Journey Through Matthew: "Who Is This?"
Good evening and welcome back!
Hopefully everyone has had a good and restful day.
Tonight if you will start turning in your Bibles to .
We are continuing our Journey Through Matthew tonight and we are going to be picking up where we left off this morning.
If you recall, this morning we talked about the subject Do you want to see, and Jesus healing two blind men along the road.
And one of the key components of their healing was their persistence in pursuing Jesus, even though the “crowd,” the world was trying to shut them up.
Even though everyone around them thought they were worthless and unworthy, they were unrelentless in their pursuit of Jesus and this paid off with Jesus touching them and healing them of their physical blindness.
But we also know that there is more than one kind of blindness.
We have physical blindness which is disabling in its own right, but we also have another form of blindness, which is deadly.
This being spiritual blindness.
And today with all our technology and advancements, humans can heal many types of physical blindness and even for the ones that cannot be healed, there are many, many ways to compensate for it in our society.
However, there is only one person who can heal spiritual blindness.
And that one person is Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ.
But in order for Jesus to heal us of our spiritual blindness, we have to pursue him relentlessly and we have to never give up.
And many people will do that, but where many fall short is the next step, being that we have to submit to him.
We have to submit to His authority and His will.
And there are a lot of people walking around in the world and in the Church, who are spiritually blind because they have never submitted to the will and to the authority of Jesus.
Ever wonder why otherwise good people in the world do strange and ungodly things? It is because they are spiritually blind.
Ever wonder why people who claim to be Christians do and say things that are ungodly and go completely against God’s Word and God’s will? They are spiritually blind.
Jesus approaches them and tries to heal their blindness and they refuse.
They would rather stay blind that submit to Jesus.
Which causes great conflict, which we will begin to see a glimpse of tonight.
We are going to see the first part of it, which is praise and adoration of Jesus, in what we know as the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
Because at this point, Jesus has not challenged the peoples thinking and their understanding of God.
These people just know Jesus by what others have told them, by all the great miracles he has performed.
They truly do not know them as the Son of God.
And this lack of understanding is going to lead them to do horrible things out of spiritual blindness.
But tonight, it’s all good.
So, if you have found in your Bibles, I’d invite you to stand with me as we discuss Who is This?
Matthew writes . . . .
1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” 4 This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet: 5 “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 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!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
The Lord Needs Them (vs 1-3)
The Lord Needs Them (vs 1-3)
Alright, so our narrative picks up after Jesus heals the two men on the road to Jerusalem and now he and his disciples begin to approach Jerusalem.
And if you remember from this morning, Jesus had amassed this great crowd that was now following him everywhere he went.
And many in the crowd were there for the same reason many in other crowds we have talked about, they were there just to see what Jesus was going to do next.
They were “there for the show.”
Who is he going heal?
Will he get into a fight with the Jews?
They had no idea that they were actually following the Son of God, they just wanted to see what cool and amazing thing was going to happen next.
But, verse 1 again tells us that they were approaching Jerusalem and they came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives.
And Jesus now does something that is a bit strange. He sent two disciples . . .
2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.
Now, they are not in the city yet.
They are sort of on the outskirts.
And Jesus and the disciples had walked on foot this whole way.
And now Jesus wants a donkey and a colt?
And not only that, but he wants his disciples to just go and take them.
He doesn’t send money.
He doesn’t sent them to someone he knows, family or friend or something.
Just tells then to go to the village ahead of you and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.
Which would sort of be like a group of us walking from here to Lexington and we get to the outskirts of Nicholasville and two of us being to go on into town there and the first house you come to, you will find two vehicles.
Get in them and bring them back.
Now, how would we expect the owner of those vehicles to react?
Probably call the police or shoot us if they saw us doing it.
And this is probably the type of conversation that Jesus has with his disciples here because he follows up this command to them with . . .
3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
But again, how do you think that would work out for us?
Probably not too good, but there is a big difference here.
This donkey and colt are not needed by us, by humans.
These are being requested by the Son of God.
By “The Lord.”
And apparently, where ever they got them from understood this and didn’t say a word about it.
They let them go freely.
But there is something else about this statement that is very interesting.
Jesus tells them, the Lord needs them.
And it is the phrase “needs them,” that strikes me.
Jesus is the Son of God, he can do anything he wants with what he wants or who he wants.
Does he really “need” anything?
Not really, but it could be said that Jesus “desires them for His use.”
And this does not just apply to donkeys and colts either.
Jesus also desires us for His use.
Jesus desires to save us, to deliver us, to take off our spiritual blinders, so that we can know the truth and through that truth we can be set free.
However, we have to willingly submit ourselves for His use.
Here with the donkey and the colt the Bible says that he will send them right away!
There was no hesitation, no “I’ve got to think about it,”
No, “I’ve got to consider what I’m giving up here,” business.
Jesus called and they went immediately and without hesitation.
And sometimes we may act like donkeys but we are not.
We are so much more precious to God than anything else in all creation, he desires that relationship with us.
And he desires to allow us to be a part of His perfect plan.
But, again we have to be willing to do it.
We have to be willing to go “right away,” but so many times we are not.
Return to Prophesy (vs 4-6)
Return to Prophesy (vs 4-6)
But there is also a real and practical reason why Jesus needs this donkey and this colt.
It is not just because he desires to use them.
It is also because it fulfills yet another prophesy about his identity.
Verses 4-6 tell us . . .
4 This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet: 5 “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.
And this prophesy is actually drawn from two different places.
First, which tells us . . .
11 The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Saviour comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’ ”
And second from , that says . . .
9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
And the thing about this is that the people who Jesus is getting ready to ride in on this colt in front of, know these prophesies.
They had penned their hopes and their dreams on these prophesies for generations.
This would be their coming King.
This would be the one who would free them from their Roman oppressors.
This would be the one who would finally deliver them!
Who Is This (vs 7-11)
Who Is This (vs 7-11)
Which is exactly why they reacted the way they did.
Matthew goes on to explain . . .
7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 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!”
They were excited.
They were shouting with glee!
They covered the road, “rolled out the red carpet” if you will.
Shouting Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
Which is actually a clue to their spiritual blindness and general misunderstanding of who Jesus actually was.
They called him the “Messiah” or “Son of David” but in their mind he was simply the Kingly lineage from David.
He would take his place on the throne of Jerusalem as an earthly King, like David.
They didn’t understand that Jesus was the Eternal King and His deliverance and salvation was for eternal deliverance and eternal salvation for all mankind.
They said, he comes in the name of the Lord, or as a “representative of God,” not as God in the flesh.
So, they are praising Jesus as the Messiah and they really don’t even know who Jesus really is and what Jesus is all about.
In fact, our passage ends this way . . . .
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
A prophet from Nazareth.
That is all they thought Jesus was, just a prophet.
And oh, they were so amazed and in awe at this moment.
They were praising him to the rooftops, now.
But oh how things would soon change.
And the reason their attitude changed was because Jesus began to open their eyes to their sinfulness.
Not only that but he challenged their entire belief system.
All that they had ever been taught by society and their leaders was now being challenged by this “prophet from Nazareth.”
This “man” would claim to be not the “son of David,” but rather the “Son of God.”
And they chose to remain spiritually blind instead of seeing Jesus for who he was and allowing Him to heal them from their blindness.
The title of tonight’s message was “Who is this?”
Well, who do we say Jesus is?
Who is Jesus to us?
Have we submitted to him?
Have we allowed Him to remove our Spiritual blindness?
Open our eyes to our own sinfulness?
And you may be here saying, “yes, I’ve accepted Jesus.”
Good, but have you fully submitted to him?
Are you holding things back?
Refusing to allow him to remove all blindness?
We may not be completely blind, but are we suffering from “tunnel-vision.”
Only seeing what we want to see or what we are comfortable seeing and ignoring the rest?
That’s what I want you to ask yourself tonight.
We are going to put on some quiet music and I want each of us to spend some tim reflecting.
Either where you are or here at the altar.
The physical location we approach God from really doesn’t matter.
What matters is the place our heart is in.
If you are serious tonight about giving everything over to God, then I’d encourage you to open your heart and allow the Holy Spirit to pour Himself into it.
God is waiting, will you approach him tonight?