The first day of the last week of Yeshua’s life is on public display at this time of the year again with its well-rounded appeal and its popularity as a fabulous deep. The light streaming from the triumphant entry is somewhat dimmed torch when compared to the untrimmed prophecy from which the gospel writers cited Zion’s joy. That now famous donkey ride calls for a closer look at Zion’s reason to rejoice greatly.
King nobody wanted
Yeshua’s contemporaries and the Jewish leadership objected to his preaching, teaching, and his healing. The people even exploited his feeding of the hungry: this food manufacturer could be our king. Was he not born king? Yes, but they did not really want the Nazarene. I think the Roman governor hit the piñata when Yeshua’s opponents tries to get the cross-sign changed from “Jesus, Nazarene, Jewish King” to “he called himself Jesus, Nazarene, Jewish King”
I N R I
In that last week Yeshua pushed the buttons to shift to the work he came to do: establish who is really in charge.
The ride into Zion is more than popular acclaim. The full prediction breaks out of the mold of Moses and the prophets.
The gospel-writer’s citationMatthew 21:5
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
The full Zecharian prophecy
A. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. B. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. C. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.Zechariah 9:9-11
The lines following the procession description play out in the sayings and interactions in the following list. Israel’s pride is over. Everything she had at the top of her power list is now useless. Abraham’s family, those countless Gentile “sinners” will be have God’s peace through His decree. There comes a covenant that releases people from wells without water.
- Clearing the temple of merchandising
- Cursing the fig tree
- Condemning the rejection of the Baptist
- Evaluating and evicting the murderous tenants
- Identifying the wedding guests who disinvited themselves
- Separating Caesar and God
- Resurrection and human destiny
- Capping the law and the prophets
- Identifying David’s son
- Trashing the leadership (people in Moses’ seat)
Weeping over Jerusalem
The events in the list cover Matthew chapters 21 to 23 and they are clearly the final actions of the king before he finishes his work on the cross. Joy vanishes quickly as people return to their ways, kicking and screaming that YHWH was not their king. It was too much to be under the wing of a loving mother.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Desolation vs Covenant
The united memories of both Zionite and the waterless wells cannot paper over the manifest fate of Zion vs the desolation, not merely the physical destruction but the loss of spiritual relevance to life, of the temple. There is no evidence of a God until the airwaves begin to record the sound of relief. People have to welcome the king.
Blessed is he who comes in Yahweh’s name