Each time the disciples had asked Jesus to declare publicly that He was the Messiah, He refused, saying: “My time has not yet come.”
John 7:2-8 Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.”
It is clear from this example in John 7:2-8 that Jesus was following a carefully scripted sequence of events which had been designed for Him by the Father, before the foundation of the world. Jesus would not allow Himself to be proclaimed as the Messiah until the precise moment that the prophecies written about this event were ready to be fulfilled.
As the feast of Passover draws near, this appointed time arrives. Jesus instructs His disciples to go to the neighboring village of Bethphage and bring to Him the foal of a donkey. Jesus was very careful to make certain that He fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah, as He arrives in Jerusalem on the precise day that Daniel’s prophecy required.
Matthew 21:1-9 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”
The disciples went to Bethphage and did exactly as Jesus had commanded them. They brought both the mother and her colt, laid their clothes on the young animal, and set Jesus upon his back. As Jesus road into Jerusalem, a great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and laid them also, on the road. The multitudes who were present, cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”
Matthew is careful to note that Jesus said and did all of these things because He was fulfilling certain prophecies of the Old Testament.
The following prophecies were specifically written for this one day when the Messiah would arrive at Jerusalem and fulfill the word of these scriptures:
- Prophecy 66 (this prophecy): When the Messiah arrives, children will shout praises to Him.
- Prophecy 191: The Messiah will be the Precious Cornerstone of Israel; yet, He will be rejected.
- Prophecy 309: The Messiah will arrive exactly 483 years after the Jews are commanded to return to Jerusalem from Babylon.
- Prophecy 333: The Messiah will be revealed at Jerusalem.
- Prophecy 334: The Messiah will be proclaimed as King and The Son of David, at Jerusalem.
- Prophecy 337: The Messiah will come lowly (humbly).
- Prophecy 338: The Messiah will come to Jerusalem, riding on the foal of a donkey.
The time had come for all the Old Testament scriptures regarding the Messiah’s first arrival—to be fulfilled. Jesus understood that this was the specific day when He would complete the prophecies written for Him. He came to Jerusalem (Prophecy 333), riding on the foal of a donkey (Prophecy 338). He enters Jerusalem on the precise day that Daniel’s prophecy said the Messiah would come (Prophecy 309). Children shouted praises to Him (Prophecy 66), as He is hailed the Messiah.
In order for Jesus to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies that would validate His claim as the Messiah, He would need to ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the 10th day of Nissan (April), at the precise time that was appointed for the Passover Lamb to be inspected for flaws. This was four days before the Lamb would be offered, on the day of 14th day of Nissan, during the Feast of Passover. According to the law, the Lamb must be the firstborn, a male, without defect, and offered at twilight. For a complete study on Jesus as the Passover Lamb, please see Prophecy 21, as well as the chapter: The Seven Feasts of Israel.
The priests and the scribes objected to the children shouting praise to Jesus, calling Him The Son of David. The leaders of Israel should have remembered when Jesus spoke the words of Psalm 8:2, Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength—this was the Messianic Psalm that David had written, regarding the arrival of the Messiah at Jerusalem. David wrote in Psalm 118 that when the Messiah came into the city, children would shout praises to the Messiah.
“…and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
Jesus fulfilled this 66th prophecy when He allowed the children to shout the words of David’s Psalm, which could only be fulfilled when the Messiah arrived in Israel.