As our songs have declared and our Communion has indicated, this is the beginning of Holy Week. And the Triumphal Entry of Jesus begins the final countdown to His destiny. Last week we reflected on Luke 9:51—“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” I would declare to you that on this day, when Jesus had reached the Mount of Olives and was beginning His descent down the Mount and into Jerusalem, that His face was still “resolute,” or as is stated in Isaiah 50:7, his face was still “ set…like flint.”The verse in Luke 9:51 notes the Jesus was aware that the time “approached for Him to be taken up to heaven.” That meant that the time for his death was approaching.
This was not the first time Jesus had been in Jerusalem. His parents had brought him to the Temple to be dedicated when he was only a baby. And again at the age of 12 Jesus had made the trip to Jerusalem and then had stayed behind in the Temple until his parents came searching for him. We know that during his 3 years of public ministry that he was in Jerusalem on at least 3 occasions and maybe 4. And once, when the time of Feast of the Tabernacles was at hand, his brothers had taunted him about “making his appearance” in Jerusalem but instead of making a public entrance, Jesus slipped into the city and then begin teaching in the temple courts. (See John 7: 1-14). And it is very likely that Jesus came to Jerusalem on other occasions that are not reported in the Scriptures.
But that was then and this is now. Then “His Time had not yet come.” But now, “His time is at hand.” And with this very public, very deliberate, very prophetic fulfilling entrance, the final countdown has begun!
I. THE ENTRY
a. The Prophet Zechariah in chapter 9, verse 9 had written, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey.” Every Jewish scholar and probably every Jewish male who had been schooled in their synagogue knew that this was a prophecy about the long-awaited Messiah. And Jesus would have known that passage as well. During his public ministry many had wondered whether or not he was the Messiah. This Triumphal Entry was a statement by Jesus declaring, “I am indeed the Messiah!”
b. The public demonstration of Praise with the waving of Palm Branches and the roadway covered with coats, and the crowd crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” Hosanna in the highest heavens!’” (Luke 11: 9-10) says that the crowd certainly understood the message!
c. Luke tells us that there were Pharisees there who asked Jesus to stop the crowds from shouting their praises. (Luke 19:39-40).But Jesus refused, saying, “if these be quiet, the very stones would cry out.
d. As I consider this Triumphal Entry of Jesus, I cannot help but think of the time when Jesus is to return in what we call His “Second Coming.” It would seem that everyone in Jerusalem witnessed Jesus enter on that Palm Sunday. And the scriptures tell us that when He returns, it will also be a very public affair. In Revelation 1:7 John wrote, “Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him and all peoples on earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.” And at the Triumphal Entry his followers cried out in praise. In Philippians 2:10 & 11 Paul wrote concerning the coming of Christ, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” In the Triumphal Entry Jesus came riding on the colt of a donkey, but when He comes again He will be riding the clouds. Then he was accompanied by his disciples, but when he returns it will be with the Hosts of heaven!.
For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…” (1 Thessalonians 4: 16a). “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matthew 24: 30-31).
e. But on this day, Palm Sunday, we remember the flint-like determination as Jesus continued His march to His destiny. That day was a Sunday—In 5 days He would be hanging on a Roman Cross—sealing the covenant that would provide for our salvation!
II. THE EVENTS OF THE COUNTDOWN
a. His entrance into the city caused quite a stir, but what He did when He arrived lit the fuse! Matthew, Mark and Luke all three tell us that the first thing Jesus did was enter the Temple. He was deeply distressed at the corruption that He saw and was so moved that He overturned tables, released animals that were caged to be sold for sacrifices, and using cords to make a whip He drove out the money –changers. His words resounded throughout the Temple, “It is written that My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations! But you made it a den of robbers!” (Mark 11:17). This triggered the determination of the corrupt religious leaders to have Jesus put to death. But Jesus very publicly continued teaching in the Temple Courts.
b. But the Countdown was ticking. In a few hours Judas would conspire with the Temple authorities to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver—the price of the life of a slave who is gored to death by an ox (see Exodus 21:31). And by Thursday evening, Jesus had eaten the Passover Meal with his disciples, and had gone to the Garden of Gethsemane where He in agony had prayed. There He was arrested and brought before the Religious Authorities who had conspired against Him, and then turned over to the Roman authorities to be crucified.
III. HIS TIME ARRIVED
a. In the early morning hours on Friday, the Roman Governor Pilate in a cowardly act, washed his hands of his responsibility, and turned Jesus over to the soldiers who led Him to the outskirts of town to a hill called “The Place of the Skull”—a place we call Calvary—-and there Jesus was nailed to the Cross where He hung for some 6 hours before dying—The Sinless Lamb of God who became the Atoning Sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the whole world (see 1 John 2:1-2).
His time was approaching, so He set His face like flint resolutely to go to Jerusalem.
On Palm Sunday He publicly announced His Messiah-ship as He entered Jerusalem in fulfillment of prophecy.
Five days later His time arrived. He met his destiny—the Old Rugged Cross. There He offered Himself in exchange for our souls—the Sinless Lamb of God paying the penalty for our sins—and the Sins of the whole World (See 1 John 2:1-2).
And someday—it could be soon—He is coming again to claim His Bride—the Church—all those who have accepted His provision for our salvation. I want to be in that number!
Let’s join the Jerusalem Crowd and add our voices to the Praises of those who recognized their Coming King.
Let’s Praise Jesus!