Summary: Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Before we begin this morning I would like to share a little story with you.
A pastor was preaching in an unfamiliar church one Sunday morning. As he stood in the pulpit to begin the service, he tapped the microphone to make sure that it was on. He heard nothing, even though it was working fine. So he leaned closer to the microphone and quietly said; "There is something wrong with this thing." The congregation, being well trained church people immediately responded, "And also with you."
It’s Palm Sunday. What does this day mean to you? Just one more week until chocolate heaven? Does this mean that today is the day we get the leaf at church and the kids parade through the sanctuary with them? Actually, it’s the day they threw down the symbolic red carpet for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Can you imagine what it must have been like on that day almost 2000 years ago?
Henry’s Commentary says this of the event:
Christ’s coming into Jerusalem thus remarkably shows that he was not afraid of the power and malice of his enemies. This would encourage his disciples who were full of fear. Also, that he was not disquieted at the thoughts of his approaching sufferings. But all marked his humiliation; and these matters teach us not to mind high things, but to condescend to those of low estate. How ill it becomes Christians to take state, when Christ was so far from claiming it! They welcomed his person; Blessed is he that cometh, the "He that should come," so often promised, so long expected; he comes in the name of the Lord. Let him have our best affections; he is a blessed Savior, and brings blessings to us, and blessed be He that sent him. Praises be to our God, who is in the highest heavens, over all, God blessed for ever.
In fact Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, on this day may have seemed to be the high point of his ministry. All of these people have come together to see and hear him preach. They are shouting Hosanna! Hosanna! Lord Save Us. He looked to be the hero, if not superstar of the day. However, within a week, these same people who were parading through the street, waving palm branches and shouting Hosanna to our Savior, would stand before him and Pilate and yell…Crucify him, Crucify him! Why?? You may have asked yourself numerous times, how could this have happened? What changed the hearts of these people that they literally went from one extreme to the other in regards to the life of Jesus? The people were living in a dream at that point, not in reality. You see, the reality of the situation was Jesus was not the kind of hero they hoped he would be. Jesus was not the kind of king to lead an earthly army. Jesus would not deliver the Jews from the Romans. Their dreams of who Jesus was turned into the reality of Jesus as a heavenly Messiah, which they could not understand. Even Jesus, as he rode into Jerusalem, wept for his beloved city, as it says in Luke’s gospel, for he knew the dreams of this day would turn into the reality of pain, death, and suffering.
During the week that followed this great triumphant ride into the city, Jesus spoke of the realities of who he was. Over this Lenten season, we have seen Jesus surrounded by people before. We have seen the crowds at Capernaum, and other places in his ministry. Satan had tempted him in the Wilderness with fame, fortune, and power. However, Jesus did not yield. Now after three and ½ years he is preparing to enter the city of Jerusalem, and the people are expecting a conquering hero. Will he submit to the will of the crowd, or is he here on a specific purpose?
Jesus had come to Jerusalem with a purpose. He was here to refocus the worshippers and the priests at the Temple.
If we read on in Mark we see the purpose that Jesus has for coming to town. Let me read from Mark v15- 18
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: "`My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it `a den of robbers.’ "The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.