Summary: Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem
Theme: You who fear the Lord give Him praise
Text: Is. 50:4-7; Phil. 2:6-11; Lk. 19:28-40
Read Luke 19:38 “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”
Biographers normally devote very little space to the death of their subjects but the authors of the Gospels devote nearly a third of their length to the final week of Jesus’ life. Each one of them give a detailed account of the events leading to His death and our procession this morning is an enactment of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Jesus chose this dramatic way to proclaim that He is the Messiah, the King they were expecting. He chose a procession, which was different from the impressive Roman ones the people were used to. In these processions rulers or generals would ride on decorated horses or in golden chariots accompanied by officers in polished armour. Jesus’ procession, however, was different because Jesus did not come to rescue the world as a warring king, but as a gentle, humble and peace-loving king – a king that no one would have a problem approaching. Such a king deserves our praise and you who fear the Lord give Him praise.
The Jews had been expecting the Messiah and Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem fulfilled in every detail the prophecies made concerning Him. Although they had waited for a long time, He arrived at God’s appointed time, the right time for His presence to make the greatest impact. He came at a time when there was an extensive empire, the Roman Empire, with one administration and with one national language, which made effective communication possible. The triumphal entry took place when people from all over the then known world had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover providing them with the opportunity to hear and spread the Good News. They witnessed the Messiah entering Jerusalem fulfilling the prophecies made about Him. They had either witnessed or heard about His power and authority and the many miracles He had performed. He had healed every sickness and disease and even raised the dead back to life and the raising of Lazarus from the dead was still fresh in their minds. His triumphal entry itself was full of miracles. Although the Lord did not own a donkey, He knew where to get one and the few words “The Lord needs it” was all the disciples had to say and the owners gladly turned their animal over to them. Jesus again demonstrated His authority by riding on an untamed animal, a donkey that had never been sat on before, and we all know how stubborn donkeys are.
Great care had been taken for the Jews to recognise the Messiah. Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a colt that had never been ridden before since objects used for such sacred purposes should not have been used for any other purpose. He entered Jerusalem at a special time, when the Jews were preparing to remember the exodus and celebrate their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Their deliverance was not without battle and ten terrible plagues fell on Egypt before they were allowed to leave. The last of the ten plagues was the destruction and death of all the firstborn of animals and men. To save His people God made provision to pass over them. They had to kill lambs and sprinkle the blood on the lintels and doorposts of their homes. When God saw the blood He would pass over them to protect them from the destroying angel. The Passover prophetically portrayed the deliverance from slavery and bondage to sin by the Messiah. Just as the Passover lamb gave the Israelites the chance of a new beginning, so our Passover Lamb, Christ, gives us the chance of a new beginning. Jesus fully fulfilled the requirements of the Passover lamb. He entered Jerusalem presenting Himself to the people at the same time that the sacrificial lambs that would be brought to the priests for examination were being inspected. The lambs were set aside for four days to make sure they were without blemish before being killed. Jesus, the Lamb of God, in the prime of life, also came before the people and leaders for close examination for four days. The Herodians, Sadducees, lawyers and Pharisees examined him and they could not find anything to accuse Him of. The civil authorities examined Him and Pilate also pronounces that Jesus qualified to be the Passover Lamb by finding no fault at all in Him. He was found to be without blemish before shedding His blood on Calvary, the perfect Lamb of God. Just as the blood of the Passover lamb had to be applied to provide a protective covering so also must the blood of Jesus Christ. We apply the blood when we acknowledge Christ as our Passover Lamb and confess Him as our Saviour and Lord. Jesus Christ fulfilled prophecy in such a way that we cannot fail to recognize Him as the Messiah. The mathematical odds of all of those prophecies about the Messiah being fulfilled by one man cannot even be calculated. This really proves that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. It is, however, not enough to know Christ as the Messiah. We must also welcome Him into our lives. He alone can bring us freedom from slavery to sin, death, Satan, hell, and the law.