Summary: The story of Jesus’ last week with a little poetic license from the Triumphal entry to the Crucifixion and burial. Tragedy to Triumph will complete the Story in a second sermon.
Triumph to Tragedy
Luke 19:33-38, "And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest."
Last Sunday was observed throughout the Christian world as Palm Sunday in remembrance of the events of the verses that we have just read.
It was Passover time, & Jews from all over the world were crowding into Jerusalem. News had gone out that Jesus was on His way. He had passed through the villages of Bethpage & Bethany on the way to Jerusalem that day. Word had spread rapidly before His arrival and a large crowd of people had gathered to see Him as He rode into town.
Along with those who were standing around the gates and streets of Jerusalem, there where those who traveled along with Jesus and his disciples with Jesus in the lead as He approached the city like a conquering king and hero.
There were those in this crowd who had also accompanied Jesus as he gave the great sermon on the Mount, those who had been healed of leprosy, blindness, lameness and so many other diseases, and there were those who had witnessed His power of bringing the dead back to life. Jews from every city, village and place where Jesus had ministered were there for the Passover and they cheered and bowed before Jesus as he rode into the city.
Waving their palm branches, symbolizing both peace and victory in battle, they were overcome by this one who had done so much for all of them.
Of course, some in the crowds were simply curious. They had heard of Jesus miracles and wanted to see just what this man Jesus looked like. Perhaps he would perform some great miracle for them to see. They were itching for a good time and for some excitement.
Most of the people were shouting "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna to the son of David!" They were praising Him and worshipping Him with all their ability as they recognized Him as King. I am persuaded that many of they really thought that Jesus had come as their delivering Messiah who would use his power to rid Israel of the hated Roman occupational forces and bring Israel’s freedom back.
If only they had only known that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem for a very different reason and a far more eternal purpose.
Mankind has always had the highest of accolades for the man who will take the reigns of leadership and lead people to victory over tyranny.
As our armies have returned from victory at the end of the great wars and battles of our American History, they have, for the most part, been welcomed home amid cheers of joy, with ticker tape parades and great ceremony down the streets of our great cities. Men like George Washington, Gen. Douglas McArthur, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and others have been welcomed home as conquering heroes of America.
And so it was with Jesus as the Jews looked upon Him with great expectations and hope that the long awaited Messiah had finally come to set them free.
This week in the life of Jesus began with the approval, worship and love of the crowds of Jerusalem but in His heart Jesus knew that this approval of the crowd would not last for long.
Only a few hours before, as He stood upon the hill looking down over the city that He loved so much, and at the nation that He had chosen to bring the Prince of Peace into the world, His heart was heavy with grief for He knew the condition of their heart and the events that would soon come.
Matthew 23:37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
His own disciples had not grasped the thought of what would soon take place. The hope was still alive in them that the crowd was right and that now they would stand beside their hero, Jesus of Nazareth, as he led defeated the Romans and then gave each of them a high position in the new government.