Summary: The "ecstasy" surrounding the Triumphal Entry and the "agony" of Christ¡¦s realization that the masses rejected Him as their King.
The Ecstasy and the Agony
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!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
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."
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it
42 and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-- but now it is hidden from your eyes.
43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.
44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God¡¦s coming to you."
IF YOU HAVE WATCHED ABC¡¦S ¡§WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS,¡¨ you have heard the introduction which shows clips of athletes winning and losing, finishing and falling. The announcer speaks of the ¡§agony of defeat¡¨ and the ¡§ecstasy of victory.¡¨
Today¡¦s message is one of ecstasy and agony also. It is a Palm Sunday message¡Xabout the ecstasy surrounding the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the agony of His soul as He wept over the city.
Jesus was nearing the end of His last fateful journey to Jerusalem. He came up the Jericho Road from the Jordan River Valley and finally reached Bethany and Bethpage, two villages perched on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. There He mounted a colt to ride into the Holy City in fulfillment of Zech. 9:9. In doing so, Jesus was publicly presenting Himself to the Jewish nation as it¡¦s Messiah. But the rulers rejected Him and had Him tried, found guilty and executed.
There are three important things in this incident that are worthy of our attention.
1. The Cry of the Crowd (vs. 37,38)
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: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
They rolled out the red carpet. They shouted His praises. Why?
„h For the miracles He performed¡XHe had just raised Lazarus from the dead!
„h They quoted from Psalm 118 (a messianic psalm, a conqueror¡¦s song): ¡§Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.¡¨
„h They expected Jesus to drive out the Romans and set up His kingdom. This was an exciting hour¡XHis inaugural parade!
2. The Cry of the Critics (vs. 39)
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
The Pharisees are upset. Why?
„h Too much attention displayed (still a problem)
„h Jesus was being treated like the Messiah
„h They feared reprisal from the Romans
The answer of Christ: ¡§The stones will cry out!¡¨
„h Cried out at Calvary (earthquake)
„h Cried out at the empty tomb (violent earthquake; stone rolled away)
„h They cry out through archeology
„h They would cry out in judgment (vs. 43, 44)
„h They will cry out at His return (earthquakes)
3. The Cry of Christ (vs. 42)
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-- but now it is hidden from your eyes.
The ecstasy now turns to agony as Jesus weeps over Jerusalem. The Greek word for weep means ¡§a loud and deep wailing.¡¨ It is the cry of the heart.
Actually, there are 3 recorded occasions in the New Testament when Jesus wept.
„h He wept for Himself. Hebrews 5:7: ¡§During the days of Jesus¡¦ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.¡¨
Certainly this took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. He who never knew the taint of sin or the shadow of the Father¡¦s frown, or the least separation from the Father¡¦s fellowship was about to become sin on our behalf and even to taste the pangs of a lost soul.
Nancy Spiegelberg captured the scene in the Garden with these lines:
In the dark place of olive trees
You had a chance to turn Your back
on us and say: