The Word of God is its own context.
Because all of the Word of God is "God-Breathed" (authored by God) it is
its own context for study. A verse or passage of scripture must be
in harmony with the Word of God itself.
Scriptures that relate to the same subject in God's Word cannot contradict each other. If a verse seems to contradict other passages related to the same subject there must be an error either in our understanding of the verse or in translation because God cannot contradict Himself.
In working God's Word you must be very careful to avoid identifying situations as identical when they are only similar. For example, if in one Gospel, Jesus Christ heals a blind man as he is entering a city and in another Gospel Jesus Christ heals a blind man as he leaves that same city the situations are similar but NOT identical. Time and place must both be the same if we are examining an identical situation.
A person might saddle a horse and ride down the road to a barn. As he leaves the house he might stop and pick an apple to eat from a nearby tree. The next day, the same person might saddle two horses, ride one and lead the other to a barn. On the way, as he nears the barn, he might stop at a different apple tree and pick an apple to eat. The situations are similar but quite different. They are different because of time. They happened on different days. They are different because on one day one horse was present and on the second day two horses were present. They are different because of place. The apple trees were in different locations along the way. This is the kind of detail that must be carefully examined when studying similar records in the four Gospels.
Tradition teaches that Jesus Christ made one entry into Jerusalem called the "Triumphal Entry," and that this entry took place on Palm Sunday. Such teaching is not in accordance with the word of God. When we examine the Gospels carefully, we find that Jesus entered Jerusalem a first time on Friday, the ninth of Nisan, "In Judgment," and a second time on Saturday, the tenth of Nisan, "In Blessing." He rode into Jerusalem on each of these days and the people cut palm leaves and spread their clothing in the way before him on each of these days. Also please note regarding the days before the crucifixion the Gospel of Luke records:
And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him.
The facts of the mater are that Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem daily and taught the people in the Temple during this time period. The boldness of our Lord and Savior is remarkable. As the chief priests and rulers of the people were determined to capture and kill him, he daily entered Jerusalem and taught in the Temple.
The Gospel of Mark establishes a basic timeline.
On Friday, the ninth of Nisan, Jesus Christ was about to enter Jerusalem. He asked two of his disciples to bring him ONE colt which he rode into the city. On the way into Jerusalem, the Gospel of Luke records that Jesus wept over the city and pronounced judgment. Jesus entered Jerusalem, went into the Temple, looked around, then returned to Bethany in the evening. This was his "Entry in Judgment."
The next day (Saturday, the tenth of Nisan) when they were come from Bethany, Jesus stopped along the way and cursed a fig tree. This happened before he entered Jerusalem and before he threw the moneychangers out of the Temple. Details regarding this entry are recorded in the Gospel of Matthew where we see that he rode into Jerusalem on TWO animals - an ass and the colt of an ass. Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem and cleansed the Temple for Passover by casting the moneychangers out. In the evening he left the city. This was also the day on which the passover lamb was selected by the people. This was his "Entry in Blessing."
In the morning (Sunday, the eleventh of Nisan) the disciples saw the cursed fig tree on the way to Jerusalem had withered away overnight. After they entered the city of Jerusalem, Jesus Christ approached a second fig tree (which according to Matthew 21 happened the day after he had cleansed the Temple of the moneychangers) which he also cursed and it immediately withered before their eyes. One tree was located on the way to Jerusalem. One was approached as they entered into the city. One tree withered overnight. One tree withered immediately. The situations are similar but NOT identical.
And when they came nigh unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straight way he will send him hither.
And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
And if any man ask you Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.
And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,
Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
On Friday, the ninth of Nisan, five days before Passover, Jesus Christ approached Jerusalem. Near Bethphage he sent two disciples into the village to get a colt for him to ride. In the Bible lands and times, animals were donated to the Temple for God's service and were kept on the outskirts of town where they were ready for Temple use. They could be used by any holy man in service to the Lord, as they were gifts to God according to Biblical culture. That is why the disciples simply had to let the man know that the Lord had need of the animal. "Whereon never man sat" indicates that the colt was a donated Temple animal consecrated as God's property and was not to be used for man's work.
The significance of choosing the colt was that Jesus
Christ was about to enter Jerusalem in Judgment. The old testament
record in Judges tells how Israel was once ruled by "judges" who road on
white asses' colts. (Judges 5:10, 10:3-4, 12:13-14).
And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
|John 12:12b-13, 17-19
... much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
The people therefore that was with
him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead,
Palm branches represented joy and triumph in the Bible
Lands. Clothing was spread before kings as they passed. (II
Kings 9:13) Great multitudes of enthusiastic people went out to meet
Jesus: to see the man who had raised Lazarus from the dead. The "stones
crying out" is a figure of speech in which inanimate objects are personified.
The excitement of the crowd was overwhelming as was the jealousy of the
Pharisees who realized that the "whole world was gone after him."
|Mark 11 - NO RECORD||Luke 19:41-44
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
|John 12 - NO RECORD|
Only the Gospel of Luke records Jesus Christ's pronouncement
of Judgment on Jerusalem as he came near the city on that Friday.
And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
|Luke 19:45 - NO RECORD of the end of the day on Friday. The record picks up with events at the Temple the next day.||John 12- NO RECORD of the rest of the day on Friday or the events of Saturday.|
Only the Gospel of Mark records the events of the remainder
of the day on Friday. Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem, went into the
temple, looked around on all things, and left Jerusalem and went back to
Bethany with the twelve. Jesus Christ's "Entry in Blessing" on Saturday
is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke:
And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples.
Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me,
And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
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.
And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down the branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
And the multitude said This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
|Luke - NO RECORD|
The record in Matthew records events similar
to the records of the previous day we read in Mark, Luke, and John.
The record in Mark makes it clear that the events of this day happened
a day after the entry on Friday. Also noted is that on Saturday,
Jesus Christ requested TWO animals - an ass and the colt of an ass.
Two animals are representative of "blessing" in the Bible. (II
Kings 5:15,17; II Samuel 16:1-3) This day was the tenth
of Nisan. It was the day that Israel selected the Passover Lamb.
It was the weekly sabbath. On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus Christ
approached a fig tree looking for buds to nibble on. It was not time
for figs, but fig trees have tasty buds which travelers nibble on.
No buds mean no fruit later. The fig tree was considered the people's
tree and it represented Israel. Israel was not bearing fruit.
Jesus cursed the fig tree and they proceeded into Jerusalem.
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
And he left them, and went out of the city into Behtany; and he lodged there.
And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.
And when even was come, he went out of the city.
And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.
On Saturday, the tenth of Nisan, Jesus Christ was selected to be the Passover Lamb. Part of the requirements of Passover was a cleansing of the Temple. On the sabbath, in the Temple market area merchants sold wine, salt, oil, sacrificial animals, and other necessities used by worshippers. The Temple market was a lucrative business for both the merchants and the leaders of the Temple. The requirements of the law were that only the best items would be used for this purpose. The Temple area had become a den of thieves where second-rate goods were sold. Jesus Christ overthrew their tables and told them to get out! This cleansing was essential for the Temple to be properly prepared and cleansed for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This year it was especially important as Jesus Christ was selected to be the perfect sacrifice and final Passover Lamb.
On Sunday, the eleventh of Nisan, Jesus Christ makes another entry into Jerusalem. On the way Mark 12:20-21 records that they passed by the fig tree that he had cursed the previous morning and found that it had died overnight. Matthew 21:18-20 records that as they entered the city of Jerusalem Jesus Christ approached a second fig tree and found nothing on it either. He cursed that tree also and it immediately withered before their eyes.
The events of these days have many commonalties. However, to rightly divide God's Word and to understand the significance of the events of these days, you must carefully note time, place, and details. Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem daily to teach in the Temple. On Friday, he rode an ass' colt into the city and pronounce Judgment on Jerusalem. On Saturday, he rode an ass and the foal of an ass as he entered Jerusalem in Blessing. On Saturday, he was selected by the people as the Passover Lamb and he cleansed the Temple. These are the facts as recorded in God's wonderful matchless Word.