Summary: Palm Sunday was the beginning of Jesus Plan to take our place on the cross. He knew how the pharisees would react and he came to push their buttons so that we could be saved. .
Pushing Their Buttons
For three years Jesus has been teaching. And now He has set his eye on Jerusalem. It is the seat of power for the Jewish church. And there are several people in powerful positions in the church who want Jesus to disappear. Matthew chapter 16, Jesus tells Peter He is headed to Jerusalem. And Peter begs Him to go in the opposite direction. Jesus’ reaction is quick and decisive. Matthew 16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Jesus knew what was about to happen. And He was going to push their buttons and make them as angry as possible. Why? According to Peter it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. But let us look at the situation from a different perspective for a moment.
Have you ever had a really sick child? As a parent, you do whatever is necessary for them to get better. We take off work, we go to the doctor’s office and wait for hours just to hear him tell you to keep on doing what you have been doing. And while I have never personally experienced it, there are parents whose children have life threatening illnesses. And they are trapped in an emotional and financial black cloud, praying that their child will survive. And without exception parents facing this challenge would move heaven and earth to save their children. And all of them have willingly prayed to take the place of the sick child, which of course, they cannot do. However Jesus is not just anyone. Jesus is God incarnate. Jesus can do something about God’s sin sick people.
For three years, he has taught, healed and spread the Good news that God still loves His people. He has shown them that faith is the key to reconciliation and salvation. Now, in order atone for our sins Jesus decides to take our place. He decides to bare the punishment for our transgressions. He switches places with us. Jesus decides to push whoever’s button it takes to make that happen. He starts with Palm Sunday.
As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “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. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. This event is the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, the only Scripture in which Israel’s King comes riding on a colt.
He is fulfilling the scriptures He knew it and the Pharisees knew it too.
37 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:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[a]
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
For once, Jesus is getting the praise from the people He deserves. Angels proclaimed those same words at His birth and now for a moment, some people get it right. But that doesn’t please the Pharisees.
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
For the next few days Jesus will continue to teach, preach and heal the sick. He will also cleanse the temple and openly challenge the Pharisees. He will expose their hypocrisy and hard hearts. While they make plans and take action to have Him arrested and executed.
God’s people are sin sick and He is going take the pain and the torture that we deserve. God, Himself is throwing his body on the proverbial hand grenade to save all of our lives. And on Palm Sunday He puts the plan in motion so you and I could be saved. Amen.