But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant, and they said to him, "Do you hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read,
" 'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise'?"
Jesus' enemies were not acting out of ignorance when they challenged him. They saw the miraculous things that He did. They simply denied them... and Him. This passage shows them to be particularly bold in their confrontation. The crowds in Jerusalem that were gathered for the coming Passover celebration were enthusiastic in their reception of Jesus. The triumphal entry could only be seen as wild Messianic celebration. And people knew this. The title "Son of David" was reserved for the Messiah, and the crowd’s cry of "Hosanna to the the Son of David" indicates their desire to see Jesus act as Messiah.
The chief priests and scribes on the other hand saw the same miraculous results of Jesus' ministry and the adulation that came even from the words of children and were upset by it. They could not see Jesus for what He was. It upset them. And when they confronted Him, He quietly pointed out that even the chanting of children in the temple was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy about Him.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus confidently knew His mission. And I believe that the city of Jerusalem was characterized by people who were hoping to see Him deliver Israel as Messiah. They did not know He came as the suffering Servant. They did not know that as they began the celebration of saving blood at Passover, a greater saving blood was going to be shed for them and not only for the nation of Israel, but for the entire world. Their praise precedes the atonement. In less than a week they would be crying out for His execution. And a week from that day, they would be stirred with the news that the crucified Jesus was no longer to be found in a tomb.
Jesus surprises us. He surprises us with a love that is beyond our own. He surprises us with answers that we never saw coming. He surprises us by confronting our legalistic self-ruled religion. He surprises us with full atonement for our sin. He surprises us with new life and victory over death.