Faith Lessons by Ray Vander Laan: The Lamb of God

The film in shot on the road that Jesus would have followed to go to Jerusalem. On the way to Jerusalem, he would have traveled in the same area where he’d been tempted by Satan at the beginning of this ministry. All three temptations were to follow the wrong battleplan. Now Jesus was following the only battleplan.

Jesus entered Jerusalem on Lamb Selection Day, the day the people were to choose a perfect lamb to sacrifice for the Passover. And that is the day of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday.

Jesus left Caesarea Philippi to go to Jerusalem. He walked to Bethany and then Jerusalem.

What we call Palm Sunday was the day the lamb was to be chosen to be sacrificed on that coming Friday. Thus, Jesus was offered to Israel as the lamb of God to be chosen. The perfect lamb was present, but the people had to choose him.

Passover was also the season of freedom, a celebration of their freedom from slavery in Egypt. It was common for claimants to be the Messiah to stake their claim at this time. Hence, the Romans kept extra troops around, and the Jews kept the temple door open, in case the Messiah was to come.

(Luke 19:28-37)  After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.'”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

Luke describes the crowd as quiet until Jesus approaches the city. They may have been silent due to their fear of the Romans, who would surely react violently to a claimant to the throne of David. But they couldn’t contain themselves and eventually had to celebrate loudly.

Matthew says the disciples said, “Hosannah to the Son of David; Hosannah in the highest.” Hosannah meant “deliver me” — give me my freedom. It was a political declaration. Therefore, the leaders were concerned about a rebellion.

The palm branches were the symbol of the Maccabees. They were nationalistic symbols, claiming the independence they’d enjoyed before the Roman conquest.

(Luke 19:38-40)  “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

The people therefore were looking for a nationalistic salvation, although they were right to ask for freedom and deliverance. This is why the Pharisees begged Jesus to quiet the crowd. The Romans might come kill them!

(Luke 19:41-44)  As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Jesus then turned and cried. He’d earlier cried at Bethany due to the death of his friend Lazarus.

(John 11:33-35)  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept.

The Greek word translated “wept” refers to quiet sobbing. Jesus wept even though he knew he’d raise Lazarus. Tears ran down his face in sympathy for the mourning of his friends, because he felt their pain even though he knew Lazarus would rise shortly.

There was ancient custom of putting tears in a bottle to bury with the dead, so God would see how much this man or woman was missed. David prayed to God that he’d keep his tears in his bottle — remember his tears forever. (Readers of The Shack will remember the importance of this symbol in that book).

(Ps 56:8 ESV) You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?

In Jerusalem, Jesus cried but this time he cried aloud over Jerusalem.He was upset that the Jews were seeking peace in the wrong way and so would suffer a horrible fate.

If people had recognized Jesus’ battleplan, and had come to understand the love and peace of Jesus, Jerusalem would not have been destroyed.

Faith lesson

What kind of tears does Jesus cry for you?

Is it because of your hurt and grief? Or because you missed the chance to claim him as your sacrificial lamb?

Had we been there, could we have given up our nationalism and patriotism and accepted a life of love and forgiveness — of walking the extra mile — or would we have looked for a political, military salvation? Would we have wanted both salvation from hell and salvation from the Romans? Could we have settled for only heaven?

The lesson ends wtih this song —

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(For those following the Renewing Our Worship series, here’s a  great example of Christian dance).

Additional material

Why is it signficant that Jesus entered Jerusalem from the east?

[Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would come from the wilderness, which was in the east. Isa 40:3. See p 176 of lesson book for additional material on this point]

Hosannah means “save now” is from Ps 118:25-27 —

(Psa 118:25-27)  O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. 27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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3 Responses to Faith Lessons by Ray Vander Laan: The Lamb of God

  1. nick gill says:

    Ray Vander Laan has taught me something that just makes fireworks shoot off in my head. I just don't understand why more Christian scholars don't get this. Here's an example of it (the quotation of Luke 19:40 make me think of it)

    Luke 19:40 – “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

    Now, Robertson's Word Pictures, usually a decent resource, says this and only this about v.40 – " 'The stones will cry out' (hoi lithoi kraxousin). A proverb for the impossible happening."

    Now, let's follow the rabbinic school of thought. What if Jesus was doing a 'remez' (at least, that's what they call it now) where he wasn't quoting the Scripture he MEANT, but the Scripture right before it or after it.

    Ps 96 – Creation rejoices because of the Lord
    Ps 98 – ditto
    Ps 148 – ditto, but with Messianic emphasis
    Is 55:12 – indescribably cool response to the cranky Pharisees

    but the best one? the BEST one? Just read this and imagine what the Pharisees thought!

    "Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm! You have devised shame for your house by cutting off many peoples; you have forfeited your life. For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond.
    (Habakkuk 2:9-11)

  2. Jay Guin says:

    Nick,

    Great point. I've passed it along to our teachers.

  3. Hi Jay – You have a very nice blog here; I appreciate your faith and sincerity. You may also enjoy the many testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ at: http://wetestifyofchrist.blogspot.com. God bless!

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