29. Jesus’s Strategic Route to Jerusalem and the Triumphal Entry

2010 21 Jun

A. The Trip to Jerusalem for the Final Passover: Ephraim to Bethany

Scripture: Luke 17:11; Mark 10; Matthew 19; and John 12:1

Notes: These passages describe the very important and strategic route that Jesus took as He made His way from Ephraim (just north of Jerusalem) through Samaria, Galilee, and Perea - on the way to the feast. Notice that Jesus arrives in Bethany (on the outskirts of the Holy City) "six days before the Passover," which would be Friday.


  1. Notice that the route described in Luke 17:11 seems strange, but there is remarkable strategy in that route. What is it about the route outlined there which seems strange?
  2. Notice the excitement which builds as Jesus travels with a large band of Passover pilgrims along the way to the Feast.

B. The Sabbath in Bethany: The Day Before the Triumphal Entry

Scripture: John 12:1-11; Matthew 26:1-16; and Mark 14:1-11

Notes: The incident of the ointment - and specifically Jesus's rebuke of Judas in connection with that incident - which occurred in Bethany on Saturday night (at the "coming out" of the Sabbath) has important ramifications later in the week.


  1. Notice that Matthew and Mark record the feast/anointing in the middle of their narrative of the events of Tuesday evening. We will discuss those events later; at this point it is important to see that Matthew and Mark tell the story of the anointing in Bethany as a flashback. Can you think of why those gospelists would record that event anachronistically as they do?
  2. In that connection, compare Luke 22:1-6; in a passage clearly parallel to Matthew 26 and Mark 14, Luke does not tell the story of the anointing, but note what he does say at precisely the place in the narrative where Matthew and Mark insert that account.

C. The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem

Scripture: Mark 11:1-19; Matthew 21:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19

Notes: This event was unspeakably important with respect to Old Testament prophecy and to the ministry of Jesus. It did not happen accidentally; Jesus planned and strategized to make it happen. Further, the drama of the event relates to the expectations of the Jewish people for a soon-coming Deliverer, to the specific dynamics of the Passover Feast, and to recent events in the ministry of Jesus.


  1. Can you identify specific Old Testament predictive prophecies that were fulfilled in the Triumphal Entry of Jesus?
  2. Given the edict issued by the Sanhedrinists (the most powerful leaders of the Jewish nation) in John 11:57, what reaction do you think this grand entrance of Jesus into the city produced in those leaders?
  3. How would you explain the fact that by Friday the same city/people would be crying for the crucifixion of this One whom they received as King on this day?
  4. Notice the frustration of the Pharisees in John 12:19.
  5. Notice that as night fell Jesus and His disciples returned to Bethany (Mark 11:19). Understand the strategic importance of Bethany throughout this dramatic and dangerous week.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

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