26 April, 2011

The Lord's Death And Resurrection

(Written by Jack Kelley)
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).

He came into Jerusalem just like the prophecies said He would and the whole town lit up. Jerusalem was filling up with Passover pilgrims and they joined the locals in lining the steep street that led down from the top of the Mt. of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane and then across the Kidron valley to the East gate of the Temple. They laid their outer garments and branches from nearby palm trees across the street and sang,

“Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD (Psalm 118:25-26). Hosanna in the highest!”

This is the only day He ever let the crowds do that. Always before He had told them to be quiet or had disappeared from among them. But on this day things were different. They were singing the Psalm reserved for the arrival of the Messiah and when the Pharisees told Him to stop them, He refused, telling them that nothing could stop this from happening (Luke 19:39-40). On this day He was fulfilling a prophecy from Daniel 9 as well as the one from Zechariah 9.

“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.” (Daniel 9:25)

A “seven” was a period of seven years. 7 sevens plus 62 sevens equals 69 sevens or 483 years. On the day He rode into the city it had been exactly 483 years since the Persian King Artaxerxes had authorized Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem and rebuild it (Nehemiah 2:1-9). As Jesus approached the city He told the people that Jerusalem would be destroyed because their leaders didn't recognize the time of God's visitation (Luke 19:41-44).

His arrival made the religious leaders very nervous. Ever since He had raised Lazarus from the dead they'd been looking for a way to kill Him (John 11:45-53) and now He was here in their midst. They had to do something fast because everybody was talking about Him. In desperation they agreed to let one of His followers betray Him for money.

Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9)