Summary: The final week of Jesus’ ministry is beginning, and the triumphal entry is a prelude to so much that will happen that week, and in eternity as well! First in a series that will lead us all the way to an early Easter in March. Link inc. to audio and ppt.
The King is Coming!
Believe it or not, we come now to the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. We’ve preached somewhere around 70 times in this “Gospel of Jesus” series thru Matthew, and we’ve covered most of His life, but the last week will take us at least 20 more messages to do justice!
Everything from now on takes place during that final week, and much of it isn’t about the cross or Easter at all. Much of it is some powerful final teachings He shared with His disciples. This includes the ‘end of the world teachings’ we are about to begin in a couple weeks in chapters 24-25. It sounds like the book of Revelation at that point and I believe Jesus is speaking directly to us today about things we see going on right here and now!
Jesus is now on His way to Jerusalem to present Himself as the Passover Lamb. He knows what lies ahead for Him. People are converging on Jerusalem from all directions, 2-3 million of them perhaps.
Imagine the crowded streets everywhere you look. Up ‘til now Jesus has for the most part avoided the big crowds and kept a low profile. But now He comes front and center, and allows His disciples to announce Him as the Messiah. Why? He’s moving things toward His ultimate rejection by the religious leaders, putting the wheels in motion for His ultimate sacrifice.
From this point on in the week chaos ensues, it appears, but actually Jesus is in full control, guiding all things. And today those in Washington just think they are in control, the UN may think the same as those in the European Union, or in Russia, or in the Middle East. Those who follow Allah may think they are guiding where the world is going, but God is still on the throne, and the king’s heart is still in the hand of the Lord!
Jesus said in John 10, no man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down. He wasn’t a victim or a martyr, He is the loving sacrificial Savior!
1. The King’s Preparation.
All His earthly life He was preparing for the events to come in this week, and it quickly becomes evident that He is ready!
a. He has the power to fulfill prophecy.
v. 4-5 He is fulfilling the prophecy of Zech. 9:9. This is just one more example of how the prophecies about Jesus and His coming to earth were fulfilled...and mark it down, just as surely as they were, the prophecies about His second coming will come to pass just as they have been written. He’s coming back any time on a cloud FOR His own, and following the tribulation He’ll return again in the sky WITH His own.
b. He has the power to control nature.
v. 2-3 Just as God allowed a donkey to speak in the OT, He made this unlikely situation work out, that people would just give their property away to someone they don’t know, for no good reason. Further, Mark’s gospel says this donkey had never been ridden before. It’s not tame, and I can tell you you’d have to have dominion over the animals as their Creator for this to work out. To do this you’d have to be able to walk on water, calm a storm, or heal with a touch.
Ill.—pony story from our vacation
2. The King’s Presentation.
a. Jesus in His lowliness.
v. 6-8 This King is on a donkey, not a chariot. The Roman authorities were used to royalty, but not like this. The Jews had had kings before, but none so common. The red carpet is replaced with branches from the trees and people’s shed clothing.
No doubt some scoffed at the Jesus parade...some king this is, they may have said as they looked at it go by. I imagine Zacchaeus being in the parade saying, I used to be dishonest, but no more...and there’s the man that changed me. Blind Bartimaeus could say I once was blind but now I see. The maniac of Gadara could be in the parade, but he’s a different man, but the crowd still thinks he must be crazy to follow this guy. Beggars, harlots, outcasts could have marched with Him along the route, singing His praises while onlookers made fun of such a bunch.
And our world laughs still today, but I for one am proud to be a part of the Jesus parade! I was blind, a beggar, and outcast, but He saved me! Like Paul I want to say out loud, I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ!
b. Jesus in His loftiness.
v. 9 These are quotes from Psalm 118. Not all of these are dedicated followers. Many of these are fickle crowd followers who in a few days will cheer on his crucifixion! Even His most dedicated followers will flee the scene then.