Summary: Jesus triumphant procession into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday seems straightforward enough, but the implications of this special event — documented in all four Gospels — run so deep that we may not have uncovered them all.
The Triumphant Sacrifice
1. "Children’s Letters to God" series, actual authentic letters written by kids to God:
"Dear God, I read the Bible. What does ’begat’ mean? Nobody will tell me. Love, Alison."
"Dear God, did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?" - Norma
"Dear God, I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay?" - Neil
"Dear God, thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy." - Joyce
"Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love everybody in the world. There are only 4 in my family and I can’t do it." –Nan
"Dear God, I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. That was cool. –Eugene
2. We are amused by how children reduce complicated matters to simplicity. To them, God and His ways seem quite clear-cut.
3. But sometimes we, too, fail to grasp the deeper meanings of the things of God.
Main Idea: Jesus triumphant procession into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday seems straightforward enough, but the implications of this special event — documented in all four Gospels — run so deep that we may not have uncovered them all.
I. Preparation for Jesus’ TRIUMPHANT Entry (1-6)
A. Arranged in ADVANCE
Jesus always, it seems, sent his disciples out in groups, at least two. The idea of loner-type Christians did not come from Jesus or the Bible…we need to get back to the idea of not just attending church, but having a least one Christian friend…
B. Strange He should ride on a donkey COLT
C. A FULFILLMENT of 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, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
II. The ENTRY Itself (7-11)
A. Where did these disciples COME FROM?
1. Pilgrims would welcome new groups coming in
2. Jerusalem during the Passover season
3. Jesus’ disciples came mostly from Galilee and Bethany, where He had raised Lazarus; they had stopped in Jericho to heal blind Bartimaeus
B. The Romans did not understand this as an UPRISING.
1. Jesus on a donkey, not a horse
2. No weapons involved
C. The branches were a national SYMBOL of Jewish national pride.
1. They also hailed royalty
2. They are signs of victory (Rev. 7)
3. Probably not the big palms used in the fall for Tabernacles
D. The people present hailed Jesus as MESSIAH (10).
• John 6:15, “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”
• What does “Hosanna” mean (a holy impatience, like Rev. 6)
• Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord
• Son of David
E. This was a SUBSTITUTION: Jesus came as a sacrifice the first time, as king the second time (11).
Like John the Baptist substituted for Elijah — The Lamb for the Lion (Zech. 9:10)
This was the day when every Jewish family was to select a sheep for the Passover sacrifice that coming Friday. Jesus was being presented in a similar fashion as God’s Lamb, although it did not appear so.
Why are things here so anti-climactic in verse 11?
R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua b. Levi pointed out a contradiction. it is written, in its time [will the Messiah come], whilst it is also written, I [the Lord] will hasten it! — if they are worthy, I will hasten it: if not, [he will come] at the due time. R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua opposed two verses: it is written, And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven whilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold, thy king cometh unto thee … ] lowly, and riding upon an donkey! — if they are meritorious, [he will come] with the clouds of heaven; if not, lowly and riding upon an donkey. King Shapur [I] said to Samuel, 'Ye maintain that the Messiah will come upon an donkey: I will rather send him a white horse of mine.' Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 98a
III. Understanding Palm Sunday: Looking At the PAST and FUTURE
A. The Past: the BACKDROP of Psalm 118:19-27
Psalm 118:19-27 (ESV)
Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.