Summary: The period before Jesus's Triumphal Entry in Luke 19 describe three pictures of submission: The submission of Jesus to go to the cross; of the disciples with an odd instruction by Jesus; and of the colt that carried Jesus into Jerusalem.
Submission on Palm Sunday
March 24, 2013
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 19
Today—one week before Easter Sunday—is what is known as Palm Sunday. It’s so called because of the palm branches used in Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This event is recorded not only by Luke, but by all the Gospel writers.
Let’s look at the setting and the scene of this story: Jesus and the disciples had come from Bethany to Jerusalem (about two miles from the south). The triumphal entry took place about five days before the most important of all the Jewish religious festivals—the Passover—was about to begin. There were probably no less than 300,000 pilgrims in Jerusalem for the Passover. A religious zeal pervaded the atmosphere. There was excitement and expectancy in the air.
But I want to draw your attention away from the festive multitude to the submissive minority. Because in this story, as well as in the story of the crucifixion, there are drawn for us in the God’s Word several beautiful pictures of submission—a quality highly valued by God. Consider with me today three illustrations of submission in our text:
I. THE SUBMISSION OF JESUS TO THE WILL OF THE FATHER – Luke 19:28 – “And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.”
Notice that last phrase: “…ascending up to Jerusalem…”. That little phrase is brief, but pregnant with meaning:
• In that little phrase, there was FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY.
Zechariah had said centuries before: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9) Christ fulfilled this prophecy precisely by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.
But it was more than just the exact fulfillment of a prophecy. Daniel, in his extraordinary Seventy Weeks prophecy had prophesied the exact DAY Jesus would ride into Jerusalem as Israel’s Messiah.
• Not only was there FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY in this little phrase, “…ascending up to Jerusalem…” there was also DANGER in it.
The last time Jesus had been in Jerusalem, there had been an attempt on His life that is described for us in John 10. There Jesus asserted His deity in no uncertain terms and John 10:31 says “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” Later in the chapter we read that there was another attempt upon, but that he escaped (verse 39b) and went to be with John beyond the River Jordan.
From that point on, Jesus was in constant danger. This danger increased after Lazarus was raised from the dead. Jesus was safer in the countryside, away from Jerusalem, the center of power of His enemies, but once He stepped foot in Jerusalem, the Jewish leaders would immediately plot to kill Him. And yet here we read that He was “…ascending up to Jerusalem…”—knowing full well the danger this act placed Him in.
• There was prophecy and danger in that phrase, “…ascending up to Jerusalem,” but also there was SUBMISSION TO THE FATHER’S WILL in it.
This act would lead to the cross—the whole reason for His coming.
> Ahead would be the awful mental and emotional turmoil in the Garden of Gethsemane.
> Ahead would be the traitorous betrayal of Jesus by Judas with a kiss.
> Ahead the disciples of Jesus would turn tail and run, and Peter would deny Him three times.
> Ahead lay a mock trial by a kangaroo court.
> Ahead was the rejection by the multitude, for the same multitude that cried at the Triumphal Entry “…Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” would shout “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” just a few hours later.
> Ahead lay shame and mistreatment—the mocking of the soldiers, the plucking of the beard, the horrible beating by the Roman soldiers, the wipping with the cat-of-nine-tails, the crushing of the crown of thorns into Christ’s holy brow.
> Ahead lay the cross, the agony, the suffering, the pain, the drink of vinegar and gall, the crowd’s mocking, the spear in His side.
> Worst of all—ahead was when Jesus would bear our sins on the cross and God the Father would turn away from His Son and pour out His righteous wrath for our sins upon Him, and Jesus would utter that mournful cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
When Jesus ascended up to Jerusalem, He knew ALL of that was before Him. And yet—Jesus was still submissive to the will of His Father. Though in His human side He dreaded what was to come, in the garden He prayed “…not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42b).