Summary: This message looks at the events of Passion week.
Introduction: If you only had a week to live what would you do? Some people answer that question by saying that they would go out with a bang, doing all the things they never got to do but wanted to do. That might be traveling and seeing things they had never seen before. Some people might go sky diving or bungie jumping to experience things they had never experienced before. Others would say they would spend that last week visiting with friends and family. Finally, some people would say that they would spend their last few days getting their life in order. Making sure the medical bills were paid, and that the life insurance premiums were up to date, and that the funeral arrangements were taken care of.
This morning I want us to take a closer look at the last week of the Lord’s life. Lets read our Text together. Luke 19:28-41.
As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem for the Passover, he knew that he had less than a week to live. His mind and heart were filled with all kinds of different thoughts and emotions. In the passage of Scripture we just read Jesus told a couple of his disciples to go on ahead of the rest of them to the village of Bethpage. He told them to look for a specific donkey or colt that had never been ridden and bring it to him. He also instructs them that if anyone asks them what they are doing to simply say, “That the Lord need it.” When they entered the village they found the colt tied up just as Jesus had told them. They proceeded to untie it and the people who owned the colt said, “Hey what do you think you’re doing?” The disciples answered by saying, “The Lord needs it.” We don’t know if Jesus had prearranged this with the owners or not, but in any respect when they learned that the disciples were taking the colt to Jesus that was good enough for them.
The Disciples brought the colt to Jesus and he rode it into Jerusalem. Have you ever wondered why Jesus did this? Was he tired, were his feet hurting? Maybe but that’s not the reason he wanted to ride the donkey into Jerusalem. And then there’s the question of the donkey? Why did he chose to ride a donkey, instead of a horse? Wouldn’t it have been much more dignified for him to have ridden a horse? In the eyes of the disciples I’m sure it would have been, but Jesus knew what he was doing. He rode the donkey for a couple of reasons.
First of all, he rode the colt into Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecy concerning the Messiah which is found in Zechariah 9:9 which says, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donekey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Secondly, Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem because it was a symbol of humility and peace. When the Romans conquered a city the commanding officer would often ride into the city on a White Stallion, symbolizing his Authority and power. Jesus wanted to send the right message to the people of Jerusalem. He wanted them to see Him as the Humble servant of God, not as a Powerful leader with a military agenda. Too many of them already expected him to lead a rebellion against Rome and he certainly didn’t want to encourage that false idea in any way.
Just outside of Jerusalem a crowd of people began to line the street. Some of them were taking off their coats and laying them in front of Jesus, while others cut palm leaves and placed them in his path. They also shouted “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” When the Pharisee’s heard this they came to Jesus and told him that he should tell his disciples and the crowd to be quiet, but he responded by saying that even if they were quiet that the stones would cry out in praise.
So obviously many of the Jewish people who witnessed Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey believed he was the Messiah. Unfortunately, when things didn’t go they way they thought they should most of those who were shouting “Hosanna” on Sunday turned against Jesus and began calling for Pilate to “Crucify Him,” on Friday.
Verse 41 of our text says that as Jesus approached the Holy City of Jerusalem, which was also, the Capitol City of Israel, he looked out over the city and began to weep. The Bible only mentions Jesus weeping twice. Once upon seeing the effect Lazarus’ death had on his friends Mary and Martha, and here as he looks out over the city of Jerusalem. It’s understandable why Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus, but why would he cry at the sight of Jerusalem? After all the people were praising God and proclaiming him as the Messiah, you would think that he would have been overcome with joy instead of overcome with grief. But Jesus knew their hearts, and he knew the spiritual condition of Jerusalem. He knew that it would only be a matter of days until these same people would be calling for his death. He also knew that it would only be a few years until God’s wrath would come crashing down on the city of Jerusalem. Jesus and John the Baptist had both called on the people of Israel to repent of their sins and turn back to God, but for the most part their messages were ignored by the majority of the Jews, especially the so-called religious leaders of the day. Jesus wept because he knew the fate that Jerusalem would suffer for its unbelief. In this passage of Scripture Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D.