Messiah: The Deliverer
There is no other way to say it. Everything about the triumphal entry is absolutely beautiful and heart breaking all wrapped up into one. This is the story that began all the way back in the garden of Eden, with the betrayal, the rebellion, and the promise of a savior. God has been carefully unfolding his plans through the millennia. Through his people Israel, he preserved a witness to his own name in this dark world. But even this privileged people were utterly unfaithful to him. Then came along the prophets to remind the people of Israel of the promise of the coming deliverer. The Messiah would come to deliver them from their enemies. Among these prophets was a man named Zechariah......
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.
This is the hope that the people of Israel hung onto for so long. They had been hemmed in on every side by their enemies. They were looking for a deliverer to establish them as a nation. It’s easy to understand then, how the first part of this passage was so easily missed. What happens then? When Jesus comes along, does he come in his power? Does he conquer the nations? Does he rule from Israel?
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples
2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it.
3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’ ”
4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it.
5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?”
6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go.
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it.
8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields.
9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
That’s it. He enters the city; he teaches, and teaches, and teaches some more. Along the way he cleanses the temple and drives out the loan sharks. Then, they kill him. More on that next week. But there is this sort of anti-climax. What happened to all the “Judah is my bow and Ephraim my arrow” thing? Has God failed to fulfill his promise?
Doesn’t it sometimes feel that way? Doesn’t it sometimes seem like God has forgotten us, or forgotten his promises? Doubt is real. Let’s be real for a minute. It has been two thousand years since the events of the New Testament. Two thousand years of believers who have been waiting, holding on to hope, living expectantly for the final return of Jesus. Where is he? You’re lying if you say you’ve never doubted. It’s a natural consequence of taking our faith seriously. I’d be worried if you have never doubted.
The story of the triumphal entry carries this lesson: God does fulfill his promises. The triumphal entry is there to remind us that someday, Christ will return to Jerusalem. He will stand on the mount of olives, and this time, there will be no donkey. This time, all the nations of the world will be brought under his reign.
God fulfills his promises on his own terms.
The people of Israel rejected Jesus because he was not the Messiah they wanted. He did not fit the description that they had told themselves he would fit. His claims to be the Messiah were blatant enough, and he didn’t come like they expected him to. He didn’t do the things they expected him to. He was different.
God fulfills his promises in his own time.
This is one of the hardest realities we have to face. God does what he wants, when he wants. It’s true that Jesus’ triumphal entry was far from what the Jewish people were expecting, but that does not change God’s purposes at all. It doesn’t change all that he wants to get done.
Jesus is still our deliverer.
Because Jesus didn’t come in the way they expected, the Jews stopped believing in Jesus. Did that make him any less their Messiah? No. He wasn’t done yet. The amazing part is that even after all the unfaithfulness of the Jewish people, Jesus is still going to be faithful to them. Even though, for a while, the hearts of the Jewish people are hardened, someday Jesus is going to come back and fulfill the rest of that prophecy. He will deliver the nation of Israel from her enemies, and will establish himself as her king.
What about for us? Don’t we have to wait on him? We are all waiting on his return, that’s for sure. Think about your life for a moment. What are you waiting on God for right now? Maybe, you are expecting him to act in some way, but he has been taking his sweet time. Church, he is still good, he is still God, he is still our deliverer. He does everything on his own terms, and in his own time, because his ways are always better.
Now, before we end our time tonight, there is a deep pressing questions that needs to be asked. Have you asked Jesus to be your deliverer? That’s not a default setting guys. Jesus himself even said that he isn’t coming back until the nation of Israel until they all repent and turn to him. The same goes for us; he is not your deliverer by default. We are all guilty of despising him.
Is Jesus your deliverer?