God Keeps His Word

We celebrate Palm Sunday this weekend, the day we commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Jesus visited Jerusalem many times in His short life of thirty-three years. Compliant to God, He made the trek from Galilee to Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts. This time was different. It was His last trip to the City. Well, not last exactly. He has one more trip to make to Jerusalem, but that comes later. This was His last time to enter the City during His earthly ministry.

It was Passover, and Jesus had come once again for the feast. When He visited Jerusalem, He stayed with friends in the little village of Bethany, a couple of miles east of the City. He sent a couple of the disciples ahead to find Him a ride into the City with a young donkey. Jesus usually walked, but this day was special. He needed to ride into Jerusalem because the prophets had foretold it, and God’s word could not be broken.

Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.”

As Jesus and the disciples reached the crest of the Mount of Olives and began the descent into the Kidron Valley on the east of the City, they found the western slope of the Mount covered with pilgrims camping out. They had come for Passover. Word quickly spread that Jesus of Nazareth, whom some claimed was the Messiah, was passing by. They rose and began to shout the Welcome the prophets foretold—“Hosanna! Save Now! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Some spread cloaks and blankets on the path. Others took palm branches from the lean-tos they had made for their camp and spread them on the path; an improvised royal road.

But it wasn’t just enthusiastic supporters who sang Jesus’ praise. The skeptics spoke up. They always do. Worried the Romans who were nearby would hear the cries and call for a Jewish King, they’d send troops to quell the disturbance. They urged Jesus to silence the crowd. Jesus deflected their demand with a most enigmatic reply. He said that if the crowd went silent, the very stones of the hillside would break forth in praise.

This wasn’t an exaggeration. Jesus wasn’t being poetic or speaking a mystery that requires us to spin some fanciful allegory. If the crowd had gone silent, God would have raised the stones to life to welcome Jesus as Israel’s King. Here is why: The prophets had foretold this day and the crowd’s response. And God’s word cannot be broken.

The day had been foretold some five centuries before by the Prophet Daniel. You can read about it in Daniel chapter 9. Daniel was told by an angel that 173,880 days after the Persian King Artaxerxes commanded him to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, Messiah the Prince would enter triumphally. Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday fulfilled that amazing prophecy.

Psalm 118 has long been recognized as prophetic of the Messiah.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord, Through which the righteous shall enter. 21 I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation. 22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.

On Palm Sunday, the people shouted verses 25 and 26 because as verse 24 says, it was THE Day God had made for their King to come. But verse 22 states that the builders—the leaders of the nation—rejected Him. He was “cut off,” as Daniel foretold in verse 26 of chapter 9.

Because God’s Word cannot be broken, if the people shouting out their praise and welcome of Jesus as King went silent, the very rocks would be raised to cry out. We can say that because of what Jesus said in Matthew 3:9, “Do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.”

The God who moves Persian Kings to issue decrees and then steers the course of history to ensure that 173,880 days later, Israel’s king would enter Jerusalem on the exact day foretold five centuries before is the same God who oversees each and every one of our days. The God who can turn stones into people can turn the hard things of your life into living blessings.

Nothing is too hard for our God. Nothing. He keeps His word.

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