THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY

Luke 19:28-48

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
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Jewish Law said that anyone within 20 miles must come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The actual practice was that Jews would come from much greater distances.

It is the week of the Passover. There is a holiday season in the air. The city of Jerusalem is crowded with pilgrims who have traveled from all over the world to be here. Every inn is filled to capacity and even the open ground around the city is covered with tents of Jewish pilgrims who have come to join in the celebration.

It is in this setting that Jesus arrives. Josephus says that 250,000 lambs were slain for the Passover. Before the week is out, the blood of those lambs will stain the cobblestones of the Temple. Before the week is out, the blood of the Lamb of God will be shed.

 

THE ROUTE OF THE KING

And after He had said these things, He was going on ahead, ascending to Jerusalem. (Luke 19:28).

Ever since chapter 9, Luke has traced the steps of Jesus as He set His face to go to Jerusalem. We have seen Him leave Galilee, passing through some of the lands of the Samaritans, coming down to Jericho. It was there we saw the healing of the blind man and His visit with Zaccheus, the little tax collector. Now He and His companions begin the final leg of their journey. It is a distance of 18 miles and it is uphill all the way.

During this time, it was traditional for the pilgrims who were making this final leg of their Jerusalem pilgrimage to sing from a collection of the Psalms known as the Songs of Ascent. There were fifteen of these Psalms and they are made up of Psalm 120-134. They were said by the rabbis to correspond to the 15 steps that ascended from the Court of the Women to the Nicanor Gate that led to the inner court of the Temple.

PREPARATION FOR THE KINGíS ARRIVAL

And it came about that when He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, "Go into the village opposite you, in which as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it, and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ĎWhy are you untying it?í thus shall you speak, ĎThe Lord has need of it.í"

And 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?"

And they said, "The Lord has need of it."

And they brought it to Jesus, and they threw their garments on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 And as He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road. (Luke 19:29-36).

There were two villages which lay on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. The first was Bethphage. It was near the summit, actually located on the southern slope of the "Mount of Olives. The name is Hebrew and means "house of unripe figs."

The Talmud speaks of Bethphage as a suburb of Jerusalem. The rabbis said that you could walk from Jerusalem to Bethphage on the Sabbath.

Bethany was located further down the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. The meaning of its name is not so certain, but it seems to be similar to its sister village - house of dates or figs. This was the home of Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha.

Jesus had been spending some time with these friends in Bethany and now He sends some of His disciples on ahead to Bethphage with some careful instructions.

1. Instructions to the Disciples.

They are going to go into a nearby village and they are going to get a donkey. The problem with this is that it is not their donkey. It is someone elseís donkey. But that is okey because if they are challenged by the owner, they are told what to say.

"And if anyone asks you, ĎWhy are you untying it?í thus shall you speak, ĎThe Lord has need of it.í" (Luke 19:31).

This was the language of a royal levy. It was an ancient law which required a citizen to render to his king any item of service which he or one of his emissaries might request.

Do you see what Jesus is saying? As the king, He has rights to the possessions of his subjects. He is claiming that right.

There is an application here for us. It is seen in that Jesus is our Lord. Because He is our Lord, He has the right of a Lord to demand anything from us. That is exactly what He does. He calls us to recognize His ownership of everything that we thought was our own. And then He makes us co-heirs of everything that is His.

2. The Instructions Obeyed.

Sure enough, the disciples were challenged in the midst of what would have appeared to be a case of horse thieving. And when they gave the response which Jesus had commanded, they were permitted to go.

Was this a miracle? The passage doesnít say. I donít believe that it is. Jesus had made a number of trips to Jerusalem. Many people had heard Him preach there. And some had believed. I think that one of those who had believed was a man with a donkey. I think that Jesus had made arrangements with this man, telling him that one of these days He would be coming to Jerusalem and that He would have need of his donkey.

The disciples did not have any idea of who this man was. They did not recognize him. They only knew that he was providing a need.

There are a lot of God's people who are unknown. There are a lot of Christians who arenít a Billy Graham or a James Kennedy. There are a lot of believers who are out there and who are faithful where God has put them, but they donít get a lot of attention.

We donít know this manís name. We donít know anything about him except that he gave something that he had to Jesus.

It wasnít a big thing. It was only a little thing. But we can learn a lesson from him. We can learn that it is important to do little things for the Lord.


A smile.
A warm handshake.
A pat on the back.
A listening ear.

Here is the lesson. Donít forget to do the little things. They may be the biggest things of all. All of us have a donkey. We each have something in our lives which, if we give it to Jesus, will move the Kingdom a little further down the road.

It could be that God wants to mount your donkey and to enter the walls...


- of another city.
- of another nation.
- of another heart.

The Bible has quite a gallery of donkey-givers. Perhaps heaven will have a shrine to honor Godís uncommon use of the common.


Rahab's rope.
Paul's bucket.
David's sling.
Samson's jawbone.
Peter's boat.

I don't know if those items will really be in heaven, but I do know that the people who used them will be.

3. The King on a Colt: They threw their garments on the colt and put Jesus on it (19:35).

What was the significance of this? When you think of a conquering and triumphant king, you think of him riding into the city on a white horse. But there is no white horse for Jesus. He rides into the city seated upon a donkey.

a. A prophecy fulfilled.

The first thing that I want you to see is that this was a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
.

Christianity is not a new religion. It didn't begin with a Galilean rabbi. It goes back through a long line of Old Testament prophets.

If you are a Christian, then you are a part of something that has been around since the beginning of time. It has stood the test of time. And you can depend upon it.

b. An unbroken colt.

Did you notice what kind of a donkey this was? Verse 30 says that it was a colt "on which no one yet has ever sat." When I was a lot younger, I spent a summer on my grandfatherís farm up in the Ozark Mountains. My Uncle Silas had a colt that no one had ever ridden. I decided to try to ride him. It was a short ride. Very short. A colt that has never been broken to the saddle will not take kindly to being ridden. But there is none of that here. This colt seems to have borne his burden with no fuss. As he carries the Prince of Peace, he himself is at peace.

c. The Significance of the donkey.

When a king was coming to conquer, he would often ride upon a white horse. But when he came in peace, he would ride in upon a donkey. Jesus is coming to Jerusalem in peace. It is a sign of His humility.

There is coming a day when the King shall return. And He will not be riding on a donkey. Revelation 19:11 pictures Him riding upon a white horse. He does not come in peace. He is waging war. Zechariah 14 describes Him standing upon the Mount of Olives and the Mountain splitting in two.

Here is the lesson. Donít wait for the war to begin. Make your peace with the King today.

 

THE PERCEPTION OF THE PEOPLE

And as He was now approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which 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!" (Luke 19:37-38).

Up to this point, Jesus has not allowed anyone to publicly call Him King or Messiah. When He healed the sick, He would often exhort them to remain silent. When Peter made his great confession, he was told not to spread the news.

But that all changes as Jesus makes His triumphal entry. The time for remaining silent is past. Even the stones prepare to sing His praises. The King has arrived. The song that the people sing is from the Psalms:

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;

We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. (Psalm 118:26).

What is wonderfully significant is that the context of this passage set forth the events that were destined to take place later that week. Just a few verses earlier, the Psalmist described how this One would be rejected.

This is the gate of the LORD; The righteous will enter through it.

I shall give thanks to Thee, for Thou hast answered me;

And Thou hast become my salvation.

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.

This is the LORD's doing;

It is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day which the LORD has made;

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

O LORD, do save, we beseech Thee;

O LORD, we beseech Thee, do send prosperity!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;

We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. (Psalm 118:20-26).

Jesus was Himself the stone that the builders would reject. In doing so, He would become the salvation of men. This was not by chance, for it was the Lordís doing.

This tells me something about the Triumphal Entry. Few of those who saw that event realized its full significance. There were several perceptions which took place as the events of that day were observed.

The first perception was that of the people. On the surface, the people seem to have gathered to greet their king. It is an inauguration day. They pave the road with their robes. They wave palm branches in the air. They praise God with loud voices.

A week later, these same people will be yelling, "Crucify Him!" How could they change so quickly? I think that it was because they had false expectations.

False Expectations

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Disappointment

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Desertion & Denial

They were looking for a military conqueror - one who would overthrow Rome. And they think that Jesus can supply this desire. They are like fair-weather football fans, waving their banners and cheering. But when their "team" loses, they arenít fans anymore. They are only fair-weather fans.

THE PERCEPTION OF THE PHARISEES

And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."

And He answered and said, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" (Luke 19:39-40).

The Pharisees saw the actions of the people as blasphemous. They saw themselves as defenders of the faith. They sought Jesus to put a stop to what they saw as a blasphemous action on the part of the disciples of Jesus.

What would be your reaction if I told you that Reverend Sung Yung Moon, the holy son of God, was to be crowned as the king of righteousness in the Orange Bowl Stadium next Thursday?

You would be upset with such a claim. And that was exactly the response of the Pharisees. They realized that for a man to say the things that Jesus said and to allow things to be said of Him that were said of Him would be to take glory that only belonged to God. Their response is perfectly appropriate -- unless Jesus really is the Son of God.

 

THE PERCEPTION OF JESUS

And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." (Luke 19:41-44).

When Jesus looked at the city of Jerusalem, He was able to see past the waving palm branches and the singing and the Hosannas. He was able to see past the mighty walls and the gleaming structure of the Temple.

He looked at the city and He wept. Why did He weep? I believe that there are several reasons:

  1. He Wept because of a Lack of Knowledge: "If you had known..." (19:42).
  2. Remember the context in which this is spoken. It is spoken on the heels of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is spoken in the context of people singing and praising Him and waving palm branches and quoting Messianic Scripture. In spite of all these things, they didnít get it. They didnít understand. Even the disciples and those who followed Him did not understand who He really was and what He was doing.

    It was not that they had not been told. Abraham had told them. Moses had told them. All of the prophets had told them. Jesus had told them very plainly. But they continued to be ignorant.

    Some were ignorant because of their preconceived notions. They had their prophetic scheme all figured out and they had their prophecy charts and they were blinded.

    Others were willingly ignorant. These were the ones who willingly rejected the Son. And because of this, any further understanding was now hidden from their eyes. This brings us to the next point.

  3. He Wept because of a Lack of Action: "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace..." (19:42).
  4. It is not enough to know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Such a knowledge demands a response on our part.

    What are you doing with the knowledge that you have? How are you using it? Remember the parable of the Talents - if you do not use it, then it will be taken from you even that which you have.

  5. He Wept because of His Compassion: "For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another..." (19:43-44).
  6. This prophecy came true in the year A.D. 70 when the Roman general Titus led three legions against Jerusalem. Instead of attacking the city, Titus had his legions build up a great earthen wall all the way around the city. For a period of eight long months, no one could go in and no one could come out. The people of Jerusalem starved. There is one story told by Josephus of a mother whose daughter died and so she resorted to cannibalism, boiling the body of her daughter, only to have a starving mob break into her home and steal the carcass for themselves.

    He tells us that in those terrible months before the fall of the city, the entire mound around the city was constantly crowned with crosses of all the people who attempted to escape and who were subsequently crucified by the Romans.

    When the Romans finally did break into the city, the burned the Temple to the ground and then set out to tear down all that remained of the old Temple structure. They did such a good job that archaeologists today are still arguing about exactly where the Temple was originally located.

  7. He Wept because He was the Answer: "...because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." (19:44).

Jesus wept because He was the answer and they were not even asking the question. He was the One who had been promised. He was the point of every sacrifice and the fulfillment of every ceremony.

As we see Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem, we also ought to be moved to tears. He looked out and He saw, not just the city, but the world. He would die for their sins so that might be free and so that they might have life and joy and peace. He wept because He saw it and He wanted them to see it, too.

It is not coincidental that it had been from this very spot that David had stood and looked over the city and wept. Do you remember the story? It is found in 2 Samuel 15:30.

And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went. (2 Samuel 15:30).

David was forced to flee from the city of Jerusalem because of the rebellion instigated by his son, Absalom. As he departed, he reached the Mount of Olives and he must have looked back and wept.

Now the Son of David has come to Jerusalem. He is being accorded the welcome due a king. But amidst the welcome and the rejoicing and the palm branches and the singing, He finds Himself weeping. He weeps because He is aware of another rebellion. It is the rebellion of sin that goes back to a Garden and a smooth-talking serpent.

This is why Jesus has come to Jerusalem. It is to deal with the results of this rebellion. It will mean His death on the cross.

 

THE PURIFICATION OF THE TEMPLE

And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were selling, 46 saying to them, "It is written, ĎAnd My house shall be a house of prayer,' but you have made it a robbers' den.í" (Luke 19:45-46).

Jesus now moves from His weeping lament to stern action. He goes into the Temple and begins casting people out. To grasp the reality of such an action, we must remember just how big the Temple was. It was an incredibly large edifice with courts and outer courts and giant columns all around.

The Temple stood atop a mountain. It was here on Mount Moriah that Abraham had once come to offer his son Isaac. On that same spot, the regular sacrifices of animals were made.

Herod the Great had greatly expanded the outer courts of the Temple and had it overlaid with a covering of white limestone so that it glistened in the sun like a jewel fallen from heaven. Surrounding the Court of the Gentiles were a series of "porches" or cloisters through which ran double rows of Corinthian pillars, each cut from marble and measuring 37 feet in height and covered by a flat roof. The entire court was paved with marble. The southern of these porches was known as "Solomonís Porch" (Acts 3:11). This court derived its name from the fact that Gentiles were permitted into this area provided they conducted themselves in a reverent manner.

It was here that the buying and selling took place. They were buying and selling animals for sacrifice within the temple, but instead of a place of worship and prayer, this had turned into big business. And it wasnít just business. The animals that were sold were marked up at a great profit. It is for this reason that Jesus accuses them of having taken the temple and made it a robbers' den.

Sweet, gentle Jesus became angry. It is easy to see why. Faithful pilgrims had journeyed many days to come into the presence of God, to witness the holy, to worship His majesty. But before being taken into the presence of God, they were taken to the cleaners.

Do you want to see the anger of God? Get in the way of people who want to see Him. Exploit the name of God.

 

THE POWERLESSNESS OF THE PRIESTHOOD

And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, 48 and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging upon His words. (Luke 19:47-48).

The temple was to be a place of prayer. It was to be a place where God met man and when men met God. Jesus brought this quality back to the temple through His actions and through His teaching ministry. These actions brought Him into conflict with the leaders of the Temple hierarchy.

How can you tell the huckster from the holy? How can you tell the con-artists from the true Christians? Here are several ways.

1. They emphasize their profit more than the Prophet.

A study was done on Televangelists as to how much of their time was spent asking for money. There were some who mentioned donationes very little. Other spent as much as 92% of their air time trying to get cash from people. Their aim is to cultivate a clientele of loyal checkbooks.

One reason that the leaders of the Temple were so angry with Jesus is because He had cut into their profits. They pulled in a lot of money from their religious scams and now He had ruined it.

2. They build more fences than they build faith.

Medicine men tell you to stay out of the pharmacy. They donít want you trying other treatments. Neither do hucksters.

Beware of those who want you to be separate from other Christians. They have a franchised approach and they want to protect it. Their bread and butter is their uniqueness. Only they can give you what you need.

3. They have no real power.

When confronted with real spiritual authority, these religious hucksters caved in. They were a cowardly lot and they would have to resort to the trickery of a paid traitor in order to capture Jesus.

In the meantime, He was ministering in their midst with complete immunity and there was not a thing that they could do about it. Why? Because they feared the multitude. This brings us to our fourth point.

4. They are ruled by peer pressure.

The real man of God follows what is right no matter what anyone else thinks. The huckster always has to check whether popular opinion is on his side.

You determine that you are going to follow Christ, even if you are the only one who is doing so. Once you do so, you will find that you are not alone.


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