THE KING IS COMING
These are the days of high political drama across our country. Politicians travel across the country accusing one another publicly and asking for votes. What stands out during these roadshows and rally is the great exuberant welcome.
Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of Lord’s. He is going to come back again as King. However, when Jesus came first into this world, He was rejected by his own people. The religious people were after his life and finally they crucified him. There were times when the crowd welcomed him and hailed Jesus but there were other times when the crowd left him one by one. However, there was one occasion in the life of Jesus when he entered Jerusalem and people hailed him as king and Jesus a kind of accepted the coronation. This is a monumental moment in the history of our Lord. Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12 all record this event. This is the event is called the triumphal entry or the Palm Sunday. We are going to look at that instance today.
THE KING IS COMING
Mark 11:1-11 1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.3If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“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 heaven!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Luke 19:41-44 41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.
John 12:17-19 17Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
John 12:16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
Even though the world celebrates Palm Sunday on the Sunday before the Resurrection Sunday, a more accurate chronology of this week in the life of our Lord would actually put it on Monday, the second day of the week of Passover.
In beginning of chapter 12, we see that Jesus came six days before the Passover to Bethany. There was actually a supper made for Him in the home of Simon the leper. There was Martha, who was serving and then there was Mary in verse 3, who took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard and put on Jesus head and feet. Then she loosened her hair and wiped His feet with her hair. That’s Sunday. People are crowding around in Bethany wanting a glimpse of Lazarus and of Jesus. Now we come to Monday: John 12:12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
There had been times before when they would have wanted to crown Jesus king, but He didn’t allow it to happen. Back in chapter 6 when Jesus multiplied the 5 loaves and 2 fish, they wanted to make Him a king. Jesus did not allow it to happen.
In chapter 8, Jesus goes into the temple treasury in Jerusalem and taught there and they picked up stones to throw at him and Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. Now the His time had come. John 12:23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
Jesus comes to Jerusalem and a large crowd took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him and began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” They see him and call him the King is coming or the King of Israel is coming.
I want to see in this passage 4 thoughts on the King.
1. THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE KING
When we say the King, Jesus is sovereign, we’re saying that He has the absolute right over everything. Everything is under His rule and control and nothing happens without His direction or permission. Nothing takes Jesus by surprise.
Mark 11:1-3 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples.
“Bethpage and Bethany” refer to two little villages near Jerusalem. Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived in Bethany. The “Mount of Olives” has tremendous significance. It’s where Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, where He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and after the resurrection He ascended into heaven from this spot.
It’s from this significant spot that Jesus sent out two of his disciples with a very special and specific assignment. Mark 11:2-3 Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
Think about the sovereignty of the Savior and how everything is planned out in His providence.
What village to go to? The village in front of you.
Where to go once they get there? Immediately as you enter it.
What to look for? You will find a colt.
What the colt will be doing? It will be tied.
What kind of colt? On which no one has ever sat.
What to do? Untie it and bring it.
How to respond to questions? The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.
Sure enough, when the disciples do what they’re directed by trusting in the sovereignty of the Savior, everything happens just the way Jesus said it would be. Mark 11:4-6 4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.
Jesus has all the details worked out, including their exact sequence.
Friends, there are no surprises with God. He knew all about the colt that would be tied up. He knew how the owners would respond and so He told them how to answer their question. What a staggering display of omniscience, sovereignty and providence of God.
While most of us live in the present, some of us are fearful of the future and others of us are piled by the past. God is an ever-present help for trouble today, but aren’t you glad that He also has the future covered?
God’s grace goes before us. In every situation of life God is already at work before I get there. He is working creatively and strategically for my good in order to accomplish His purposes.
While I am struggling with the problems of today, God is at work providing solutions for the things I’m going to face tomorrow. He’s working in situations right now that I haven’t even faced yet. He’s preparing them for me and me for them. Or to say it another way: “While I’m living in Sunday, He’s already in Tuesday.” Are you worried about next week? He’s already there. How about next year? He’s got it covered. Since God is already in the future, you can trust Him today and put your hope in Him for tomorrow, even if trials come your way.
God does much more than the present. He goes ahead of us, clearing the way, arranging the details of life, so that when we get there, we can have confidence that God has already been there before us. Knowing that God holds tomorrow in His hands provides us with comfort today.
In 1945, a young associate pastor named Cliff married his fiancee, Billie. They had very little money but scraped up enough to take a honeymoon. When they arrived at the hotel, they were told it was now a rehabilitation center and not available to overnight guests. They hitchhiked to a grocery store several miles down the road. The owner was sympathetic to their situation and let them stay in a room over the store. The owner quickly caught on that they were Christians and he referred them to a friend with a nicer place to spend the rest of their honeymoon.
During the week their host invited them to attend a youth rally at a nearby Christian Conference Center. The regular song leader was ill that night, so Cliff was asked if he might take charge of the music service. He consented and led the music, before a young evangelist named Billy stepped up to preach. Cliff Barrows met Billy Graham that night and formed a ministry team that has preached the gospel throughout the world for fifty years. When your plans don’t seem to work out, maybe God has something better in mind. He sure did for Cliff and Billie Barrows!
Friend, you can trust God because He has it all worked out. Our job is to simply take one step of obedience at a time. If you’re not saved, it’s time to surrender. Maybe it’s baptism if you’re a believer. Whatever He tells you to do, do it…because He’s got it all figured out…we just need to walk in faith.
Are you trusting in the Savior’s sweet sovereignty today?
Mark 11:7-8 7When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “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 heaven!”
The journey of Jesus to Jerusalem on the back of a donkey also brought back memories of King Solomon’s procession. 1 Kings 1:38-39 Solomon mount King David’s mule, and they escorted him to Gihon. 39Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!”
When Jesus rose on the colt this was a prophesy fulfilled. Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Remember that many were hoping that the Messiah would come with power and overthrow the Roman government. They longed for a warrior king who would come on a great white horse, like King David did one thousand years earlier when he filleted the Philistines. You can imagine the confusion in their minds when they heard their Messiah ask for a donkey.
2. GIVE TO THE KING
There were at least three gifts given that day: The colt, cloaks, and palm branches.
Matthew tells us that the colt was with its mother. The disciples are told to bring both of them. The owners didn’t question the disciples after they were told the colt was for Christ. Maybe they had heard of Jesus before and were happy to help. They gladly gave Him what rightfully belonged to Him anyway. My guess is that they felt so much joy that Jesus would want to use something that was theirs. That’s the key to giving, isn’t? When we realize that everything we have has been given to us and that God is the ultimate owner, we move from getting all that we can get to giving all that we can give.
Jesus when born was placed in a borrowed manger. He taught from a borrowed boat. Jesus borrowed the upper room for the last supper. He was buried in a borrowed tomb. Now Jesus borrows a colt.
What do you have that you can give to Him? Actually, everything that we have is borrowed from Him, right? If He wants something, it’s His anyway! It should be our joy to give it back to Him.
Something about the donkey. The Donkey had to be Released. Before the Lord can fully use us, we must be freed from the chains of our sins. The Donkey had to be Ruled. Likewise, we must be broken and yield to our Master, allowing Him to use us however He deems best.
This little donkey got to carry the Son of David, the King of Glory into Jerusalem. And when Jesus came in, no one noticed the donkey, which is how it’s supposed to be. Our job is to shine the spotlight on the Savior as we bring Him with us wherever we go.
They willingly took off their outer garments to make a saddle while others were placed on the road in front of Jesus. The laying of cloaks on the road would be like rolling out the red carpet for someone today. In 2 Kings 9:13, people spread cloaks under King Jehu as he walked on the bare stairs, demonstrating that they recognized and received him as king.
But there’s actually more to it than that. This was a deeply symbolic act that represented their submission and surrender. They were laying themselves under His feet.
John 12:13 tells us that they used Palm branches. This was a common way to welcome a victorious King when he would return from battle. In Judaism, palms represented peace and plenty.
This is a massive crowd, crushing crowd, a crowd overrunning everything, and they have these palm branches, which are symbols of strength and beauty, strength because they flourish in a desert; beauty because they are evergreen. They become symbols of joy. They become symbols of enduring salvation.
Palm branches were also a symbol of joy and victory and were placed on graves as a sign of eternal life. Since palm trees often grew out in the desert near water, they indicated that life-giving activity was near. By laying palm branches on the road, the people were signifying that Jesus was the victorious King who gives eternal life to those out wandering in the desert of life.
In fact, the apostle John in one of his visions in Revelation 7, sees a scene that is depicted using palm branches. Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. So here John sees heaven and the joy of heaven is symbolized in the vision as symbolized in palm branches.
They are hailing the conquering hero. The redeemer has arrived. Deliverance from Roman domination is imminent. They require a mighty deliverer. Jesus is mighty deliverer because He raised Lazarus from the dead.
The gifts of the colt, the cloaks, and the branches all point to who Jesus is. The colt was expensive, the cloaks were essential, and the branches were an expression of joy.
Friend, will you give what’s been given to you? Is there something you can give to the Lord?
Catching up: We saw the sovereignty of the King and we are to give to the King.
3. WORSHIP THE KING
Mark 11:9-10 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “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 heaven!”
The picture here is of antiphonal chanting, meaning that those out ahead were shouting and singing and those at the back were responding with a refrain.
The word, “Hosanna” means, “save now” and is actually a quotation from Psalm 118:25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!
Psalm 118 was always read and recited at Passover. Psalm 118 is known as the “salvation psalm.” The very next phrase that is shouted also comes directly from this psalm. Psalm 118:26-28 26Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. 27The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
They worshipped God. And then the group in back would have shouted out this phrase: “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
Luke 19:39-40 39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Do you know that when you worship and shout to the King, there will be people who will oppose you? Jesus comes to the aide of the worshipping believers just like he supported Mary’s sacrifice.
John 12:17-19 17Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” In fact, here we find both the Jews and the gentiles worshiping Jesus.
John 12:20-23 20Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. 23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Listen, days before the Passover, families chose the lamb they would sacrifice. They would then bring it into the house and treat it like a pet. On Friday evening, it would be slaughtered as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the family.
At the very time Jesus, the Lamb of God, is heading to Jerusalem to be sacrificed, the people are choosing their Passover Lamb. Jesus was telling them, this Passover you don’t need a lamb, I am the lamb of God. Choose Your Lamb
Passover reminds us that only those who applied the blood of the sacrifice were “passed over” when the angel of death arrived. If you’ve never applied the blood of Jesus to your life, you will be in huge trouble. Repent and receive what Jesus did and have your sins passed over.
4. THE KING IS COMING
Jesus comes to Jerusalem and the enthusiasm of the crowd mounts. He is officially creating His own coronation here. He is the Messiah. Jesus e is the King. He will not deny their hosannas. Jesus actually says, “If these people don’t cry out hosanna, the rocks will cry out.”
This time Jesus is entering Jerusalem not as a typical conqueror. He’s not riding on a white horse. John sees Him doing that the next time He comes with blood splattered garments and a two-edged sword. But this time, the King comes humbly. He comes peacefully. He comes to die.
Luke 19:41-44 41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Sadly, the King had entered the temple and they were ignorant of His presence. They didn’t know Him. Jesus wept over the unbelief of the people. Here is a crowd that worshipped Jesus but they really did not know Jesus, eventually they were judged by God. The judgement came when Jesus died, the temple curtain tore into two. The temple system was over. Now we are the temple of God. The judgement came finally in AD 70 when the temple was destroyed by the Romans.
Friends, Jesus is coming again as King and when He comes again, no one will miss Him according to Revelation 19. He won’t be riding a baby donkey but instead He is symbolized as riding in a victorious white horse. Revelation 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
Revelation 19:15-16 15From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Friends, the King is coming back to judge and to rein with us forever. Are you ready to receive him today? We can receive Jesus spiritually as you worship him today, and one day we can literally receive him because the King is coming.
In the meantime, let’s trust the sovereignty of the Savior, let’s give what’s been given to us, let’s worship with all that we have, and Let’s choose the lamb.