The great news and celebration of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem happened just one week before His resurrection. This thing that happened 2000 years ago has an importance even in today’s world. When I was looking at the story, it is called the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Almost 2000 years ago, into the city of Jerusalem came two processions. From the east of Jerusalem came Jesus, His disciples and his followers. Jesus was riding on a donkey. On the west side of Jerusalem, came Pilate, the governor of Judaea. He was accompanied by the Roman soldiers. Jesus came proclaiming the kingdom of God. Pilate came proclaiming the power of the Roman Empire. As Jesus entered the holy city, He neared the culmination of a long journey toward Golgotha. He had come to save the lost, and now was the time and that was the place to secure salvation. Palm Sunday marked the start of what is often called “Passion week” the final seven days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Palm Sunday was the ‘beginning of the end’ of Jesus’ work on earth.
For this meditation, let us turn our attention to the gospel of Luke chapter 19 verses 28 to 40. This is the passage that speaks about the Lord’s coming to Jerusalem. Description of this event in Jesus’ life can be found in all four gospels. (Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40 & John 12:1-17) These passages provide insight and back ground into the significance of this celebration of Palm Sunday. Each gospel account provides a different perspective as the authors might focus on different things to describe the same activity.
On Palm Sunday different Christian churches often give the congregation palm branches or leaves to re- create the celebration of Christ’s final arrival to Jerusalem because his followers used palm branches to honor Him as King and Messiah. You might have even seen many Christians coming on procession with the palm leaves in hand and shouting Hosanna, Hosanna. Some of you know what all that means, some of you don’t even know what all that means. You might be thinking what is the great thing in celebrating Palm Sunday or why are people shouting out Hosanna, Hosanna or what is so great about Jesus coming into Jerusalem or Jesus being the King. What is so great about it? Let us look into the read passage and see what it says. I want to bring your attention to three points through which we are going to see this whole discourse of Jesus coming into Jerusalem.
The first point I would like to make and it is found in Luke 19: 29 to 34 and it speaks about one thing that is PREPARATION. Preparation of Jesus’ coming into Jerusalem. Jesus descends from the Mount of Olives towards Jerusalem. How did they prepare for the Lord’s coming into Jerusalem? It is a very interesting discussion between Jesus and His disciples. And what Jesus tells them is to go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever ridden. Untie and bring it here. And if anyone asks you why are you untying it, tell that the Lord needs it. Now look at this particular thing, He says go to the village and there is a colt tied, go and get it. And if somebody asks you this particular question-why are you untying it, then you must tell him, the Lord has need of it. Here Jesus is doing a miracle of providence. He exactly knew that there is going to be a colt tied there, where these people need to go, what kind of question those people would be asking and what answer need to be given. Because when this answer is given, those people would allow that colt to be taken. So, we see the preparation was done. How did Jesus know this? The reason is that He is God. He is God that is why He knows what was going to happen. Christ has dominion over all creatures, and may use them as he pleases. That is the first point-the preparation.
But when we look at it in terms of the preparation of Jesus coming to Jerusalem, that was not the only preparation but the preparation had been happening since the beginning. Because God knew that we as human beings would sin and would fall and then there would be a need for a savior to come. There needs to be a King, there needs to be a messiah who comes and saves His people. So, when we look at preparation from this particular angle, the preparation was going on for eternity for the King to come for the first time to Jerusalem. Now we have been preparing for the last 2000 years for the King to come again. He is going to come again and this time it is going to be a triumphal entry into this world and that King is Jesus. Yes, King Jesus is coming and this is the message for that preparation. Are we prepared for the King? Are we prepared for the second coming of our savior and King Jesus Christ? Let us prepare ourselves for that. There is only one King, He is the King of kings- Jesus. Jesus is coming again. Personally, and visibly, He is coming back. In power and glory, He will return with His redemptive mission and to establish His eternal kingdom. Be prepared for Jesus’ second coming by living in the light of his first coming.
What is the significance of Jesus riding on a donkey on Palm Sunday? Conquering kings typically come in chariots or on horseback, so it is significant that Jesus rode on a donkey. Jesus was not an ordinary King with a kingdom of this world. Jesus rode on a donkey to fulfill a prophecy about the Messiah. In Zechariah 9:9 we see “Rejoice greatly, Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” So, this is the fulfillment of that prophesy.
The second point I would like to make here is the ENTRY OF JESUS INTO JERUSALEM. Now what has happened is those people went and brought the colt, the donkey. In verse 35 it says, then they brought it to Jesus and they threw their own clothes on the colt and they sat Jesus upon it. What we see here is that they have put their own clothes upon the donkey and Jesus sat upon it. Verse 36 also says as he went along many people spread their clothes on the road, while others spread branches they had cut. What is the significance of this and if you want to find out what the significance is. Then we will have to go back into the history? We read it in II Kings 9, there is a story and the background. It is that Jehu being anointed the king of Israel. He is with some people and prophet comes and takes him inside his room and he anoints Jehu as the king of Israel. He comes out and his friends ask him what was this prophet saying? Jehu does not tell them first and he tries to avoid what the prophet said. But then when they insisted, Jehu tells them what the prophet spoke that we see in II Kings 9:12 “this is what the Lord says; I anoint you King over Israel” And when they heard this, what happened? Let us see verse 13, it says “they hurried and took their garments and put it under him and on top of the bare steps and then they blew the trumpet and shouted Jehu is King. This was to express that you are a King and we take off our clothes and put them under your feet so that you could walk on them. This was a make shift throne for the King. This is exactly what the people did here in the gospels with Jesus. They took off their clothes, then put them on the donkey, put them on the road so that Jesus would walk on them and the colt that Jesus was sitting on would walk. Why did the people lay their coats and palm branches on the ground on Palm Sunday? Laying their coats and palm branches on the ground was a symbolic way for the people to treat Jesus as their king. They hoped that Jesus would overthrow the Roman government in Jerusalem. By doing this what they were saying is, you are our King. That is exactly what they were saying to Jesus. It speaks about the Kingship of Jesus. That is how Jesus entered Jerusalem.
Let us go ahead and see what happens next, the third point I would like to make is about the OPPOSITION. There was opposition from the Pharisees. If you turn with me to verse 39, it says some pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Why were they saying that? Look here what has happened? In verse 38, we see that the people were shouting out praises for Jesus. Pharisees were offended by the praises that Jesus was receiving. In fact they came to Jesus and told him that he should command his disciples that they should remain silent. They were saying “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” What they were saying we understand only if we read the parallel passages. It is written they were saying “Hosanna”. In today’s terminology “Hosanna” is taken with a different meaning. The word “Hosanna” we think is praise God or singing praises to the Lord. But that is not what it was. Hosanna means “save us now” or “Please save us”. Why were they crying out to Jesus saying “save us now”? They were saying that because they were acknowledging the fact that Jesus is the messiah. They were saying we know it and you save us now. But the fact of the matter is that the people did not figure out one thing that the Lord came not just to save them from the oppressive powers of Rome but He came to save them from the powers of sin. He came not just to deliver them from some slavery or from some King but He came in order to deliver them from the slavery of sin and that was the most important thing that Jesus came for. Jesus came to deliver us from the power of sin that is why there was opposition. If you look at the gospels, we see time and again Jesus met people and said your sins are forgiven. He is God, He is King and that is why He can forgive sins. What a wonderful God we have.
In Luke chapter 19 verse 40 Jesus’ reply makes a shocking statement. There we read, Jesus replied “I tell you, that if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Well, what does Jesus communicate through that statement? Is it just an overstatement by Jesus? Is he just exaggerating or did he literally mean that the stones would literally have voice and cry out and Praise to our savior believing that Jesus is the savior. He was God in flesh, He was the creator of all things including the stones that were scattered on His path way. I find it not an exaggeration, and I have come to accept that if they had kept their peace, if they would have been silent, then the stones literally would have cried out in praise to the Lord. Why? Because Jesus deserves that praise, he is worthy of that praise. He is the Lord. He is our savior. If he deserves our praise then you and I should offer our praises to Him.
Jesus was coming to be King of the Jews, but not in the way that they desired. He was coming to save them from so much more than the Romans. He came for something greater. He came to free each one of us from the slavery of sin. He came truly as a compassionate King. Today will you bow your heart once again to Jesus Christ our Messiah, the King? Be bold as you come before His throne in your time of need. There you will find a compassionate King who is ready to grant the grace and mercy that you need. Remember when Jesus came on that Palm Sunday, He did not come with power and might because Jesus knows that these are very temporary. It does not satisfy the needs of our soul, not even the needs of our body. We can be satisfied with material things only for a short time but you and I know very well that hunger persists. That real hunger we have in our soul can only be satisfied by Jesus who came that day on Palm Sunday bringing the gift of peace. Dear ones let us look at Jesus, let us understand that He though humble and gentle, He is the King. He will come to rule one day. He will not be humble at that time. He will come to judge the world.