Summary: Jesus' triumphal entry in Matthew 21:1-11 teaches us about the offices of Jesus.
The events in Jesus’ life from Palm Sunday until his crucifixion are sometimes referred to as the Passion of Jesus. The term comes from Acts 1:3a in the King James Version, “To whom also he [that is, Jesus] shewed himself alive after his passion.” During our services this coming week, I am going to present a sermon series that I am calling “The Passion of Jesus.”
I begin with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Let’s read about Jesus’ triumphal entry in Matthew 21:1-11:
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 “Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)
In 1978, the Prime Minister of South Africa resigned. In that system of government, the majority party elects its leader and that person becomes the Prime Minister of the party and of the country. Thus it was that the National Party caucus convened to elect its leader and the next Prime Minister. They did so in the Parliament Building in Cape Town. There were three candidates on the ballot to become next Prime Minister: R. F. (Pik) Botha (who was the electorate’s favorite candidate), P. W. Botha, and Connie Mulder. There would be several rounds of voting before a candidate won the balloting.
Several thousand people gathered outside the Parliament Building. I was in the crowd that day. We knew that the doors would eventually open and the first person to walk out would be the new Prime Minister. After several hours of anticipation, the doors finally opened. To our disappointment, the first person to come out was P. W. Botha. There were loud groans of disapproval, but Prime Minister Botha addressed the crowd and then served as Prime Minister for the next six years.
All over the world, countries have different ways of electing or recognizing their leaders, depending upon the type of government that is in place.
That was also true in ancient times. In Jesus’ day, Israel was under Roman occupation. Although Israel was allowed to have a king under Roman occupation, he was nothing more than a puppet. The people of Israel longed for a deliverer, a savior, who would overthrow the Romans and be their king. They were looking for a political and military leader who would lead them out of bondage and into freedom.
So, there was tremendous excitement when Jesus burst onto the scene in ancient Israel. He was independent. He was beholden to no one. He spoke with authority that was unrivaled. The religious as well as the political leaders could not match him. Moreover, Jesus healed thousands of people and even raised a few dead people back to life. He also had authority over nature. After three years of exposure to the public, Jesus was at the absolute height of his popularity. The people of Israel remembered that God had promised to send a messiah, an anointed one, who would save his people. So, they were in a frenzy thinking that Jesus was the one sent by God to be their savior. Of course, they were expecting this savior to be a political and military savior. In that regard, they misunderstood God’s intention. Nevertheless, when Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday during his triumphal entry, there was massive anticipation for what Jesus was about to do in the city.
Jesus’ triumphal entry in Matthew 21:1-11 teaches us about the offices of Jesus.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. What Happened at Jesus’ Triumphal Entry? (21:1-11)