the city Jesus would eventually and ultimately face and experience suffering before ultimately being killed and crucified.

            It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close and carefull attention to this, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely astonishing truth that there in the city of Jerusalem Jesus would passionately plead with the inhabitants of the city, and with the inhabitants of Judaea and Galilee before He would be betrayed by one of His own, before He would begin suffering many things at the hands of the religious elite, before He would be scourged and mocked by the Gentiles, and before He would ultimately be killed and crucified. We have great need to pay close and careful attention to this, for it brings us to the wonderful and powerful place where we recognize and understand that Jesus knew what awaited Him there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and He know what would ultimately happen to Him there in the city at the hands of the religious elite and the Gentiles, and yet He didn’t shy away from it, nor did He avoid it. Jesus knew exactly what awaited Him there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and yet He neither tried to avoid, nor stay away from it. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering that not only did Jesus begin speaking about and teaching His disciples what awaited Him in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, but Jesus would also embrace it. Perhaps one of the most powerful pictures found within the film The Passion of the Christ is that of Jesus the Christ almost appearing to embrace the cross which He was forced to carry. There is a point within the movie when Jesus appears to not only embrace the cross which He was carrying, but also cling to it as though it was something to be valued and treasured. What makes this truly unique and worth thinking about is when you consider the fact that just as Jesus embraced the cross which would be the instrument of His death, so also would He embrace the journey unto the city of Jerusalem. Jesus knew what would await Him there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and He—knowing the joy that was set before Him—would not only endure what awaited Him, but also embraced it. ENDURING AND EMBRACING THE ROAD BEFORE US! ENDURING AND EMBRACING THE SUFFERING BEFORE US! ENDURING AND EMBRACING THE AFFLICTION AND OPPOSITION! Permit me to ask you whether or not you are one who would not only embrace the suffering that is before you, but also whether or not you would and could endure it.

            The more you read and consider the words which are found within this passage, the more you will realize that even Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem was not one of victory, nor was one that was triumphant by any means. When Jesus came unto and entered into the city of Jerusalem He came meek and lowly riding on a donkey as if to demonstrate that He wasn’t going to challenge the rule of Rome. Jesus came and entered into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding on a donkey as if to emphatically declare and proclaim unto the inhabitants of the city that He didn’t come to set up and establish an earthly kingdom—a thought which the disciples would ask Jesus just prior to His ascension into heaven. It’s actually quite astonishing and remarkable to read this particular narrative and how Jesus called for a colt to be loosed from the place where it was that He might ride upon it into the midst of the city—almost as if to make a demonstration of mercy, a demonstration of lowliness, a demonstration of humility. We know that Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient even unto the point of death, and yet I can’t help but view Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem as being a tremendous and powerful picture of that humility and that meekness which He would indeed demonstrate. When Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem He didn’t enter into it with an army, nor did He enter it riding on a stallion, nor did He enter the city ready to challenge Rome and deliver Judaea and Jerusalem from the authority and dominion of Rome. Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem was a powerful statement and declaration by Him that His purpose, His assignment, and His mission was entirely and altogether different than what many had even thought or perceived within their hearts and minds.

            I read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I find it absolutely incredible that Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem would indeed mirror how Solomon entered into the city of Jerusalem while David was still alive when one of his brothers professed himself to be king of Israel. When David heard that one of his other sons had proclaimed himself king over the nation and kingdom of Israel he ordered Solomon to be placed on his own donkey and brought into the midst of the city as an emphatic declaration and proclamation that there was indeed the true king who would sit upon David’s throne, and there would be the false king who would wrongly set himself up and proclaim himself to be king. When I read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture—not only do I see a wonderful and powerful testament to Jesus in essence declaring that He did not come to set up an earthly kingdom that would sever all ties from and to Rome, but I also see His riding on this donkey as being in and of itself a powerful declaration and proclamation that He would indeed sit upon the throne of David. We know from the words which are found in Scripture that of the increase of the government of Jesus there would be no end, and we know that He would indeed sit upon the throne of David, and it’s quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that just before Solomon would be pronounced as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel, and just before Solomon would indeed sit upon the throne of his father David, he would be brought into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding on a donkey. While this is and can no way be proven within Scripture I can’t help but wonder if the seed of the donkey which Solomon rode upon would move throughout and upon the earth up to and until the time when Jesus Himself would send His disciples to find a colt that was tied and bound in a certain place outside the city of Jerusalem. What if just as Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey was in and of itself a declaration that He would sit upon the throne of David, but also that the donkey upon which He rode up was directly connected to the same donkey upon which Solomon son of David rode upon when he entered into the city of Jerusalem?

            It is something worth thinking about and considering that Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey was not only a powerful statement and declaration that He would ultimately sit upon the throne of David, but it was also a statement of humility and meekness. Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey is a powerful statement and picture that He did not come to overthrow Rome, that He did not come to deliver Judaea, Galilee, Jerusalem, and the surrounding region of Israel from the authority and dominion of Rome. Jesus didn’t enter into Jerusalem with an army, and he didn’t enter into the city of Jerusalem with those whom He had raised up and groomed to fight against Rome. Jesus didn’t enter into Jerusalem to overtake and overthrow the religious elite and the religious system that was present in the midst of the city, nor did Jesus enter into Jerusalem to overthrow Herod who was ruling at that time. Instead, what we find is Jesus—in a week’s time—standing trial before both Herod and Pontius Pilate. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider this truth, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem wasn’t about setting up and establishing an earthly throne and an earthly kingdom, but it was about something so much more and something drastically different. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how incredibly important this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem being a powerful statement of humility, meekness, and gentleness.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within the twenty-first chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome truth that Jesus the Christ entered into Jerusalem meek and lowly riding on a donkey—this knowing that He was not only the King of the universe, but also that He would eventually sit upon the throne of David. When Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem He didn’t enter into it to sit upon, nor to establish a throne there in the midst of the city. Jesus did not enter into the city of Jerusalem to challenge and/or compete with Pontius Pilate, nor even Herod who was reigning in Judaea at that time. Jesus didn’t enter into the city of Jerusalem ready to set up and sit upon a throne, nor even to make war against the religious elite, nor even against the political systems of that day. Jesus had absolutely no interest or desire in challenging Pontius Pilate during those days, nor did He have any desire in challenging Herod who was sitting upon his own throne in the land of Judaea. The fact that Jesus Himself entered into Jerusalem—not on a white stallion or stead, but rather on a donkey—suggests and implies that when He entered into the city He was not seeking to be king within Judaea and Jerusalem. Despite the fact that some might have thought that He would be king, and/or despite the fact that there might have been some who wanted Him to be king, His entrance into Jerusalem would powerfully demonstrate that He had not come [at least not at that time] to sit upon a throne. JESUS CAME NOT SIT ON A THRONE BUT TO DIE UPON A CROSS! JESUS CAME NOT TO SIT UPON A THRONE, BUT BE BURIED IN A GRAVE! Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely incredible and astonishing this reality truly is when you take the time to think about it, for Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem was in and of itself a clear and present picture that He had come in humility, He had come in gentleness, and He had come in meekness. We must needs realize, recognize and understand this, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem did indeed and did in fact serve two purposes. On the one hand His entrance into Jerusalem was much like that of Solomon’s, which would indicate that He would indeed sit upon the throne of David in the midst of the Jerusalem. On the other hand, however, his entrance into the city of Jerusalem demonstrated that He had not at that time come to set up His throne, nor to rule and reign upon the earth.

            What makes this reality all the more intriguing and astonishing is when you think about and consider the fact that when Jesus would enter into the midst of the city of Jerusalem He would enter it riding on a donkey as if to declare that He had not come to be their king—at least not in the physical, natural and earthly sense. Moreover—while it is indeed true that Jesus came into the earth to set up and establish a kingdom, that kingdom would not be of this world, nor would it be governed the same way earthly kingdoms would be governed. Jesus would indeed set up and establish the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth, and He would indeed set it up and establish it right in the midst of the Roman Empire, and yet He would depart from this earth and leave the kingdom of heaven in the hands of His disciples who would later become apostles. The kingdom of heaven which would be present within and upon the earth would indeed and would in fact be the setting up of the dominion and authority of heaven in the earth, and would be left in the hands of the apostles and the early church. What’s more, is that the kingdom of heaven would continue to increase and be manifested within and upon the earth throughout the years since that time until the present time in which we are living. The kingdom of heaven would indeed be manifested within and upon the earth during the days and times of Jesus, however, that kingdom would not be one based on the earthly understanding of the kingdom. Even when standing before Pontius Pilate with the declaration/accusation of Jesus being “King of the Jews” looming over His head, Jesus would declare that His kingdom was not of this world. It’s interesting and worth noting that even when Judas showed up with armed guard in the garden Jesus would not incite His disciples to engage in violence with the sword—this despite the fact that Simon would draw a sword and strike off the ear of the servant of the high priest. What’s more, is that Jesus Himself would declare that He could have asked for ten legions of angels to be dispatched at the time of His suffering and crucifixion, and yet He chose not to.

            WHEN JESUS COMMANDS THE DISCIPLES TO PUT DOWN THE SWORD, AND INSTRUCTS THE ANGELS TO REMAIN IN HEAVEN! I find it truly remarkable and astonishing that when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem, He didn’t enter riding on a white stallion with an army behind Him to make a statement of triumph and victory. When Judas showed up with armed guards in the garden Jesus instructed his lone disciple who drew the sword to put it down, and would then go on to declare that those who lived by the sword would die by the sword. Not only this, but Jesus would undo the damage that Simon called Peter had done when he struck off the ear of the servant of the high priest. WHEN JESUS UNDOES THE DAMAGE DONE BY HIS DISCIPLES AND THEIR SWORDS! JESUS UNDOES THE DAMAGE WE INFLICT WITH OUR SWORDS! What makes this even more astonishing and intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that even when standing before Pontius Pilate Jesus declared that He could have dispatched ten legions of angels to deliver Him from His suffering and ultimate crucifixion, however, Jesus instructed the angels to say. How absolutely remarkable and astonishing it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus not only commanded His disciple to put down the sword, but Jesus also called for the angels to remain in heaven. Oh I can’t help but wonder and think if all of heaven was on the edge watching the suffering of Jesus, and if there weren’t angels who thought for sure the Father would have sent them to intervene on behalf of the suffering of Jesus. Pause for a moment and consider how all of heaven would have been on the edge watching Jesus suffer—and even be crucified—and yet Jesus called for the angels, the cherubim and the seraphim to stand still and stand down. WHEN JESUS CALLS FOR ANGELS TO STAND DOWN! THE ONLY TIME JESUS EVER CALLED ANGELS TO STAND DOWN! It’s interesting to think about and consider that in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ we find Michael and the angels fighting against the dragon and his angels in a full blown war in heaven, and yet there was only one time in all of history and eternity when the angels were instructed to stand down.

            WHEN JESUS COMMANDS THE ANGELS TO STAND DOWN! WHEN JESUS INSTRUCTS THE ANGELS TO STAND STILL! WHEN THE FATHER SILENCES THE ANGELS AND CALLS THEM TO STAND STILL! I find it absolutely incredible that although Jesus could have commanded ten legions of angels to come to His aide and deliver Him from the suffering which He would endure, He allowed them to remain in heaven and would not command them to come to His defense. Pause for a moment and consider that in the midst of the suffering of Jesus—not only did He commands the sword to be put down, but He also instructed the angels to stand down. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that in the midst of the suffering Jesus faced and experienced He neither allowed His disciples to fight with the sword, nor did He allow the cherubim, nor the seraphim, nor any of the angels in heaven to come. Perhaps this is what is so iconic and intrinsic about the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, for the devil tempted Him based on what the Word says concerning the angels of God being given charge over us that we not dash our foot against a rock. It is truly something interesting that neither in the wilderness when Jesus was tempted of the devil, nor even in the midst of His suffering and upon the cross did Jesus ever command legions of angels to come down from heaven and deliver Him. We know that after the temptation of the devil in the wilderness was completed and the devil departed from Him angels came and ministered unto Him, however, there were no angels who would come to His defense during that temptation. Despite the devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness He would not tempt the LORD His God by casting Himself down and demand the angels uphold Him.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering just how absolutely incredible this narrative concerning Jesus truly is, for although He could have commanded His disciples to fight with the sword, and although He could have commanded legions of angels to come to His defense and rescue, He would keep both at bay, and would hold both back. We dare not and ought not miss and lose sight of this incredibly powerful truth and reality, for what we see when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem meek and  lowly riding on a donkey is a powerful picture that He did not come to set up a throne in Jerusalem at that time, and instead came to die upon the cross. This humility and meekness would even be manifested in the fact that when faced with suffering Jesus would prohibit His disciples from coming to His defense, and from engaging in conflict with those armed soldiers who accompanied Judas into the garden. Oh even when one of His disciples would indeed use the sword and strike the ear of the servant of the high priest off—not only did Jesus command the sword to be put down, but He also healed and undid that which Peter had done with the sword. Oh how truly remarkable and powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth that this same Jesus who would enter into the city of Jerusalem meek and lowly riding upon a donkey would command His disciple to put down the sword, and would keep the angelic host at bay. I can’t help but think and consider whether or not there were angels in heaven who watched and witnessed as Jesus was suffering upon the earth and thought to come to His aid and come to His rescue. When, however, it came to the suffering of Jesus He would neither permit His disciples to fight for Him, nor allow the angels in heaven to come and deliver Him. Neither the angels in heaven, nor the disciples or followers of Jesus in the earth could deliver Him from the suffering which was before Him, and no angel in heaven, nor any disciple and follower of Jesus Christ upon the earth could deliver Him from the cross. What tremendous humility is actually found in knowing you could have commanded your disciples to fight, and knowing you could have commanded ten legions of angels to come to your side, and yet you deliberately chose to suffer with both the angels and certain of the disciples watching.

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely and incredibly astounding to think about and consider the fact that Jesus could have permitted multiple legions of angels to come to His side and deliver Him from the suffering He would endure—and even deliver Him from the cross—and yet He held the angels back. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that even His outstretched arms could very well have been a sign to hold the angels back and to keep them in their place in heaven. With Jesus’ outstretched arms nailed to the cross He was extending a wonderful and powerful invitation to all those who would believe in Him, however, those same outstretched arms would indeed hold the angels at back. Pause for a moment and think about all the legions of heaven behind Jesus—especially during those three hours when darkness covered Golgotha as all of hell descended upon that place—and how Jesus held back the legions of angels in heaven from coming to His rescue. Oh how absolutely remarkable it truly is to think about and consider this fact, for Jesus’ outstretched arms would be an invitation to those who were before Him, but they would also be a restriction for those behind Him. Jesus would essentially open His arms to humanity, however ,with those same arms I can’t help but see a powerful picture of Jesus holding back the legions of angels whom He could have called to come to His aid and rescue. It is truly remarkable and astounding to think about and consider how Jesus could have very easily allowed His disciples to fight for Him in the garden and deliver Him from Judas and the armed guards who were with Him, and He could have commanded legions of angels to come to His rescue and deliver Him from the suffering and crucifixion.

We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that Jesus disarmed His disciple and held back the angels—all so He could suffer for you and I, and all so He could ultimately be crucified upon the cross to make an atonement for our sins. Stop and think about this particular truth, for Jesus could have very easily allowed His disciples to remain armed and to engage the guards who accompanied Judas, and yet Jesus instructed Simon to put down the sword. Jesus could have allowed and permitted the angels in heaven to come down and not only deliver Him from the suffering, but also to make an end of those who would dare rise up against Him. Think about what great humility it would take for Jesus to know He could have commanded legions of angels to come to His rescue and to put an end to those who would rise up against Him, and instead of doing this He willingly allowed Himself to suffer. Jesus would offer Himself as a sacrifice, and yet even before the sacrifice would be placed upon the cross He would experience suffering—suffering which He did not shy away from, and suffering which He would not do away with. Jesus deliberately and intentionally allowed Himself to suffer at the hands of the religious elite, as well as the Gentiles who would mock and scourge Him, and He chose to hold back the legions of angels who would and could have come to His rescue had He commanded it. Oh we must recognize that Jesus’ entrance into the city of Jerusalem on a lowly donkey was more than simply His being meek and lowly, for the One who was the true King of and over the city, and the One who was the rightful heir to sit upon the throne of David would actually choose to die on a cross before sitting upon the throne. Stop and think about this particular reality, for before Jesus would sit upon the throne of David in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, He would first die upon a cross—and not only die upon a cross, but also be buried in a borrowed tomb. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand just how incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for Jesus would indeed and would in fact humble Himself—not only to die upon the cross which would have been quick and easy, but also to suffer for your sins and for mine.

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