Summary: THe triumphal entry of our troops in Baghdad It reminded me of another Triumphal entry, which also contained cheers, jeers, and tears – the entry of our Lord into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.
INTRODUCTION: This past week my heart was thrilled as I watched our United States Military drive into Baghdad. It was amazing watching the cheering crowd rallying as they pulled down the massive statue of Saddam Hussein. In that crowd there were mixed reactions. There were those, the majority, which were genuinely thrilled that they had been liberated from the tyranny of Saddam. They cheered with shouts of joy. Then there were those in the crowd that were heartbroken because loved ones had been killed or injured in the conflict. They shed tears of grief. And as several shots from a hidden sniper rang out I was made clearly aware that there were those opposed to the liberation –those who jeered and were saddened by the triumphal entry of our troops. It reminded me of another Triumphal entry, which contained cheers, jeers, and tears – the entry of our Lord into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.
I. There were the Cheers of the Admirers
A. Luke 19:37 “And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;”
B. The crowd of Admirers was a mixed crowd consisting of two groups.
C. The sincere followers of Christ
1. In the crowd, undoubtedly, would be many of those Christ touched during His earthly ministry.
2. These individuals sincerely cried, "Hosanna" as they saw Christ as their Redeemer, Who not only met their physical and material needs but more importantly met their spiritual need.
3. There was the adulterous woman whom Christ forgave and said in John 8 that her sins were forgiven and that she would no longer walk in darkness but would have the light of life.
4. There was blind Bartimaeus who sat begging until Jesus passed by. Christ restored his sight. Mark 10:52 states that Bartimaeus “immediately received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”
5. There was the widow with an only son, who had died. Christ had compassion on her when He saw the funeral procession and touching the bier raised her son from the dead. Upon raising the dead boy the testimony rang out, “That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.” (Luke 7:16)
D. The superficial followers of Christ
1. The multitude of those who cried “Hosanna” were those who cried empty and hollow words. They were shallow, superficial followers of Christ.
2. It was this same crowd that cried “Hosanna” that would cry “Crucify Him” in just a few days.
3. Why were they so fickle? Why were their words so shallow?
4. Part of those who were there were praising Him for what He could do for them and not for who He is.
5. John 6:26-27 "Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
6. These were they who viewed Christ with an eye of flesh and not with the eye of faith.
7. John 12:37 "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:"
E. Today there are two groups of followers of Christ. There are those who follow and worship for what they can get. Their worship is mechanical and shallow. There are those who follow Christ out of sincerity. They have established a personal relationship with Him. They worship Him because of who He is and not what they can get from Him.
II. There were the Jeers of the Antagonists
A. Luke 19:39 "And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples."
B. The crowd included those who took great offense at the praise and adulation that Christ was receiving. Some were there trying to keep the crowd from cheering. They were antagonists and not supporters. They contemptuously shouted for Christ to silence the crowd.
C. Religionist’s hated Christ. He flew in the face of all that they stood for - their legalism and their hypocrisy.
D. They took offense at His popularity.
E. John 12:19 "The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him."
F. They were offended by His teaching.
G. John 15:22 "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin."
H. Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men…”