Summary: When Jesus entered Jerusalem on His way to the cross, the throngs of people joyously welcomed Him! HOW they welcomed Him is how we should also welcome Jesus into our own hearts and lives.
A Big Crowd Meets A Great King
Easter Series: On the Way to the Cross, #3
March 25, 2018
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 19
Today is Palm Sunday, the celebration of the day when the Messiah came to Jerusalem.
Illus. – A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mom. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, “Why do you have that palm branch, dad?”
The dad said, “You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved palm branches to honor him, so we got palm branches today”
The little boy replied, “Aw shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that JESUS shows up!”
I don’t watch many movies, but I like online bloopers where there’s something in a movie that isn’t supposed to be, but somehow made it through the final cuts and show up on screen. [PHOTOS OF THESE BLOOPERS ARE IN THE POWERPOINT SLIDE PRESENTATION AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.]
1) In the 1959 Cary Grant movie, North by Northwest, there’s a shooting scene in the Mount Rushmore café. Your eyes are drawn to Grant and Eva Marie Saint as she pulls out a gun. YOU don’t know if she’s going to shoot or not, but if you look in the background, you’ll see a boy put his fingers in his ears, because HE knows.
2) In Gladiator, in the race in the Colosseum, one of the chariots turns over and for a brief second, you can see a gas cylinder in the back of the chariot.
There are a bunch of bloopers like this you can look up online for yourself.
They’re instances where people or objects show up in movies that are not in the script.
I think some of the people in the crowd on the first Palm Sunday thought that they were witnessing a blooper. In their minds, the script wasn’t followed the way they expected. As we’ll see, however, Jesus followed the script perfectly.
Let me summarize where we’ve been so far in this series titled, “On the Way to the Cross.” We saw the healing and salvation of a blind beggar named Bartimaeus from the LOWEST rung of the economic level, and the surprising conversion of a greedy tax collector named Zacchaeus from the HIGHEST economic level. In both cases, their salvation led them to exuberant and unrestrained praise to God. This is the natural result of turning from darkness to light and from sin to the Savior.
Now Jesus has left Jericho, travelled the 14 miles to Jerusalem and is now entering the city. Continuing Luke’s “travel motif” He begins in chapter 9 and continues all the way to the cross , Luke makes it clear that there’s nothing that will get in Jesus’ way! Though He’s stopped to minister to people, He’s never lost sight of His final goal.
In order to understand what is about to take place in our passage today, it’s important to grasp at least three background details.
First, everyone in Israel knew the Messiah would be enthroned as King in Jerusalem. There were many Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, His entrance into Jerusalem and that He would do His main work in the city of David. The Jews knew well these prophecies, and there was an expectancy and a build-up as Jesus made His way to Jerusalem that is hard for us to grasp today.
Second, the Passover feast was just about to begin. This celebration brought many spiritual pilgrims to Jerusalem and fueled the fires of spiritual and messianic expectations. Historians tell us that it was not unusual to have between two and three million people in Jerusalem for the Passover, so heightened suspense was building.
Third, Jesus had recently performed a number of spectacular miracles that attracted the crowds and further fueled their messianic enthusiasm. – This produced two reactions: Many BELIEVED in Jesus. But Jesus’ growing popularity ALARMED the religious leaders. – Jesus had soundly denounced them for their corruption and hypocrisy, and they knew that they would lose their political power and influence if Jesus set up His kingdom.
So that sets the stage for today’s sermon. The people were looking for the Messiah, and Jesus looked like the likely candidate. The moment was right as He headed to the capital city. The people were excited and pumped. They just couldn’t WAIT for a King to come and free them from Roman rule…while the religious leaders plotted Jesus’ death, just waiting for the opportunity to strike!
As Jesus comes into Jerusalem, the throngs welcome Jesus into their city with great fanfare.