Summary: This sermon is from Matthew 21:1-11. It contains some historical background information on the triumphal entry and reminds us that another triumphal entry will take place when Jesus returns again. However, the second time he will be coming in conquest o
The Triumphal Entry
If you have your Bibles open them to Matthew 21. We will take a three week break from Romans to prepare for the Easter season. The passage we are going to study today is known at the Triumphal Entry and is the beginning of what Christians call Holy Week. Holy Week is at the center of the Christian Faith. Holy Weeks consists of eight days that begin with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday. Two great events bracket Holy Week–the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday and the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. Today as you know is Palm Sunday. And so let’s look as this passage in Matthew 21 that describes the first Palm Sunday.
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."
Jesus comes to Bethpage or Bethany the Friday before his death. In seven days time he will hanging on a cross. He celebrates the Sabbath in Bethany. It will be the last day of rest and worship before his passion. On Sunday he will enter Jerusalem the capital city of Israel. It’s Passover Time, one of the busiest times in the year. It was estimated that the normal population of Jerusalem was 20,000. Josephus a historian says that during Passover the population of Jerusalem could swell to 3 million people.
The Jews loved Passover because of the hope it offered. THE JEWS TREATED THIS AS IF IT WERE INDEPENDENCE DAY. It was a national day of Jewish pride. At Passover the Jews remembered the freedom of God’s people from the Egyptians. It also looked forward to the future freedom of the Jews. The people of God, the Jews, had been oppressed for a few hundred years. Under the Assyrians, under the Babylonians, under The Persians, under Alexander the Great & The Greeks, under split Greek rule, under corrupt Jewish leaders and now under the harsh rule of the Romans.
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5"Say to the Daughter of Zion, ’See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ "
Why did Jesus instruct his disciples to secure a donkey? Seems strange. Well, he did it to fulfill prophecy. Zechariah the OT prophet had predicted 575 years early that the Messiah would enter Zion (Jerusalem) on a donkey.
You see, the general events of Jesus’ life from his virgin birth to his triumphal entry were prophesied in the Old Testament, thousands of years before their occurrence. The events of Holy Week were not an accident. They were intentional. These events are orchestrated by God.
The words of Zechariah’s prophecy tell us two specific facts about the Messiah. First, he will come as a gentle king riding on a donkey. Second, he will come as a righteous king bringing salvation to his people (Ray Pritchard)
Usually kings did not enter city riding a donkey. Conquering Roman generals rode white horses. White horses were a sign of battle. This might explain why the Romans sat idly by on Palm Sunday while tens of thousands of people flocked to Jesus. From their point of view, the whole thing was a joke.
A king on a donkey? You must be kidding. No self-respecting king would be caught dead on a donkey. If you wanted to make an impact, you would come in on a white war-horse surrounded by soldiers. But on a donkey? No way.
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"[c] "Hosanna[d] in the highest!"
From reading John 12 another gospel we understand that Jesus enters Jerusalem on the tenth day of Nisan. Exodus 12:1-3 tells us that Nisan was the day that the Israelites in Egypt were to take a lamb into their households for Passover. During Passover in Jerusalem approximately 256,000 sheep were sacrificed in Jerusalem but one special lamb was chosen to by the high priest.
Guess when the high priest would choose the lamb? The tenth day of Nisan. The high priest chose his lamb outside Jerusalem, so a crowd gathered at the eastern gate. He would cross the Kidron Valley and enter thru the gate called “Beautiful” or “Golden.” He would hold the Passover Lamb in his arms. Crowds often gathered at the gate to welcome the priest and the Passover Lamb.