“Luke describes the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem at the beginning of that last week of his earthly life:
As he was drawing near — already on the way down the Mount of Olives — the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:37-38)
There is no doubt what was in the disciples’ minds. This was the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy given centuries earlier (Zechariah 9:9-10) … The long awaited Messiah had come, the king of Israel, and not just of Israel but of all the earth…
The entry into Jerusalem with waving palms (John 12:13) was a short-lived preview of the eternal Palm Sunday to come. It needed to be said. If the disciples hadn’t said it, the rocks would have.
But if Jesus had taken his throne on that first day of palms, none of us would ever be robed in white or waving palms of praise in the age to come. There had to be the cross, and that is what the disciples had not yet understood…
They saw him as a king moving in to take control. And he was. But they could not grasp that the victory Jesus would win in Jerusalem over sin and Satan and death and all the enemies of righteousness and joy — that this victory would be won through his own horrible suffering and death; and that the kingdom which they thought would be established immediately (Luke 19:11) would, in fact, be thousands of years in coming.” (Excerpt from John Piper, taken here from Nancy Guthrie’s Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter)
His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. (John 12:16)
I’ve been taken for some time with the painting Reconstruction of the Temple of Herod, Southeast Corner, by French painter James Tissot (1836-1902). The majesty of his depiction of Jerusalem and the temple somehow grabs my heart. But I think this is what grabs me most: that this may be very close to what our Lord saw as He neared Jerusalem that week when His appointed time for crucifixion had arrived (John 7:8, Mt. 26:18). When I think of this painting, I think of it as if it was actually titled “The City Jesus Saw.”