Summary: How are we to understand and apply the events of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem? Let's look at the background for Palm Sunday and then observe how we can be more like Jesus.
Today is traditionally known as Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Jesus was crucified, buried and raised. This day is celebrated as the day of Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. I hope you have a Bible handy and will follow along. We will look at several passages of scripture in our lesson. The first part of this message is to build understanding and the second part is to make application.
Just a few days before the events of this Sunday (John 11 records) Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. The Jewish leaders are all upset and have decided to put Jesus to death. They see Jesus as a threat to themselves and to their delicate political relationship with the Roman authorities. Look at John 11:45-12:19. Notice that during Jesus ride into Jerusalem many are bearing witness to the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead. What have the religious authorities concluded about Jesus?
It was official. In their minds Jesus had to die. Jesus knew this. This is why he came. It was his purpose. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world was about to be sacrificed.
Knowing this, Jesus did what the Old Testament prophets said he would do. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Look with me at Zechariah 9:9, 11:12-13, 12:10-11, 13:7-9. Look at Psalms 22:1, 7-8, 15-18. Isaiah 53:3-12. All these prophets wrote centuries before Jesus came to us as a baby. Jesus fulfilled them all.
Jesus was doing what the Father had planned, prophesied and prepared for him to do. Acts 2:22-32.
Ever since God delivered Israel from Egypt and set them free from slavery to Pharaoh, the Jews were to keep the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread to remember their redemption by God. This is still going on today! All over the world, Jewish people will gather this week to eat what they call the Seder meal, or Passover meal and celebrate seven days of the feast that follows. Exodus 12 records this event: when it began, what it means and how it was to be practiced thereafter.
Jesus arrived in Bethany and rode a donkey's colt into Jerusalem just at the prophets had said. He was celebrated by multitudes as the coming king! This all happened right as preparations were being made for the Passover and thousands of Jewish pilgrims were present. The King comes! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!
Along with all these people there were hundreds or possibly thousands of lambs brought to be sacrifices for Passover. Jesus entered Jerusalem to be our sacrifice. The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins. Jesus, the true Sacrifice, fulfilled the purpose of them all. They were a mere shadow of Him. Jesus is the one true sacrifice for sin pictured by all the rest.
Now let's turn our attention to an application of this event.
Let’s read Luke’s record of this triumphal entry: 19:28-48.
For our application to this passage I want us to look at how we can be more like Jesus.
Jesus knows what he will face as he comes into Jerusalem. He knows who he is and what God wants him to do and he is willing to pay however much it will cost him. He is committed to the will of the Father above all else as he fulfills God’s word and gives his life for you and me.
1. Do you know who you are? Do you accept the full responsibility of being created in God’s image and likeness? Do you know any people who are in the darkness who need to see the light? Listen to Peter’s words: 1 Peter 2:9-12. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses it’s saltiness, it is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. You are the light of the world… let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Do you know that you are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the chosen people of God?
2. Do you know what God wants you to do? Do you accept God’s mission for your life? The great commandments and the great commission sum up the whole purpose of God for your life and my life. Jesus declares them both to us and he expects us to put his words into practice. Jesus himself said, “Whoever hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man that built his house on a rock… Whoever hears Jesus words and does not do them is like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand…