Christ's Entry into Jerusalem

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, woodcut by Gustave Doré (1832-1883).
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ”Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21: 8-11

“Who Do You Say I Am?”

Edited by Henry H. Mitchell, 2011–2015.


The following (scroll down to see below) is a partial list of New Testament Scriptures recording events during which various individuals identified or mis-identified Jesus. Their thoughts are instructive in examining our own tendencies and opinions today.

Old Testament Scriptures which were the basis for these discussions are found in Who Is Jesus? — Details Written Long Before and Who is Jesus? — Descriptive Names.





Please continue to scroll down…


Some Recognize Jesus:

Individual: Identified Jesus as: Likely Reason(s): Source:
Simon Peter The Messiah, the Son of the living God. Revealed by Father in heaven. When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 16: 13-17
Mary “Jesus…the Son of the Most High.” She believed the announcement of an angel, and the prophetic Scriptures to which the angel referred. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called "the Son of God.…“I am the Lord's servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1: 28-38
Joseph “Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” He believed the announcement of an angel. This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”…When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1: 8-20
Elizabeth and her unborn son John (“the Baptist”) “My Lord.” Revealed to her by the Holy Spirit. At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1: 39-45
Shepherds “This thing [ramah/word] that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They believed the announcement of angels. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”…When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.…The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2: 8-20
Simeon “[God's] Salvation, a Light for Revelation to the Gentiles and for Glory to [God's] people Israel.” Revealed by the Holy Spirit. Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”… Luke 2: 25-35
Anna The Redemption of Jerusalem. Prophecy by the Holy Spirit. There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher.…She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2: 36-38
The Magi King of the Jews, the Christ. Early messianic prophecies (likely including the books Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, and Daniel), and the appearance of a star. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”…On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2: 1-12
Demons in two possessed men Son of God. Spirit-to-spirit recognition When [Jesus] arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. Matthew 8: 28-34
Two blind men in Galilee Son of David. Apparently based on observations that Jesus' actions matched early prophetic Scriptures, plus had strong desire for healing of their blindness. As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” and their sight was restored. Matthew 9: 27-34
Two blind men of Jericho Lord, Son of David. Apparently based on observations that Jesus' actions matched early prophetic Scriptures, plus had strong desire for healing of their blindness. As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. Matthew 20: 29-34
Some Jewish leaders Messiah (the Christ). The saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. John 10: 43-45
The crowd at Jesus' “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem Son of David; He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord; Jesus, the Prophet from Nazareth in Galilee. Apparently based on observations that Jesus' actions matched early prophetic Scriptures; plus some “crowd mentality.” A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ”Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21: 8-11
The apostle Paul's analysis To those God has called, whether Jew or Gentile, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. See further explanation below. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. I Corinthians 1: 22-24

Some Fail to Recognize Jesus:

Individual: Identified Jesus as: Likely Reason(s): Source:
Herod I A rival to be killed. Fear, jealousy. When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Matthew 1: 16
“Some” John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Guesses based on similarities of actions. When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 16: 13-17
People of Gadara A troublemaker. Financial conflict of interest. When [Jesus] arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. Matthew 8: 28-34
Teachers of the Law in Nazareth A blasphemer. Could not accept Jesus as other than merely human. Some men brought to [Jesus] a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. Matthew 9: 2-7 (Compare Luke 5: 17-26.)
Pharisees in Galilee A practitioner of demonic arts. Could believe demonic miracles, but not Godly miracles (also see similar later incident). As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” and their sight was restored. …While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” Matthew 9: 27-34
Pharisees and Herodians, in Galilee Lawbreaker deserving the death penalty. Stubborn-hearted legalism. Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Matthew 12: 9-14

Compare parallel account:
…Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. Mark 3: 1-6
Teachers of Jerusalem and Pharisees, in Galilee A practitioner of demonic arts. An unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said…“And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12: 22-32

Compare parallel account:
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man's house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.” Mark 3: 22-30
Jesus commented further regarding coming persecution of his disciples:
“When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.…The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.…If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! So do not be afraid of them….” Mark 3: 23-26
Teachers of the Law and Pharisees, in Galilee Teacher. Wicked insistence on a miraculous sign. Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.…When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” Matthew 12: 38-45
Herod II John the Baptist. Recognizing Jesus' “miraculous powers,” and having guilt over the murder of John the Baptist. At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Matthew 14: 1-2
Jewish Leaders, at Capernaum Merely the son of Joseph. Could not believe that the “son of Joseph” could also be Divine. So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”… At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” John 6: 30-51
People of Jesus' hometown Merely the son of Mary; the brother of James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and of sisters — all well-known to the people. A lack of faith, substituting assumptions of familiarity: they took offense at the supposed pretensions of the hometown boy. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13: 54-58
Pharisees in Jerusalem No more than a human “Son of David.” Could not believe that the Messiah as “son of David” could also be Divine. While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ [See Psalms 110:1.] If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions. Matthew 22: 41-46
Jewish Leaders Present at the Temple, at the Feast of Dedication A blasphemer deserving of death by stoning. They were not his sheep. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.…I and the Father are one.” Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him…. John 10: 24-31
Chief Priests, Pharisees, Sanhedrin A miracle-worker who must be stopped. Fear of loss of position. When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” John 10: 43-48
Pharisees and experts in the Law General negativity. Anti-God attitude evidenced by their rejection of John the Baptist; blind eyes, deadened hearts. All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John. Luke 7: 29-30

Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet (see Isaiah 53: 1 and Isaiah 6: 10): “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn — and I would heal them.” John 12: 37-40
Secret believers, public rejecters among Pharisees and experts in the Law Silence. Fear of criticism, ostracization, and humiliation. Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God. John 12: 42-43
Herod the Tetrarch John the Baptist Startled by miraculous works; guilty conscience over John the Baptist's death. At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Matthew 14: 1-2
“This generation” A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. General negativity, never satisfied, demanding conformity to group expectations. Jesus, commenting on John the Baptist and himself, said, “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’” Matthew 11: 16-19
Passers-by at the crucifixion, chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders; and “rebels” crucified with Jesus Nobody special He did not miraculously descend from the cross. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can't save himself! He's the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. Matthew 27: 39-43
The apostle Paul's analysis To “Jews” (those of a religious and supernaturalist inclination): the crucified Christ is a stumbling block because they are looking for miraculous signs;
to “Gentiles/Greeks” (those of a practical, logical inclination): the crucified Christ is foolishness because they are looking for wisdom;
but those whom God has called, whether Jew or Gentile, recognize that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God — in other words, precisely what they have been seeking.
See explanation included at left. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. I Corinthians 1: 22-24