Summary: Sometimes it is hard to distinguish failure from ultimate success.
That Special Week: Sunday and Monday
(Matthew 21:1-22, 23:37-39)
1. Hundreds of sages or rabbis in the first century had disciples who would follow them and receive instruction in the Torah, the written Law of Moses and the oral interpretations of that Law by the famous rabbis.
2. It was not unusual for a man to go away for a month or two, or even a couple of years, following a rabbi and traveling to and ministering in small towns and villages.
3. There was nothing unusual about a Sage asking men to become his disciples, and there was nothing unusual about people opening their homes to these traveling rabbis and his disciples. This was so common that they had rules; for example, a married man could not leave home for more than 30 days without the permission from his wife.
4. When Jesus told his disciples to borrow a donkey and to say that the Lord had need of it-- this was not unusual either. The Jews had an ethic to encourage and support these programs of spiritual development.
As a matter of fact, in the Talmud we read that a man was to put a Rabbi who discipled him above his own father:
When one is searching for the lost property both of his father and of his teacher, his teacher’s loss takes precedence over that of his father since his father brought him only into the life of this world, whereas his teacher, who taught him wisdom [i.e., Torah], has brought him into the life of the World to Come. But if his father is no less a scholar than his teacher, then his father’s loss takes precedence…
If his father and his teacher are in captivity, he must first ransom his teacher, and only afterwards his father — unless his father is himself a scholar and then he must first ransom his father. (Bava Metsi’a 2:11)
5. What singled Jesus out were His Messianic claims which were substantiated by His miracles. The other Sages claimed to be nothing more than Bible scholars who were out to train others; Christ claimed this as well, but He claimed to be the promised one. It is this claim that resulted in Him being hated by the religious leaders and eventually crucified.
6. So was Christ a success or a failure? The answer is clear: He appeared to be a failure when He was crucified in weakness, but proved Himself a success by resurrecting from the dead.
Main Idea: Sometimes it is hard to distinguish failure from ultimate success.
I. Sunday: The REGAL Savior (Matthew 21:1-11)
(show photo of Palm Sunday)
Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey…"
Psalm 118:24-27, "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O LORD, save us; [note: this is what Hosanna translates to] O LORD, grant us success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar."