Summary: A lot of people were there that day. Some predict that 100,000 to 200,000 people were in Jerusalem due to the national holiday of the Passover Feast. Centered in the crowd is an active, hectic, back and forth scene. If you want drama, you’ve got it. Par
Good morning. I want to welcome you all to Sunman Community Church, an all-volunteer, community-oriented, student and youth-friendly, seeker-aware, outward-focused church that has a vision to see you go further than you personally have ever gone before with the Savior. To prepare you for this next step, allow me a few moments to present our sermonic theme for today.
Opening Statement: A lot of people were there that day. Some predict that 100,000 to 200,000 people were in Jerusalem due to the national holiday of the Passover Feast. Centered in the crowd is an active, hectic, back and forth scene. If you want drama, you’ve got it. Part planning, part spontaneity. Full support for Jesus. And unabashed opposition. Great joy. And tears of sorrow. Coats are spread for an improvised red carpet treatment. Even though Luke doesn’t mention it, Matthew and Mark tell us that some people also went into the fields to cut branches, which they laid on the ground, and which some waved. John tells us that they were palm branches, which is where we get the name for this particular Sunday. At first, the passage feels like Jesus’ big day. He finally is going to get what he really deserves from the people. But instead, this day marks the beginning of the end for Jesus’ earthly life; the first day in what was to be his last week. His weekend would take him to a cross on Friday, into a tomb on Friday evening and all day Saturday, then ultimately result in him being raised to life again on Sunday morning, the third day.
Transition: I would like to tie in some relevant Scriptures about Jerusalem and Israel’s role in our salvation future. So while I may preach a little, I want to teach a little as well today.
Observation: Luke records “Journey Notes” in his gospel that serve to set up this momentous, climactic event that will take place in the city of Jerusalem. Today’s Scripture includes the final two journey notes.
Reference / Journey Notes
Now when the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set out resolutely to go to Jerusalem.
Then Jesus traveled throughout towns and villages, teaching and making his way toward Jerusalem.
Now on the way to Jerusalem Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.
Then Jesus took the twelve aside and said to them, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.
After Jesus had said this, he continued on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, he wept over it…
Clearly, there is this sense of purpose that drives Jesus toward Jerusalem. But don’t misunderstand this clear, resolute purpose for being defeated.
Quotation: In his book And the Angels were Silent, Max Lucado writes, "Forget any suggestion that Jesus was trapped. Erase any theory that Jesus made a miscalculation. Ignore any speculation that the cross was a last-ditch attempt to salvage a dying mission. For if these words tell us anything, they tell us that Jesus died...on purpose. No surprise. No hesitation. No faltering. No, the journey to Jerusalem didn’t begin in Jericho. It didn’t begin in Galilee. It didn’t even begin in Bethlehem. The journey to the cross began long before. As the echo of the crunching of the fruit was still sounding in the garden, Jesus was leaving for Calvary."
Explanation: So Jesus finally gets to where He has been headed all along – Jerusalem and Calvary’s mountain. It’s the center of Jewish religious and political activity. Known as the city of David, the capital city or the holy city, it was the most important city in Jewish life and history, and remains so to this very day. In our story today, Jerusalem is also chaotic, crowded, loud, deceived, and so much less than she could have been. It’s a lot like our individual lives. Let’s read the text.
Recitation: Luke 19:28 After Jesus had said this, he continued on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 19:29 Now when he approached Bethphage and Bethany [just outside of Jerusalem], at the place called the Mount of Olives [about 100 feet above Jerusalem in elevation. This is a significant mount where Messiah will show Himself at the Second Coming – Zech.14:4-5. It’s also the place where Jesus ascended after His resurrection. Upon arrival here, He wanted to make a statement.], he sent two of the disciples, 19:30 telling them, “Go to the village ahead of you. When you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 19:31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” [Do what He asks you to do. From what we know about the disciples, this whole thing could have been an argument over who had to go get the donkey. They argued over ridiculous things. But at this point in their lives, and somehow sensing the sobriety of what was about to happen, they had a disposition to do whatever he asked them to do and however ridiculous that may have sounded to them.] 19:32 So those who were sent ahead found it exactly as he had told them. [What is unmistakable in these details is you get the feeling that nothing is catching the Savior by surprise. He starts directing events as He approaches the city. He’s in complete control, even as he faces his fate in Jerusalem.] 19:33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?” 19:34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.” [“That’s my donkey. You can’t have it.” The business people would have whipped out the rental agreement. ‘Here, sign this…’.”]19:35 Then they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt, and had Jesus get on it. [The scene is almost comical – sort of a Don Quixote of the first century. A grown man is on this little colt, and the little guy is straining under the weight. They call him a king, but what king rides a colt into the city? Yancey’s insight: He imagines a Roman soldier galloping up to check on the disturbance. He has attended processions in Rome where they do it right. The conquering general sits in a chariot of gold, white stallions pulling at the reigns. Behind him are officers in polished armor carrying the colorful banners of the defeated enemies. At the rear comes a ragtag procession of slaves and prisoners in chains – living proof of what happens when you get in Rome’s way. But instead, there’s this grown man on a little colt.] 19:36 As he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 19:37 As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: 19:38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” [Marks Gospel adds the word Hosanna which means “Save!”] 19:39 But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 19:40 He answered, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!” [Jesus threatened them with “Rock Music” if someone didn’t praise Him as King! And if people won’t do it, his Creation will continue to cry out. Majestic mountains, mighty oceans, the expansive stars of the universe, sun, moon, stars, trees, hills and yes even rocks reverberate forth the praises of the Creator 19:41 Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, [Jesus stopped the parade. Then they saw His body begin to shake. Maybe at first they thought He was laughing. Laughter would seem to be natural - for everybody else was laughing, and joy prevailed. He’s on this little, whimpy colt. Maybe Jesus is pulling a gag. But then they saw His face, and they saw no evidence of laughter. Rather, they saw sorrow and tears. He was not laughing. He was crying, just like Jeremiah the Prophet wept over the city centuries before.] he wept over it, [Everything seems to fit the parade occasion, but weeping? I would have been signing autographs! But Jesus is weeping and the word that is used is a word for “chest-heaving sobs.”] 19:42 saying, [Jesus personified Jerusalem and spoke to her as if she was a person] “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 19:43 For the days will come on you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. 19:44 They will demolish you—you and your children within your walls—and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.” It is Matthew who adds that as Jesus looked at the city He said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings. But you would not come."