Summary: think some of the people in the crowd on that first Palm Sunday thought that they were witnessing a blooper. This wasn’t exactly how they thought it was going to work out. In their minds, the script wasn’t followed the way they thought it should have b
A Big Crowd Meets a King
I don’t know about you, but I like watching movie bloopers. There’s something funny about watching other people mess up. Many times these bloopers make it through the final cuts and show up on the screen.
In a movie starring Jack Nicholson, he walks past an automatic teller machine -- the only problem is that the movie is set in 1948 -- decades before ATMs!
In Days of Thunder, Tom Cruise suffers a racing injury with an interesting symptom. When he first goes to the hospital, he has a red ring around his right eye. Later, the circle is seen around the left, and then moves back to the right eye.
And, in another movie, the characters take a ferry ride from Detroit to Racine, Wisconsin. The trouble with this is, no such ferry exists. And even if it did, you would practically have to be Magellan to navigate the Detroit River, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan!
I think some of the people in the crowd on that first Palm Sunday thought that they were witnessing a blooper. This wasn’t exactly how they thought it was going to work out. In their minds, the script wasn’t followed the way they thought it should have been. As we will see, however, Jesus followed the script perfectly.
Let me summarize where we’ve been so far in this series as we’re walking to the cross with Jesus. Two weeks ago we were introduced to Bartimaeus, who was sitting alongside the road as Jesus approached Jericho. Bart went through four stages in his spiritual journey:
His blindness He knew he was physically and spiritually blind
His belief He knew Jesus was the Son of God
His boldness He was not afraid to put his desire to be healed into words
His blessing He was blessed in order to bless others
Last week, we focused on what happened as Jesus made his way through Jericho and encountered Zacchaeus. Zack went through four similar, yet different steps in his faith development:
He was curious he wanted to get to know who Jesus was
He considered he investigated the claims of Christ
He was converted The Searching Savior saved him and forgave his sins
He was changed Zack’s life was radically redirected after his conversion
And so, Jesus is headed to Jerusalem. Luke makes it clear that there is nothing that will get in His way. Even though He has stopped and ministered to people, he has 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 that the Messiah would be enthroned as King in Jerusalem. The Old Testament makes it very clear that the coming King would do His main work in the city of David. Since the Garden of Eden, all of heaven and earth have been waiting for that moment when Messiah would enter Jerusalem for the last time. The scarlet thread of redemption weaves its way throughout Scripture and will culminate on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
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.
On the Passover, the paschal lamb is slain, just as it was at the beginning of the exodus. This yearly reminder served to help the Israelites never forget that it was the blood of the lamb that provided their deliverance. Now, Jesus the Lamb of God is about to be slain once-for-all, for the remission of sins.
Third, Jesus had recently performed a number of spectacular miracles that attracted the crowds and further fueled their messianic enthusiasm. In particular, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, John 11:45-46 tells us that many of the Jews put their faith in Christ. Others went away and told the Pharisees what had happened. The growing popularity of Jesus alarmed the religious leaders. They met together after Lazarus was raised from the dead, and from that day on, they were intent on killing Jesus. In fact, they were also planning to kill Lazarus.
It’s difficult for us 2000 years removed from this event to grasp the mood of that time. The people were looking for the Messiah, and Jesus was a likely candidate. The moment was right as He headed to the capital city. The people were excited and pumped. They couldn’t wait for a King to come and free them from Roman rule. In contrast, the religious leaders were intent on putting Jesus to death and were just waiting for the right opportunity.