Luke 19:28-44 – Palm Sunday
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 29, 2015 AM
I was wondering what you thought about peace. You know what I mean, not the peace the world tries to aspire to because that is impossible. I am referring to the peace that passes all understanding that only comes from intimately knowing the ruler of peace. Perhaps you have realized peace does not come from people, places or things. Education, money, or power cannot give you the peace you need or seek. Only the one who died for you can give you peace when all else in life falters, fails, or falls apart. The absence of war, strife, or personal hurt is not the peace He gives. His peace comes by the sword of His truth that pierces the human soul right down to the spiritual bone marrow.
The Jews of Jesus’ day were searching for a worldly peace, a solution to their national and personal problems. Just like much of the world today. They had not learned from their history that going to war, throwing out the oppressor, or striving to have it all does not bring the peace God desires. Many were of the same mindset as Judas, who betrays Jesus, and desired a manmade answer to their problems. Some saw or heard what Jesus had done at the tomb of Lazarus; certainly He had to be the one who could throw out the Romans and establish the governmental utopia they desired. To show their acceptance of this idea they welcomed Jesus by throwing their cloaks and palm branches on the road, recognizing Him as their king. Let’s discover anew what happened on that Palm Sunday…
READ: Luke 19:29-44
Goals in life are important, if you do not have goals you will never achieve in life what you may expect or what God desires. Jesus was reaching the goal of His life. What would become known as Palm Sunday in the high-church arena, we see as His triumphal entry into Jerusalem for the last time. The world and its allies do not see this as much of an accomplishment, yet here…
I. We find Jesus making the proper preparations! (Vv. 29-35)
As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.'” Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.
1. Jesus had just given the crowd a parable concerning the fact that the kingdom of God had already come, but the ones He had chosen to take care of it, share it with the world, and invest their lives in it had done a pretty poor job. And now the one who would bring about the fulfillment of the kingdom was coming into the city of His temple, “he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.” However, as “he approached Bethphage and Bethany, at the hill called the Mount of Olives” we discover “he sent two of his disciples” on a particular mission. Interestingly, Jesus gives them very specific instructions. He tells them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’” The wording for “Lord” some think simply means “master” as in Rabbi, while others see it as the folks already knew who Jesus was. It could be that Jesus had planned this with the owner, but I believe it is another example of His knowing what God desired of Him. God knew the colt would be there and probably had prepared the owner that Jesus would require it. In fact, Matthew relates that they would “find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her.” (Matthew 21:2 NIV) Luke tells us that, “Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They replied, ‘The Lord needs it.’” I find this both fascinating and comforting. It teaches us that when God makes plans His preparations are always perfect! We learn that, “They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.” We find Jesus making the proper preparations!
EXAMPLE: Proper preparation in life is very important, but far too many neglect doing so. Whenever we find God active in our lives, it is always because of our willingness to prepare ourselves for His purpose. Preparation comes from our willingness to listen and immediately obey. The disciples did not argue with Jesus about who owned the colt, where it was tied up, or why they were chosen to do the task. Far too often, we want to make demands of God and then argue with Him when He asks us to do something for Him. We need to be ready and willing, because God is always able to make the proper preparations when we are willing to obey!
People get excited about a lot of different things in life. We get excited naturally over the birth of a child, puppies, and the latest YouTube video. We find folks getting all shook up over media and movie stars as well. Isn’t it interesting that on this particular Palm Sunday…
II. We find the crowd getting carried away! (Vv. 36-40)
As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 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: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
1. Matthew’s gospel relates that, “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.” (Matthew 21:8 NIV) Can you imagine folks using their best garments so Jesus’ donkey could step on them? Would you be willing to throw your Sunday best on the road for the Lord to step on? This is exactly what these folks did. Luke writes that, “As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.” Wow, can you imagine what a scene that would have been! “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.” What miracles was Luke referring? John tells us that, “Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that He had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet Him.” (John 12:17-18 NIV) They knew that only the Messiah could do such things and the crowd wanted to see the one who had raised the dead! And, perhaps, Jesus was the Messiah king they had longed for, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” they shouted. “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” The religious leaders however had a problem with this public display and “the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’” John remarks that they were fearful of their standing and that the people liked Jesus better than them and whined, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (John 12:19 NIV) Jesus bluntly responds, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out”, we find the crowd getting carried away!
EXAMPLE: How sad to realize that it was an unsaved crowd who got so excited about Jesus that they could not be silent. They sang the praises of God, gave Him glory, and professed Jesus as Messiah! The religious leaders desired they not make this public display. Which crowd do you find yourself belonging to this morning? I am not talking about worship service; I am speaking about a public display of your devotion to the Lord? We live in a day and age where there are those who try and find offense at the least little thing. So we often remain silent about our faith, when we should be the ones to sing, shout, and praise the Lord openly. We find the crowd getting carried away over Jesus, why don’t you?
We may forget that here in these few verses are some of the most startling contrasts of the world we live in. We have folks who even though they saw, heard, and experienced Jesus, refusing to believe. We have others who perhaps had never see Jesus before or experienced anything He had done, believing. And then we see some very personal moments from Jesus and discover that…
III. On that day, Jerusalem was condemned and cried over! (Vv. 41-44)
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 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.”
1. There are a few times in the Bible that can give the reader pause and this is truly one of them. The dusty gravel strewn road slowly ascends and as the traveler makes his way to the top the ridge, there is a moment where you cannot see the Holy City ahead and then it rises to view as you gain the crest. It is at that moment we find Jesus, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” The poignancy of the moment is not lost. Touched with a tender concern for His people, Jesus’ natural passions are moved, and His tears fall readily from His eyes. This must be understood that here the Messiah is showing us His humanity. He shows His concern for those He came to die. But more than this, Jesus knows that the city will be destroyed and the temple razed within a few years because of what its rulers will do to the one who weeps over them now! He prays, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” How sad to realize that there are those who refuse to see with their eyes and listen with their hearts to the call of Jesus. Jesus pronounces judgment on the city and as such the entire nation, “The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.” When the Jews rebel, in 66 AD, after Rome pulled some of its troops out of the country, they soon returned. Nero dispatched Vespasian to restore order. In 68 AD Nero died by his own hand, creating a power vacuum in Rome. In the resulting chaos, Vespasian was declared Emperor and returned to Rome. Jerusalem later fell to Vespasian’s son Titus in 70 AD. Jesus predicts, “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.” And it came true. The Romans besiege Jerusalem for seven years building ramps against its walls and starving its citizens inside. On that day, little did the world know that Jerusalem was condemned and cried over!
EXAMPLE: How would you respond to those who not only disdain you personally but also ignored you completely when you are trying to rescue them? Jesus’ whole nation is at risk of being destroyed because of their deliberate disobedience and spiritual blindness. The closest Israel came to being obliterated by God before was when it was busy molding golden calves to worship when God was personally giving them the Law on Mt. Sinai. Yes, they were sent into exile several times because of their disobedience, but this time there would be no rescue. Israel would be judged for its deliberate blindness and disobedience. They would be judged for murdering the Son of God when they knew He was innocent. Yet, through all of this, we find Jesus crying over His people who would so readily betray Him. On that day, Jerusalem was condemned and cried over!
We find Jesus making the proper preparations! We find the crowd getting carried away! On that day, Jerusalem was condemned and cried over!
This article is copyrighted © 2015 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.