Luke 19:28-44 – Honoring Christ!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 25, 2012 AM
The 82nd Airborne Division returned from Desert Storm. Their transport planes landed at Pope Air Force Base in front of a gathered crowd. Upon disembarking their aircraft, the troops marched before their commanding general. It was an impressive scene. The general spoke briefly. In essence he praised the troops for courageously facing the enemy and bringing a victory. Through bravery in battle, they had honored both their country and their commander. Theirs was a job well done.
In the Bible verses before us, Christ was on His way to Jerusalem to face the difficult circumstances that awaited Him there. He was following the Father’s direction in coming to the place of His rejection and crucifixion. Jesus lived a life of dedication that He was inviting His followers to live. We honor Him by following in His footsteps. As faithful Christian soldiers, we obey Jesus as Lord, praise Him as King, and share His concern regardless of life’s circumstances. Ours is a life of honoring Christ! Let’s discover how…
The text begins with Jesus at the very gates of Jerusalem. Several times He had made reference to what awaited Him there—rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection. Jesus knew it was God’s will for Him to head toward the cross. His approach to the city was deliberate because His mission was essential. In spite of Jesus’ repeated teachings, however, the disciples remained clueless, yet we find two disciples ready and willing to do what their Master asked of them. Through their actions we discover that in honoring Christ, we are to…
I. Obey Jesus as our Lord! (Luke 19:28-32)
1. Defiance takes the easy path, obedience walks the rough road! — Leeferism
1) At this point, approximately two miles from Jerusalem, Jesus sends a committee of two unknown disciples to find a young donkey in the village ahead. The unique detail about the donkey was that it was one “which no one has ever ridden.” The donkey’s uniqueness shows that the animal was reserved for special use. Upon finding the animal, the disciples were to untie it and bring it to Jesus. Jesus added that if someone asks “Why are you untying it?” the two disciples were to respond saying “The Lord needs it.” This statement was an authoritative claim. Jesus had a right to ride the animal because of whom He was. An unusual command was to be obeyed. It’s also important to know that the Mastermind of the universe knows the hairs on our heads, the sparrows that fall, and the location of a tied-up donkey. He pays attention to the little details and is never caught off guard. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is overlooked. Those who were sent followed Jesus’ instructions and accomplished their assignment. “Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.” The disciples went to the town, found the young donkey tied where it was supposed to be, and proceeded to untie it. When questioned about their actions, they gave the answer Jesus had given them. They then brought the young donkey to Jesus. Mission accomplished! In honoring Christ, we are to obey Jesus as our Lord!
EXAMPLE: Five-year-old Jenna was not having a good start to her day. Every attempt to arrange the world according to her liking was having the opposite result. Arguing didn’t work. Pouting didn’t work. Crying didn’t work. Finally her mother reminded her of the Bible verse she had been learning: “Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) Apparently Jenna had been thinking about this verse, because she was quick to answer: “But Mom, it doesn’t say that I won’t sin; it says that I might not sin.” Often our willingness to obey God is like that, we look for the loophole whenever there is a command we do not want to obey. Have you done that lately? In honoring Christ, we are to obey Jesus as our Lord!
Genuine praise comes from the heart. Such praise filled the scene of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Excited feelings flowed freely. His was not the typical warhorse approach of earthly kings but the humble donkey approach of the Heavenly King. There would be a future time of the King of kings’ arrival as the conquering ruler, but for this time Jesus was the suffering Messiah. In previous situations, Jesus had silenced His disciples. However, Jesus went along with their enthusiasm and allowed the demonstration. In these actions we learn that in honoring Christ, we are to…
II. Praise Jesus as our King! (Luke 19:35-40)
1. The more time spent praising God is less time centered on self! — Leeferism
1) Matthew recorded the Zechariah 9:9 prophecy that declared Israel’s King arriving on a donkey (Matthew 21:5). The disciples went into action. They threw their robes on the donkey and lifted the Lord up on its back. Just a few days later Jesus’ executioners would lift Him up on the cross. Luke tells us, “As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.” And in fact that, “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen!” To the crowds, Jesus was “the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” The kind of King Jesus was would bring “Peace in heaven and (our praise) glory in the highest!” It is the glory of God in Jesus’ death and resurrection that brings peace that surpasses all our understanding! Matthew and Mark record the throwing of branches cut from the trees and fields (Matthew 21:8; Mark 11:8), and the Gospel of John records the palm branches (John 12:13). The red carpet greeting had all the trappings of Israel’s historical kings as they had made their way into Jerusalem. The coronation event was spontaneously coming together, and Jesus was not issuing any restraint. The people proclaimed that Jesus was the promised King, in the line of David, who had God’s authority and approval. But not all were pleased, the Pharisees were indignant and tell Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” Jesus replied, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Jesus was publically presenting Himself to the nation, and God was determined this fact would be acknowledged. If the people didn’t acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, the stones would! In honoring Christ, we are to praise Jesus as our King!
EXAMPLE: Les Lamborn, for Our Daily Bread, wrote, “I used to view the worship service in church as a time for entertainment. Speaking of folks like me, Sören Kierkegaard said that we tend to think of church as a kind of theater: We sit in the audience, attentively watching the actors onstage. If we are sufficiently entertained, we show our gratitude with applause. Church, though, should be the opposite of the theater. God is the audience for our worship. What matters most takes place within the hearts of the congregation—not onstage. We should leave a worship service asking ourselves not ‘What did I get out of it?’ but rather ‘Was God pleased with what happened?’” Our praise, I think, should reflect the same kind of attitude. In honoring Christ, we are to praise Jesus as our King!
This coronation doesn’t end as it should. Jesus was not enthroned but crucified. The rejection, the suffering, the crucifixion and the resurrection came as predicted. One day He will return, and it will be a day of glory and honor. Yet, at this moment, we see Jesus approaching the city of Jerusalem and His emotions get the better of Him. Why? Jesus was never apathetic. He never said, “I don’t care.” His heart always reached out to people with love. His eyes saw what was there as well as what was going to be. In this poignant moment we realize that in honoring Christ, we are to…
III. Share Jesus’ concern! (Luke 19:41-44)
1. The ultimate fate of folks around you should give you pause! — Leeferism
1) An overwhelming sadness stirred Christ’s emotions. Jesus saw a city so blinded by sin that it refused to receive the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus wept, is an action meaning “He burst into tears.” Surrounded by the praise of the disciples, Jesus cried. The fate of those who rejected Him broke His heart. Jesus’ words were given between sobs! “If you, even you, had only known” is a conditional statement left hanging. Jerusalem wrote Jesus off as its King and therefore forfeited its opportunity of peace with God, or salvation. In its unbelief, the city dismissed the Messiah, and its moment of salvation had come and gone. Now it was hidden from their eyes. When Jerusalem wrote Jesus off, it sealed its doom. Without the peace of God the judgment of sin does its work. In prophetic language—“the days will come upon you”—Jesus painted images of military conquest. His foresight was a product of His divine insight. The first future picture involved enemies building an embankment against Jerusalem. In a siege, embankments served as both a protection and a base of operation. The reference is to the palisade the Romans later would build around the city. The word surround denoted the wall the Romans would build around the city that would completely cut off all escape routes. That the attackers would hem the city in on every side refers to the relentless pressure of attacks. “They 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.” What started as a battlefield would degenerate into a crime scene. The devastation would be so complete that Jerusalem would be leveled. Those who rejected Jesus would suffer the consequences of their actions! All of this occurred in A.D. 70 when Titus and his Roman legions laid Jerusalem to waste. This is why Jesus wept! In honoring Christ we are to share Jesus’ concern for those who reject Him!
EXAMPLE: I confess I like my self-made comfort zones. There is a certain security in the familiar; however, this can be dangerous in the life of the Christian. Longfellow wrote, “The vine still clings to the moldering wall, but at every gust the dead leaves fall.” Like that vine, many churches today cling to the crumbling wall of traditional programs, losing members like dead leaves carried away by the biting winds of our times. To put it another way: We refuse to leave our comfort zones. We like to stick to the familiar, the predictable, and the usual. It is time we honored Jesus more than our own personal comfort! In honoring Christ we are to share Jesus’ concern for those who reject Him!
In honoring Christ, we are to obey Jesus as our Lord! In honoring Christ, we are to praise Jesus as our King! In honoring Christ we are to share Jesus’ concern for those who reject Him! How are you honoring Christ?
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.