Atriumphal Entry: The Subversive King


A Palm Sunday Sermon

The world we live in there is a lot of darkness
We need hope. It is my desire that this Sunday will fill you with hope. God is present. God is here. God is moving. God has not abandoned us in our 11th hour.
In our desperation, when we lose our way, the guide posts we heap unto ourselves can be more harmful than helpful.
I want to affirm you and let you know I am so grateful that you showed up this morning. You don’t have to be here (well, my children do), but most of you didn’t have to, but you did.
Because you showed up, there is something you’ll receive that otherwise you may not have experienced.
My dad would tell me growing up, “Pete, the first task at being successful is showing up. If you can just show up, you’ve got 80% of the job accomplished.”
There is something about presence in the Bible. Physical proximity.
God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day
God revealed His nearness in the angelic messengers that Abraham invited to his house as they were on their way to Sodom
God revealing Himself to Moses, saying, I’ve heard my peoples cry.
God’s presence was manifested in the pillar of fire by night and pillar of smoke by day
Hebrews 1:1-3, God spoke in various ways and at various times in the past to the fathers through the prophets
Now speaks to us through Jesus Christ.
Now gives us the Holy Spirit to believers, who indwells, leads, speaks to us
You are here this morning, present. Because you are here, you will be witness to something that God is doing. God will speak to you, God will meet you, you will see something, hear something, that otherwise you may not ordinarily see or hear.
When God is present, and we are present, there are things that affect eternity that take place.
This is what is happening in our text today when almost 2000yrs ago, a group of people lined the street as Jesus came down riding on a donkey into Jerusalem. Dr. Luke records what happened in his gospel.
If you have your Bibles or on your devices (or downloading our CCB app, there is a bible where you can take notes), please turn with me to Luke 19:28-40. If you are able, would stand with me as we read the Scriptures this morning. This is the word of the Lord. Let us pray. Amen. Please be seated.

They Showed Up

The crowd, whom some of the Pharisees said were Jesus’ disciples, showed up!
Could have been 70 of them, could have been the 120 that we find in the upper room in Acts 1:15, could have been any number of those on the road who were also there during the feedings of the 5,000 and 4,000. I think it makes sense for the 120, that’s quite a number.
They showed up.
What did they show up with? Dr. Luke tells us they took their cloaks and laid them down as Jesus went by. Matthew tells us that they climbed trees, cut down palm branches, and spread those on the road as well.
Who deserves that sort of treatment, who gets that sort of procession, who would that a be? A King or a mighty general, a victor or a conqueror!
What happens when when they show up and Jesus shows up?
Luke 19:37-38 “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, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!””
Who are others who showed up and Jesus showed up, what was that like?
Shepherds and Jesus:
Luke 2:20 “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”
Simeon and Jesus:
Luke 2:26-32 “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.””
Anna the prophet (84yo) and Jesus:
Luke 2:37-38 “and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
The Leper, the paralytic… so many!
Luke 5:26 “And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.””
What happens when we show up? When we show up, God moves. There is always something that happens when God is present and we show up. When we are present and make a conscious decision to be present. As we show up, God does a few different things… sometimes it matters how we show up… are we reluctant, are we hurting, are we in a fog, are we skeptical? That’s what I call just being human. We all walk in these moments and dispositions.
God still shows up...
If we are in fear, like Elijah:
1 Kings 19:10-12 “He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”
Circumstances out of your control, you are doing all that you can do just the right thing like Shadrach, Meshach, Abedengo:
Daniel 3:16 , 19, 24-26 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.”
Those who loved and followed Jesus showed up. This made the Pharisee’s uncomfortable. They wanted Jesus to silence the disciples. But Jesus wasn’t having it… the very rocks would cry out.

important piece of background that helps you to understand this passage is that whenever creation is said to speak or be a witness to something in the Hebrew Scriptures, it’s something we’re really supposed to pay attention to. And that’s what’s happening here. Jesus is saying, “Look, if my disciples didn’t say it, the creation would cry out about it.” An example of this is how, when Cain killed Abel, Abel’s blood cried out for justice.

Creation growning… Romans 8:20-22 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” ????????

What did they see?

Jesus riding on a donkey! What? Why is that significant. Here is the subversive part. Here is where Jesus doesn’t fit into our worldy paradigms.
Jesus’ claim to authority is getting Him into trouble again. He tells two of his disciples to go get what we would know as a donkey.
A couple of the Gospels, Matthew and John, tell us the background here, and that is that the expectation was from Zech 9:9 that the king or the messianic figure of the nation would ride the back of a colt—actually, the back of a donkey. It was a way of picturing a humble Messiah as opposed to the powerful Messiah that was who they thought was coming understanding the Psalms and Solomon. This is not a military deliverer, but this is someone who enters the city humbly but nonetheless comes to the city claiming to have the authority of coming in the name of the Lord.
Bock, D. L. (2014). NT211 Introducing the Gospels and Acts: Their Background, Nature, and Purpose. Lexham Press.
Zech 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
In this text, Jesus enters the city, claiming authority over the kingdom and claiming to be a king but a king of a different sort, a humble king. Everything about His entry is in contrast to the way, say, Pilate would enter in the city. When Pilate came in the city, he would come with a huge throng of authority wrapped around him, and he would show up with an army to come into the city. He would expect the city officials to greet him and lead him in, almost as if he was coming in on a red carpet. Jesus merely rides in all by Himself on a colt. He has His disciples around Him, but there’s no throng, there’s no army.
And so this event has been called—I think, appropriately—by some, an “atriumphal entry,” even though the traditional name is the “triumphal entry.” An “atriumphal entry” is better because of the humble way in which He comes into the city to picture the nature of His messianic authority and the way it’s going to be executed. He’s going to suffer as a Messiah rather than simply use the strong power of Messiah in order to accomplish God’s will. This is a surprise to the leadership. They don’t accept who Jesus is as He comes, and so they ask Him to stop His disciples. He refuses because He has a different kind of authority that’s going to be exercised over the kingdom.
Bock, D. L. (2014). NT211 Introducing the Gospels and Acts: Their Background, Nature, and Purpose. Lexham Press.
This is no passive King. After this, Jesus goes into the temple and clears out those who have used religion to exploit people. He then welcomes the blind, the lame into the temple and heals them. We are reminded that this week Jesus has a furious & passionate love for those the world has little regard for.

What does this mean?

We get to show up. We show up because Jesus shows up.
What happens when we show up?
Life changes. We enter into a holy conflict. But the conflict doesn’t look like what we see on TV or find on our devices.
Let’s look at what is in this picture:
Jesus … and I’m going to assume you and me (because we’re here)
There is a community, a large one (the disciples)
They are worshiping
They offer up their goods and make provision for others to worship (Donkey, coats, palm branches)
They give testimony to all the mighty works that God has done
It is a foreshadow of what is to come (Same place where Jesus will return)… we are living into the Kingdom here on Earth
Seek Jesus, practice the presence of God, know He is with you
Be in community (Sunday, mid-week, find other believers, invite believers to your home, have a meal, build community)
Worship (song, service, study… head, heart, hands)
Serve, give, uplift (talents, passions, treasure, time, make someone’s moment better, ask God to lead you in this)
Tell people what God has done, share it with all those who will listen
Know we are getting glimpses of the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth. Healings, provision, peace, love, joy, friends, family… these things that fill us, that satisfy and make us full.
This is what we can learn from the Atriumphal Entry. It doesn’t always look like what we see everyday around us or what is modeled for us by others. In these practices we rejoice with heaven and nature, experiencing a piece of heaven. Whatever we think of heaven (all the good things… no more pain, tears, trial, suffering, where we are known and know)… glimpses are had here, whetting our appetite for that day to approach. When he will return and bring us unto Himself and we will be in His physical presence for eternity.
What a day!
We are going to take and continue the theme of the subversive king and kingdom through Easter as well. Jesus subverts the agenda of sin and death, effectually crushing the head of the serpent.
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