Faithlife Sermons

Palm Sunday 2020

Easter 2020  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A look at the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ into the city of Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion and what truth we can learn from this passage.

Notes
Transcript

Introduction

Good morning, thanks for joining me on the first of a seemingly endless amount of sermons and Bible Studies on Facebook and Zoom to “tide” people over until the churches reopen. It is a little bit of an unusual situation and quite frankly, I was a little opposed to livestreaming anything, because there are already so many good churches streaming their services, but after receiving multiple requests from multiple people and after being reminded that many of the churches in our area of Pennsylvania aren’t hosting services online, I caved.
Hopefully, this will be a help to those of you that are obeying the government’s social distancing orders and hopefully this will help you as we head into a week of Easter, in which the majority of us won’t be able to attend our local churches and haven’t been able to attend our local churches, so we’ve missed out on what sometimes is multiple weeks of preparation for Easter. I’m hoping and praying that this message will help you to start refocusing your minds on the resurrection which will help us worship Jesus as we come into Easter.
But first, let’s start with some Scripture reading—this passage may be unfamiliar to some of you, but it is this passage that commentators and even the Gospel writers themselves quote as the prophecy that is fulfilled by Jesus Christ when he comes into Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion in what most people call his triumphal entry.
That passage is in the book of Zechariah and because I know it might be difficult finding verses and because we’re in a setting that is a bit different, I’ve asked Natalie to post links to passages in the comment section when I get to them, you should see that link momentarily.
is a prophecy that’s only partially fulfilled. You’ll notice that as we read, because you’ll notice that only was fulfilled during the triumphal entry. Vs. 10-13 is actually talking about a future event that is to happen after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, it was fairly common for prophecies to come in two parts like this, with the first part being fulfilled much sooner than the second part in order to show the validity of the prophecies.
Let’s read , ’ll lead us in prayer and then we’ll jump into the message for today.

Scripture Reading

Matthew 21:1–11 ESV
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Zechariah 9:9–13 ESV
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. 13 For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior’s sword.
Zechariah 9:9-
Matthew

Prayer

Pray for people suffering with COVID-19
Pray for wisdom for doctors and nurses
Pray for comfort for families of those suffering
Pray for Palm Sunday

Introduction

This morning, is a day that we call Palm Sunday and depending on what type of church background you have, you might know what Palm Sunday is or if you’re like me and you grew up in a Baptist-type church, you probably have no idea what Palm Sunday is, so let me take a moment to explain what exactly it is before I jump into today’s message.
My hope this morning, is to help you to start reflecting on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and it is my hope that we can sort of recapture some of the meditation on the resurrection that we’ve lost because of our inability to gather together for worship.
So, let me help some of you out that might not know what Palm Sunday is because not every church celebrates it—in fact, in the Baptist tradition, which I’m most familiar with, there are many Baptist churches that don’t do anything for Palm Sunday, and that’s perfectly acceptable. The idea of Palm Sunday, is really more of a liturgical church celebration (Lutheran, Catholic, Anglican, etc.) because it kickstarts what they call
In the more liturgical churches (Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran) it has been a common practice for centuries for them to take the time before Easter to observe what they call lent. And it is common during the time of lent for them to make extra time to remind themselves of the resurrection through various methods including abstaining from meat on Fridays, attending the Stations of the Cross, and it all leads to what they call the Holy Week, which starts today—Palm Sunday and continues until Easter.
Those of us that didn’t grow up Catholic, all thought it was unusual
So, while I’m not Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, or liturgical, I do think it is important for us to take time to realign our thinking and realign our lives towards the cross, which is why I have no issue with taking today to talk about Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, if it kickstarts a week of us reflecting on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and if it kickstarts a week of us reflecting on the Gospel.
Let’s start by reading our passage of Scripture this morning, it’s . And you’ll notice, if you’re familiar with the story, that this is not the usual passage for Palm Sunday, that passage is actually out of Matthew and it is out of Matthew that we get the idea of the people laying palms and branches on the road ahead of Jesus in addition to their own cloaks, but is emphasizing a different point and I want us to really grasp that this morning.
Read with me
Luke 19:28–40 ESV
28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’ ” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
This morning, we’re going to look at this passage in three sections, Vs. 28-34 is the narrative of the donkey, Vs. 35-38, is the triumphal entry itself and Vs. 39-40, would be the rebuke of the Pharisees as well as Jesus’ response to the Pharisees. The first two sections all are recorded in order to show us the fulfillment of prophecy and the third section is Luke’s addition to the complete Gospel account. All of this, hopefully will help us to see that Jesus fulfills prophecy, that Jesus is worthy of worship, and that Jesus will continue to fulfill what He has promised to us.
Let’s start with Vs. 28-34 by reading those verses again:
Luke 19:28–34 ESV
28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’ ” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.”
Vs. 28 starts with this phrase, “And when he had said these things,” which is just the Bible moving the story along. Jesus had just told a parable to a group of people surrounding Zaccheus with the point of the parable being that despite the fact that the Kingdom of God is coming soon, the master still expects the servants to keep working.
And this parable is about a group of servants who is given money by their master while their master is gone—two of them return the money to their master with essentially interest—they invested the money somewhere and gained a return. The third one, just returned the original allotted amount and is condemned by their master.
And he finishes that parable and goes straight to Jerusalem and in Vs. 29, this gives us the location of where this all starts, when Jesus drew near to Bethphage (which we aren’t entirely sure where it is, but the Talmud states that it is essentially a suburb of Jerusalem; Bethany is about two miles outside of Jerusalem and Jesus is at this mount called Olivet, which probably just means the Mount of Olives or the Olive-Orchard.
Their master makes this statement that he should have at least placed the money into the bank and gained the interest off of it.
And from here, he sends two of his disciples—it is interesting to note that neither of these disciples are named though that isn’t the point,
Now usually, when the Bible records a parable, it also gives us the meaning of the parable, but in this case it jumps straight into the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, which may seem a little confusing, but if I have time at the end, I’ll tie it into the message.
And he tells them to go into the village where you will find a colt—young donkey, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘the Lord has need of it’
And let’s be honest, if we think about it, this seems sort of weird. So, for instance, if I were to go to one of your houses, pick up your dog and start leaving and you confront me and all I say is, “The Lord needs it” would that be acceptable to you? Would you just let me walk out with it?
Let’s look at it a different way, during this time period, donkeys were utilized for transportation and for transporting goods—if I jumped in the driver’s seat of your car and started driving away and you confront me about it and my only response is, “The Lord needs it,” would that work for you? Of course not, you’d call the police on me and my excuse that “the Lord needs it” won’t go anywhere with them either.
So, what’s really happening here? Why would the people just give up their animal which probably has a little bit to do with their livelihood? And the average response from commentators is simply that Jesus probably prearranged this. In other words, Jesus probably sent someone ahead of them to arrange the use of the donkey
And if you’re like me, you’re wondering, “ok, but why does that matter?” Here’s why, according to Robert Stein, “If Jesus prearranged this, then the messianic character of the triumphal entry is heightened, for this means that Jesus intentionally sought to fulfill by riding into Jerusalem on a colt that never had been ridden.” (Robert H. Stein, Luke, vol. 24, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 478.)
If Jesus prearranged this, then the messianic character of the triumphal entry is heightened, for this means that Jesus intentionally sought to fulfill by riding into Jerusalem on a colt that never had been ridden.
In other words, Jesus is intentionally seeking to fulfill prophecy.
Robert H. Stein, Luke, vol. 24, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 478.
So, we need to talk about this point, because for us to think that Jesus is fulfilling prophecy intentionally, it makes us question whether Jesus is actually God or if Jesus just manipulated events to make it appear like he is God.
If we truly believe that Jesus Christ is God, than this really isn’t a question right? Because God is all-powerful and God is sovereign, we know that God utilizes events in our lives. tells us that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This seems to imply that God utilizes events around us on purpose.
And if we believe that Jesus is truly God, than obviously, Jesus can utilize events to fulfill his purposes
But for those that don’t believe—or they aren’t sure whether or not they believe, it genuinely seems like a person understood the Old Testament enough that he could manipulate certain events in order to appear to be like the Messiah
So, let’s take a step back—we know that the Messiah that’s prophesied in the Old Testament had to fulfill certain prophecies in order for us to know that he is the Messiah. And in a lot of the prophecy fulfillment, he would actually have no control over:
The first one, concerns his birth—and I’m not going to talk about the born of the virgin part—but Jesus was born of a virgin (which was the fulfillment of prophecy, but if you don’t believe, you would just assume someone lied about it), but anyways, let’s just go through a list of prophetic fulfillment in Jesus:
states that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, which is fulfilled in and Luke 2:4-6 by Jesus
We’re told through multiple passages that the Messiah would be from the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, from the tribe of Judah, and heir of David’s throne and you can see in , , , , , and how Jesus fulfills all of those
Hosea prophecies that the Messiah will spend part of his life in Egypt, which tells us that Jesus and his parents fled into Egypt and hid in Egypt.
And we can go on and on about different prophecies that Jesus fulfills that he actually didn’t have any control over. Where he was born, who he was born to, where he spent part of his life as a child.
In other words, could Jesus have manipulated events to suit his purposes? Yes and no.
If you believe that Jesus is God, than the argument is that God has control over all things—including what the prophecies were and how they were fulfilled
If you don’t believe that Jesus is God yet, than my argument would be that in some situations it might appear that Jesus is manipulating events to appear like the Messiah and yet, there are plenty of other prophecies that Jesus fulfills that as a human being, Jesus could not have fulfilled.
All of this to say, that God does fulfill what he promises us. Jesus fulfills prophecy.
There’s one other point that I want to bring up, that isn’t necessarily vital to our understanding of the passage, but will add depth to our knowledge of what’s going on:
There is some heavy symbolism going on
Luke 19:35
Luke 19:35–38 ESV
35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Vs. 35-37 describes what I can only imagine as an amazing scene.
They bring the donkey to Jesus, they throw their cloaks on the donkey for Jesus to sit on it and as Jesus rode into Jerusalem they spread their cloaks on the road.
And there’s a ton of symbolism going on that I’ll get to in a minute, but I want to look at this phrase, “the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God.
The whole multitude of his disciples—And I’m pointing this out, because sometimes when we think of Jesus, we just think about Jesus and his apostles walking around, but in reality, Jesus had a multitude of followers. In fact, the Greek word translated as “multitude” is the same word that we get the word “plethora” from.
And if you take a moment to Google what “plethora” means, the first definition you’ll find is that it is “a large or excessive amount of (something)” or in other words, when Jesus is riding a donkey into Jerusalem and the multitudes of disciples are there, it isn’t just Jesus and 12 people gathered around.
It’s Jesus and a large or excessive amount of his disciples gathering around, rejoicing and praising God.
And you might be wondering, what caused this large group to suddenly gather?
It’s in the very next phrase, “for all the mighty works that they had seen”
And in the account of Luke, you might be thinking, “wait…what mighty works?” Because the direct context doesn’t mention a mighty work and that’s when understanding that there are four accounts of the Gospel becomes handy.
Luke leaves out an event that chronologically happens right before Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, but John mentions it:
states, “The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.”
And the large crowd starts shouting these phrases:
says they shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
And in this particular passage in , they’re saying “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest”
And these are all quotes from the Old Testament, which seems to imply that most of these people who are called Jesus’ disciples knew that Jesus was the Messiah.
And because his disciples understood Jesus to be the Messiah, they worshiped him. In other words, when we truly grasp the concept of God and of Jesus, we truly grasp what grace and mercy has been extended to us by God through Jesus, the natural response will always be worship and praise of God and for God.
We’ve seen the fulfillment of prophecy and we’ve seen the worship of God because of the fulfillment of prophecy, but we have two more verses to look at before we look at application:
Luke 19:39–40 ESV
39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Now, I could’ve taken this along with the previous verses to speak about worship of Jesus being a natural response, but I wanted to draw a few points specifically from these verses.
The first of which is this, the Pharisees who just happened to be in the crowd with Jesus’ disciples, automatically response to Jesus with, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
This tells us two things, (1) even though they respected Jesus enough as a teacher, they did not think that he was the Messiah—if they did think that Jesus was the Messiah, they also would’ve worshiped him and responded with Hosanna to the Son of David!
What exactly does this teach us? One of the clearest lessons we can learn from this is this: just because the Pharisees had access to the word of God and studied the word of God, doesn’t mean that they understood it the way they should’ve
Which means that just because they happen to be in a position of power and authority in the Jewish world, does not mean they actually knew what they were talking about
There’s a direct parallel with modern-day Christianity, just because someone calls himself a pastor, doesn’t mean he’s actually teaching in accordance with Scripture
And the only way you’ll ever be able to tell if he is teaching in accordance with Scripture, is to study and read Scripture for yourself.
(2) This also tells us that there will probably always be people telling us that worshiping Jesus is wrong. In this case, the Pharisees talk to Jesus about it
In our situation, the whole secular world tells us that our worship of Jesus is foolish
And yet, we preach Christ crucified because it is the power of the cross that saves us.
And in the case of , Jesus makes this statement, that “if the disciples were silent” the very stones would cry out.”
Which teaches us two things (1) Jesus doesn’t rebuke the people for worshiping him, so clearly it is our prerogative to worship him and (2) this tells us that Jesus doesn’t need us to worship him
And follow me on this one, If the disciples would’ve stopped worshiping, then creation itself would cry out
So the logical implication is that Jesus doesn’t actually need us to worship him because creation itself cries out to him
The Bible teaches us this: , “all the earth worship you and sings praise to you”
: The heavens declare the glory of God”
Even , tells us that the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God
tells us that John “heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’”
Creation can worship God, so the logical implication is this:
That God doesn’t need us to worship him, he wants us to worship him.
Why does he want us to worship him? gives us an excellent answer, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created”
gives us a different answer that’s almost identical, “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”
Why does God want us to worship him?
Because he created us,
Because he created all things
Because he holds all things together
All things were created for him
And he is before all things, which means this: “God wants us to worship him, because he is the most important being to ever exist”
And without him, we don’t exist.
So, what does it mean to worship him?
John Piper makes this statement about worship, that “we worship God authentically when we know him truly and treasure him duly. Then the word ‘worship’ refers to that valuing, that inner valuing, becoming visible in the world in two basic ways in the New Testament. One is acts of the mouth: acts of praise and repentance in worship services or small group gatherings. The other is acts of love with the body and the hands and the feet: acts of love that show the supreme value of God by what we are willing to sacrifice for the good of others.”
The prophet Micah says this, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God”
To worship God means more than just to stand in the streets shouting hosanna (though that is a part of worship), it is to live your life in such a manner that all of you reflects who He is.
Application
Jesus fulfills prophecy
We saw in this short passage, that Jesus fulfilled multiple prophecies and as you study through the Gospels and the New Testament, you will start to see that Jesus actually fulfills a ton of prophecies and you might ask, why exactly do I keep bringing this up?
If Jesus didn’t fulfill the prophecies, we would be worshiping the wrong person
The simple fact that Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies that point to him as the Messiah means that we can trust him
And in turn, it means that we can trust the word of God, because the word of God is accurate and points us to almighty God
This also teaches us what we shouldn’t trust, because if the word of God is pointing us towards Yahweh, than anything that points us in different directions, aren’t trustworthy. A true prophet always points towards God.
This also teaches us, that if Jesus has already fulfilled prophecies that point to him as the Messiah, than all of the prophecies of Jesus’ second coming are reliable as well.
I mentioned early on that prophesies of Jesus coming into Jerusalem on a donkey
doesn’t end there though, and it’s actually a two-part prophecy with the first part being about Jesus’ first coming and him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and the second part being
Zechariah 9:10 ESV
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
None of that has happened yet, but since the first part has—we can be assured that the second part will happen
2. Jesus is worthy of worship
What does it mean to worship him?
John Piper makes this statement about worship, that “we worship God authentically when we know him truly and treasure him duly. Then the word ‘worship’ refers to that valuing, that inner valuing, becoming visible in the world in two basic ways in the New Testament. One is acts of the mouth: acts of praise and repentance in worship services or small group gatherings. The other is acts of love with the body and the hands and the feet: acts of love that show the supreme value of God by what we are willing to sacrifice for the good of others.”
The prophet Micah says this, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God”
To worship God means more than just to stand in the streets shouting hosanna (though that is a part of worship), it is to live your life in such a manner that all of you reflects who He is.
To worship God means to honor him, revere him, seek to know him, seek to love him, and seek to love what he loves.
To worship God means more than just to stand in the streets shouting hosanna (though that is a part of worship) or in our context today, it is more than just singing songs at church together, it is to live your life in such a manner that all of you reflects who He is.
Put a different way, to worship God is to allow God to have every part of you.
3. Jesus will fulfill his promises
His promise of salvation to those who repent and believe
As well as his promise to return in the future to take those that believe to a place that he has prepared for us
And in a case like today, where many of us are laid off of work, worried about illnesses, worried about schooling and everything else
We also know that Jesus tells us that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”
Regardless of what happens with COVID-19, with job situations, or anything else
, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
It might seem dire today, but in the longview with eternity on our minds, this life is but a vapor
So instead of getting caught up in everything going on today, rest in Jesus Christ, worship Jesus, and be assured that he who has promised is faithful.
So instead of getting caught up in everything going on today, rest in Jesus Christ, worship Jesus, and be assured that he who has promised is faithful.
Let’s Pray
Reminder about Zoom on Wednesday evening.
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