Summary: An authentic biblical community will affirm Jesus’ identity. On Palm Sunday, those who recognized Jesus honored Him. We can do the same when we follow their example.
His Name Is Jesus – Part 4
March 24, 2002
Big Idea: An authentic biblical community will affirm Jesus’ identity.
ILLUS - Picabo Street first joined the U.S. Ski Team when she was only 17. She went on to become the only American skier to ever win the World Cup downhill championship. But in 1996 she tore a crucial ligament in her left knee. Street, who is now 30 years old, went through extensive rehabilitation just to compete in the recent 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Picaboo Street did not win the gold, or the silver, or the bronze medal this year. In fact, she finished 16th in her downhill competition. But the crowd cheered for her just the same.
When it was all over, Street had this to say about her Olympic experience: “The last four years for me have been about that one moment coming into the finish when I heard the Americans roar and saw kids’ faces painted red, white and blue. That’s when I felt the pride of being an American in an American Olympics.”
(Source: SermonCentral Staff. Citation: Pennington, Bill. "Riveting Sport and an Angry Backlash." New York Times, February 24, 2002.)
When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last week of his life, he was coming to the finish line. For this 33 year-old man, the last three years of his life had all been about one moment - the moment when he would look upon the many colored faces of the people who inhabit this world, and willingly give his life on the cross to pay the price for their sins. Everything was leading up to this.
For the past few weeks we’ve been examining events from the last week of Jesus’ life, which was spent in and around Jerusalem. Let me set the time line with you. We learned how on Tuesday of that week he was questioned by the religious leaders about his authority. We discovered that on Thursday night he celebrated the Passover with his disciples in the upper room of a home in that city. And we saw how later that night he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane as a crowd led by Judas made its way to arrest him. By Friday morning he would be nailed to a cross.
Now lets back up. When did Jesus enter Jerusalem? That last week of Jesus life began on a Sunday 1969 years ago.
Here is how Luke records it:
Read Luke 19:41-44…
41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He knew what was ahead of him in just a few short days. He knew this city would be the site of his death. And he wept because he knew what was in store for this city. “Your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you…they will dash you to the ground.” All this would happen would happen within the next 40 years when the Romans invaded Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
But the last part of verse 44 holds the key to understanding Jesus’ sadness. Why were all these bad things about to take place?
v. 44 - …because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.
The Jews did not recognize God when they saw Him.
God came to them in the person of Jesus, but they failed to recognize him and ended up rejecting him and crucifying him.
“…You did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
That is a bad indictment. So how can we be different?
We can follow the example of some others in the Palm Sunday story. Because those who did recognize him honored him. They affirmed His identity as God and King through their actions.
TRANSITION: And we can do the same. Like some on Palm Sunday…
I. WE AFFIRM HIS IDENTITY WHEN WE OBEY HIM
Lets go back to how this Sunday began.
Read Luke 19:28-35.
28After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30“Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’”