Summary: This year how have we been preparing ourselves for Christ if He would show up at our door just as He did on this day show up at the door of Jerusalem?
Opening illustration: A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, dad?" "You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, and so we got Palm Branches today." The little boy replied, “Aw Shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!"
Let us turn to Matthew 21 and catch up with the story when Jesus turns up at Jerusalem and reflect on what will we be doing when He turns up at our door?
Introduction: This coming of Christ was described by the prophet Zechariah, Zechariah 9: 9. When Christ would appear in his glory, it is in his meekness, not in his majesty, in mercy to work salvation. As meekness and outward poverty were fully seen in Zion’s King, and marked his triumphal entrance to Jerusalem, how wrong covetousness, ambition, and the pride of life must be in Zion’s citizens! They brought the ass, but Jesus did not use it without the owner’s consent. The trappings were such as came to hand. We must not think the clothes on our backs too dear to part with for the service of Christ. The chief priests and the elders afterwards joined with the multitude that abused him upon the cross; but none of them joined the multitude that did him honor. Those that take Christ for their King, must lay their all under his feet. Hosanna signifies, Save now, we beseech thee! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! But of how little value is the applause of the people! The changing multitudes join the cry of the day, whether it be Hosanna, or Crucify him. Multitudes often seem to approve the gospel, but few become consistent disciples. When Jesus was come into Jerusalem all the city was moved; some perhaps were moved with joy, who waited for the Consolation of Israel; others, of the Pharisees, were moved with envy. So various are the motions in the minds of men upon the approach of Christ’s kingdom.
How to prepare for Palm Sunday?
1. Acts of Obedience (vs. 1 – 6)
• Go into … What village this was, is not said by any of the evangelists; it seems to be either Bethany, or Nob; and rather the latter, since the village of Bethany was fifteen furlongs, or near two miles from Jerusalem, and therefore must have been passed by Christ; whereas the tract called Bethany, at the Mount of Olives where Christ now was, was but a Sabbath day’s journey, or about a mile.
• Find, loose and bring … In Judea there were few horses, and those were chiefly used in war. People seldom employed them in common life and in ordinary journeys. The ass, the mule, and the camel are still most used in Eastern countries. To ride on a horse was sometimes an emblem of war; on a mule and an ass, the emblem of peace. Kings and princes commonly rode on them in times of peace, and it is mentioned as a mark of rank and dignity to ride in that manner. So Solomon, when he was inaugurated as king, rode on a “mule,” 1 King 1: 33. Riding in this manner, then, denoted neither poverty nor degradation, but was the appropriate way in which a king should ride, and in which, therefore, the King of Zion should enter into his capital, the city of Jerusalem.
• Give an apt answer … This means no more than the “master” has need of them. The word “Lord” often means no more than “master” as opposed to servant. The word is sometimes used in the Bible as applied to God, or as a translation of the name Yahweh. Its common use is a mere title of respect given by an inferior to a superior, by a servant to a master, by a disciple to a teacher. As a title of “high respect” it was given to Christ, or the Messiah. The persons to whom these disciples were sent were probably acquainted with the miracles of Jesus and favorably disposed toward him He had attracted great notice in that region, particularly by raising Lazarus from the dead, and most of the people regarded him as the Messiah.
Illustration: One of the keys understanding our relationship to God is in understanding that God wants us to obey Him not for His sake, but for ours. God loves us so much that He wants us to avoid the pitfalls and disappointments of this life. He knows that when we take on the attitude of Christ, we will be happy and satisfied. Our obedience to Him is to our great benefit in our lives today and forever.