Summary: Those who receive Jesus the King must learn to honor Him for who He is and seek to be like Him.
A King’s Reception
Text: Matthew 21:1-17
Intro: The account of what is often called the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday is found in all four Gospels. It is in Matt. 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12. It is a very important event because Jesus gives a vivid picture of Himself as Israel’s Messiah.
As we look at Israel’s history, we see that they had lost their freedom to live under God’s blessing as His special chosen people who would be a light to all other nations. Their disobedience and idolatry had brought God’s judgment on them. Therefore, the northern kingdom of Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians in 722 B.C., and the southern tribe of Judah was conquered by the Babylonian empire around 586 B.C. Years later, Israel was dominated by the Persian Empire, then Alexander the Great’s Grecian Empire, and finally, during the time of the NT, Israel found themselves under the domination of the Roman Empire.
While going through all these years of oppression and captivity, Israel was looking and hoping for someone like King David to come and rescue them from the evil pagan governments they were under. By the time of Jesus there had been several false messiahs (or anointed ones) who claimed to be God’s chosen leader for the nation. Now, as people had seen Jesus heal the sick, feed the 5000 & the 4000, raise people from the dead, and do all kinds of miraculous works, they were filled with hope that maybe the real Messiah had finally come. They wanted Jesus to step up and use all of His amazing powers to overthrow the Roman government and set up the kingdom of Israel as the powerful nation it had once been.
However, Jesus had other plans than setting up an earthly government. He did not come to overthrow the governments of the world. Rather, He came to save the world in a way that nobody was expecting.
With this background in mind, let’s take a look at what happened on that Palm Sunday, during the Feast of Passover, a few days before Jesus would die a gruesome death at the hands of people to whom He had given life and breath.
Prop: The main thought I want to communicate today is this: Those who receive Jesus the King must learn to honor Him for who He is and seek to be like Him.
Interrogative: How can we learn to honor and emulate Jesus?
T.S.: Let’s look at 3 characteristics of Jesus that show us who He is and who He wants us to be.
I. The King’s Meekness (Matt. 21:1-11)
Matthew 21:1-11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" 11 The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
Doesn’t it seem kind of strange that Jesus would send two of His disciples to take someone’s donkey, and then proceed to ride it into Jerusalem? What was this all about?
We must realize that Jesus often said things by His actions, and not only His words. Jesus was creating an illustration in the minds of the people that would help them understand who He really was. See, most Jews of the time knew the OT very well, and had memorized most or all of it. So, as they see Jesus enter Jerusalem on a donkey, some of them likely think of the Scripture in Zechariah 9:9 “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 donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”