Summary: Message that contrasts the parallels of Psalm 24 to Jesus entrance on Palm Sunday.
I have preached many sermons from the Gospel accounts about Palm Sunday. Today I want to step back and look at another journey into Jerusalem 1,000 years earlier. David is the author of Psalm 24. It is a psalm composed by him, some believe, as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the city of Jerusalem. More about that later… It is a Psalm of ascent with prophetic overtones…by that I mean it describes, and was sung by people, going into the city of Jerusalem.
If you would turn to Psalms 22-24 they actually form a trilogy. In Psalm 22 we see our Suffering Savior upon the cross. In fact it is possible that Jesus quoted this entire Psalm while He died. Psalm 23, of course, is the Shepherd with His flock. The most well known passage in the entire Bible. Finally, in Psalm 24 we have the Sovereign upon His throne. It is this little known Psalm we are going to study today. I believe this Psalm alludes to the event recorded by all the Gospels; Matt. 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12 called the Triumphal Entry which we celebrate on Psalm Sunday. How important is this event? By contrast, Jesus birth is only recorded in two of the Gospels.
Background of Palm Sunday:
Of course Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. The tax collector, Matthew, pretty much sums up the story, “Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day, he will be raised to life’” (Matt. 20:17-19).
Today marks the day, 2,000 years ago, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. We know the story of the Triumphal entry as a kind of first-century version of a ticker-tape parade. Many in the crowd had witnessed the incredible miracle that Jesus had performed recently when he raised his friend Lazarus from the dead in a little town just a short distance away. Many other people had heard about His miracles and wanted to get a closer look. They were wondering, who is this man who has taken our nation by storm? There were also people there who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. This was, ironically, lamb selection day in preparation for the Passover! Three years earlier John the Baptist had already identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world (Jn. 1:29).
As Jesus rode into town on the dusty road those who were His followers spontaneously laid their coats in the road as a sort of a crude red carpet and spread out leafy palm branches and waved them as He passed shouting, “Hosanna,” which means “save us now.”
I have preached this procession under the title, “The Faces in the Crowd,” and note, there was another faction there that day. The jealous religious leaders who were looking for a way to eliminate their competition. They were the ones who insisted, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples, before they commit blasphemy!” Of course we know His answer, “If these should be hushed, even the stones would cry out as a witness to the truth that He is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!”
The real question of Psalm Sunday is if Jesus were to make His appearance today where would you be in the crowd? A curious onlooker? A delusional disciple? A cynical skeptic? A jealous antagonist? A waiting participant in His crucifixion? Or would you have recognized Him as the Lamb of God?
John 12:16 clearly states that even His most devoted followers failed to grasp the enormous significance of the event, “These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.”
I suppose the Palm Sunday story in the Gospels is one of my favorite in all of Scripture. But today I have chosen to go back to the Psalms and study the King, His qualifications and His subjects from the events recorded by David in Psalm 24.
As I stated this Psalm is part of a trilogy. Scofield says Psalm 22 is the good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep, Psalm 23 is the great Shepherd tenderly caring for His sheep, and Psalm 24 is the chief Shepherd appearing as King to reward His sheep. He is our Savior, our Shepherd, and one of these days He will return as our Sovereign!