Summary: This sermon takes a look at four different groups of people and examines what they thought about Jesus.
Introduction: Jesus knew that his time to be delivered into the hands of his enemies was drawing near. He had told his disciples on two previous occasions that He must go to Jerusalem, and that there He would be turned over to the Religious leaders. He went on to tell them that He would be ridiculed and tortured, tried and convicted, and finally crucified on a Roman cross.
The disciples really didn’t understand Jesus’ ministry and mission on earth. Peter even attempted to talk Jesus out of going to Jerusalem. But Jesus remained obedient to the Will of The Heavenly Father.
Jesus sent two of His disciples on ahead of the rest of the group. He told them to make the necessary arrangements for His entrance into the Holy City of Jerusalem. He told them to go find a colt and a donkey, untie them, and bring them to him.
When the two men returned with the animals, the Disciples placed their cloaks on the colt for Jesus to sit upon. The stage was now set for Jesus’ last trip to Jerusalem, the Capitol city and the Holy City of Israel.
As He reached the outskirts of the city a large crowd began to gather around Him. They started shouting praises to Him, and called Him the "Son of David". Many in the crowd took off their cloaks, or took palm branches and laid them down in front of Jesus. This was their way of honoring Jesus. All of this created quite a stir in the city, as you might imagine. And when Jesus and His entourage entered Jerusalem and the people saw Him they ask "Who is this man?"
Not only did they wonder about who Jesus was, I’m sure they must have also questioned His purpose for coming to Jerusalem.
Just as we are often quick to jump to conclusions, or to form an opinion of someone, I’m sure it didn’t take long for the people of Jerusalem to make up their mind about who Jesus was, and what His purpose for coming to town was.
This morning I want us to look at four different groups of people, and consider who they believed Jesus was, and how that affected their lives.
I. The first group were known as the "Zealots."
The Zealots believed that Jesus was the long awaited Political leader who would lead the revolution against the Roman Empire. They were very loyal to their Jewish heritage, their traditions and their religious ceremonies. They despised the Romans, and everything that Rome stood for. The Zealots opposed the use of the Greek language in Palestine, and even the payment of taxes to the Roman Government.
They were anxiously awaiting the coming of the "Messiah", the "Promised one". They believed he would gather together the remains of the 12 tribes of Israel and lead them into battle against the Roman Empire. They knew that the person they were looking for would have to be a strong leader. Someone who could unify the various factions within Jewish society. The Zealots had been observing Jesus during his public ministry, and they had noticed that Jesus was a very charismatic Leader. There was just something about Him that attracted people. There was something about him, that caused people to leave their jobs and their families behind to follow Him. Everywhere Jesus went, people flocked around Him. The Zealots were hoping that Jesus would use his Charisma to sway public opinion, and lead the people in a revolt against the Roman Government.
The Zealots had seen Jesus perform a variety of miracles. They saw him feed over 5000 people with only five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. They saw him heal the sick, and they even saw him raise Lazarus from the dead. It was obvious to them that Jesus possessed supernatural powers. And they were hoping that Jesus would use these divine powers, to overthrow the Roman government and establish a New Jewish government, in its place. Of course they fully expected to play a major part in any government that was formed.
Unfortunately for them, they did not understand God’s purpose for sending Jesus into the world. And they certainly didn’t understand what He was doing in Jerusalem. Consequently as the days went by and Jesus continued to refuse to become involved in a political rebellion, their opinion of him changed dramatically. Instead of wanting Him to become their leader, they wanted to see Him killed.
Some people today are making the same mistake the Zealots made 2000 years ago. They see Jesus as someone who can be a leader for "Their cause". They don’t really care about His teachings, they just want to use Him to further their own self - serving cause.
Unfortunately there are some people who are using the Name of Jesus to inflate their self-centered ego’s and further their own political agenda’s.