What an Entrance!
Luke 19: 28-44
Pastor Jefferson Williams
First Baptist Church Chenoa
A Queen’s Coronation
On June 2, 1953, Elizabeth II was crowned Queen in Westminster Abby. Over 8,000 guests were invited and there were 129 countries represented. Out of 36 million living in the UK, 27 million listened to it on the radio. Millions around the globe watched as the first coronation was broadcast on TV.
On the way to the coronation, she and her husband Philip rode in a gold state coach pulled by eight grey horses. She wore the George IV state diadem that has 1,399 diamonds and 169 pearls. The procession was made up of 250 leaders in England.
During the ceremony, The Queen first put on the newly-made Colobium Sindonis - a loose linen-lawn garment, and then a robe of cloth of gold called the Dalmatic or Supertunica. The Lord Great Chamberlain presented the golden spurs, the symbol of chivalry, after which the Archbishop of Canterbury presented a jeweled sword, and then the armills, the golden bracelets of sincerity and wisdom. Finally, The Queen put on stole and cloth of gold Robe Royal and received the orb, the coronation ring, the glove, and then the scepter.
The imperial state crown was placed upon her head and she was anointed with oil and then they recited the Lord’s Prayer. (I’m leaving a lot out. It was a three-hour service!)
After the ceremony, thousands lined the streets in the pouring rain to get a glimpse of their new queen.
This morning, we are going to look at another coronation - a coronation of a king. This coronation couldn’t have been more different than that rainy June day in 1953. The coronation we will look at literally changed the world.
Setting the Stage
Turn with me to Luke 19. We will be camping out there but the triumphal entry of Jesus is told in all four Gospels so I will be bringing in details from those accounts as well.
Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead several weeks before and had traveled to Jericho. On the road to Jericho, he heals two blind beggars and in Jericho he eats with a tax collector named Zaccheus who commits his life to follow Jesus.
After a parable about using what God gives you for the kingdom, Luke records:
“After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.” (v 28)
Luke paints a picture of Jesus walking ahead of His disciples with steely determination. Jesus knows what awaits Him in Jerusalem. The disciples were dragging their feet, perhaps out of fear or out of confusion about all this “dying in Jerusalem” talk.
Jericho is the lowest city on earth, nearly 800 feet below sea level. He was headed to Jerusalem, which was 3,000 feet above sea level. The road led through dessert and was nearly straight up for seventeen miles.
His destiny lies in Jerusalem. He has one week to live. He has an appointment with death. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’ Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
Bethany was one of Jesus’ home bases of operations. His friends Mary and Martha and Lazarus lived there about two miles east of Jerusalem. Jesus sent two of His disciples ahead probably into the village of Bethphage. He gives them an errand. Their job was to go a fetch a donkey.
Donkeys were ridden in times of peace. Horses were ridden in times of war. But it wasn’t just a donkey. They were instructed to bring back a colt, a young donkey that no one had ever ridden.
They were to untie it and when asked what they were doing they were to say that the Lord needs it. This was a very small area and everyone knew that Jesus was in Bethany so they would have known what this meant.
The two disciples found it just as Jesus had said. Did He make arrangements beforehand or was another staggering example of His Deity? Luke doesn’t tell us but the owners of the colt immediately give the animal to the two disciples to take back to Jesus.
(Next time try this – just go to someone with a Lamborghini and tell them that Jeff needs it)
Why a donkey? This wasn’t just a random animal that Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on. The prophet Zachariah spoke of the Messiah entering Jerusalem nearly 575 years before it happened. Zachariah predicted that Messiah would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Matthew, whose Gospel was written primarily to Jews, included this verse:
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zach 9:9)
Every Jewish boy or girl could tell you that when Messiah comes it will be on the back of a beast of burden. The prophecies were coming true right before their eyes. The disciples must have been out of their minds with excitement. John tells us that it wasn’t until after the resurrection that the disciples understood all that was going on here.
Let me make an important point here. You may be skeptical about the donkey. Jesus obviously knew the prophecy so He just set it up to look like He fulfilled that one.
There are over 300 references to 61 specific prophesies in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah. Let’s just look at eight of them. The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), come from the line of King David (Jer 23:5), betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zac 11:13), His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16), people would cast lots for his clothing (Psalm 22:18), as we have seen this morning, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zac 9:9), and a messenger would prepare the way for Him (Malachi 3:1).
These prophecies were written by different people in different places 500 to 1,000 years before Jesus was born.
Professor of mathematics Peter Stoner gave 600 students a math probability problem that would determine the odds for one person fulfilling eight specific prophecies. (This is not the same as flipping a coin eight times in a row and getting heads each time.) First, the students calculated the odds of one person fulfilling all the conditions of one specific prophecy, such as being betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver. Then the students did their best to estimate the odds for all of the eight prophecies combined.
The students calculated that the odds against one person fulfilling all eight prophecies are astronomical-one in ten to the 21st power (1021). To illustrate that number, Stoner gave the following example: “First, blanket the entire Earth land mass with silver dollars 120 feet high. Second, mark one of those dollars and randomly bury it. Third, ask a person to travel the Earth and select the marked dollar, while blindfolded, from the trillions of other dollars.”
The odds of one person fulfilling just these eight prophecies are astronomical. Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy. He is the promised Messiah.
“They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (v. 35-38)
The disciples took off their outer garments and made a makeshift saddle for Jesus. This was done for royalty. There was a crowd following and a mass of humanity was swelling out of the city to catch a glimpse of whom people were calling Messiah.
Mark tells that many people took off the cloaks and laid them on the ground in front of Jesus. This was the equivalent of “rolling out the red carpet.”
Many in this crowd knew Lazarus personally and had been there when Jesus raised him from the dead. Many others had seen the lame dance, the blind see and the deaf hear.
You can feel the fever pitch. The crowd is almost in frenzy. They began to sing and shout for joy. A group begins to sing the 118 Psalm, which is a song about the Messiah – Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” Matthew records people shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Hosanna in the highest heaven.” The word Hosanna means “save now!”
Matthew tells us that the people cut palm branches and started to lay them on the ground and wave them in the air. Champion athletes and war heroes were welcomed with palm branches
In other words, the Messiah (Son of David) has come! He will save us from the Romans and return the kingdom of Israel to its rightful place of glory and splendor.
Jesus knew humans are fickle. These same voices that praise Him now would be calling for His crucifixion less than 48 hours later.
This was an act of unbelievable courage. Jesus was an outlaw; there was a price on his head. The Pharisees wanted Him along with Lazarus. All throughout His ministry, He has discouraged people from worshipping Him publically. Now, He not only accepts it, He encourages it.
Now let me help you understand the timing of Jesus' entry to Jerusalem. Daniel had foretold of the coming of Messiah into Jerusalem and said it would be 69 weeks. This was a prophetic way of saying 483 years from the time Artaxerxes gave orders to rebuild the Temple. We know that happened in 444 B.C. and 483 years later would have been AD 30. Jesus knew God’s calendar better than anyone.
Jesus arrived during the Passover celebration when thousands upon thousands of Passover lambs were being slaughtered. Jesus knew the time He needed to arrive in Jerusalem. Passover was a shadow, a word picture, for Israel in order to teach them that there would soon come the perfect, spotless Lamb that would take away the sins once and for all.
So Jesus, in act of defiance against Rome and against the religious establishment, rides into Jerusalem fulfilling multiple prophecies. And the crowd went absolutely wild. And this really fired the Pharisees up!
“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (v. 39-40)
The Pharisees had been plotting to kill Jesus for a while now. He had broken their rules and insulted them for the last time.
A delegation was sent into the mayhem and they have a request – Jesus, tell these people to shut up! They are blaspheming God. You can make them stop.
Instead of telling the crowds to quiet down, He says something very interesting – if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
The landscape of Palestine is littered with stones. They are everywhere. Jesus tells the Pharisees that if all these people suddenly went mute, they would see the very first rock concert!
The Greek word used here means to “scream.”
In Habakkuk 2, we are told “the stones of the wall will cry out to you in judgment against Babylon.” (Hab 2:11)
When Jesus died Matthew tells us that “the earth shook and the rocks split.” (Matt 27:51)
The whole creation was ready to break out into spontaneous praise if these humans wouldn’t.
Let me stop for a moment and make another important point. If you were just watching and listening to this crowd, you would naturally assume that they loved Jesus. But that assumption would be wrong. They didn’t love Jesus. They loved the idea of a Messiah that would overthrow Rome and renew the kingdom of Israel. In other words, they might have looked like worshippers, but they simply had their own agenda.
It’s still that way today. There are many people sitting in churches this morning that look like they love Jesus, but they don’t.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
When Jesus says that He never knew them, He is saying that although they looked the part, He never had a relationship with them.
One of my professors, Dr. Kelly, went to Oxford backing in the 1960s. Students and even teachers who denied the virgin birth and Jesus’ miracles, and questioned the divinity of Jesus surrounded him but Dr. Kelly wouldn’t budge from what Scripture said.
Many years later, he got a call from a friend from Oxford thanking him for his strong stand for orthodox Christianity. He wanted Dr. Kelly to know that he had recently been saved. What had he been doing for the last 30 years? He was a pastor! He had spent the last 30 years preaching, writing, doing weddings and funerals but did not have a relationship with Jesus.
Do you know a lot about Jesus or do you actually have a relationship with Him through faith in His finished substitutionary work on the cross?
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor 13:5)
Back to the scene - with this throng of people surrounding Him, He came over the top of the Mount of Olives. There right in front of them was the holy city of Jerusalem. In the midst of all the celebration, adoration, and exaltation, Jesus burst into tears.
“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (v. 41-44)
He is heartbroken. The word for wept is the strongest word possible in the Greek. It means to sob loudly, to heave. The sight of Jerusalem meant that He was one step closer to the cross. And He knew the voices that were praising Him now, will call for His death then. He was sent to the Jews but they didn’t believe.
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (John 1:11)
They rejected Jesus and the Jews still reject Jesus. They are waiting for Messiah but He’s already come. If they had just believed, Jesus would have brought them the shalom they so desperately prayed for.
In the middle of a series of woes He pronounced on the Pharisees, He said nearly the same thing:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matt 23:37-39)
Jesus speaks prophetically over Jerusalem and tells of the city's future destruction.
In AD 66, the Jews revolted against Rome. This was the last straw.
In AD 70, Titus and the Romans surrounded the city of Jerusalem and built siegeworks against it. No one could go in or out of the city. They were trapped. The Romans surrounded the city and then waited. It took 143 days. Estimates are that over 600,000 Jews died. Then they razed the entire city to the ground, including the Temple. They literally did not leave one stone on another.
Why did this happen? Jesus said, because “they did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
John Knox lived in a volatile time of Scotland and was part of an amazing revival that saw thousands saved. His ministry was so powerful that Mary, Queen of Scots, is reputed to have said, “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”
Knox’s prayer is still echoed by pastors in Scotland today – “Give me Scotland, or I die!”
Each of you were given an invitation card and encouraged to invite at least one person to our Easter outreach. One member walked across the street and with her hands trembling, rang the doorbell. When her neighbor answered the door, she handed her the invite and told her about the Easter outreach. Since this neighbor also had small children, she told her all about Vacation Bible School coming up in June.
I’ve also heard of a family that took enough to invite every neighbor on their block.
Have we, as a church, really ever cried out, “Give us Chenoa, or we die?”
If you do not live in Chenoa, would you raise your hand? Maybe it give us Pontiac, Fairbury, Meadows, Westin, _______, or we die?
I want you to watch this video and think about the one person God is leading you to invite. (Remember, it’s our job to invite. We can’t make them come)
Invited to Invite Video