Summary: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:9-10.
Theme: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord
Text: Is. 50:4-9a; Phil. 2:5-11; Mark 11:1-11
The entire message of the Gospel revolves around one unique historical event: the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross. Concerning this the writer of Hebrews says in 10:14, “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Perfected and forever speak of a sacrifice that comprehends every need of the entire human race, and its effects extend throughout time and into eternity. A single sovereign act of God brought together all the guilt and the suffering of humanity and offered one all sufficient solution. To receive God’s solution we must all make our way to the same place: the cross of Jesus Christ. This is the reason why the authors of the Gospels devote nearly a third of their length to the final week of Jesus’ life. Contrary to the practice of biographers who normally devote very little space to the death of their subjects each one of them give a detailed account of the events leading to His death. The many processions taking place this morning are an enactment of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Jesus chose this humble and unassuming way to proclaim that He is the Messiah, the King they were expecting. He chose a procession, which was different from the impressive Roman ones the people were used to. In these processions rulers or generals would ride on decorated horses or in golden chariots accompanied by officers in polished armour. Jesus’ procession, however, was different because Jesus did not come to rescue the world as a warring king, but as a gentle, humble and peace-loving king – a king that no one would have a problem approaching. The only way to respond to such a King is to say ‘blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’.
The Jews had been expecting the Messiah and Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem fulfilled in every detail the prophecies made concerning Him. The triumphal entry took place at a time when people from all over the world had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The occasion provided them with the opportunity not only to hear and witness what was happening but also to take the Good News back with them to their various nations. Although the people had waited for a long time, Christ arrived at God’s appointed time, the right time for His presence to make the greatest impact. He came at a time when there was an extensive Roman Empire with one administration and one language and this was essential for the spread of the gospel. The people had already either witnessed or heard about Jesus’ power and authority that was confirmed by the many miracles He performed. He healed every sickness and disease and even raised the dead back to life and the raising of Lazarus from the dead was still fresh in their minds. The triumphal entry itself was a demonstration of His power and authority. Although the Lord did not own a donkey, He knew where to get one and the few words “The Lord needs it” were all that the disciples had to say for the owners to release their donkey to them. Jesus again demonstrated His authority by riding on an untamed donkey that had never been sat on before, and we all know how stubborn donkeys are.
Great care had been taken for the Jews to recognise the Messiah. Jesus entered Jerusalem fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy by riding on a colt that had never been ridden. This was because objects used for such sacred purposes should not have been used for any other purpose before. He entered Jerusalem at a time the Jews were preparing to celebrate their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Their deliverance was not without battle and ten terrible plagues fell on Egypt before they were allowed to leave. The last of the ten plagues was the death of all the firstborn of animals and men. To save His people God made provision to pass over them. They had to kill lambs that were without blemish and sprinkle the blood on the lintels and doorposts of their homes. When God saw the blood He would pass over them to protect them from the destroying angel. The Passover prophetically portrayed the deliverance from slavery and bondage to sin by the Messiah. Just as the Passover lamb gave the Israelites the chance of a new beginning, so our Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, gives us the chance of a new beginning. Jesus Christ fully fulfilled the requirements of the Passover lamb. He entered Jerusalem presenting Himself to the people at the same time that the sacrificial lambs that would be brought to the priests for examination were being inspected. The lambs were then set aside for four days to make sure they were without blemish before being killed. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, in the prime of life, also came before the people and leaders for close examination for four days. During this time the Herodians, Sadducees, lawyers, Pharisees and the civil authorities examined him and they could not find anything to accuse Him of. Pilate also pronounces that Jesus qualified to be the Passover Lamb by finding no fault at all in Him. He was found to be without blemish before shedding His blood on Calvary, the perfect Lamb of God. Just as the blood of the Passover lamb had to be applied to provide a protective covering so also must the blood of Jesus Christ. We apply the blood when we acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb and confess Him as our Saviour and Lord.