Many years ago, during the Cold War, Stuart Briscoe traveled to Poland for several weeks of itinerant ministry. One winter day his sponsors drove him in the dead of night to the middle of nowhere. He walked into a dilapidated building crammed with one hundred young people. And realized it was a unique opportunity. Through an interpreter Stuart preached from John 15 on abiding in Christ. Ten minutes into his message, the lights went out. Pitch black. Stuart’s interpreter urged him to keep talking. Unable to see his notes or read his Bible, he continued. After Stuart had preached in the dark for twenty minutes, the lights suddenly blinked on, and what Stuart saw startled him: everyone was on their knees, and they remained there for the rest of my message. The next day Stuart commented on this to one man, and he said, "After you left, we stayed on our knees most of the night. Your teaching was new to us. We wanted to make sure we were abiding in Christ."
This is the same expression of adoration we should be displaying each and every day for our Saving King! A Servant who became our Sacrifice. A Servant who never claimed to be king when he walked among us. See we come to a passage where I get mixed emotions as Jesus enters the city. Part of me is exited as these people are and part of me is saddened by Jesus' reaction to crowd that is celebrating His arrival into Jerusalem. To help you understand I came across one of John Pipers messages on this passage and what he says sums up those mixed feelings I have. John Piper called it "The Tragic Beauty of the Triumphal Entry" He wrote this "When I was in seminary, I had one of Rembrandt's paintings of the face of Christ on the wall beside my desk. I was (and still am) captivated by this painting. If you covered one of Christ's eyes, his face had a sparkle of joy and hope. But if you covered his other eye, he looked like he was about to cry. And if you tried to look at both eyes, there were both emotions: first one, then the other, then mingled in a beautiful and tragic expression. That's the face of Jesus I see on Palm Sunday. In one eye we see the sparkle: "Yes, I am the king who comes in the name of the Lord. This is my city. These are my subjects." But in the other eye we see a tear: "No, there will be no reign in Jerusalem, no peace, no justice, no coronation day—at least not now. I have one week to live, and even that week will not be kingly."
Do you realize we are one day closer.....for when we stand before the King!We are here to celebrate not mourn! We are here to display to the world the true King reigns on high. THE QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES IS! Which King are you praising this morning? An earthly King or a Heavenly King? LOOK AT THE TEXT THIS MORNING AND SEE IF YOU CAN PICK OUT WHICH KING THEY ARE PRAISING AS JESUS ENTERS JERUSALEM? The news of the raising Lazarus from the dead would have spread throughout the land like a wild fire.The scene is electrifying which is grabbing the attention of the people, because its the Passover! The decibel level must feel like if you were at the Stanley Cup finals. These people are genuinely excited because the King is here to rescue them!
It’s so loud! It’s drawing the attention of everyone! Why do I say that? Look at (v39). Quit these people because it could cause the Romans to get hostile towards us. What they were really saying was...... "Quit these people because this will make it harder for us to destroy you. BUT I LOVE JESUS’ RESPONSE! (v40) Do you realize what this verse is saying! Even creation knows who I’AM! The whole earth is full of His glory and you cannot contain creation as they praise the true King! Psa 98:4-9 “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.”
But many, who were there, were not praising Him as who came to be! The Messiah.....The Redeemer and Saviour for lost sinners. John’s Gospel says as Jesus enter the city they were crying out “Hosanna” which means “save us now” WHAT THEY WANTED WAS TO BE SAVED FROM THE ROMAN BANDAGE! The Jews had limitations to their surroundings and how they governed their people. They weren’t as free as you and I are today to a certain degree! They were under Roman’s rule and they had to obey and answer to the Emperor and King at that time. When they were crying out save us! What they really were saying was “save us....free us from Romans and take over the throne” I say this because of what John records after Jesus feed the 5000! In John 6:15 “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” They weren’t looking for forgiveness of sins or redemption and restoration! They were only looking to Jesus for the physical not the spiritual, they wanted their present needs met, not their future needs. ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THIS IS! John 6:26 “Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”
AGAIN LOOK AT (v37) as Jesus entered the city perimeter road of Jerusalem.
- Jesus was there Genie in a bottle!
- Jesus was there filling for comforts of life
- Jesus was nothing but a man to bring them physical joy and freedom from the bondage of Caesar.
- Jesus was going to be there muscle because He was so powerful to even raise the dead after 4 days
- Jesus was able to heal the blind as John records before Jesus made His journey into Jerusalem.
BUT THIS NOT WHY JESUS ENTERED THE CITY OF JERUSALEM. Jesus wasn't entering the city to be a King. Jesus was entering this city to be a sacrifice for sinful man and women! our Substitute because we have offended a holy God with our depravity and sin. Again as Jesus sais to His disciples in Luke 18:31:33 “And taking the twelve, he said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise."
WE SHOULD STOP HERE AND PAUSE FOR A MOMENT AND REFLECT ON WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU AND ME! When I read the account of Jesus entering the city:
- I see selfless sacrifice and redemption for my wretched soul.
- I see the King who has delivered me from the bondage of my master Satan.
- I see the glory of redemption entering the city.
- I see the glory of the Gospel as He sits on a colt.
- I see the glory of Heaven displaying its love for sinful mankind.
THIS IS WHY THE STONES WOULD CRY OUT IF WE DIDN’T! The Creator of the universe is coming into the city riding on a colt... which is a humbling display of grace and love towards a people that would later call out His name to be crucified. This is why I can sing with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Job.....and the saints of old that our King is here to deliver us from our sins and to pave a way home to the Father. THIS IS WHY I CAN SING WITH THE PSALMIST, Ps 118:20-26 “This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.”
THIS JOYFULL EXPRESSION BY THE PSLAMIST MAKES ME GO BACK TO MY ORIGINAL QUESTION! .........Which King are you rejoicing this morning? Are you saying “save us Lord from the bondage of sin” or are you saying “free me so that I can have my physically desires and comforts met” Is it for an earthly King which fills your physical needs or a Heavenly King which saves your soul from eternal Hell? Because the majority of these people were looking towards present gain which will never solve the long term problem that separates us from God because of sin. YOU ASK YOURSELF! Mike, why do you say such a thing?
Look at the verses that follow (v41-v44) Jesus “wept over the hearts of the people” Jesus lamented for the people because He knew their hearts and motives. OH! How devastating that must have been for the Jesus to see into the sinful hearts of man and to know what they truly worshipped. Jesus knew what they were going to do in the coming days. Jesus knew the hearts of the ones that would deny Him for salvation. Jesus wept for the souls that were lost. Jesus knew the outcome and the pending dome for His created children! (v43). The Lord saw the proud, unrepentant city as a pile of rubble wet with blood. THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT HAPPENED TO JERUSALEM IN 70AD. Titus seized the city by cutting off all supplies and trapping thousands of people who had been in Jerusalem for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Romans systematically built embankments around the city and one by one they demolished the city temple....residences, and people. Men, women and children were brutally slaughtered by the tens of thousands.This destruction was God’s divine judgement for their failure to recognize and embrace their Messiah when He visited them. In Luke 20:13-18 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.' But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.' And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When they heard this, they said, "Surely not!" But he looked directly at them and said, "What then is this that is written: "'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone'? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him."They were cheering for the wrong King, they were chanting for an earthly King.
JESUS CAME TO SAVE THE LOST THAT WERE BROKEN SPIRITUALLY! Jesus came to deliver them from the bondage of sin! Not from the bondage of rulers. Kent Hughes said “with the panorama of Jerusalem before His eyes, the Saviour began to weep, not with quit tears as when He wept at the grave of Lazarus, whom He was going to resurrect, but with a loud and deep lamentation. There in the middle of the road, with the great city in full view, the stunned multitude heard the saviour of the world wail over Jerusalem!” We need to look through the eyes of Christ in our own hearts this morning! ARE YOU REJOICING FOR THE RIGHT KING THIS MORNING? Jesus came to be my King, by becoming my shame, punishment, place and He became my substitute for the wrath I deserve.
So that I could be:
- Redeemed from that wrath that is yet to come.
- Restored back to the Father.
- Forgiven for my sin.
- Free from sin and death.
- Claimed as His for all eternity.
SO HOW CAN WE BE SILENT WHEN HE CAME TO BE OUR HEAVENLY KING......NOT OUR EARTHLY KING? Palm Sunday is a day when we reflect on what Jesus came to do for sinful man and woman. WE NEED TO REFLECT AND ASK OURSELVES THE QUESTION! Who Am I rejoicing and worshipping this morning? The Jesus who will give me what I want so that I can be happy here on this earth? Or the Jesus who saved my wretched soul for all eternity? As Kevin DeYoung says “Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham's chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God's reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. Palm Sunday is a day we remember of His compassion and love for fallen sinners. As the King of glory comes entering the city to redeem sinful man and sinful woman from the bondage of Satan............... Not! Rome.