I was reminded of the great Queen Victoria. And at her coronation the regalia was basically staggering. She was given a crown that was encrusted with giant rubies and giant sapphires, surrounding a diamond of 309 carats. Now I know you wives are looking down at your left hand and trying to imagine what that might look like on your finger. That was only part of the regalia with which she was regaled, that mortal lady, on the occasion of her coronation. Everything that could be brought to bear on that woman's coronation was done.
Well nothing like that was seen in the earthly coronation of Jesus. No formalities, no jewelries, no dignitaries, no robes, no musicians. His coronation was indeed a humble coronation. It was very much like His birth. His birth was in a stable. His coronation was riding on a donkey. His birth was attended by shepherds who in social terms were the lowest people on the social ladder. His coronation was all the lowly people and rejected by the religious nobility.
But in spite of its simplicity and actually in spite of its superficiality, He was nonetheless God's true King. And in all the coronations that have ever been held in the world's history to honor a monarch, no monarch even comes close to what Jesus deserved by way of honor. There's never been one so supreme, so magnificent, so majestic, so powerful, so sovereign, so worthy, so glorious as Him. None comes even close. And, in fact, you can even add all the kings who have ever been crowned in the history of the world together, and they do not reach even the outer fringes of His infinite majesty. And in this simple, humble, lowly coronation, which is to some degree superficial, His great majesty shines. It is the only diamond. It is the only flashing, all-glorious stone in this otherwise mundane event.
I'm going to take you to Jesus' coronation. Open your Bible to Luke 19. I want to add this footnote while you're turning there. He will have two coronations, this one and one in the future, which you just heard sung about. He will be back and that coronation will be glorious and not humble. But this first one is described for us in Luke 19, beginning in verse 28. For those of you visiting with us, we are progressing through the life of Jesus as given us by Luke, the historian. We have now come to the last of His life and are entering the week of His crucifixion and resurrection.
Verse 28, "After He had said these things, He was going on ahead ascending to Jerusalem." Remember, He's been in Jericho which is down at the Dead Sea, below sea level, seventeen miles virtually straight up to Jerusalem. Verse 29, "It came about that when He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples saying, 'Go into the village opposite you, in which as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you why you why are you untying it? Thus you shall speak: The Lord has need of it.' And those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owner 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. And as He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road. 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, saying, 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.' 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.'"
After coming down from Galilee where He had been for a little while, He went through Perea, to the east of the Jordan, came back across the Jordan at Jericho headed for Jerusalem. It is Passover season. Everybody is coming to Jerusalem. Many come that way. And so He is in a large crowd of pilgrims, pretty steady flow, really, leading up to these days. Only the crowd around Him is much larger than anyone else because, after all, for three years He has banished illness from the land and done miracle after miracle and taught like no other person who ever lived.
He goes through Jericho, as you remember, and stops for two days and heals two blind men, blind beggars, who then become not only healed but forgiven of their sin and they become His disciples and now they are part of the ascending group, looking at everything for the first time, enjoying their transformed vision and their transformed souls.
He also miraculously brought salvation to the life of a chief tax collector named Zacchaeus, who was the most hated man in Jericho because he collected taxes from Jews to give to Romans who were the occupying army. He had a few weeks before this raised from the dead a well-known man by the name of Lazarus in the village of Bethany which is at the top of the hill about two miles east of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho.
So the crowd around Him is big. It's getting bigger. What He did in Jericho added to the size of the crowd. And up the ascent to the great city He comes in the midst of this mass of expectant humanity, who are hopeful that He will display messianic power and bring the glory of the kingdom promised to Israel in the Old Testament. The truth is He's headed to the cross. He has told His disciples that. It doesn't compute. It doesn't register. He proceeds on His way up the mountain to Jerusalem to face the unbelievable horrors of death on a cross as God's chosen sacrifice for sin. He heads to the death for which He took life in the first place, a ransoming, redeeming, reconciling death. He comes as the sinless one to take on the wrath of God for sinners, to bear sinners' punishment and thus to satisfy divine law, divine righteousness and divine wrath and open the way for forgiveness. He comes to die and then to rise, not only conquering sin but conquering death for all who believe and then to ascend into heaven and leave the gates of heaven wide open for all who believe in Him to follow. He comes to die. He comes later to reign. And in the meantime, we all have had opportunity to embrace Him as Savior and then one day to share in the kingdom He will bring the next time He comes.
Up to this point in His life, He never allowed this kind of open public display. He was always the Messiah. He was always the King. He was always demonstrating His deity, showing that He was God. There is no human explanation for Jesus. There is no doubt that He put His deity on display constantly. At any point in time it would have been right to worship Him, to exalt Him. It would have been right to have a massive display, a celebration of His glorious person as the Son of God, the Messiah. But He never allowed it. In fact, if it ever even began, He stopped it. This is the only time He ever allowed it.
Why? Because this is God's time. From the very beginning of His ministry, the religious leaders were intimated by Him, didn't take long till they hated Him. Very early in His life they wanted Him dead. The plots to execute Him started very early. He knew that fomenting any kind of massic...massive public display would lead to an escalated animosity and hatred by these leaders that would bring about a premature death. But now is the time for Him to die. Now is the time to inflame His enemies if it is to be. It is exactly the right time because He wants to be on that cross by Friday. He wants to set this thing in motion at such a massive level, such a huge display that the leaders of Israel can wait no longer to eliminate Him, because He wants to die by God's plan and He will die on Friday because Friday is the Passover when all Passover lambs were slain and He is the one true sacrifice for sin pictured in all other offerings. His timing is divine and perfect.
The public display must happen now and only now. At the greatest possible level, the exposure of interest in Him must reach to threaten His enemies to cause them to escalate their efforts to have Him dead, to move it fast so that it happens exactly when God has deemed it should happen.
There were a lot of people in Jerusalem at this time, a lot. Some have estimated up to two million people could be in and around Jerusalem at the Passover season. Estimates like that are drawn from historical facts that we have. For example, ten years after the year that Jesus died, there is a record that there were 260,000 Passover lambs slaughtered; 260,000 of them slaughtered. Basically the pattern was one lamb for ten people, so that's about two million people, at least. We don't know exactly how many people. Some have estimated the crowd that was around Jesus when He came into the city at a quarter of a million. That's huge. And it pressed all the buttons necessary to activate His enemies to get it done fast. And what they did out of hatred was what God determined would be done out of love. And Jerusalem had to be the place because Jerusalem was where all sacrifices were made. That's where the altar was, that's where the temple was, that was God's city. That’s the holy city, the temple city, the place where God met His people, the place where God was worshiped and the only place where sacrifices were made. He had to be there in God's city where God met His people and where sacrifice was offered. So Jerusalem is the place and the time is now, and it has to be this Passover in the year A.D. 30. Why? Because this is exactly 483 years after Daniel's prophecy. Back in Daniel chapter 9, the prophecy of Daniel coming from God was that in sixty-nine times seven weeks, seven weeks of years, sixty-nine times seven weeks the Messiah would be cut off, He would be killed, 483 years from the decree of Artaxerxes. Artaxerxes made his decree in 444 B.C. The decree is made; 483 years later, the prophet says, the Messiah will be cut off. It is this year, A.D. 30. The Messiah comes. It must happen in this city, in this year, it must happen on the Friday when Passover lambs are executed.
And so, Jesus knows exactly what He's doing. He knows what time it is on God's calendar and God's clock. But as He goes, He also faces the great horror of His life. As He goes He faces death, unknown to the eternal, living Son of God. He not only faces death, but He faces separation from God and He knows it. And it's a horrific thing. We couldn't comprehend. Do you remember that when He does get to the garden He says to His Father, "Father, let this cup pass from Me"? Some people have wondered, "Why would He say that? If He is God and if He is determined to do the will of God, why would He say that?" I will tell you why He would say that. That's the only thing a perfectly righteous man could say. A perfectly righteous man would have to say, "Don't...Don't treat Me as a sinner." He would have to say that, had no choice but to say that. That is a pure revelation that He is a perfectly righteous person. That is the prayer of one who wants nothing to do with sin. It is a necessary desire of a perfectly righteous person. So, all those thoughts are in His mind as He comes. The people are thinking, "This could be the moment He brings the kingdom. This could be the moment that He conquers the Romans. This could be the moment that He fulfills the promises to Abraham and David. This could be the moment that Israel is raised to its greater glory. This is the moment when we become the jewel of the earth. This is the moment when all that the prophets have said about the future comes to pass. This is our all-glorious moment. The King comes to reign." That's what's going on all around Him. But what's going on in Him is the King comes to die.
Jerusalem is the end of the journey, not just the journey of months that He began in chapter 9 verse 51 when He set His face to go there for the last time, but this is the end of the journey of His life from Bethlehem to now. And here He comes to face His greatest challenge and achieve His great salvation work. A little chronology might be helpful, just so you kind of get the week in mind. The gospel of John, the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Mark all describes these events. And they all give us different details that fit together to make the story complete.
John tells us in John chapter 12 that Jesus visited Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They were a family He knew and loved and, of course, He had raised Lazarus from the dead a few weeks before. They lived in Bethany, two miles east of Jerusalem on the down slope behind the Mount of Olives, from which you can't see Jerusalem because you have to crown the Mount of Olives to see the city down below. And so it's a little village, I've been there a number of times, tucked behind the mountain. He stayed with this family that He loved, two sisters, Mary and Martha, and a brother named Lazarus. Well John says this, that He came there to visit them six days before the Passover. That makes it probably Saturday on the Jewish Sabbath He came there. As He faced the coming week of pain and death, and conflict before that, He sought the comfort of His beloved and dear friends. While He was with those friends in that area, Mary, you remember, anointed His feet with costly perfume and wiped them with her hair in an expression of lavish love. And she shows us the love of those who are really devoted to Him. And also at that same event, Judas, you remember, was infuriated and angry because he saw that as a waste because you could have sold that and taken the money and given it to the poor. But he was no philanthropist. The Bible says he said that because he held the purse and he wanted out and he wanted out with as much money as he could get. All that happened on Saturday.
On the next day, which was Sunday, a great number of Jews came to Bethany to see Him. They heard He was there and they came pouring out of the city of Jerusalem and certainly surrounding areas. And according to John 12:9, they came there not just to see Him, but it says they came to see Lazarus. Everybody knew that he was dead and everybody knew that he was raised from the dead. That's on Sunday, the first day of the week. In fact, the crowd was so huge that John tells us in the next verse the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus to death also. That's a bummer, die once and then die a couple of weeks later. They wanted Lazarus dead because he was evidence.
So, can I give you a little more of the chronology? That would put the triumphal entry on Monday, on Monday, probably on Monday, probably on Monday. Some say it's Sunday, that's why it's Palm Sunday. But the chronology works out a little better on Monday because the crowd comes to Him on Sunday. He arrives at their home on Saturday, the crowd comes on Sunday and on Monday He comes into the east gate of the city. Hope it doesn't stress you too much to think of Palm Monday. And that's helpful because that eliminates the problem of a silent Wednesday. If you kind of open up the chronology of the week, of the last week of our Lord's life, there's nothing on Wednesday, but in this chronology there is. But if you have Him coming in on Sunday, then Wednesday is a blank and how could this marvelous and important, critical week of His life have a blank day?
Another support for the Monday triumphal entry is found in the Mosaic requirement that the sacrificial lamb for Passover was to be selected on the tenth day of the first month and kept in the household and sacrificed on the fourteenth day. So you took the lamb in. You had the lamb as your pet in the house and then the lamb was to be sacrificed, as a lamb that had become beloved by the family. In that year, the year that Jesus was crucified, 30 A.D., Monday was the day they selected the lamb. If Jesus entered the day triumphally on Monday, He was received into the hearts of the Jewish people as much as a family receives the sacrificial lamb, later to be sacrificed, four days later on Friday.
The week would then go like this. On Saturday, He is anointed. On the next day, Sunday, there's a great crowd comes to Bethany to see Him. On Monday is the triumphal entry. He comes into the city. He goes to the temple. At night He returns to Bethany. On Tuesday, comes from Bethany back into Jerusalem, curses a fig tree, cleanses the temple. The religious leaders get more angry with Him than they've been and they've been very angry, wanting to destroy Him. At the end of that Tuesday, He goes back to Bethany and stays. On Wednesday He comes back into Jerusalem and He has another day-long controversy with the religious leaders. He gives the great Olivet discourse, the sermon of His Second Coming recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Predicts that He's going to be crucified in two days at the Passover which is exactly what happened. And Judas plans the betrayal, that's Wednesday. Thursday, meets with His disciples, eats the Passover meal in the upper room, gives the great final discourse to the disciples. Goes into the Garden of Gethsemane, prays to the Father. On Friday He's arrested, tried, crucified. Saturday He's in the grave. Sunday He rises from the dead. That's what's in His mind. And the people, all they can think about is He's going to come and bring us glory. But there couldn't be any glory until there was a cross. There couldn't be a kingdom until there was a sacrifice for sin.
Now, back to the humble coronation. As we look at it, in spite of its simplicity and superficiality...after all, it's the same crowd crying "Crucify Him!" later in the week, right? Very superficial. But in spite of its simplicity and lack of ostentation and in spite of its superficiality, it is a real coronation and He is really God's King. And you see it in three things: preparation, adoration and condemnation. Those are three little hooks to hang your thoughts on as you progress through the story: preparation, adoration and condemnation. In His preparation He is revealed as God's glorious Son and King. In His adoration He is revealed as the divine one, worthy of worship and praise. In condemnation He is revealed as the one who has the right to judge. He is a King because He has all the quality of a King. He is a King because He receives worship and deserves it. He is a King because He has the right to bring judgment. So we see the majesty of our crowned King here in spite of the humble circumstances in His preparation, His adoration and His condemnation.
Now let's look at the preparation. We're going to begin there, obviously. Involves His arrival, verse 28, "After He said these things," that is the parable He had just told on the way out of Jericho, verses 11 to 27 which we looked at last time, "He was going on ahead ascending to Jerusalem and it came about that when He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of His disciples..." Now let me just kind of back up a little bit and get you into the scene, OK?
He is not going to enter as a warrior king to conquer and to reign. He's going to enter as a sacrifice for sin, to die and rise again. He's not coming as a conqueror on a white horse. He's coming as a peacemaker on a donkey's colt. He is a King. Absolutely He is a King. His deity is manifest. But He has something to do with sin before He can bring His kingdom.
Now right near the city of Jerusalem, as I noted for you earlier, there's the town of Bethany, a little village, really, two miles east. I've been there many times. It is the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus, kind of Jesus' base in the area. By today it has an Arabic name. Interestingly enough, the Arabic name today: El-Azariyeh. It means Lazarus. So today it's named for Lazarus, it's most famous citizen ever. The old name, Bethany, is "house of dates" most likely. You know, dates that grow on palms. Bethphage, the little village, we don't even know where that was it was so small, but nearby, Bethphage seems to mean "house of figs," or over-ripe figs. And the mount is the Mount of Olives. So you get a little idea that this was pretty agrarian culture, right, figs and dates and olives.
Now the Mount of Olives is in the middle of three mountains on the two and a half mile long little set of hills. Mount Scopus on the north, Mount of Corruption on the south and they're fairly well the same height. But the middle one is the Mount of Olives, directly opposite the Temple Mount.
Both are on the east side, both villages on the east side of the Mount of Olives, so that they can't see Jerusalem because they're down and they're below the crown of the hill. You have to go all the way to the crown of the hill and then the city appears because it's down the slope to the Kidron Valley where the brook Kidron runs and then up a little slope to the eastern gate of the city. So you don't see the city until you peak, summit the Mount of Olives, then it appears. So they're still below the hill on the backside, unable to see the great glorious city and Jesus sends two of His disciples. This is what He says in verse 30, "Go into the village opposite you." They're likely in Bethany, that's where they stayed, so He's sending them to Bethphage. The only time it's mentioned in the Bible is here. Don't know anything about it, just a little village. And He says, "In which as you enter you will find a colt tied in which no one yet has ever sat."
Now how does He know that? You know, the Bible is so humble in the way it introduces these staggering indications of the supernatural knowledge of Christ. How does He know this? In fact, Matthew adds that Jesus said, "Immediately you will find a donkey." He wasn't there, nobody was there. He hadn't been there. And who would know that the donkey would be there, be tied up? This is just one of those simple illustrations of omniscience that is so staggering. Matthew says, "You will not only find a colt, but you'll find a donkey," the mother of the colt. You'll find a donkey with a colt. "And it will be a colt on which no one has ever sat." More detail known only to our Lord. This is one little foal of a donkey that's never been broken, never been ridden as if it had been created for one rider, the all-glorious and yet all-humble Jesus Christ. He says, "Untie it." By the way, five times in this little narrative it talks about untying that animal. I don't know whether that indicates a severe knot, or what. But it just seemed to be interesting to keep repeating it. "And when you've untied it, bring it here.” Bring it. And then He anticipates something else in His omniscience. "If anyone asks you why are you untying it, thus shall you speak, 'The Lord has need of it.'"
This could look a lot like robbery, a guy sneaking into town, untying animals and making off with them. I'm sure that happened a lot in a criminal fashion. It could be assumed by no one that the donkey would be there. No one could assume the colt would be there. No one could assume the people would be there. The whole scenario could only be known by one who knows what isn't available by observation and that's the evidence of His deity. They'll be there and they'll say, "Why are you untying it?" and you say, "The Lord has need of it." And you might say, "Well that's not very much information." Look, you've got to understand this. You're talking about a tiny little area. You're talking about this little village of Bethany and this tiny little village of Bethphage very nearby and you're aware now that this is Monday morning and Jesus has already been in Bethany since Saturday. And on Sunday, masses of Jewish people have poured into Bethany from everywhere to see Jesus and see Lazarus. Believe me they would have trampled the town of Bethphage in the process. Everybody would know the word was everywhere. He had raised Lazarus from the dead and now the one who had done that and done all the miracles was there. He is staying with Mary and Martha in Bethany. He is the Lord. He is called the Lord by those who love Him and believe in Him. You go into the village, you find the animal. When they ask you what you're doing, just say the Lord has need of it and you won't have to make a further explanation. The fever pitch has elevated to the point now where everybody is anticipating this is His great moment. They know He's a miracle worker. They know He heals people. They know He raises dead people. They know He casts out demons. He has power over the world of disease. He has power over the world of the spirits. And He has the truth of God and He proclaims it like no one who has ever lived. The fever toward embracing Him as Messiah has hit this little village and all you have to say is, "The Lord needs it." He's just going to borrow it.
So they did what they were told, verse 32. "Those who were sent away, went away. Found it just like He had told them." It must have been a startling little moment. Oh, yep, just like He said. There it is, there's the donkey and there's the donkey's foal and they're tied right there just immediately in the village. And they started untying it just the way Jesus said. As verse 33 points out, they were untying the colt. Its owner said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" Just like Jesus said they'd say. And they said, "The Lord has need of it." End of conversation, nothing else is recorded, that was all they needed to hear. I'm sure they were looking at each other and going, "Can you believe it? The Lord is going to use our animals."
We're not surprised that the Lord knew this. In John's gospel Jesus met a man named Nathanael for the first time. Nathanael walks up to Him, never has met Jesus, and Jesus says to Nathanael, "Behold an Israelite in whom there's no guile." That would...That's not some kind of slur on being Jewish, that's just the way humanity is, just rare to find one who's not deceptive, since the heart of all of us is deceitful, the Scripture says. Nathanael says to him, "How do You know me?" Jesus said, "Oh, I saw you when you were under the fig tree." That fig tree was way far away.
Yeah, He had supernatural knowledge because He was God. At the end of chapter 2 of John it says, "He didn't need anyone to tell Him concerning anyone because He knew what was in man." He could read the heart. He could not only see people with His omniscience that He couldn't see with His physical eyes but He could see the heart of everyone. And so it was just the way He said it would be and they must have experienced that in their life many, many times.
And so, they bring this animal, verse 35. They brought it to Jesus and they threw their garments on the colt, put Jesus on it, kind of a makeshift saddle on a little foal that's never been ridden.
By the way, Solomon rode a mule in his coronation, 1 Kings 1:32 to 40. David on occasion rode a mule. But our Lord was not just trying to identify with Davidic tradition, even though He is a son of David and in the Davidic line of kings. It's more than that. What's going on here? Well interestingly enough Luke doesn't record the actual prophecy. What is going on here? I'll show you what's going on. In Zechariah, the next to the last book of the Old Testament, in one of the prophecies about the coming Messiah, listen to this, Zechariah 9, 500 years earlier, 500 years. Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice greatly, oh daughter of Zion," an expression referring to the Jewish people. "Rejoice greatly, oh daughter of Zion, shout in triumph, oh daughters...daughter of Jerusalem. Behold your king is coming to you. He is righteous and endowed with salvation. He's coming as a Savior, humble, mounted on a donkey,” not just a donkey on a colt, “the foal of a donkey." Wow, 500 years earlier the prophet Zechariah said He would come riding a donkey's colt. He knew that, he knew that was the plan. He knew exactly which donkey, which colt, where it was and how to acquire it.
Matthew 21, Matthew gives his account of our Lord's humble coronation and in Matthew 21 verse 4, "Now this took place that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, 'Say to the daughter of Zion, behold your King is coming to you, gentle and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" So Matthew tells us this is a fulfillment of Zechariah. John in his account in John also tells us the same thing: that this is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah; that Jesus would come riding on the foal of a donkey.
Five hundred years then before the people of Jerusalem would hail Him as a King, it was declared by the prophet that He would ride a donkey's colt. The Old Testament then declared that He wouldn't come as a conquering hero riding on a white horse. That's the picture in Revelation when He comes the next time. But that He would come not in earthly splendor to reign in earthly power, but the first time He would come in humility to save and to die and give His life a ransom for sinners. He did not come into the city on this occasion in wealth but in poverty. He didn't come in grandeur, He came in meekness. He didn't come to slay Israel's enemies but to save sinners. The incarnation is the time of His humiliation. The next time He comes, the time of His glorification. And by the standards of earthly kings, this is anything but a triumphant entry. That's why I call it a humble coronation rather than a triumphal entry. But it's exactly what it had to be. It's exactly what the prophet said it would be. Jesus knew that, knew the prophecy, knew how to fulfill the prophecy and therein we see His deity and Messiahship manifest in the preparation for His entry. He comes to the right city on exactly the right day to be offered as the Lamb to the people, four days later to be executed on the very day that Passover lambs are always killed as symbolic sacrifices for sin because He is the real and true sacrifice for sins. He comes in the right year. Every detail is on divine schedule.
So here we see His omniscience as God. Here we see His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy validating His claim to be the Messiah. It's magnificent. Clearly He is God's King.
We move secondly to adoration. Just briefly we can look at this, adoration. In this He is vindicated as the Messiah by receiving worship, that which belongs only to God. If He was God...and then sometimes people say, "Well Jesus was a godly man, Jesus was a righteous man, Jesus was a good man." Look, He received worship. That's for God and crazy people. That's not for good people, wise people. Or it's for phonies and frauds. And phonies and frauds stay dead. So adoration, verse 20...verse 36, "As He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road." This is an old custom, ancient custom. Second Kings 9:13 describes it. What did it symbolize? It symbolized that you were submitting. Obviously if you wanted to show your submission you could throw yourself under the animal, but that would be silly; get yourself hurt, trip the animal and cause the King to fall over. So what you did was throw your cloak and it was symbolic. It was a way to represent your own submission. They were in effect saying we place ourselves under Your feet. That's why thrones were elevated. In the ancient times we talked about a king, you were under his feet, symbolic of submission to his majesty and authority. So they were saying that: "We place ourselves under Your feet, symbolically throwing our robes there."
And this thing is beginning to escalate now. This thing is beginning to escalate. The disciples really didn't get the full picture. In fact, in John 12 it says that when He fulfilled this prophecy, they didn't understand it, but later they did. They looked back and said, "Ah, that was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9," but in the fever of the moment they weren't connecting the dots. In spite of what our Lord had said, the idea of the kingdom coming immediately was dominating their minds. He's going to bring in the kingdom. He's going to bring all our hopeful...hope for promises to pass. The momentum begins to gain power. They're spreading their garments. One does it, another does it, another does it, another does it. Finally the little donkey's walking through a pile of robes. Verse 37, "And as He was now approaching near the descent of the Mount of Olives," they came over the top and they crowned that Mount of Olives and they just get over the edge and there is Jerusalem, the golden, and blazing, right in the middle at high noon in vision, twelve o'clock is Herod's magnificent gold temple with the sunlight flashing off of it on that spring day and it is Jerusalem, the glorious Jerusalem, the golden. The wall is there, the eastern gate is there and then the euphoria reaches its crescendo as they see that vision.
The city comes into view and what happens? “Immediately the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen.” The fervor rises in view of the great city. The miracles they had seen, they had all seen them. He had done them from one end of the land to the other. Everywhere He went He had done them. They all had stories about the miracles they had seen. And many of them had firsthand information about Lazarus and some of them had been there for the miracles of the two blind beggars, many of them, when the crowd came through, the two blind beggars to whom He gave sight; Zacchaeus, whose life He totally transformed by forgiving his sin and transforming his soul, they all had the stories. And they were beginning to wonder and recite, "Yeah, look at them, now it all makes sense, the miracles, the miracles. He's the one, He's the one. And Lazarus, alive from the dead." Surely Lazarus was in the crowd along with Mary and Martha. And what do they say in their worship? "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord." What does that mean? Who comes with divine authority; if you come in the name of the Lord, you come with His full authority. Blessed is God's King. They honor Him. They worship Him as the one who comes with the full authority of God.
I know it's fickle because the same crowd is going to be screaming, "Crucify Him, crucify Him," in a few days. But for the moment, they're just swept away. "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord." And they're basically borrowing language from the Psalms, language that anticipates the arrival of Messiah. Matthew adds this at this moment, Matthew 21:8, "Most of the multitude spread their garments on the road.” Most of them. “Others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road." And John 12:13 says they were palm branches because palm branches were symbols of joy. This was a celebration to end all celebrations. The joy was at a fever pitch. They were throwing their cloaks...cloaks down. They were cutting branches. They were throwing branches at His feet, symbols of joy. Matthew indicates as well that the crowd was divided. Matthew says part of the crowd was behind Jesus, part of the crowd was in front of Him. Why? Because there was a crowd following over the hill. And believe me, since He had already been two days in the area, there were people in the city who on the word that He was coming were coming out of the city. They were pouring out of the city and the crowd was growing and growing. John tells us in John 11:57, "The chief priests and Pharisees had given orders to anyone who knew where He was to report it so that they might seize Him." Well everybody knew where He was. And nobody was going to report Him. The expectation was so high the crowds didn't care at all what the Pharisees or scribes said, caught up in the frenzy of the moment. And they think this is it, indicated in that they say this, "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest."
What does that mean? God is finally satisfied, because they couldn't believe God is at peace as long as Jerusalem's not. Not until Messiah comes and brings peace to Jerusalem and brings glory to Jerusalem will there ever be peace in heaven and glory in the highest. Heaven is...Heaven is not what it should be until Jerusalem is what it should be. And it is now our hour. As messianic peace and glory come to Jerusalem, so peace in its fullness and glory in its fullness come to heaven and to God. Matthew adds that they said, "Hosanna to the son of David." That's the most common reference to Messiah, son of David. Because in 2 Samuel 7 the promise was that David would have a greater son who would have an everlasting and glorious kingdom and fulfill all the promises that have been given. So they...they called the Messiah, "Son of David." Matthew uses the word Hosanna which means, "Save now, save now, save now." They weren't talking about spiritual salvation from sin, save the nation, save the nation, save us from the oppressive Romans, save us from our desperate condition in this world. Save us, bring the fulfillment of the promises. Bring them. Bring them. And they borrowed the language, as I said, from Psalm 118 verse 26, sometimes called a Psalm of salvation, sometimes called a conqueror's Psalm, sometimes called a coronation Psalm. A hundred years before this Maccabeus had defeated the Syrians and the Jews had hailed him with this same 118th Psalm. It exalts the one who comes in the name of the Lord. That's why it's called a Psalm of enthronement. And they made the right application of it here. This is the King. Save now. This is the Son of David. It's time to be enthroned. This is finally going to bring peace to heaven and glory in the highest.
Mark 11:10 says that in the crowd they were saying, "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the coming King." And they thought this was it. This is the Old Testament promised kingdom come to fruition. But it wasn't. The King had come to die. He had to come to die first. And then Zechariah said, Zechariah 12, "Someday they'll look on Him whom they've pierced and they'll mourn for Him as an only Son” and then they'll be cleansed and then will come the kingdom. But first He had to be pierced for their sins.
Oh, this is worship. And the Pharisees are outraged. This is blasphemy to them, to worship any but God, to connect Him with heaven and with God. And so in verse 39, "Some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to Him, 'Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.'" This is blasphemy, put a stop to it. They can't deal with the crowd. The crowd is way to massive. They have one reasonable path and that's to get to Jesus and tell Him to stop it. Sure they loathed the Romans. They hated the Romans, despised the Romans. But they didn't for a minute believe Jesus was their Messiah. They didn't get caught up in this euphoria. They hated Him and they despised the action of this crowd. And what really made them furious was He accepted it. He accepted the adoration. And they said, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."
His answer is just stunning. He didn't say, "Oops, sorry. They are getting carried away a little bit." You remember when the crowd worshiped Paul and his companion? And he said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop that." Well Jesus said this, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out."
And that sets up the final section in which He reveals His deity and His authority as King and that's condemnation. Do you know what that means, "The stones will cry out?" I'm going to tell you next time and it's not what you think. You look at this humble coronation and you can't miss the fact that He is really the King. You see it in His preparation. You see it in His adoration. Next time, the climactic point, we'll see it in His condemnation. Let's pray.
Our Father, every text, every section of this account of our Lord Jesus is filled with wonder and awe and blessing. We thank You again for this picture of our glorious Savior who deserved to be King, who deserved to reign, who deserved all the pomp and circumstance, all the regalia that this whole universe could heap upon Him and He receives it in heaven and was treated so humbly and simply and superficially on earth, but willingly so, joyfully so, gladly so in order to be an offering for our sins, in order to die to provide a sacrifice that would satisfy Your divine justice on our behalf. We thank You, oh God, that He was wounded for our transgressions. He was pierced for our iniquities. We thank You that it was our peace with You that came through His punishment. You put Him in our place as our substitute, punished Him for our sins, and He went willingly. We acknowledge Him as our King. We see it in His omniscience. We see it in His direct and precise fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy which You gave. He is King by virtue of adoration. He receives worship and when some try to deny it, He says you must let them do it. If they don't do it the stones themselves will do it. My glory will be on display, if not through the animate, through the inanimate. And we shall see it even in His authority and His right to bring condemnation on those who are His enemies. He's all glorious and all majestic, even in the humblest circumstances.
There are three groups of people here, Lord, same three that were in the parable last time. There are the committed, His real followers who did exactly what He told them...told them to do, who obeyed Him and loved Him. There are the curious, the superficial fickle crowd screaming that He's a King and a few days later screaming, "Crucify Him, crucify Him," the false followers. And then there are His enemies who hate everything about Him. We know the world is still like that. There are those who are truly lovers of Christ, those who are superficial, curious. Lord, work with that group to bring them to a true love for Him. Then there are the enemies who reject Him fully. We pray that even those hearts would be awakened to His glory. He alone is the answer to every need of the heart and to the desperate need eternally to escape hell and enter the joys of heaven. This is what He offers us, first salvation and then the glories of an everlasting kingdom.
Father, send us on our way now, still feeling the echo of this experience this morning, giving glory to Christ. May it be the glory of the committed, the honor that He deserves as our Savior and coming King. Turn hearts that aren't yet there to You. We pray for Your own glory. And even the enemies, may they fall at His feet in adoring worship. We thank You for the gift of Christ who gave Himself for us. We pray in His name. Amen.
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