Summary: 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.
Opening Statement: What an active, colorful, almost hectic, back and forth scene it is. 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. 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 morning, into a tomb on Friday evening and all day Saturday, then ultimately result in him being raised to life again on Sunday morning.
Transition: As we look at this drama, there’s a theme that emerges…Salvation. And to have salvation, you must have a Savior. Luke does a wonderful job in his gospel of showing us our Savior courageously riding into an ancient city several hundred years ago to make a statement about what He came to do for all of us.
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.
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…
So Jesus finally gets to where He has been headed all along – Jerusalem. 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. But more importantly than these things, it’s the place where salvation happens. 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. The disciples really didn’t have any “donkey-fetching” experience, but they did what they were asked to do. This whole thing could have been an argument over who had to go get the donkey. But 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 capitalized on this for sure: “How much will you give me? How long do you need my donkey? How far will you travel? Will you make sure he is cared for? Will you bring him back when you are finished? Will you sign this ‘rental agreement?’ ”]19:35 Then they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt, and had Jesus get on it. 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 scream 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. 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.” It begs the question. Is he disappointed? Is the donkey uncomfortable? Did he expect more people?] 19:42 saying, “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."