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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:The story recorded in Luke 19 tells the account of Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. For years, I read this story and heard it over and over through "Gentile eyes". I have come to learn that viewing Bible stories through "Gentile eyes" renders the accounts in black and white. But hearing the story through "Hebrew eyes" brings it to living color.
So, today, I'd like to paint the Triumphal Entry story from Luke into "living color" by adding in the details from the Feast of Passover, and showing how our Saviour fulfilled them.
As God had commanded, the Passover Lamb was selected on the 10th day of Abib (this is the first month of the Biblical year, which falls in April-May). For this reason, the Triumphal Entry took place precisely on the 10th day of Abib (Passover is the 14th day of Abib, which came 4 days later). In other words, the event Christians call "The Triumphal Entry" was actually a fulfillment of the Exodus 12:3 prophetic requirement to select the Passover Lamb on this day.
Exodus 12:3 "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house."
The prophets had foretold that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. Thus, every year on the 10th of Abib, the high priest went to Bethlehem, selected the lamb and returned to Jerusalem.
Micah 5:2 "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from Everlasting."
On the year Jesus (Yahshua) was to die, when the 10th of Abib came, the high priest went to Bethlehem and selected the Passover lamb for the nation, just as he always did. When the high priest returned to Jerusalem, with the selected lamb in tow, he would enter the city through the North Gate.
Now, in the year of the Crucifixion, on the 10th day of Abib, Jesus (Yahshua), the Perfect Lamb, Who had been born in Bethlehem entered Jerusalem through the North Gate (called the Damascus Gate). By the fact that the processional which always took place over the Passover lamb obviously hadn't happened yet in the story, we can safely conclude that Christ must have entered the North Gate before the high priest returned with the selected lamb.
The entrance of the Passover lamb into the city was a big annual event. Every year (on the 10th of Abib) a processional always took place over the Passover lamb. What was this processional? The priests lined the streets from the North Gate up to the top of the temple mount. When the high priest returned with the lamb, the waiting priests would start the shout which heralded THIS LAMB as THE Passover lamb. And what did they shout every year as they heralded the Passover lamb?
"Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord (Yahweh); Hosanna in the highest," (Matthew 21:9).
When the people heard the priests shouting, they would grab their palm fronds, which had been leaning up against their houses waiting for this moment. And they would run to the street to see the Passover lamb pass by. As the lamb passed, the people would take up the shout until the whole city was in an uproar of rejoicing over the procession of the lamb.
The roadway leading from the Damascus Gate to the Temple Mount was about 3/4 mile long. So once the shout started at the gate, priests and people along the road would take it all the way up the hill. You couldn’t stop the shout because the people at the top - who were now also shouting - couldn’t see! They were just responding to the sounds they had heard and had joined in!
This shout of praise continued with waving palm fronds until the Passover lamb reached its destination on the Temple Mount. But, things were a bit different on the year that Jesus (Yahshua) died. When the high priest reached the gate with his Bethlehem lamb, the real Lamb had already entered. He and his shadow lamb could hardly get into town.
The disciples had started the shout announcing that Jesus (Yahshua) was indeed THE Passover Lamb! The people, like every year, ran with their palm branches and joined the chorus. But, this time, it was Christ they found as the object of this praise. Did they know what this meant? Absolutely! And the people joyously joined in the chorus proclaiming Him to be the One this shadow picture had pointed to for all the past centuries.
What must it have been like when the Passover lamb processional became the Triumphal Entry? What must it have been like when the people say Jesus (Yahshua) ride through the North Gate in the place of the Passover lamb? If we read this story with Gentile eyes, we might be tempted to think that this was just an amazing one-time event. But when we understand how the Feasts were kept, we see the story in an even more amazing light. When the Saviour entered the North Gate (which was called the Damascus Gate) and the disciples started the Passover lamb, processional shout (Matthew 21:9, as shown above) the people joined in the shout and waved their palm fronds over Christ, just as they always had over the Passover lamb. Clearly, they were pronouncing Him as the Messiah - the ultimate Passover Lamb!
This is why the priests were so upset when they saw the people shouting this special phrase over Jesus (Yahshua). The people were proclaiming Him to be the One sent from God!
Matthew 21:15-16 "And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that 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 (Yahshua) saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?"Helpless to stop the shouts of praise, now that they were catching on and beginning to be chorused by the people all the way up the hill, the priests tried to get Christ to stop it.
Luke 19:39-40 "And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto Him, Master, rebuke Thy disciples. And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."
What did the Saviour mean by saying that if the people stopped shouting "Hosanna", the stones would immediately start shouting it? He meant that God always does things so PERFECTLY that every piece of the prophetic picture from the Feast must be completely fulfilled, down to the tiniest detail. And yes, if the people didn’t proclaim Him the Lamb as the shadow picture of this feast had prophesied, the ROCKS would have cried out!
Once the Passover Lamb reached the Temple Mount, a four day examination period began. Every prior year, during this time, the lamb was staked out and carefully examined for blemishes. At the end of this examination period, if the lamb was found worthy to be the perfect Passover sacrifice, the high priest would shout for all to hear, “I find no fault in him.” This was the ceremonial pronouncement which meant that this selected, Bethlehem lamb would indeed be the Passover lamb for the nation.
How was this examination of the Passover lamb fulfilled in the life of Jesus (Yahshua)? Christ submitted to the lamb's examination process by allowing the Pharisees, Herodians, Saducees and religious leaders to interrogate and try to find fault in Him for the full four days.
When this four-day examination period was ended, Pilate, who was not in control of his own mouth, pronounced the prophesied words:
“I find no fault in Him!”
The crowd must have gasped, when at the precise moment when this pronouncement was to be made over the lamb, it was said over Jesus (Yahshua).
On the day of Passover, the wood of the sacrifice was placed upon Christ, just as Isaac carried the wood of the sacrifice to the very same spot so many years before. Mount Moriah, where Abraham was divinely instructed to take Isaac, was later the Calvary escarpment. Abraham's shadow-picture of offering Isaac was a prophetic foretelling of Jesus' (Yahshua's) Death, which would take place on the very spot.
And, on Passover, our Messiah was taken to that precise spot where shadow became substance and God DID provide Himself a Lamb, just as Abraham foretold that He would.
Genesis 22:8 "And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering..."
Now as the Passover festival was kept every year, there were many lambs killed on this day. Each family brought a lamb which was killed for the family’s Passover table.
When the time for slaying the families’ lambs was ended and it was now time to begin the sacrifice of THE PASSOVER LAMB, the high priest would say two words:
This was part of the Passover ceremony because the death of this lamb, meant that the people would be able to drink of the Water of Life, having received this privilege by the payment of the lamb's blood.
No piece of the shadow picture was to be left out. So, our dear Saviour uttered the ceremonial words Himself. And as He said, “I Thirst,” every man, woman and child who heard would know that He was pointing to the promise of the Water of Life being made available to them through His ministry as both Priest AND Passover Lamb.
At the moment when the priest lifted the knife to slit the Passover lamb’s throat, He proclaimed:
“It is Finished”
In the year of Jesus' (Yahshua's) Death, our Saviour said these words Himself, and then He died.
And so, actually there is much more to the Triumphal Entry than immediately meets the eye. The event now known as Christ's Triumphal Entry was the fulfillment of the ancient prophetic ceremonies which God had ordained for the selection of the Passover lamb and for keeping the Feast of Passover.