Summary: Over a quarter of Matthew’s Gospel - eight chapters - is devoted to the last eight days of Jesus.
HOSANNA! Matthew 21:1-11
We began our journey through the book of Matthew back at the end of December. Here we enter into the last week of Jesus’ life. Over a quarter of Matthew’s Gospel - eight chapters - is devoted to the last eight days of Jesus. The parables we have been studying over the past four weeks were from this time period. As we approach Resurrection Day, we find ourselves on what has become known as Palm Sunday - the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. For three years he has preached, taught, healed and now during Passover week he is entering the city Jerusalem. (Read Text) Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna!
Jesus approaches Jerusalem with an entourage of his disciples and others who are headed into Jerusalem from all over the known world. Thousands of people from all over the ancient world come to Jerusalem to celebrate what was their greatest religious festival - the Passover. Passover reminded them of God’s saving power and provision as he led them out of 400 years of slavery to the Egyptians. 40 years later Josephus estimates that over 2 million people participated in the Passover. Accompanying the Passover the Jewish nation would sing the Hallel Psalms (Psalm 113-118) - songs of praise. (Psalm 118:25-27) Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna! We should join them in crying out Hosanna because…
1. JESUS IS A PEACEABLE KING
When people of notoriety come into a city, there’s a great deal of effort that goes into their entrance. (Red Carpet Celebrities, Secret Service for the President, Pagentry for the Queen of England). When a king comes to town, the expectation is that he will ride proudly upon a battle steed at the head of a parade of decorated troops, as Alexander the Great did when he rode into Jerusalem in 332 BC. Jesus came on a donkey colt, not a symbol of power and might but a beast of burden, humble servant of mankind. He came Not as an agent of vengeance, but Our King is different! He comes to bring peace! Peace with God through grace. Peace with one another in His mercy. Peace from the brokenness of life and hopelessness of our own sin. How many have ventured into Zechariah lately? Zechariah is alluded to/quoted over 80 times in the NT. Zechariah 9:9-10. Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna!
2. JESUS IS A SAVIOR WHO LOVES.
Luke’s account gives a very poignant picture of the King of Israel seeing the reality of the situation. (LK 19:41-44) As Jesus entered the city with the crowds calling out to Him he knew that he would have to give his life as a ransom on the cross to save them. Jesus wept over them because he loved them and was willing to go through the cross to give them the hope of glory. Jesus loves YOU … not just the people in his day. He died on the cross to save you from your sin. He went deliberately to Calvary because He is a Savior who loves, a King who brings peace.
The people waved their palm branches. Usually associated with the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Hanukkah. But they waved their branches to Jesus Christ. Maybe some of these same people would call for his crucifixion by week’s end. The fickle sinful spirit of man is in need of a Savior. One day all of the redeemed will wave their palm branches before the Lord in heavenly places.
Revelation 7:9 “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna!
John 12:16 “At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.” We have a broader vision than they did. We can see and understand the bigger picture. But what do you see today? As we enter into the last week of Jesus’ live, are you cheering his entrance as King or shouting for him to be crucified?
Matthew 21:10 says that “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’”
NLT: City was in an uproar
NRSV: city was in turmoil
AMP: all the city became agitated and [trembling with excitement] said, Who is This?
Bruner says that Jerusalem ‘quaked’. The word here is one from which we get our word seismic. The entrance of Jesus was like an earthquake to them. Three other times this word is used in Matthew!