Summary: When we recognize the presence of Jesus, it produces a change. To have the presence of Jesus is to be willing to endure rejection and persecution.
Where Is Jesus—Jesus Is Here
Palm Sunday OT Zech 9:9-10 Luke 19:28-48
If someone were to run up to ask you and say, “where Is Jesus.” What would you say. How many would say, what on earth is wrong with you? He’s seated at the right hand of the Father? Who would say, he’s right here living inside of me. Last week Pastor Kellie told us that Jesus is Coming. Next Week Pastor Toby will tell us Jesus is Risen. I’m here to let you know that Jesus is here.
Have you ever had one of those days, when you just couldn’t wait for it to get there. That’s what Palm Sunday was like back in the first century. Go back with me for a moment in time some 2000 years ago.
It’s been three years and the people are dying to elect a young man for office. The guy is a man of integrity, he’s compassionate, and he’s able to see the big picture. He’s a great leader and inspires many to follow his ideas. He does not fear taking on the big powers that be and calling a spade a spade.
He gives hope to people who think life has passed them by. He’s the overwhelming favorite by the masses, but there is one problem with him. This young man will not declare himself to be a candidate. He’s consistently told the people, now is not the time. No one is able to talk him into running for office.
But today there is a sense of urgency about the young man. Word has leaked out, that today is the day, the young man will hold a press conference and declare that his time has come. It is late in the afternoon in the small city of Bethany, where the young man’s friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived, that he decides to declare that the time has now come.
The young man declares himself for the office crown, not by making a great speech, but by changing his means of transportation. He has walked all the way from Galilee to just a couple of miles outside the capital city of Jerusalem.
But in Bethany, he chose to ride on a donkey’s colt. It was not just any colt, but a colt that had never been ridden upon. The specification that this be a colt that has never been ridden is significant in light of the ancient rule that only animals that had not been used for ordinary purposes were appropriate for sacred purposes.
Now if we had of seen Jesus on CNN riding upon a donkey heading toward Jerusalem, we may have been waiting for him to make a speech. But the people of his times who knew the Scriptures would have recognized getting on the donkey’s colt was itself the speech.
The prophet Zechariah in the Old Testament predicts hundreds of years earlier that God is going to send his candidate for king heading into Jerusalem, riding on a colt. As Jesus gets upon the colt, everyone recognizes that He is saying, “the time has come, my time has come. I am here.
That is why on Palm Sunday there is a lot of cheering. People are so excited as they try to make shift a carpet road for Jesus and the donkey to ride over into the city. Some take off their coats and lay them on the ground. Some take palm branches and place them in front of the oncoming colt. People are running from all over the place to get a glimpse of Jesus as he comes down the Mount Of Olives to enter the city. Green palm branches continue to be laid into the city. People are running through the neighborhood shouting, Jesus is here! Jesus Is here!
Jesus is the most popular political candidate of His day. To the joy of many and to the dismay of others, now He’s throwing his name into the ballot box. The election is not even going to be close. As a matter of fact the people dispense with the election altogether. They start declaring, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” The crowds declare that Jesus is their king. No others even need to apply. Jesus is here.
The opposing candidates demand that Jesus stop the people from making such bold declarations. They know that their days are numbered if Jesus accepts the claims of the people. But instead of stopping them, Jesus affirms their right to declare Him as their king. He goes a step further and declares “even if I tell them to be quiet, the rocks and stones will cry out in their place who I am.”
There were probably more people shouting for Jesus and praising Him on Palm Sunday than there were any other day of his life. Yet Jesus knows that he will be dead before the week is over. When we are on the top, it’s easy to get caught up in the praises of others and forget that this is not what life is all about. You see praise can blind us to God’s call upon our lives.