Summary: Jesus made final preparation to fulfill His mission and so we should do likewise.
A Messiah's Ride
Text: Matt. 21:1-11
1. Illustration: A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him in front of the service station. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. "Reverend," said the young man, "sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip." The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It’s the same in my business."
2. Jesus walked everywhere he went, except for a few boat rides and this one donkey ride.
3. He was on a journey, in fact I entitled this series on Matthew "The Journey of a Messiah, and now this journey was coming to its ultimate conclusion.
4. On this donkey ride we see...
a. The Preparation
b. The Prediction
c. The Praise
5. Read Matt. 21:1-11
Proposition: Jesus made final preparation to fulfill His mission and so we should do likewise.
Transition: First of all we see...
I. The Preparation (1-3).
A. As Jesus...Approached Jerusalem
1. Today is Palm Sunday, and on this day we celebrate the final phase of Jesus' journey to the Cross-and our salvation.
2. Matthew tells us, "As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives..."
a. Jesus finally approached the ultimate destination of his trip from Galilee, the city were he predicted he would be crucified.
b. Getting to Jerusalem from Jericho involved an difficult uphill hike of about 15 miles in distance and about 2500 feet in altitude.
c. The Mount of Olives is a ridge, about two and a half miles long, lying just east of Jerusalem and running roughly north and south.
d. But before He and the Twelve entered Jerusalem they stopped at the little hamlet of Bethphage.
e. Except for its being closely associated with the Mount of Olives and Bethany, nothing else is known of the town, there being no other biblical, historical, or archaeological evidence of its existence (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 16-23).
f. Bethpage is mentioned only here and in the Gospel's of Mark and Luke, and was located on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives (Turner, 265).
3. As they made their preparations to enter the city, "...Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 'Go into the village over there,' he said. 'As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me.'"
a. From this text and many others it is clear that Jesus was always in control of the events that affected His life.
b. He initiated His own coronation when He sent two disciples to procure the mount on which He would ride into Jerusalem.
c. In doing so he set into motion a series of climactic events that culminated in the voluntary gracious sacrifice of Himself on the cross that had been divinely planned.
d. Although the village was nearby the two animals obviously were out of sight, or Jesus would simply have pointed to them.
e. The mother donkey was brought along no doubt in order to induce her offspring to cooperate.
f. The young colt would not easily have left its mother and would have been even more difficult to handle than donkeys normally are (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 16-23).
g. Jesus knowing by the Spirit what his disciples would encounter in the city, gave specific instructions about getting a donkey (Horton, 437).
4. He told them, "If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”
a. It is not a surprise that the owner would object to their taking the animals, but it is also not a surprise that he allowed them to be taken when he discovered who they were for.
b. Only animals that had never been ridden upon could be used for sacred purposes (Horton, 439).
c. Whether or not the owner is a disciple, he has heard of Jesus, and Jesus foreknows his response; this testifies first of all to the man's respect for Jesus.
d. More important, the passage testifies to Jesus' foreknowledge.
e. Thus Matthew is making a statement not so much about possessions here as about Christ: as the rightful King he has the right to anything in creation, certainly among his people (Keener).
f. God would use people (even those who thought they were in control), and even the weather to bring about our salvation by Jesus death on the cross.
B. Preparing Ourselves
1. Illustration: In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren quotes C.S Lewis, who said, "There are two kinds of people: those who say to God ’Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then have it your way.’ Tragically, many people will have to endure eternity without God because they chose to live without him here on earth." Warren adds "When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now, and you realize that life is just preparation for eternity, you will begin to live differently. You will start living in light of eternity, and that will color how you handle every relationship, task and circumstance’" (Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 37).