Summary: Jesus is a celebrity to the fanciful and a life-changer to the faithful.
Title: Celebrity Jesus
Text: Matthew 21:1-11
Thesis: Jesus is a celebrity to the fanciful and a life-changer to the faithful.
Lenten Series: Reflecting, Repenting and Returning to God
The Lenten Season is a time for reflection, repenting of our sin and returning to God.
When the President of the United States goes somewhere it is no small undertaking.
Months, weeks and days before his departure secret service and other local authorities are on site preparing for the President’s arrival. They attend to every detail, everything from interviewing those who will be close to the President to analyzing and selecting primary and secondary routes. No stone is left unturned and no detail escapes their scrutiny.
Before the President leaves, massive cargo planes will fly from Andrews Air Force Base to the anticipated destination transporting two identical Presidential limousines (a primary and a decoy), a fully stocked ambulance, and all the other vehicles necessary for the motorcade. Sometimes a Marine One helicopter is included in the cargo.
On the day the President leaves, Marine One, the white-topped VH-3D helicopter will land on the White House lawn. The President will be flow to Andrews Air Force Base where he will board one of the Air Force Ones designated for Presidential travel. The Air Force One plane is a Boeing VC-25 which is the military version of the Boeing 747. Sometimes both Air Force One planes are flown… one for back-up.
Air Force One has been refitted to accommodate the President and those who travel with him. The front section is called the flying White House and there are travel accommodations for the 70 – 100 who will accompany the President. There is a fully stocked pharmacy, an x-ray machine, a fold-down operating room table and a full-time surgeon. Two galleys accommodate five chefs who can prepare meals for seatings of 100.
Once when Jesus was going somewhere, he sent two of his disciples ahead, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you and at once you will find a donkey tied there with her colt. Untie them and bring them to me.” And the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They placed their cloaks on the donkeys and Jesus sat on them.
And that’s how our King landed in Jerusalem on the day we call Palm Sunday… the beginning of Holy Week.
I. Jesus’ Claim to Be King
“Say to the daughters of Zion, ‘See your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” Matthew 21:1-7
Jesus had been busy. Leading up to our story today, in the narrative of John 10 and 11 Jesus had raised the ire of the Jewish people in Jerusalem. They had attempted to pin him down as to whether he was the Messiah or not and then he told them that the miracles he had done speak for themselves and if they were not convinced by that… then they were not his. He went on to say, “I and the Father are one.”
So they had picked up stones to stone him, accusing him of the blasphemy of claiming to be God. But when they tried to nab him he escaped and followed the road that went over the Mt. of Olives, through the village of Bethany and on down through Jericho and across the Jordan River.
Jericho is a city on the West Bank of Israel. The Wiki people say that it is a city of around 20,000 people. It is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world and the lowest permanently inhabited site on Earth. Jericho is also the site where Jesus reached out to Zacchaeus the tax collector who then repented and become a follower. It was the road between Jerusalem and Jericho that Jesus used in telling the story of the Good Samaritan. And it is that road that Jesus walked when he left Jerusalem to escape to a safe place across the Jordan River.
While Jesus was there across the Jordan River, he received word that his good friend, Lazarus was gravely ill but he stayed there two more days (long enough for Lazarus to die) before going back up the Jericho Road to Bethany where Lazarus lived with his sisters, Mary and Martha.
Keep in mind, Jericho is around 17 miles from Jerusalem. And Bethany is about two miles from Jerusalem. From Bethany you just walk over the Mount of Olives and down into the city of Jerusalem. As Jesus was leaving Jericho on his way to Bethany they were being followed by a large crowd. Two blind men were sitting along the road just outside of town and when they heard Jesus would pass by their way they cried out to Jesus asking him to have mercy on them. He did and they were healed.