Palm Sunday...but Friday is coming!!!

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John 12:12–19 ESV
12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”


I am sure many of you have heard sermons, teaching and messages about Palm Sunday. So I have decided to analyze this event. This is one of the few events that are recorded in all four Gospels. Each author captures a different perspective of the story, something that shows how the Bible is reliable and trustworthy.
If all four Gospels were exactly the same it is evidence of a conspiracy. If I asked four people who were here last Sunday about the service, I would get four different answers. There will be agreement for the general truths (who preached, the passage, what day it occured, what time), but there will be some differences about what details each person remembers. This does not make the testimony of those people false, it just helps to provide a better understanding of the entire event.
This is what is happening here, Each Gospel records the event, but there are some differences in what details the authors recorded. These are not contradictions of each other, just a different perspective of each author.
This is the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, but I suspect that many today are missing the point. This was a coronation parade, but it did not happen according to the expectations of the people.
Even the disciples missed the message of this event. John 12:16
So, lets dive into this narrative.
Here are the other accounts of this narrative from each Gospel:
Matthew 21:1–9 ESV
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Mark 11:1–11 ESV
1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” 11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Luke 19:28–40 ESV
28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’ ” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Who were the people in this narrative?

As we identify the people who were present at this event, it could become confusing. If we look at just these passages, we will see many general descriptions (crowds, they), a few less general descriptions (disciples), and some very specific identifications (Jesus, Pharisees).
So, let’s break this down: The “they” in the opening versus are:
They (Matt 21:7; Mark 11:7; Luke 19:35)-Two unnamed disciples who were sent ahead to get the donkey and the colt.
Crowd(s)-These are three separate groups of people who all joined together to enter Jerusalem with Jesus.
The three groups are:
Those traveling on the road to Jerusalem (Matt 21:8-9; Mark 11:9;Luke 19:36; John 12:12)
Those who came out from Jerusalem to see Jesus (John 12:18)
Those who traveled with Jesus from Bethany (John 12:17)
The whole city-this was Jerusalem and those traveling for the Passover. Some accounts estimate between one to two million people.
The disciples- The language Luke uses in his Gospel is that this was ALL of Jesus’ disciples. (Luke 19:37)
ἅπας- entire adjs. — constituting the full quantity or extent; complete.
The Pharisees

Why does Jesus ride a colt (donkey)?

We have to get the correct picture of what this looked like, Middle Eastern donkeys are small compared to donkeys here. A grown man would have to bend his knees to keep their feet from dragging along the ground.
R.C. Sproul states in his commentary on Mark.
In the ancient world, including Israel, one of the prerogatives of the king was to commander a beast of burden whenever he needed it. As the King, Jesus exercised that right and commanded His disciples to get a colt.
R.C. Sproul
The only mention of the donkey and the colt are in Matthew. John MacArthur explains that the mother donkey was used to help bring the colt as it would follow its mother and would be easier to handle.
The colt had never been ridden. (Mark 11:2; Luke 19:30)
Why does this matter?
Like most riding animals, colts/donkeys usually need to be broken in to ride. However, in Jewish culture, no one was allowed to ride the kings horses or king’s donkey. Only the king could ride his beasts.
Mules were used by kings as a steed.
1 Kings 1:38 ESV
38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule and brought him to Gihon.
Mules were then used by all the princes (2 Sa 13:29); but there was a state mule of which all subjects were forbidden, under pain of death, to make use, without special permission; so that its being granted to Solomon was a public declaration in his favor as the future king (see on Es 6:8, 9).

Is this important?

There are two messages in the act of Jesus riding a colt(donkey).
Jesus is coming as the Messiah, but not as a warrior King. This was a peaceful coronation. (Zech 9:9-10).
John quotes Zechariah 9. Zechariah 9 quotes Psalm 72. Which is also a passage about a peaceful King.
Psalm 72 ESV
Of Solomon. 1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! 2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! 3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! 4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! 5 May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! 6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! 7 In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! 8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! 9 May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! 11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! 12 For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. 13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight. 15 Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day! 16 May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field! 17 May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed! 18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. 19 Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen! 20 The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.
Jesus is coming as the Messiah, but it is not as the King who will expel the Romans. Jesus was coming to free His people from something more powerful…the bondage of sin and the wrath of God.
Jesus was coming as a humble King.
Mules (donkeys/colts) were the common animal of the people. It was not horses but donkeys.
He further demonstrates His humility in the following days when He washes the feet of His disciples.
Jesus was sending a huge message in riding on the back of a colt. He was telling the world, I am the Messiah, but I am not your Messiah, I am God’s Messiah.
The people wanted to be free from occupation, but did not want to be freed from their sin.
This act was a clear message that Jesus was not going to overthrow the Roman rule, but He was going to bring peace. Peace with God.

Why the cloaks on the road?

This is a reference to
2 Kings 9:13 ESV
13 Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”
It was an act of submission of the people to the Christ the king. (2 Kings 9:13)

What is with the palm branches?

The waving of the palm branches was a clear sign of Jewish national identity.
In 164 BC Judas Maccabaeus, who was like a Hebrew Robin Hood, wrecked enough havoc among the Seleucid (greek) empire that they released the temple for the Jews to practice their faith. This event established a celebration event called Hanukkah.
Judas’s brother, Simon later drove the Seleucids out of Jerusalem. They Jews celebrated with a parade (similar to a ticker-tape parade). This parade was marked with music and the waving of palm branches. Since that point in time, the palm tree was a sign and symbol of military victory.
John’s Gospel, Hebrews–Revelation Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (12–19)

The use of date palm branches (13) had political undertones. When the temple was rededicated during the Maccabean era, palms were used in the celebration (1 Macc 13:51; 2 Macc 10:7). In the extra-biblical tradition, palms were used by Levi as a symbol of ruling power (T. Naphtali 5:4). During both major wars with Rome, reliefs of palms were stamped on the coins minted by the rebels. Palms had become a symbol of Jewish nationalism. So this act of celebration was by no means neutral. It symbolized all of Israel’s national hopes, now focused on Jesus who is being hailed as he enters the city.

The palm-tree has ever been an emblem of victory and triumph; Cicero calls one that had won many prizes plurimarum palmarum homo—a man of many palms. Christ was now by his death to conquer principalities and powers, and therefore it was fit that he should have the victor’s palm borne before him; though he was but girding on the harness, yet he could boast as though he had put it off. But this was not all; the carrying of palm-branches was part of the ceremony of the feast of tabernacles (Lev. 23:40; Neh. 8:15), and their using this expression of joy in the welcome given to our Lord Jesus intimates that all the feasts pointed at his gospel, had their accomplishment in it, and particularly that of the feast of tabernacles, Zec. 14:16.
Palm branches are also pointing to the future kingdom of Christ! (Rev 7:9-12)
Revelation 7:9–12 ESV
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Why should I care?

This is the first time that Jesus is publically acknowledging His divine right as King. (Matt 12:15-16, 16:20; Mark 8:30; Luke 9:18-22; John 6:15)
Previously, He would stop any public recognition of His kingship.
Matthew 12:15–16 ESV
15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make him known.
Matthew 16:20 ESV
20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Mark 8:30 ESV
30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
Luke 9:18–22 ESV
18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” 21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
John 6:15 ESV
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
This time, He entered Jerusalem as a King, for He was going to conquer.
He was right to be praised.
Psalm 72:17 ESV
17 May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!
Psalm 118:26 ESV
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.

In crying hosanna they prayed for three things:—First, That his kingdom might come, in the light and knowledge of it, and in the power and efficacy of it. God speed the gospel plough. Secondly, That it might conquer, and be victorious over all opposition, Rev. 6:2. Thirdly, That it might continue. Hosanna is, Let the king live for ever; though his kingdom may be disturbed, let it never be destroyed, Ps. 72:17.

Christ was going to be praised on this day, even if the rocks had to do it! (Luke 19:40 referencing Hab 2:11)
Luke 19:40 ESV
40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Habakkuk 2:11 ESV
11 For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond.
Hosanna literally means “save now”!
The people were asking God to save them now!
However, I want you all to notice something. I think it is something important and relevant for us today.
This was an event of praise, in fact it caused quite a stir in the entire city of Jerusalem. The people were celebrating Christ as the Messiah.
They were celebrating the Messiah they desired, not God’s Messiah.
Look at
Matthew 21:10–11 ESV
10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
We cannot be focused on the praises of man, including when those praises seem to be focused on Jesus.
John MacArthur explains:
Matthew’s account of Jesus’ entry closes with an element of perplexity. After the great shouts of acclamation had somewhat subsided and Jesus had entered Jerusalem, the residents of the city began asking, “Who is this?” The best response the multitude of celebrants could give was, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Obviously most of them had paid little attention to what they had been shouting so vociferously. They had barely finished proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of David, who came in the name of the Lord. But they did not comprehend what they said, and when the mass emotions subsided, they were hard put to say who Jesus really was, other than a prophet who came from Nazareth in Galilee. They no longer called Him the Son of David or praised Him as the great Deliverer. He was now no more than a prophet.
In a matter of moments after the triumphant entry of Christ, the crowd demoted Him from King to Prophet.
Just a few days later, Jesus experienced the deadliest of “cancel culture”, when the crowd that proclaimed Him as king, said “Crucify Him!”.
We serve an amazing Savior, one who came humble, even at His own coronation, but He came to conquer our greatest threat, sin.
May we cry out Hosanna!! Hosanna in the highest!
Do not be like the crowds that day.
The people knew but they would not believe, and because they would not believe they ceased to know. Like their forefathers to whom Isaiah preached, they heard but did not perceive and saw but did not understand, because their hearts were insensitive (Isa. 6:9–10). They heard Jesus’ message, they attested to His miracles, and they even acknowledged His divinity, but they rejected His saviorhood and His lordship. They were totally earthbound, materialistic, and self-satisfied. They were interested only in the kingdoms of this world, not the kingdom of heaven. They would have accepted Jesus as an earthly king, but they would not have Him as their heavenly King
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