Title: The Triumphal Entry
Scriptures: Matthew 21:1-11
Speaker: Bauer Evans
Date: April 9th, 2017
Introduction: Today, millions of Christians commemorate the beginning of our Lord’s last week of life on earth with Palm Sunday celebrations. The gospel of Matthew helps us remember what took place on that day in our Lord’s life and its personal significance for our lives and our world.
Main Point: Jesus is God’s humble King who has come to save us!
God’s promised King (vv. 1-7): We come to the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish pilgrims have returned to the capital city to celebrate the Passover feast. Jesus is returning to Jerusalem as well, not to celebrate the Passover, but to fulfill his destiny. In verses 1-7, Matthew emphasizes the theme of fulfillment in Jesus’ actions in two ways: the disciples’ fulfillment of Jesus’ commands and Jesus’ fulfillment of a past prophecy. Let’s look at the first. In these verses, pay special attention to Jesus’ instructions to his disciples. They are to go into a village and find a mother donkey with her colt because the “Lord needs these.” The reason Jesus needs these animals, and specifically a donkey, is to reveal who he is to the Jewish nation. These animals are to fulfill an ancient prophecy about God’s promised King (cf. Zechariah 9:9-10). Matthew quotes this promise so we will also recognize who Jesus is: God’s promised king who has come to inaugurate His peaceful kingdom (which Zechariah goes on to depict). Jesus returns to Jerusalem as God’s the Messianic king, who ultimately will bring God’s kingdom to his people again.
God’s humble King (vv. 3-5): The promises in Zechariah tell us this promised king will return to Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Why is that significant? It is in contrast to conquering kings of the Ancient world, who rode into vanquished cities on war horses (i.e stallions). Is it therefore a mistake that Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a “beast of burden”, a donkey? This is no mistake. The prophet wrote that God’s promised king would return riding a donkey to symbolize his humble reign. Jesus has come to have compassion on the poor and needy and to deal justly with the despised and rejected. Ultimately, his humility will be displayed on the when he dies in our place as the suffering servant, as an atoning sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins (i.e. Isaiah 53). The humble King has come on a donkey to proclaim his identity as God’s humble king and save his people from their sins.
God’s saving King (vv. 8-11): When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up saying, “who is this?” (v. 10). They understood the symbolism of the animal he rode. They declare him to be a prophet like Moses and “the son of David”, God’s long awaited King. He is Emmanuel, God with us, but also paradoxically, God on a donkey, the humble king who came to save us (Matthew 1:21) from our sin. We still cry “Hosanna” (“save us”), the earth still shakes, God’s people still shout “Come, Lord, and save us!” Take a moment to think about the claims of Christ for your life this holy week. What personal significance does He have for you? If he is God’s promised, humble king, are you willing to surrender your life to his humble reign by faith, repent of your sins, receive his blessed forgiveness, and follow him? He is God’s promised humble king and he will love you, keep God’s promises for you, and lead you into his kingly purposes.