Matt. 21:1-11 & Matt. 27:15-18, 20-23
“You Never Know Who Your Friends Really Are”
H Lee Clay
In our text Jesus goes to “Bethphage” (The house of the unripe fig). It was a village on the Mount of Olives on the road from Jerusalem.
He comes to a place that is full of un-ripened people. He seeks to be a blessing by His presence to a people that are not ripe or matured; they are spiritually immature. They’re not fully ready or prepared. If one is to come into what God wants to give them they must first come to a point of maturity to receive what God has for their lives. They must be prepared.
The Lord goes on to command a couple of His disciples to go ahead and bring back the donkey that has been left for the use of the Master. It’s an awesome thing how Jesus would use this donkey as an agent of God’s divine plan.
This is significant because it proves that it does not matter who you are or what you are. What really matters to God is whether He can use you for His glory. There are many able and capable people who claim that they know God that will not serve God and therefore will not be used by God because they have not surrendered themselves to God.
God is not impressed by what you claim or say with your mouth. People will often make claims that are not true to impress you. And oftentimes they will betray what their mouths have declared by the things that they do. What is really in a person is not defined by what they say with their mouths but what is emitted from their hearts.
That’s why you need to start being careful in calling people your friends because the truth of the matter is that not everyone that says good things to you is necessarily an acquaintance that is good for you. Because WHY, YOU KNOW WHO YOUR FRIENDS REALLY ARE!
A real friend is one that will be their for you in thick or thin; in hell or high-water and in good times as well as bad.
A real friend is a person that will contribute to your growth by being truthful to you about you. They won’t cash your pity party checks. They won’t put up with you wanting to go down.
A real friend will push you forward and seek to encourage you to do the right thing. Even at the risk of ticking you off or upsetting you. A real friend won’t front with you but they’ll keep it real with you because a real friend will love you even when you won’t love yourself!
Jesus here is poised on the back of this donkey and is about to make His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem as it was declared in the prophecy of Zechariah 9:5, written over 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
Verses 6-7 show how in fact His disciples do exactly as the Master had asked. That’s how you tell whose real for God and who is not real. Those who really love God will obey His Word by doing what he has asked. Obedience to the Word of God is the fruit of genuine faith in God. If He is really the Lord of your life than He is the Master of your will. When Jesus rides into town, a great number of people receive Him with great joy believing that He is
the One that will deliver them from their Roman oppressors. The people receive Him by laying out their coats and palms on the road that he will travel down as an act of respect and shout out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the
name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” (Lord, save us).
Now the real trip about this text is that most of the folk that were shouting didn’t even know Who Jesus really was. (vs 10-11 “And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”
That’s just to show you that oftentimes folk that act like they are your friends will assume things about you when they really don’t even know who you really are. As long as they thought that Jesus would get them out of their jam they cheered for Him.
Oh, but what a difference that a few days can make! On that first Palm Sunday they are blessing His name. But some four days later on that next Thursday night after Jesus was betrayed by a so-called friend named Judas with a kiss for 30 pieces of silver. Some of the very people that claimed they are your friends will sell you out.
Oh, but what a difference that a few days can make! They praised Him on Sunday and now after He’s been lied on and falsely accused. Now, that He’s been betrayed and abandoned by the very ones that said we’ll always be here for you Jesus.
Now, that His enemies have gotten the upper hand on Him. We find Him in this 27th chapter of Matthew having been slapped in the face and His beard torn out of his head. He’s been beaten all night. Whipped to a pulp. And then carried off to the Governor, Pontious Pilate’s court to be tried.
And when the question was presented to those same people who 4 days earlier were praising Him as the Messiah. Now they’ve joined His enemies and switched up on Him. (vs. 20)
Exegete verses 21-23
They tell him to crucify Him. Go ahead and kill Jesus. The ones who cried out to Him, “Hosanna, (Savior) blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”. Now they are crying out “CRUCIFY HIM”!
Fake Friends will always be found out and exposed for the liars that they are.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOUR FRIENDS REALLY ARE. Because the very people that are with you today can turn against you tomorrow. People that are fun today can be funny tomorrow. Folk that are feeling you today can be hating you tomorrow.
You’ve got to watch out for people that claim to be your friends. Because the truth of the matter is that everything that glitters ain’t gold and everything with wings sure can’t fly.Chickens have wings but they can’t run with eagles. Because chickens can’t fly.And fake-folk can look like real folk but when it comes down to the “flight test” of some trial that you are going through that will test the reality of the claim of friendship that’s when you’ll soon find out that many times, YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOUR FRIENDS
They tell Pilate to let go of a criminal and a murderer named Barrabus and to crucify the King of Glory. They take Him and nail Him to a cross. But they weren’t really winning because that’s the way God had it planned out all together
(John 3:16 & Rev. 13:8). His Son was born to die for the sins of the world. All of this was done that the prophecy of Isaiah would be fulfilled;
“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for ouriniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5)
He had to suffer that you and I might be saved. He had to suffer that you and I might be healed. For God so loved the world, etc. They may have crucified the Lord of Glory, but it was your sin and my sin that kept Him on that cross. He suffered a horrific death that we might experience the peace that comes through His shed blood.
It was the sin of the world that nailed Jesus to the cross. But let me declare to you how great a friend Jesus is. Did he get angry with them or us. No, listen to what He says,
“FATHER FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!
HE DIED ON THAT OLD RUGGED CROSS I TELL YOU THAT WE MIGHT LIVE LIFE ETERNAL.
HE HUNG ON THAT OLD RUGGED CROSS, THE EMBLEM OF SUFFERING AND SHAME UNTIL HEAVEN’S DIVINE JUSTICE WAS SATISFIED AND THE JUDGE OF GLORY WOULD DECLARE ALL THAT WOULD COME UNDER THE CLEANSING BLOOD OF THE REDEEMER JUSTIFED THROUGH FAITH. THAT’S A REAL FRIEND.
HE DIED UNTIL THE EARTH SHOOK, HEAVEN WAS UPSET AND HELL WAS HAPPY, THE DEMONS REJOICED AND THE ANGELS WEPT.THERE’S NO GREATER FRIEND THAN JESUS. HE DIED THAT I MIGHT LIVE.
THEY BURIED HIM IN A BORROWED TOMB. HE LAY THERE FOR THE SADDEST THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS KNOWN TO MAN. THEY SAY THAT MARY WEPT AND THE DISCIPLES MOANED. BUT LOOK AT HOW GREAT A FRIEND JESUS WAS AND REMAINS. HE LOVED US SO MUCH THAT THE GRAVE COULDN’T HOLD HIM AND DEATH COULDN’T KEEP HIM. I KNOW THAT’S TRUE BECAUSE EARLY ON RESURRECTION SUNDAY BEFORE THE SUN STARTED TO SHINE, EARLY ON RESURRECTION SUNDAY, BEFORE THE BIRDS WENT INTO FLIGHT, BEFORE THE CRICKETS STARTED TO SING, THE ROOSTER STARTED TO CROW AND THE DEW STARTED TO FALL, JESUS GOT UP DECLARING THAT ALL POWER WAS IN HIS HAND!
SAVING POWER! HEALING POWER! YOUKE BREAKING DELIVERING POWER! ALL POWER IS IN HIS HAND!
YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOUR FRIENDS REALLY ARE!
BUT WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS, ALL OF OUR SINS AND GRIEVES TO BEAR. WHAT A PRIVILEGE IT IS TO CARRY, EVERYTHING…………….