The Triumphal Entry
The Triumphal Entry
The Triumphal Entry
Good morning church! I want to welcome you all here this morning. I hope you have come with a building excitement for our gathering next week on Resurrection Day! It is thee most exciting, and most important day, not just the Christian calendar, but any calendar. It is the day that Jesus the Christ defeated death, by rising from the dead on the third day just as He said He would. I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit.
Those of you that have children in our Children’s Ministry program today…some of them are going to be given a palm frond, a palm branch as they learn about palm Sunday, so I wanted to talk about that some today, to make sure we all knew what that was about. So, let’s pray together, and we will dig in.
Father in Heaven, we pray Lord that you are blessed today by our gathering. Our offerings of worship through song, through giving, serving, and the teaching and receiving of Your Word, my they bless you Father. Increase our understanding this morning, and make us more like Jesus we pray, it’s in His name, our Great Mediator Jesus, we pray, amen.
Now if you grew up in a family that went to church on Christmas and Easter it might seem like you caught the book ends. The beginning and the end, and skipped the stuff in the middle. Had you gone a little bit more, you may have learned that Christmas wasn’t really the beginning, and Easter certainly wasn’t the end!
Today is one week before what most people call Easter Sunday, I like to call it Resurrection Day, and I can’t wait to celebrate that with you all next week! I want to take a look back in our Bibles to that first Resurrection Day, actually a week before that, and share with you the absolutely incredible thing that happened. Actually, lets go about 1400 years before the first Palm Sunday. To the Book of Exodus. I haven’t forgot about 1 Timothy, if the Lord doesn’t come back before then, we will resume our study in a couple of weeks. Your bulletins say... we are going to be in Luke 19 this morning. That should read Matthew 21 I wasn’t sure where we were going to be when they were printed. So Matthew 21, That is where we are going to end up and spend the majority of our time. So if you want to turn there you can, or you can flip around with me a little bit.
So, 1400 years before the first Palm Sunday takes us to Exodus 31.
In Chapter 31 Moses meets with God atop Mt. Sinai, and God speaks to him about the importance of keeping the Sabbath, the setting aside time to rest and spend with God. God then gives him two tablets, that have been carved with the finger of God. On them is the 10 commandments for the Children of Israel.
Meanwhile, the people think Moses is dragging his feet and taking way longer than it should to climb a mountain, hear from God and come back. So they start melting down little pieces of gold that they can find. Earrings from their wives, their sons, and their daughters. Chapter 32, Moses’s brother Aaron takes the gold, melts it all down and then forms that into a golden calf. Presents it to the people saying, hey Israel, here’s your god that delivered you out of our bondage in Egypt.
Moses then comes down from the mountain and he hears this great uproar. At first he wonders if it is the sound of war, but then he hears singing. He is probably thinking that they are rejoicing because he is coming back after meeting with God. When he gets there he sees what is going on and he flips. He casts the tablets out of his hands and they shatter.
Chapter 34 God tells Moses, that wasn’t the plan. Cut two more tablets and head on up to the top of Mt. Sinai again and I will carve the words that were on the first set, onto your set. Moses does what God commands him to do. Exodus 34:5-7
5 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
The NIV translates the last verse, verse 7 like this…Exodus 34-7
7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
Understand these verses tell us a great deal about the attributes of God. He is merciful, he is gracious, longsuffering, He is abounding in goodness and truth. Yet He is also Holy, righteous, and Just. Meaning even though He is love, He can’t let sin go unpunished. The bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We think of wages today as payment. We work, and we earn wages. And it is the same here the wages, the price, the cost of sin is death. When we work, it pays money. When we sin it pays death.
These ten commandments were just the beginning of the law. If you want all of it, read the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and then some of it is repeated and more is added in the book of Deuteronomy. And the Bible tells us that if you want to live under the law, you’ve got to keep the whole law, which none of us have ever done and that makes us guilty before a Holy and Righteous God.
Now, I want you to hear me out on this for just a second…because sometimes when people come to church and they hear that, it hurts their feelings. Actually, it really offends them, and I’ve had some get up and walk out. So what I want all of you to do is look behind you real quick, not to see if someone is trying to split, just take a quick look behind you. I know there are some of you back roll believers that don’t have anyone behind you...., now don’t be obvious about it, but check out the people sitting on your left, now the ones on your right, …if everyone is doing it right, you should be looking at the back of someone’s head that is also looking to their right…so they don’t know you’re staring them down. Alright, up here, let me have your eyes up here on me for a minute. Now, I don’t want to frighten any of you, but do you realize that you are in a room full of sinners?
A room full of people whether it is their first time here, or they’ve been here for every service that we’ve ever had, a room full of people that aren’t good enough, haven’t done enough, and can’t buy their way into Heaven? But God made a way. All of this book is about that way. The Old Testament, from beginning to end talks about One that would come…Messiah, the Savior.
They had the law and every single one of them, that lived under the law... broke the law, so a sacrifice had to be made. The people would bring an unblemished animal to the Temple Priest, not out of gratitude, but out of guilt. The sacrifice had to be voluntary, if it was going to mean anything, if it was going to accomplish anything. It was costly, bought from your own resources. And it’s blood had to be spilled, the life of the animal given in exchange for the guilty law breaker, what we now call sin.
The way the Temple was set up even told a story. The presence of God was in the center area known as the Holy of Holies. And even after spilling the blood of an animal as a temporary covering of your sin, you still could never go into the Holy of Holies, because sin separates us from God and purification was required. In fact it was only one time per year one the day of Atonement, the High Priest would go into this room, after the whole nation fasted, and then the priest offered sacrifice, first for himself, and then for the nation, because no matter how good you were, how often you sacrificed an animal in your place, it never fully covered the wages of your sins.
This sacrifice showed that sin was serious and that it was costly. The entire Old Testament made promise of this Savior to come. Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Immanuel means “God with us.”
You know the verse, if you only know one verse, it’s probably this verse, can you read it with me church? John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
So, even those that grew up only going to church on Christmas and Resurrection Day know that that is what Christmas was all about, the Savior being born. This Son, Immanuel, Jesus. Matthew tells us Matt 1:21-23
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
So Jesus comes, and let me summarize 33 years of His life on earth, never sinned. Unlike the person to your left and to your right and standing before you today, Jesus never sinned! Not in thought, not in action, or by accident. Fulfilled the law by living a sinless life. No justice, no punishment required for His sinless life.
Even so,... just like today, as people checked Jesus out,... they all came to different conclusions. Some said, man He’s crazy, that guy actually thinks He’s God. Others thought that He was a good man, a great teacher or Rabbi, some said He was a Prophet, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, but others knew the truth, they knew that Jesus was the Savior sent by God, that He was God, that came as a man. Adding humanity to His deity, so that He could Save us. That was what was announced really on Palm Sunday. Let’s check it out. Matthew 21, starting in the 1st verse.
1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.
So, let’s consider this. Up until this point in the public ministry of Jesus, we see over and over again an attempt to keep things... quiet? To not draw too much attention, too soon. Mark chapter 1 He heals a guy of leprosy and says, “See that you say nothing to anyone.” Mark chapter 7, He heals a guy that couldn’t hear and who couldn’t speak, and it says that, “Then He commanded them that they should tell no one.” That was the way it was until this day. See, this was a special day.
In the book of Daniel, there is a prophecy about the coming Messiah. Lets look at it together Dan 9:24-25
24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
So when was this command given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, the streets and the wall? Nehemiah chapter 2, in the first 8 verses we read about King Artaxerxes making a decree giving Nehemiah permission, and supplies to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the walls on March 14th, 445 B.C.
There is a book some of you might be interested called The Coming Prince, written by Sir Robert Anderson. In that book, he shows in great detail, that this prophecy of 70 weeks which is 7 weeks + sixty two weeks, or 69 groups of 7 year periods equals a total of 483 years. The last seven week period hasn’t happened yet, I believe that is the tribulation period.
But Sir Robert Anderson took the old calendar which was composed of a 360 day year broken up into 12 months, with a 13th month used occasionally when necessary to adjust. So, what he did was calculated out 483 years or on this calendar 173, 880 days, from the day that the command to restore was given and that takes us to April 6th, 32 A.D....This Day, that Jesus rides into the City of Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey, and the people welcome Him as their Messiah. That is what is happening here!
So Jesus tells two of His guys, Matthew 21:2-3
2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”
Jim, Nick go down to the movie theater plaza in the opposite town, Orono, and you’ll find a 3/4 ton Silverado down there and right next to it will be a new S-10. Grab them both and bring them back here. If anyone hassles you at all, just tell them Pastor needs them, and they will let you go. Have you ever stopped to consider what was going through those two guys heads? That sounds a little crazy? That would take some faith, to actually go do it.
How many of us would have gotten stalled out in the “Yeah but, what if” stage? What if this? What if that? If the owner tries to stop me, or call the police, just say the Lord has need of them. I’m either going to jail, or I’ll get blue papered into a mental hospital. How often do we get stuck there today. The Lord gives us step one. We know He is telling us to do this or to do that, or to let this person know this, or prophecy this to them, or ask them if they are OK, or if you can pray for them. Lord I don’t even know them, what if.
Invite them to church next week, yeah but what if? Come to find out this crazy thing He was asking them to do was an incredible miracle that had been prophesied about before they were born, and God chose to use them to be a part of it. Ever wonder what incredible things the Lord has desired to use us in, but we what if’ed our way out of it?
Not these guys, they obey Jesus, they bring them back, and He humbly rides the colt into the city and then, verse 8...
8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”
Understand what is happening here, Hosanna in the highest. They are actually quoting from Psalm 118:25-26 and old song of praise for them...
25 Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
The word Hosanna from verse 9 translates Save Now! So Jesus is now publically recognized as the promised Messiah, the Savior. The people were spreading their own clothes down on the road, a total and complete act of submission, they laid out palm branches, a symbol of victory Matt 21:10-11
10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” 11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”
What an absolutely incredible day! Can you imagine being one of the guys that has been following Jesus for 3.5 years? Working with Him, serving with Him, not knowing where you were going to lay your head and night and now, finally, finally, the world knew what you knew, or hoped all along, that Jesus really was the Messiah, the One that came to save. Finally He would set up His kingdom.
Imagine the joy, the celebration, the urgency to finally figure out who what going to be in what position in that kingdom…that was the disciples. Imagine the week ahead. Jesus would be betrayed by one of His own. They would share the last supper together, He would institute communion, for them to remember and proclaim, and many of these same people would be shouting, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” and He would be killed on a cross.
But on this day, they were rejoicing, their minds were on other things. On this day, this day of victory, this day of celebration, Jesus’ mind was no doubt on other things as well. I believe His mind was on you and on me. If you turn back a page from where we are and look at Matthew chapter 20, verse 17 says.
17 Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them,
So on His way to this day, on His way to the things that we have read about today, He tells them…Matt 20:18-19
18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
Knowing He would be mocked, beaten with whips, and nailed to a cross, He willingly went, to pay our wages, to serve our sentence. You and I can never ever fulfill the law, we have already blown it. The wages of one sin, is death. Separation from God for all of eternity. No number of good deeds can erase that, that’s not how this works.
Jesus Himself told us that there is only one way and that One way is through Him. We must essentially tap out. Admit that we can’t beat the law, we can’t satisfy the debt. So we either serve the sentence... or we admit that we have sinned. That God is the boss, not us.
We need to ask Him to forgive us, not because we are sorry, or going to try harder, or because we deserve it. Forgive us because we believe that Jesus loved us so much that He thought we were worth dying for. And we are asking God to receive the payment or the wages that He paid on the cross for us, and credit that to our account, making us clean. Forgiving every single one of our sins, and opening up for us a relationship with Jesus as our Lord and our Savior.
So next week, we will talk about the week after this day. We’ll talk about that it wasn’t just His death, the price being paid that was required, but that He defeated death and came back to life, rising from the dead. That is what Resurrection Day is all about, it makes ever other day matter. I personally wouldn’t be in church if Jesus didn’t defeat death.
Grace and Peace!