Summary: Discover three good reasons for why we owe our allegiance to Christ as King.
Susan and I were driving to different places on Friday and Saturday, and we saw quite a few palm tree plants sticking out of people’s cars. Now there were not as many as Christmas trees during Christmas season. But there were a few, and they looked like large green feathers.
Today is Palm Sunday, also known to some as Passion Sunday. How many people know the meanings of Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday?
Let me explain briefly. The palm branch represents "victory" in the Jewish culture of the Old and New Testament times. Palm Sunday points to the historic event of Jesus revealing Himself as God’s victorious King of Peace. We will talk more about Jesus as the King of Peace later this morning.
In terms of Passion Sunday, the word "passion" comes from the Latin word that gives us the word patient or suffering. Passion Sunday marks the historic beginning of Jesus’ suffering at the hands of sinful men. Good Friday marks the death of Jesus on the cross. Easter Sunday marks the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
This morning we will look at the surrounding details of Palm Sunday and see what this event reveals about Jesus and means to us. The text for this morning is Luke 19:28-44. Let me read Luke 19:28-44 for us.
Let me begin with a side-observation before we look at the main points. Some translations of the Bible label this section, "The Triumphal Entry," while other translations label this section, "Jesus Weeping over Jerusalem." How can one event have two very different perceptions? Because perception depends on focus. Let me illustrate.
When Susan and I take Esther to the doctor to get a shot, we put on fake smiles, so Esther won’t know. When we do this, we are focusing on her pain. Inside, we feel horrible, because we know it will hurt, she will cry, and we were responsible for her getting the shot.
But if we focus on the benefits of the vaccination, the horrible feelings we have go away. This focus assures us that her temporary pain will give her lasting protection. The different focus leads to different perceptions of the same event, Esther getting a shot. One is negative; the other positive.
In our passage, if we focus on Jesus saddened by the state of the Jews, then we perceive this passage to be about Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. If, however, we focus on this event leading to the death of Jesus to destroy the works of Satan and to pay for mankind’s sins, then we perceive this passage to be about the triumph of Jesus.
Focus determines perception. This truth allows Christians to have real joy in a messed up world. We don’t live in denial, but we focus on how this will all end -- in heaven. We think ahead to when "God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. [And] there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things [will] passed away (Revelation 21:4)." Because our eternal home is wonderful, we can have joy now, even if our journey home isn’t so wonderful.
Returning to the purpose of this morning’s study, we want to answer the question, "What does this Palm Sunday event reveal about Jesus and mean to us?"
First, this event reveals that Jesus was a King with a selfless priority. We see this in verses 28-36.
Reading this section out of context leads us to think that Jesus was quite domineering, or he was bullying a man. It appeared as if he took someone’s colt to make a grand entrance into Jerusalem. Let me give some context to show what he was really doing.
One chapter prior, Jesus explained to his disciples in Luke 18: 31-33, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again." So Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was not to show off, but to be killed to fulfill the words of the prophets.
What did the prophets say about Jesus going into Jerusalem on a young donkey? The prophet Zechariah records, "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9)."
Jesus is God’s righteous and gentle king. He came to bring salvation to mankind through His own death on the cross. With the prospect of suffering and death, Jesus did not look out for himself. Instead, he carried out the selfless priority.