Summary: A look at the last week of Jesus' life.
Sunday – “Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem”
1st in a Series on “Passion Week”
Are you being true to who you are? Have you found your purpose and meaning in life, and are you fulfilling all that God has created you for? Are you filled with a sense of security and confidence as you greet each day knowing that God is willing, capable, and ready to help you to accomplish all he has in store for you?
As we come into a new series today, I want us to take a walk with Jesus over the last week of his life before he was crucified and raised from the dead. I want us to look at his responses to people, things, and situations as he approached the cross. I want us to see how he stood confidently and firmly in spite of the accusations, insults, and mockery he endured.
Today we look at the Sunday before Jesus died and rose again. It’s the Sunday of his arrival into Jerusalem for the Passover. Read with me…
Matthew 21:1-11 (NLT)
As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead.  "Go into the village over there," he said, "and you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them here.  If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will immediately send them."  This was done to fulfill the prophecy,
 "Tell the people of Israel,
'Look, your King is coming to you.
He is humble, riding on a donkey—
even on a donkey's colt.' "
 The two disciples did as Jesus said.  They brought the animals to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.
 Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  He was in the center of the procession, and the crowds all around him were shouting,
"Praise God for the Son of David!
Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Praise God in highest heaven!"
 The entire city of Jerusalem was stirred as he entered. "Who is this?" they asked.
 And the crowds replied, "It's Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
According to Barclay, there are three things that we can learn about Jesus from this triumphal entry into Jerusalem:
1. He was courageous.
Over the three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, there was a significant amount of tension that developed between the teachers of the law and himself. All of his miraculous healings, revolutionary teachings and unorthodox behaviors (like healing on the Sabbath and communing with sinners of the day) had been hurling him headlong into a final confrontation with the religious leaders in Jerusalem. His triumphal entry would be the match that started the fire of controversy that would ultimately lead to his death.
Undoubtedly Jesus knew that going into the “Lion’s Den,” so to speak, would bring grave consequences, but he did so anyway. This took great courage on his part.
Now you might be thinking somewhat differently at this point. You might be saying to yourself, “That’s not courageous! That’s just plain stupid! Was he just going in to pick a fight? He should have known that to come into the city in plain sight, especially in the way that he did, would be a death sentence for him.”
Jesus could have come into Jerusalem under the dark of night; he could have been more discrete in his coming into town. He could have taken up lodging for a time so as to curb the anger of the religious leaders and allow the tension to die down a bit, but this just wouldn’t do; Jesus would have it no other way.
Even upon his entry into Jerusalem, as the people are shouting "Praise God for the Son of David! Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!", Luke tells us that the Pharisees wanted Jesus to rebuke his followers. And in a courageous response back to the Pharisees Jesus replied:
Luke 19:40 (NLT)
"If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!"
Not only did Jesus’ confidence require courage, his courage gave him the confidence to accept the praise of the people.
Everything Jesus had spoken to the people, all he had showed himself to be, would require nothing less that a confident proclamation of who he was. How could he be anything other? In his final week, he wanted all to know unequivocally, and without a doubt, that he was Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and this took great courage!