Luke’s account of the triumphal entry (28-40) has the crowd recognizing that Jesus is a king, based upon the cloaks on the road (2 Kings 9:13) and the enhanced quote from Psalm 118:26 (which changes “blessed is he” to “blessed is the king”)! Although the crowd is correct, they misunderstand Jesus’ mission. He is not going to set up an earthly kingdom at this time. That comes later! He is coming to set a spiritual kingdom and to rule in people’s hearts. The Pharisees are upset, and tell Jesus to rebuke His disciples. Jesus responds by saying, “if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!” By saying this Jesus is subtly affirming His deity. He is worthy to be praised, and only the creator would be recognized and worshiped by His creation!
There appear to be two cleansings of the temple. John records one at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, and Luke (as well as Matthew and Mark) record the one at the end (45-48). This is one of the events during “holy week” that propels the religious authorities to move against Him. There seem to be two problems Jesus is addressing. First, it seems that there was a marketplace atmosphere for pilgrims who were coming to worship. Second, the fact that people needed the right kind of currency and proper animals to sacrifice was being abused and they were being cheated. As you can imagine, ordinary people rejoiced at what He was doing, but the religious leadership was not amused. I imagine that God is still upset by these kinds of things.
I didn’t forget about Jesus weeping over the city (41-44)! Jerusalem will be destroyed (which happens in AD 70) because they didn’t recognize their Messiah and God when He was in their midst. This passage is striking because of the compassion and sorrow Jesus shows even though deserved judgment will come upon the people and the city. I think we get insight here into what God will experience during the final judgment. He will not gleefully refuse people entry into heaven and consign them to hell. His own heart will be breaking because of their sinfulness and rebellion.