Summary: Sermon on the Triumphal Entry
I loved songs from the '70s. I find that most of today's music, no offense to today's generation, just doesn't get it. I love those old songs, and many of them--from bands like Chicago, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Doobie Brothers, Electric Light Orchestra and others just seem to have much more heart to them.
However, most of us just sang those songs and never really paid attention to the lyrics. We just sang along to some good music; and, like most kids today, they just don't pay attention to what they are singing because "I like the music". That being said, after I got saved in 1996, I started really paying attention to the lyrics in songs and often was just flat out appalled at what I was singing!
More than just a few times in Scripture, you will find a similar thing. Also I have found that today many people will say things, perhaps caught up in the moment or just following what they had been taught over years of life; perhaps something taught by a well meaning parent, school teacher, coach or even a Sunday School teacher or pastor. I have met people that will parrot all sorts of things without really giving it much thought because "the music was good" from that trusted source; in other words, the love that they had for that person caused them to blindly trust in them without giving it much thought or consideration.
This week, we will study what is commonly known as "The Triumphal Entry" of Jesus into Jerusalem. While theologians refer to this passage as such, was it really a triumph? At first glance, it would appear so, but upon closer examination we will find that not all is as it seemed. Just like I did with some of those old songs, they did not really understand what they were saying. What is worse, is that they made the same mistake a few days later and millions have paid the price ever since. They "loved the music but didn't pay attention to the lyrics".
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."
All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.' "
So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. Matthew 21:1-6 (NKJV)
This is a Gospel account that is obviously one of the most important. Why? All three Gospel writers--Matthew, Mark, Luke and John--all write on Jesus' Triumphal Entry. Each writer, of course, gives a slightly different angle on the account, and in this weeks devotionals we will show these differnt views.
Jesus comes in from the east, from the little hamlet of Bethphage whose sole claim to fame is found here in the story of the Triumphal Entry; the town does not exist anymore, and it's location is not precisely sure. Bethphage was located near the village of Bethany, where Jesus had visited with Mary, Martha and Lazarus many times before and it is thought that during Passion Week (the last few days leading up to the Crucifixion) that Jesus may have stayed with them in the evenings.
Jesus sent his disciples on a mission: provide transportation. In layman's terms, Jesus said "In the next village, you will immediately find a donkey and it's colt.". Upon entry to the town, it would be very obvious immediately which donkey it would be.
The Life Application Bible Commentary notes "Donkeys and their colts were valuable; this could be compared to borrowing someone's car. So Jesus, sensitive to this fact, told them to explain that the colt would be returned." Back a few months ago, our Adult Bible Study teacher Dave Staggers noted in his study of Genesis that if you look at the story of Joseph that donkeys were considered to be valuable (compare Genesis 43:18) and might have been a status symbol like perhaps a Cadillac or a Rolls Royce. However, the donkey was a means of transportation for most Jews of Jesus' era, and we also "beasts of burden"; no one could afford horses which had a different use and symbolism which we will discuss in a devotional later this week. I guess that a donkey, then would be like a four wheel drive truck would be today, but not a King Ranch!