************ Sermon on Luke 19:28-44 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on April 14, 2019
"The Triumphal Entry"
The coronation of a king or queen is a big deal. Usually there is a gilded carriage pulled by magnificent horses. There is a ceremony. Those involved in the ceremony dress in magnificent vestments and robes. There is a golden crown embedded with rubies and sapphires and diamonds. And, there are crowds of celebrating people.
In front of us this morning is the earthly coronation of Jesus. No carriage or horses. No ceremony. No robes. No musicians. No crown -- until five days later when He gets a crown of thorns. What we do see is crowds of people yelling their Hosannas. The historian Josephus tells us there were two million people in Jerusalem for the Passover.
Many of the people have come with Jesus from Galilee. They saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead. They saw Him give sight to the two blind men in Jericho. They saw Him heal a crippled woman. They saw Him heal ten lepers. In the Old Testament these are all signs of the Messiah. So the crowd is hopeful. The crowd is hopeful that Jesus will display His Messianic power and bring the glory of the Kingdom promised to Israel. That Jesus will conquer the Romans. That Jesus will fulfill the promises given to Abraham and David.
The truth is, though, that Jesus is headed to the cross. As an atoning sacrifice for sin. To bear punishment for our sin. To give us His perfect righteousness. To make us right with God. Jesus comes to die and only after this will He reign. He is at the end of the journey that started way back in Luke 9 when "Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem" (Lk 9:51).
In our Bible reading we see Jesus allowing something He has never allowed before this time -- He allows and even welcomes the cheers of the crowds. Up to now Jesus has not allowed this kind of public display. He kept telling those around Him to be quiet. He stopped public displays before they began. But this time He allows and welcomes the public display. Why? Because His time has come. Jesus knows God's timing and God's plan. He wants to set in motion, He needs to set in motion, the events that lead to His death on the cross later that week.
So Jesus enters Jerusalem for His earthly coronation. We see His Kingship in the colt, the crowd, and the judgment.
I The Colt
A We begin with the colt. He sends two of His disciples to get a colt, a donkey's colt. He will ride into Jerusalem on a colt, not a horse. Because He is not going to enter as a warrior king, as a conquering king. Instead, He is entering as the Lamb of God, as the sacrifice for sin.
(Lk 19:30) 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.
How does Jesus know this? How does Jesus know there is a colt? How does Jesus know no one has ever ridden it? What we see here, congregation, is the supernatural knowledge of Jesus, the omniscience of Jesus. Demonstrating Jesus is the Messiah. Demonstrating He is God. Demonstrating He is the eternal Son of God.
Four times we see the word "untie" in our Bible reading. Untie the colt. If someone asks why you are untying the colt. As they are untying the owners ask why they are untying. Why all this emphasis on untying? Because it looks like robbery. What would you think if two guys walk into town and take your car?
"Why are you untying the colt?" The answer: "The Lord needs it." Not much of an answer, is it? But then you don't need more of an answer in the little village of Bethphage. Everyone there knows Jesus is in the area. Everyone there knows the miracles Jesus has done: the healings, raising dead people, casting out demons. Everyone there knows the truth of God He proclaims. "The Lord needs it." Everyone there knows this can only be Jesus. End of conversation. No more questions.
B "The Lord needs it." Why? Is Jesus too tired to walk? Is He suffering from a sprained ankle? Has He been injured as He traveled from Galilee? "The Lord needs it." He needs it to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah some 500 years earlier. Luke doesn't mention Zechariah but the Gospel of Matthew and of John do. Listen to what the prophet said:
(Zech 9:9) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.Jesus knows this prophecy. Jesus knows this is God's plan for Him as Messiah.
The two disciples, we are told, bring the colt to Jesus, throw their cloaks on it as a kind of saddle, and Jesus rides it into Jerusalem. According to the plan of God Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey's colt. He doesn't come as a conquering hero on a white horse. I say white horse because that is the picture of Jesus in Revelation when He returns in glory and might. Jesus does not enter into Jerusalem with earthly splendor to reign with earthly power. He does not come in grandeur and wealth. He comes in humility to save. He comes in meekness to die. He comes to give His life as a ransom for sinners.
II The Crowd
A This brings us to the Palm Sunday crowds. Their worship and adoration also proclaims Jesus to be God's Messiah, God's King. They give Jesus the worship that properly belongs only to God.
It starts with the cloaks: "As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road" (Lk 19:36). One of my commentaries says the crowd is giving Jesus the royal treatment -- because, according to 2 Kings 9:13, King Jehu was given a similar honor at his coronation. What does it mean or symbolize? It symbolizes submission. It is a way for the crowd to say they place themselves under Jesus' feet. He's going to bring in the Kingdom. He's going to bring all God's wonderful promises to pass. The people get into this, they accept this, they submit to their King by throwing their cloaks on the ground.
B The donkey is carrying Jesus on a carpet of robes. They crest the hill. In front of Jesus and the disciples and the crowd is Jerusalem. Everyone sees Herod's magnificent, gleaming, golden temple. Everyone sees the walls and the gates. The city comes into view and notice what happens: immediately the whole crowd of disciples begin joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen (Lk 19:37). Do you hear the crowd? Do you hear what they are yelling back and forth to each other: Lazarus, the blind man in Jericho, the ten healed of leprosy, the crippled woman, the boy with an evil spirit, the feeding of the five thousand, the dead girl and sick woman. They feed off each other, those people in the crowd. Suddenly it is all making sense to them. Suddenly they understand: Jesus is the Messiah. So they worship and adore Jesus.
Do you hear what they say in their worship? "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Lk 19:38). The worship of the crowd comes from Psalm 118 -- a psalm that anticipates the arrival of the Messiah. Now, if you come in the name of the Lord -- like Moses, like Elijah, like Nathan, like John the Baptist -- you come with God's full authority. So blessed is God's King. Blessed is Jesus. They honor Him. They worship Him.
Do you notice what is missing in Luke's account? Luke doesn't mention the palm branches. So, very quickly, let me mention they are a nationalist symbol of joy. Joy, great joy, because of King Jesus, Messiah Jesus.
C Listen to the last thing the crowds say: "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Lk 19:38). Huh? Peace in heaven? What about peace on earth? Isn't that why Jesus came? Isn't that what the Christmas angels said? Why peace in heaven?
Heaven is not satisfied until Jerusalem repents and believes. is what it should be. Heaven is not satisfied until the Kingdom of God has vanquished the kingdom of evil. Heaven is not satisfied until heaven's King is accepted. Heaven is not satisfied until all submit to King Jesus. When the rule of God and His Messiah are acknowledged then there will be peace in heaven and glory in the highest.
III The Judgment
A This brings us to our third point: the judgment. This also shows Jesus to be the Messiah.
The crowds worship and adore Jesus. And the Pharisees are simply beside themselves with rage. Because no one, absolutely no one, should be worshiped other than God. And so in verse 39 some of the Pharisees in the crowd say to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" What they are saying is, "This is blasphemy! Put a stop to it!"
How come they don't address the crowd? After all, they are the spiritual leaders of the people. The Pharisees don't address the crowd because, in God's timing, the crowd does not listen to them until the end of the week.
B How does Jesus answer? Jesus doesn't say, "Me bad. Sorry. Everyone got carried away a bit." No, Jesus doesn't say that or anything like that. Rather, He says, "I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out" (Lk 19:40). Jesus says He must be praised and worshiped and adored. Jesus wants this. Jesus is worthy of this because He is the Messiah.
"If they keep quiet ..." Isn't that what happened after Palm Sunday? You don't hear praise and worship and shouting after the triumphal entry. Monday - nothing. Tuesday - nothing. Wednesday - nothing. Thursday - nothing. In Luke's Gospel you don't hear the crowd again. They are strangely quiet about their Messiah. Do you realize that from Palm Sunday to this day there remains silence in Israel. Even after His resurrection from the dead, the praise of Jesus was never again raised in Jerusalem or Israel except for the few thousand who were saved.
And then the next phrase: "the stones will cry out." "If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Cry out. Scream. Sometime in the future there will be screaming stones? What is Jesus talking about? An explanation is given in the following verses.
Verse 41: "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it." The shortest verse of the Bible tells us Jesus' reaction to the death of Lazarus: "Jesus wept" (Jn 11:35). In the Greek the word in front of us this morning is much stronger: sobbing, heaving, agonizing. Jesus sees Jerusalem and He is overwhelmed with agony.
Verse 42: "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace ..." He is not talking about peace with Rome. He is not talking about peace between the different religious parties in Judaism. He is not talking about peace between the Zealots and the Essenes. He is talking about peace with God.
Peace in heaven. You know what brings it? Jesus dying on the cross. As an atoning sacrifice. For our sins. To make us right with God. You know what is needed to experience this peace? Repentance, faith in Christ, hearing and believing the Good News of the Gospel, bowing before Jesus as Savior and Lord.
As the events of that week unfold, we see the crowd doesn't have a clue. Yes, they welcome Jesus as Messiah: cloaks, palm branches, the language of Psalm 118, shouts of peace in heaven. They worship and adore Him as Messiah. But they don't understand what makes for peace.
"If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace ..." But they did know. Jesus preached this since the very beginning of His ministry. However, they were blinded by their hatred and unbelief and self-righteousness. Jesus said, "Come unto me ..." But they rejected every invitation to come to Jesus. Therefore, they rejected peace with God.
Do you know what happens because they have rejected Jesus? Because they are silent? "The stones will cry out." Listen to how Jesus describes the crying stones:
(Lk 19:43-44) 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. (44) They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, [WHY?] because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.We know this happened forty years later in A.D. 70 when the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem. Forty years later the stones that made up this glorious city lay on the ground as rubble, screaming judgment on Israel's unbelief.
Jesus sobs as He thinks about the coming judgment upon His people because they reject Him. And, the stones of Jerusalem join Him. Why? Because nothing, absolutely nothing, is worse than rejecting Jesus. The people of Israel are guilty of many sins. But the worst sin, the biggest sin, is to reject Jesus.
This ends the earthly coronation of Jesus. Never before or since has there been a coronation like this one. It is a study in contrasts. The people are filled with joy; Jesus is sorrowful. The people celebrate; Jesus condemns. The people expect the best; Jesus pronounces the worst. The people look forward to exaltation; Jesus promises devastation. The people see a conquering king; they get a condemning Judge.
Now, let's talk about you and me. Do we keep quiet? Do stones have to scream out about us? Does Jesus cry over us? You know, we are guilty of so many sins. Go through the Ten Commandments. We break every one of them. But the worst sin, the biggest sin, is to reject Jesus. My prayer is that everyone here knows what makes for peace and glory in heaven. My prayer is that we all repent of our sin and believe in the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord.
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