Summary: God’s Word had been delivered to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for centuries. Jesus wept because the people of Jerusalem had failed to see and accept God’s truth.
Text: Luke 19:15
Palm Sunday always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. The name commemorates an event mentioned by all four Canonical Gospels Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19: the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before His betrayal and crucifixion.
According to the Gospels, before entering Jerusalem, Jesus was staying at Bethany and Bethphage, and the Gospel of John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. While there, Jesus sent two disciples to the village over against them, in order to retrieve a donkey that had been tied up but never been ridden, and to say, if questioned, that the donkey was needed by the Lord but would be returned. Jesus then rode the donkey into Jerusalem, with the Synoptics adding that the disciples had first put their cloaks on it, so as to make it more comfortable. The Gospels go on to recount how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and how the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalm 118 - ...Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David. ... (Psalms 118:25-26).
I. Going up to Jerusalem
A. In fulfillment of prophecies
1. Jesus sends two disciples to acquire a colt vs 28-35
2. Matthew's account is more detailed:
a. Matthew 21:2 saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.
b. This fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah:
c. Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
3. A king entering a city riding on a colt was a sign of coming in peace. Conquerors rode upon stallions.
4. The people following shouted out praises (Psalm 118).
a. The gospels tell us that the majority followed that day because of the signs they had witnessed.
b. There were those who were not shouting praises but criticism. V39
c. They had political interests to protect, so any praising and confessing of Jesus as the Messiah threatened their position.
d. Jesus answered the critics saying that should they be silent, the stones would cry out.
e. Jesus' words may have had double meaning.
1) Habakkuk had prophesied the judgment of God upon Judah just before the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 B.C. He had said, “The stones of the wall will cry out” (NIV) concerning all the sins the people rebelling against God had done. Habakkuk 2:11
2) Or perhaps the words of Joshua Joshua 24:24-27
B. Jesus wept for Jerusalem
1. There are two accounts of Jesus weeping.
a. John 11:35
b. Jesus, after talking to Mary and Martha, the grieving sisters, and seeing Lazarus' friends weeping, was deeply troubled and moved. After being shown where Lazarus was laid, Jesus wept in front of Lazarus' tomb.
c. He wept on that occasion in empathy for the grief of those mourning Lazarus.
2. Here Jesus looks on Jerusalem and is moved by His personal grief.
a. Luke 19:41-42 (Amplified Bible) And as He approached, He saw the city, and He wept [audibly] over it, Exclaiming, Would that you had known personally, even at least in this your day, the things that make for peace (for freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin and upon which your peace--your security, safety, prosperity, and happiness--depends)! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
1) This day of triumphant entry was Jerusalem's day. The day the awaited Messiah came.
2) But they were not taking Jesus on His terms.
3. The people were praising God, waving branches, and throwing their cloaks in front of the colt as it passed before them. (We can see this royal treatment in 2 Kings 9:12-13 for Jehu, anointed king of Israel.)
a. “Long live the King” was the meaning behind their joyful shouts because they knew that Jesus was intentionally fulfilling prophecy.
b. The people who were praising God for giving them a king had the wrong idea about Jesus. They expected him to be a national leader who would restore their nation to its former glory; thus they were deaf to the words of their prophets and blind to Jesus’ real mission.
1) Jesus said, "I didn’t come for that purpose. I came to show you a more excellent way. I came to show you the way of love."