Prepare to Listen. As you slow down, still your heart and mind with this prayer: See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life.
Prayerfully Read Luke 19:29-40
28After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30saying, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” just say this: “The Lord needs it.”’ 32So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ 34They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’ 35Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38saying,
‘Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!’
39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ 40He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’
The journey begun in Galilee (9:51) is coming to an end. Jesus was on the outskirts of Jerusalem, fully aware of what was about to happen. He’d repeatedly explained it to his disciples and they repeatedly failed to understand. Suffering and death weren’t expected to happen to their Messiah, but riding “a colt that has never been ridden” was. Sending his disciples to take the colt is the only time Jesus used his power as Messiah for his benefit. As he rode into the city “the whole multitude of the disciples” joyfully sang his praises with words Jesus had foretold they’d use, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” (13:35).
The crowd was ecstatic, perhaps expecting Jesus to call them to arms in “the name of the Lord” against the occupying Romans. But Jesus was no warrior hero and called no one to arms, not then and not today. I wonder whether any in the crowd noticed how silent and passive Jesus was on that colt. He didn’t speak until the Pharisees demanded, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” This may have been a kindness. If the Romans heard the disciples acclaim Jesus king, they’d assume it meant the beginning of a revolution. The army would be sent to stop them. A brutal massacre would ensue.
Jesus was unperturbed, responding with a cryptic, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”
Imagine being in that crowd that day. Would you risk the wrath of Rome and loudly acclaim Jesus your king, or would you beg Jesus to silence the dangerous praise?
Respond to Jesus
Jesus, if you are king, then you’re in control of the mess in our world today. Give me the courage to live this out in ways that reject human intervention. Amen.
Live obediently. Join the crowd in praise.
 See devotion for 5th Sunday of Lent on Luke 18:31-43.
 See Luke 13:1 as an example of Roman brutality.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.