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.Matt. 21:10-11
In this Bible study called Jesus the prophet of Nazareth, there are some interesting points worth mentioning in the lead up to his entry into Jerusalem. Jesus first sends two of his disciples into the village of Bethphage to bring out a donkey and its colt. Interestingly, he tells them exactly where to get these animals and what to say if anyone asks them the reason for taking them; “The Lord hath need of them”. Be careful not to miss that short little saying, “the Lord” in that scripture passage (Is. 45:5).
Matthew, the writer of this gospel account, then associates this seemingly obscure event with prophetic scripture from the Old Testament with the phrase, “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.” [Zech. 9:9]. Throughout Matthew’s account of the gospel, he consistently built and presented a case for the Jews to support who Jesus was based on Old Testament prophetic scriptures that were written centuries before the earthly ministry of Jesus.
After the disciples of Jesus came back with the donkey, it was noted that a large gathering of people laid out their clothes along the way to Jerusalem and cut down branches from trees to place them along the way. Then as Jesus began to ride the donkey towards the city, the people followed him and loudly proclaimed the phrase, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”
Who is this?
This then brings us to the scripture reading for this week when the people from the city of Jerusalem asked the question, who is this? The large gathering of people that followed him into the city declared to them that, “this is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth”. But, this is not the only time people declared Jesus as a prophet or as the prophet. The word prophet commonly referred to someone who was seen as the oracle of God, or one who could foretell future events before they happened.
He is a Prophet
When Jesus once encountered a woman of Samaria, he had a very interesting discussion with her on worship and eternal life. As the dialogue ensued, the woman was quick to reply to Jesus, “The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” [John 4:19] Similarly, when Jesus healed a man without sight, his response was the same, “They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.” [John 9:17]
Further along in the book of Matthew, it was also noted how the people viewed Jesus as a prophet shown in this passage, “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” [Matt. 21:45-46]
Also consider when Jesus raised a man from the dead, the reaction of the people was nothing short of astonishing that led them to make this declaration, “And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.” [Luke 7:16]
He is the Prophet
Or consider when Jesus fed thousands of men, women and children by starting out with only a few pieces of bread and fish. When the people saw the miracle he performed, they again remarked, “Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.” [John 6:14]
Lastly, when Jesus preached about eternal life through believing in him the crowds proclaimed this statement as documented in this passage, “Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.” [John 7:40] This verse relates back to the time of Moses, several thousand years before Jesus was on earth when Moses spoke about how the Lord will raise up a prophet for his people, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.” [Deut. 18:15]
He is the Redeemer
With all of these points highlighting the notable references to Jesus as either a prophet or the prophet, while perhaps remarkable for a typical person, this was only the beginning for Jesus. Let us not forget how Matthew opened up his gospel account by noting the pivotal reason for Jesus coming into the world, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” [Matt. 1:21]
Through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, he atoned for the sins of mankind, therefore he was far more than a prophet. He is the redeemer, he is the Christ, he is Lord! The apostles declared this majestic proclamation early on in their ministry to the Jews, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” [Acts 2:36]
As this declaration was made, the disciples knew that Jesus was very God himself as noted in Old Testament scriptures. Isaiah the prophet wrote this very correlative passage of scripture to the one just referenced above, “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:” [Is. 45:5]
Consider that even the devils knew this fact about Jesus. If you are not sure about this simply reference scripture that demonstrates their claim to this effect, “Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.” [Mark 1:24]
Or consider how the angels of God explained to the disciples about the empty tomb, “And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.” [Mark 16:6]
He is from Nazareth
Let us close off this Bible study titled, this is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth, by highlighting the other important point from this week’s scripture reading. Jesus was from Nazareth. This again fulfills scriptural prophecy from the Old Testament. Note how Matthew records this earlier in his gospel account, “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” [Matt. 2:23]
While this may seem insignificant, or of little concern, it is the cumulative effect of so many ancient prophecies fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry. Consider how Pilate, the Roman ruler, identified this fact when he authorized his crucifixion, “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.” [John 19:19]
Lastly, notice when the Saul, later to become known as Paul the apostle, had his miraculous encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. It was Jesus himself after his resurrection and ascension to heaven, and yet he still identified himself to Saul by saying, “And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.” [Acts 22:8]
Jesus cares for you
If you are a seeker of faith, looking for answers to life’s many questions and challenges, are you asking yourself how can Jesus help you and what is Christianity all about? What does Jesus have to do with helping you with the problems you have in your life?
Well, Jesus cares for you and he wants you to cast all your cares upon him (1 Pet. 5:7). More than that, God loves you. God loves you so much that sent his only begotten Son to pay the penalty for your sins (John 3:16). Will you consider taking the time to learn more about the gospel message of saving grace today? God is offering you a gift, he only asks you to believe in what the Son of God has already done for you on the cross.
The gospel message
The apostle Paul describes the gospel message, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” [1 Cor. 15:3-4] That is the gospel truth dear reader, Christ died for our sins, yours and mine and everyone in between. He was buried, rose again on the third day and this was according to scriptures that were written thousands of years before he was manifested in the flesh. Jesus is the prophet of Nazareth but he is indeed more than a prophet!
Sadly, though, people throughout history have rejected and persecuted the prophets, much like they did with Jesus. The author of Matthew recorded this statement to that effect from Jesus, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” [Matt. 23:37] This was despite Jesus’ message of love, compassion and forgiveness to the multitudes.
The Bible speaks about how today is the day of salvation for no one knows what tomorrow will bring. Why not make it your time for salvation today, come to the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer, repent of your sinful life and seek his forgiveness. Believe in his saving grace now in exchange for his righteousness in your life for eternity. Believe in Jesus the prophet from Nazareth!
Bible Study Questions
- In this Bible study called Jesus the prophet from Nazareth, why do you think Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey?
- Why do you think the people of Jerusalem did not know who Jesus was despite his teaching, preaching and healings of so many people?
- How would you explain the significance of the fact that people declared Jesus as a prophet?
- Why do you think so many people choose not to believe in Jesus and yet even his enemies declared him to be, I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God?
- Since Jesus was from Nazareth, this was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, true or false? Hint Matt. 2:23
- For a faith building exercise, memorize 1 Peter 5:7 this week!
- If you made a decision to believe in Jesus for the redemption of your sins, please consider sharing this Bible study with someone you care about this week.
WORD GUIDE – * (ass – another word for donkey)