Summary: This sermon is a consideration of the voices in the Palm Sunday text of Luke 19
Every day there are many voices trying to convince us about how to live our lives. Those voices do not always offer wise counsel.
Illustration: Here are instructions on how to react to hungry pythons, as given to Peace Corpsmen serving in Brazil —
“Remember not to run away, the python can run faster. The thing to do is to lie flat on the ground on your back with your feet together, arms at your side, head well down. The python will then try to push its head under you, experimenting at every possible point. Keep calm (that was underscored).
“You must let him swallow your foot. It is quite painless and it will take a long time. If you lose your head and struggle, he will quickly whip his coils around you. If you keep calm and still, he will go on swallowing. Wait patiently until he has swallowed up to about your knee. Then carefully take out your knife and insert it into the distended side of his mouth and with a quick rip slit him up.”
I am not too sure I would consider that to be wise counsel.
There are voices that we hear in our text today as we consider the “Triumphal Entry” of Jesus into Jerusalem. Read Luke 19:28-48
Let’s examine the voices of that day and glean for ourselves the wise voices.
I. The Voice of the Donkey’s Owner (v. 33)
As we consider this donkey and its owner an interesting observation become apparent. The donkey seemed to have more sense than its owner. In Matthew’s gospel it is indicated that the donkey colt’s mother was brought along also. That would mean that the colt was young and unbroken and Marks’s gospel confirms that fact. Yet the colt permitted clothing to be thrown over its back and Jesus to sit on its back.
The objection came from the owner. He essentially was saying, “That’s my colt! Where are you going with my colt?” His concern was with his possessions. Had the disciples not insisted, this man would have prevented Jesus from using his donkey. What a loss of blessing we stand to incur if our possessions become so important that we question Jesus use of them.
Illustrations: We must say as Martin Luther did, “I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands that I still possess.”
Or as John Wesley who he learned that his house had been destroyed by fire, exclaimed, “The Lord’s house burned –One less responsibility for me!”
Illustration: The danger of hanging on to the things we think are important is seen in the method used to trap monkeys. A monkey trapper will tie to a tree a coconut shell with a hole just big enough for the monkey’s hand to fit through. Inside the shell the trapper will place something the monkey really wants. The monkey will place its hand in the shell, grasp the object of its desire and hang on. Not being able to remove his hand from the shell without letting go of its treasure, the monkey will be caught and carried away by the trapper.
Let’s not listen to our own voice of selfishness regarding our possessions. Possessions are temporal. They will pass away. Our relationship with Jesus is eternal. It is much better to give up what we cannot keep and receive something which can never be taken away.
II. The Voice of the Multitude (vv. 37-38)
As the objections of the donkey owner fade away another voice arises – the voice of the multitude. At first observation it would seem that this is a pleasant and positive voice. However, things are not always as they seem.
Illustration: A little boy told a salesclerk he was shopping for a birthday gift for his mother and asked to see some cookie jars. The clerk was impressed by the boy’s thoughtfulness and took him to a counter displaying a large selection of cookie jars. The youngster carefully lifted and replaced each lid. His face fell as he came to the last one. “Aren’t there any covers that don’t make any noise?” he asked. Obviously, the motivation behind the boy’s apparent thoughtfulness was questionable.
Let’s ask ourselves, though, what the multitude really sought. Notice two words in their praise: King and Peace. While the crowd was acknowledging the claim of Christ to be the Messiah, they were also declaring their expectation that He would free them from Roman oppression. The word used was “hosanna” which means “save now.” They expected Jesus to take up the throne and depose the Roman rulers. Their hope was that they would enjoy peace as a result. Their counsel would have been to enthrone Jesus immediately as the means to peace. On a previous occasion Jesus sensed the same desire. In John 6 following the feeding of the five thousand the multitude sought after Jesus. In response we read in John 6:15, “…when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by himself alone.” Clearly the motive of the multitude was not in line with the purpose of Jesus.