Summary: In this sermon we look at Jesus’ Triumphant Entry. We see that in coming into Jerusalem that Jesus 1. Shows His Courage 2. He Proclaims that He is the Messiah and 3. Continues to Fulfill His Plan of Full Salvation
Theme: Palm Sunday
Title: Two Parades – One True Victor
In this sermon we look at Jesus’ Triumphant Entry. We see that in coming into Jerusalem that Jesus 1. Shows His Courage 2. He Proclaims that He is the Messiah and 3. Continues to Fulfill His Plan of Full Salvation
Grace and peace from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
I want to talk to you briefly about two vastly different parades that happened around the same time and then share more in depth about the One that led to the biggest victory of all time.
Many of us are familiar with what has been called Jesus’ Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem. It happened that day when Jesus road the back of a nursing donkey with its colt walking beside it as the people sang, waved palm branches and laid their cloaks down on the ground before Jesus.
What we may not understand is that it was not the only Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem during that time. While Jesus was coming into Jerusalem from the east, Pilate and his expanding army was coming in from the west.
Passover was a huge event on the Israelite calendar. It was that time of the year that the city of Jerusalem’s population swelled from its normal 50,000 to 60,000 inhabitants to becoming a city of filled with at least 250,000 some years and other years as many as 500,000 inhabitants. You can only imagine what that would do to a city to have an influx of some 90,000 to 440,000 extra mouths to feed and to shelter for a week or two.
+Passover was that time in which all Jews were invited to come home and celebrate how the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY had rescued and redeemed them from the tyranny of Egyptian slavery back in the time of Moses and Aaron.
+It was that time they were invited to celebrate God’s Sovereignty and God’s Saving Presence.
+It was that time of the year to reflect and remind themselves and any that opposed them that at any given time the LORD could raise up another leader that would put down oppression and violence and allow the nation of Israel to once again rule itself.
Many of those coming to Passover during Jesus’ time longed for the day that Israel would once again be independent and sovereign nation. They longed for example for the days of the Maccabees just 200 years earlier.
You may remember that around 168 BC the Jews were under the tyrannical rule of the Seleucid Empire and its leader Antiochus Epiphanies IV. Antiochus IV had a passionate dream of making his entire empire look like, smell like and feel like the land of ancient Greece. He wanted everyone under his rule to adopt the Hellenistic culture and lifestyle.
Antiochus IV couldn’t understand why the Jews didn’t want to adopt his culture and standard of living. Everything he tried to do to transform the Jewish culture was met with opposition. As a result Antiochus IV grew to despise the Jews. He hated their religion and he detested their way of life. He made it one of his life goals to force them to become more like the Greeks.
Antiochus IV outlawed the Sabbath. He demanded that the worship of Zeus be permitted alongside that of Yahweh in the Holy Temple. And finally he insisted that the priests allow the sacrifice of pigs inside the Holy Temple.
All of this was too much for a family of Levites that were serving as High Priest. Led by a man named Mattathias and then later by his son, Judas this Aaronic family led a revolt against the Antiochus IV and the entire Seleucid Empire.
It took around twenty years but by 148/147 BC the nation of Israel found themselves for the first time in over 400 years an independent and sovereign nation. Their independence, however, would only last for around 80 years until the Romans came in 66 BC and began conquered the whole Middle East including the nation of Israel.
All of this meant that by the time of Jesus the people had been in bondage to the Romans for just a little over 100 years. During this time the people of Israel longed for a new leader to rise up and defeat the Romans as Moses had defeated the Egyptians and the Maccabees had defeated the Seleucids.
To counter such aspirations and to put down any thoughts of a rebellion the Roman government would display an overwhelming show of force during the Passover Season. As the Jewish pilgrims would make their way back towards the city they would be greeted by an awe-inspiring show of Rome’s military might.
Pilate would triumphantly ride into the city with Rome’s renowned cavalry followed by thousands of heavily armed foot soldiers. The people would watch as thousands of soldiers wearing leather armor, helmets and carrying swords, spears and shields made their way into the city. High above their heads banners would be flying with the Roman golden eagles mounted on poles. They would hear the thunderous marching of feet, the creaking of leather and the clinking of the horses’ bridles. They would hear the deafening sound of the drums and struggle to breathe as the swirling of soldiers dust would fill the air.