Jesus’ entry was triumphant because He revealed He was THE PROMISED ONE.
Messianic prophecy is the collection of over 100 predictions (a conservative estimate) in the Old Testament about the future Messiah of the Jewish people. These predictions were written by multiple authors, in numerous books, over approximately 1,000 years. Here are just a few:
- He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21-23)
- And would be a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16)
- He would come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23, 33; Hebrews 7:14)
- And out of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 1:1)
- He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7)
- And taken to Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15)
- Because Herod would order the killing of the infants (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18)
- He would be anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16-17)
- And heralded by the messenger of the Lord (John the Baptist) (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1-3)
- He would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 9:35)
- Preach good news (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:14-21)
- And would minister in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-16)
- He would enter Jerusalem as a king on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:4-9)
- He would be rejected by Jews (Psalm 118:22; I Peter 2:7)
- And would die a humiliating death (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) involving:
- rejection (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:10-11; 7:5,48)
- betrayal by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:3-4; John 13:18) for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-15)
- He would be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14)
- He would be mocked (Psalm 22: 7-8; Matthew 27:31)
- beaten (Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 27:26)
- and spit upon (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:30)
- He would have His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:31)
- Would be crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
- Would pray for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
- He would have his size pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
- Be given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21, Matthew 27:34, Luke 23:36)
- He would suffer no broken bones (Psalm 34:20; John 19:32-36)
- He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)
- People would cast lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)
- He would rise from the dead!! (Psalm 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31)
- He would ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Acts 1:9)
- He would sit down at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3)
By using the modern science of probability in reference to just eight of these prophecies, the chance that any man might have lived to fulfill all eight prophecies is one in 100 trillion! The Triumphal Entry was another prophecy fulfilling day in the life of Jesus. Let’s read together:
1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Those of you who have live animals, would you not think it strange if someone came to your house and told you they needed your animal for someone to ride on in a parade? All the disciples were to say to the owner of the donkey and the colt was that the Lord needed them, and they would gladly hand the animals over.
This was a big week in the City of Jerusalem. It was Passover week, the week that the Jewish people celebrated how God delivered them from Egyptian slavery under the leadership of Moses. Scores of people would be visiting the city as they had made their pilgrimage towards this holy place. It was the busiest time in Jerusalem. The timing was very strategic. Jesus was up to something. He had thought things through. After countless times of asking people not to tell who Jesus’ was, He was now ready to make His identity completely public. Jesus’ purpose in riding into Jerusalem was to make public He was the Messiah and King of Israel in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
Matthew tells us that the King riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was an exact fulfillment of the prophesy hundreds of years before where it was prophesied by Zechariah in Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle (lowly/humble) and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Mark 1:2 tells us that this donkey Jesus rode on was one that had never been ridden. It was consecrated or set apart for this very special purpose. According to rabbinical tradition, no one was to use an animal that a king would ride on.
There was a second prophecy on display the day Jesus took His ride through Jerusalem’s streets. Isaiah 9:6 prophesied about the Messiah and gave Him the title of Prince of Peace. Interesting then, it is that this King of Kings and Lord of Lords, chose not to ride in on a horse as a war-waging King would have done, but on a donkey, an animal that symbolized peace.
You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of car they drive or the clothes they wear. Some people use transportation and clothes as part of their agenda, as part of their platform, to convey a message. On that day, Jesus did as well. His entrance was a three dimensional physical illustration of His message, His character and His mission. He was the Prince of Peace.
Jesus the King rode through the streets of Jerusalem as a lowly servant not as a conquering King. No army with swords preceded Him. None brought up the rear. There was no brigade of horses. No fanfare. No royal robes, but only the cloaks of common people upon which He rode. He wanted people to understand this His Kingdom was not a military one set out to capture cities and countries, but one of grace focused on capturing hearts through love and peace. Remember, it’s an upside down Kingdom, this Kingdom of God. Here you give to gain, die to win, and serve to become great. So, with His feet dragging the ground with every step of the donkey, though people were shouting His praise, He maintained His humility as He simply fulfilled the prophecies that had been spoken of Him.
Remember the Zechariah 9:9 prophecy said Jesus would be lowly or gentle or humble as He rode in on that donkey. He didn’t let the shouts of the crowds, the praise of the people go to His head. We don’t get the sense that a big smile suddenly came across Jesus’ face and He started waving as if He were suddenly now celebrating some kind of promotion or as if He was waving to His fan club.
One little nuance I’ll just throw in for free. J Maybe you could say I am making something out of nothing, but three of the four Gospel writers mention that when the disciples would find the donkey, it would be tied up. Only by freeing it could it be brought to the Master for Him to use. Even that very details symbolizes what the Messiah is all about; freeing people to be used of by Him to help usher in peace wherever they go. And “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed,” amen? (John 8:36)
Jesus’ entry was triumphant because He exposed the need for PURITY. Look at Matthew 21:12. 12 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'”
We see here the religious leaders had turned the temple sacrifices into a lucrative business. Those who had come in for the Passover to offer sacrifice would have to exchange their foreign currency for “temple currency.” They would get ripped off in the exchange rate process, and then have to purchase their sacrifices for much too high a price. They were getting gouged twice! It was like an ancient ATM with high fees attached.
What began likely as a convenience for travelers turned into a corrupt way for the religious leaders to make money. This was taking place in the Court of the Gentiles where all people, Jews and Gentiles alike would be able to clearly see the injustices that were taking place. Jesus said those selling sacrifices had turned it into a “den of robbers.” Those who came to sacrifice were at the mercy of those selling the sacrifices.
There was sin going on in the temple. Robbery. Defilement. Manipulation. Greed. Lust. Jesus got radical. He didn’t say, “Now, just scale back on the amount of gouging you are doing.” He didn’t just suggest they reduce the amount of sinning going on in the temple, but He completely drove out those who were sinning.
We are the temples of the Living God (I Cor. 3:17). That means we are sacred. It means we are holy. Our bodies must be given to God for His service as we are now living sacrifices for Him (Rom. 12:1-2). What we do to our bodies matters. What we do with our bodies matters. Where we take our bodies matters. We must not allow sin to reign in our bodies. We must be people who like Jesus, get radical about cleansing the temple. Don’t just reduce the amount of pornography you view. Get rid of it entirely. Don’t just scale back on the amount of filthy music you listen to, get rid of it. Don’t just limit the dope to Saturday night. Kick it out of your life. Check out your heart. Is there manipulation, greed, deceit or lust of any kind? Don’t justify it on the weekends. Throw it completely out of your heart and your lifestyle.
Too many people wonder why they can’t live a successful Christian life. I will tell it to you straight. You can’t flirt with sin and live for Jesus. It isn’t possible! You won’t have sustained victory in your life where there is ongoing sin. It isn’t possible! Get radical. Get ridiculous. Get crazy when it comes to getting the sin out of your life!
Jesus entry was triumphant because He re-established PRAYER as foundational to the Christian life. He said in Matthew 21:13, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer.” Without the power of prayer, we will never live a holy life. It is impossible to resist the temptation of sin without the power of prayer at work in your life. It is impossible to seek forgiveness from God without exercising the tool of prayer. You can’t even get saved without praying to the Father in Jesus’ name. It is impossible to know how to live righteously without prayer. Hebrews says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). I will say this about prayer, “Without prayer, it is impossible to glorify God.”
Someone has said, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance; it is laying hold of His highest willingness.” Your best possible life, the abundant life, is made available in part through prayer (James 4:2). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). You can’t ask, seek, and knock any other way than through prayer.
If Jesus needed to exercise prayer regularly, how much more should we pursue a devoted prayer life? Think of prayer as your lifeline, your oxygen. In a spiritual sense, it is. It is the way you not only ask for what you need, but it is one of the ways you learn to hear God speaking to you. James says, “If anyone lacks wisdom, he should pray” (James 1:5). The only way to live successfully as a Christian is to have prayer as a foundational piece of your daily walk.
Jesus’ entry was triumphant because He demonstrated His POWER. Matthew 21:14 “The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.” The New Testament is riddled with testimony after testimony of Jesus healing people. He healed paralytics, blind people, deaf people, demon-possessed people, lepers, epileptics, people with fevers, a lady with a blood disorder, and even put one guy’s ear back on plus a whole lot more.
Healing was and is central to the ministry of Jesus. Not every person who came into contact with Jesus was healed. Faith or a lack of faith played a role in some people’s conditions. In some instances, Jesus delayed healing or chose not to heal in order that God might gain a greater glory in that person’s life. (i.e. Lazarus/Paul) But nowhere does Scripture say Jesus didn’t have the power to heal any particular disease. He is Lord over diabetes, fibromyalgia, lupus, MS, arthritis, shingles, diverticulitis, migraines, seizures, herniated disks, cancer, and more.
Tami Evans, stand up. You were given thirty days to live now several years ago, right? What is your prognosis today? CANCER FREE! Jesus did that! Christina Britton, you were told you had a stage three brain tumor and had four months to live without treatment. What is your prognosis today? CANCER FREE! Jesus did that! Nancy Hill, you had trouble with your arm for how many years? God touched you last year during foot washing and healed you. Am I telling the truth? Jesus did that! Eddie Ferrari, you are a photographer. You need your eyesight to make a living. You had blurred vision going on and during a service while the choir was singing about one year ago, God touched and healed you. Is that correct? Jesus did that! What a triumphant day for the blind and lame that got healed in the temple that Palm Sunday!
Jesus’ entry was triumphant because He welcomed the people’s PRAISE.
15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”
Last week I preached from Matthew 17 on the Transfiguration of Jesus. Moses and Elijah, who had been gone from the earth for hundreds of years, appeared with Jesus and they all appeared in a bright or glorious state. Moses represented the Law. Elijah represented the Prophets. Their appearance with Jesus helped Peter, James, and John, who were witnessing that Jesus was greater than the Law and Prophets. Verse 8 tells us that after this glorious appearance and after hearing God the Father speak from heaven, the three disciples looked up and saw Jesus only. Here they were, bowed down in worship, on their faces in holy awe and fear before Jesus alone because He alone is worthy of our praise. He alone is worthy of our worship!
Hebrews 1:6 tells us even all the angels worship Jesus! Jesus is the Living Word of God (John 1 and Hebrews 1:2). Jesus is the Living (and only) Way to God (John 14:6). No other person is exalted higher than Jesus!
Revelation 5 paints a picture of our Lord who is worthy of praise and worship: Revelation 5:6-9 (NIV) 6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne. . . 7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
In our Palm Sunday passage in Matthew, we see that not only are the crowds shouting, “Hosanna!” to Jesus, but the little children are also praising Him. Jesus tells the religious leaders who are upset about the praising that is going on that praise has been ordained by God! Why? Because He is worthy to receive it!
Think of who would have been in that crowd offering their praise to Jesus. Lazarus would have been there. I think he had a pretty good reason to shout “Hosanna!” Jesus had just raised him from the dead! There were others that Jesus had healed and set free from dead end and oppressive lives. Those who know what it means to be blind and now be able to see know how to praise the Lord! Those who know what it means to search for significance in shallow relationships and one night stands only to find Living Water which satisfies them for a lifetime know how to praise the Lord! Those who have had the joy of having their sins forgiven and the burden of their shame wiped away know how to praise the Lord!
In Luke 19 Jesus even tells the Pharisees that if the people stopped praising Him the rocks would burst out in praise. He’s that worthy! Jesus will not go unpraised!
I like what Luke 19 says about the content of the people’s praise. Turn to verses 37 and 38. “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 (where?) heaven and glory in the highest!’”
I can’t imagine the Palm Sunday praisers really knew what they were saying. But they were praising Jesus as the One who would bring peace in heaven!! Peace with God! Peace BETWEEN heaven and earth. Our praise of Jesus should always point people to what He accomplished on our behalf!
What a triumphant day! Jesus revealed Himself as the PROMISED ONE. He exposed the need for PURITY in our lives. He re-established PRAYER as foundational to the Christian life. He displayed His POWER that is still available to us today, and finally, He welcomed the people’s PRAISE.
Make today another day of triumph. Examine your heart and life. Choose purity. Invest in prayer and listen to what God has to say. Experience His power as we invite you to an altar later to be healed. Continue with us now to sing His praise!