Summary: Do we get caught up in the ’crowd mentality’ of today as people did on the day Christ rode into Jerusalem? How does society influence our thinking and our actions?
Who is This? Palm Sunday, April 5, 2009 Matthew 21:1-11
The Triumphal Entry
1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."
4This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5"Say to the Daughter of Zion,
’See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ "[a]
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
"Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!"
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"[c]
"Hosanna[d] in the highest!"
10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"
11The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
Can you hear it? It’s getting louder. There’s a noise off in the distance. What’s going on? I see something now. It’s a crowd of people making their way to the gate of the city. There are a LOT of people. Who are they? What are they doing? They’re cutting branches off the trees and waving them. They’re laying them on the road. They’re laying their cloaks on the road too. What is going on?! People are joining the crowd…lots of people. The noise is getting louder, and louder. What is that they’re saying? Hosanna! Hosanna? Save us from what? Are the Romans attacking? What kind of defence is this?
Hang on…what, or WHO is that? There’s a guy on a… on a donkey! He’s riding a donkey in the middle of that huge crowd. People are trying to get close to him. People are clearing the way…for him. Who is this? Hey neighbour…do you know what’s happening? Where’s my family?
Hold on…there’s my family, in the crowd. What are they doing there? It’s getting closer, and louder, and bigger all the time. They’re coming through the gate. There are so many people. They’re singing, they’re shouting, they’re dancing in the streets. The song is unmistakeably clear now… Hosanna! Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! WHO IS THIS?
The crowds answered…THIS IS JESUS!
Can you think of what it would be like to get up in the morning, knowing that there would be cheering crowds to greet you as you made your morning commute into the city? Everybody loves you, everybody wants you, everyone would do anything to make sure you were the most important person in their day…that was Jesus’ day in our text.
But who of us gets a day like that?
What an incredible day that must have been. Jesus riding into Jerusalem with the crowds all around Him shouting and waving branches and coats and figuring that the good times were rolling now…the KING IS HERE! You know, the KING! He’s the one who’s going to save us from the rule of the Romans, the one who’s going to take over and lead us to greatness again. He’s the gut we’ve been waiting for over 500 years! Our parents told us about him, as did their parents, and their parents, and their parents…we’re ready to be saved! That’s what ‘hosanna’ means…save us…save us now! Bring on salvation! Bring on the king!
What is a kingdom? A kingdom has a ruler and absolute and final authority on all matters of those who belong to his kingdom. A kingdom is a top-down political system where the king is king, and that’s all. Everyone else is subject to the king. What is the kingdom of God? It has but one ruler and final judge over all things and all matters related to those subjects of the King, God. God is King. God is Ruler. God is Judge. God is love. God is God and we are not.
The Jews of the 1st century wanted a king, a conquering, all-powerful, Roman busting king. But that’s not what they got now, was it? The scriptures tell of a messiah who will come to set the captives free. A messiah who will rule with an iron sceptre. A messiah who will sit on David’s throne forever, and ever. So were they excited to see Jesus coming up that road to the city? You bet they were! I can see people getting in the faces of the Roman soldiers in the city, ‘we’re gonna beat you…we’re gonna beat you…’