Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Son of God enters the City of God: The Revolutionary Triumphal Entry

As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”

This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said,
“Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you.
He is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.’”

The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.

Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Praise God for the Son of David!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!
Praise God in highest heaven!”
The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered."

Hosanna they cried out! Hosanna in the highest heaven. Hosanna is a word of praise, and excitement, of joy, Jesus is here! God has come! Praise to God in the highest heaven. They called Jesus Hosanna, in the highest heaven. The God of the universe had come in human form, and he was entering His city.

And we find this amazing event, which we call the triumphal entry, in the New Testament, in the Bible.

In the pages of the Bible we find the saga of mankind, our fall into sin, and our redemption, our hope, the coming of Jesus. It’s in all the book. The Bible is the #1 best selling book in human history. The Bible is a historical book, a book of poetry, it includes eye witness accounts, prophecies, letters to churches, and accounts of the creation of all things. The writings in the Bible were written down by people, people who were inspired by the Spirit of God to write down the knowledge and wisdom of God. The writings of the Bible flow together seamlessly, spanning over 3 thousand years. There is no other book like the Bible.

I know that this event, where Jesus road on a donkey into Jerusalem really happened. I know that it was not just some story or myth, but a real historical event. You’ve got Jerusalem, a real place, in a real country that exists today. You can visit Jerusalem and see where Jesus entered the city. You’ve got the Roman empire in control of Jerusalem then. Once again, real historical truth.

We can trust the Bible. Historians trust the Bible. Archaeologists use the Bible to unearth ancient treasures. Scientists have trusted the Bible all the way back to Galileo and Isaac Newton. The body of Christ trusts the word of God as our unquestionable guide to knowing Christ.

In fact we’ve ordered our lives around the historical structure of the Bible. Today is the day that churches traditionally celebrate something called the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This is the grand entry of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, God in human form, entering His own city, Jerusalem, which means The City of God. God, entering God’s city. Isn’t that amazing? And the people waved palm branches to celebrate the arrival of Jesus. So that’s why we call it palm Sunday. I have one right here. This is not a palm branch, but it is a branch of some sort. And I’m gonna wave it.

It says in the Old Testament, predicting the triumphal entry, that “The trees will clap their hands.” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, seated on the donkey, they waved palm branches to celebrate. I get chills when I think about the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. This was a revolutionary moment in history. It seems so many times in our society the rich and the powerful control everything that happens. They manufacture evil and keep good people from the lime light, they keep the message of purity and truth down in the pits. And in the same way the Pharisees fought Jesus every step of the way, but Israel was bursting at the seams, and finally the revolution had begun, and Jesus Christ was cheered by the whole city as he triumphantly entered, the king of kings, Satan couldn’t shut down the crowd, they had to cry out in joy for the coming of the messiah into the city of God. It makes your heart sing when the outsider finally achieves victory over the entrenched establishment and moneyed elite.

But let’s pause right there. Before we go further in depth into the triumphal entry, I want to jump all the way back to the Old Testament, in the book of Isaiah. This scripture foretells the coming of Jesus.

Listen to this scripture from Isaiah chapter 53 verses 3-6:
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all."

God came into the world He created, to His own city, Jerusalem. And that had been expected for thousands of years. Then it finally happened. Jesus was born two thousand years ago. And when he was in his 30s he made his triumphal entry into His own city. And Jesus was victorious. And the truth is Jesus is alive right now. Each of us will see Jesus face to face. We could reach out and touch his hand. Jesus is alive right now. He is seated on his throne, ruling and reigning in heaven. He is also here with us right now. And he knows your name.

He knows my name. Yet he has given me a new name, and put my name in the Book of Life. Is your name in the book of life? Has Jesus Christ made a triumphal entry into your heart? If so then I encourage you to celebrate today. Rejoice and be happy! As Jerusalem rejoiced with the coming of Christ, so we too rejoice when Jesus enters our heart, when His Spirit draws us into close relationship with him. Isaiah prophesied the joy of turning to Christ in these words, from Isaiah 54 verses 4 to 8:

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame.
Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.
You will no longer remember the shame of your youth
and the sorrows of widowhood. 
For your Creator will be your husband;
the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.
For the Lord has called you back from your grief—
as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,”
says your God.“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great compassion I will take you back.
In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while.
But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer."

We all need the redeemer. We all need God to remove our sins, so we can be new. Are your sins washed away in Jesus blood? Don’t assume just because you go to church on Sunday, or watch a live stream that you’re a Christian. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than being in the garage would make you a car. Either we believe in Jesus, or we are lost in our sins. I know what it means to be lost. And so did Israel. In Jerusalem the people celebrated the entry of Jesus. But the leaders of Israel the pharisees were also watching the entry of Jesus. And they were so very angry. They had been trying to stop Jesus, to get rid of Jesus, to keep Jesus quiet. They hated his teachings. And when they saw the whole city celebrating the entry of Jesus, they said, “We are not succeeding at all. Look, the whole world is worshiping Him!”

And the truth is those same pharisees would work with the Romans, and Judas, to get Jesus crucified. But Jesus knew this would happen. It had all been predicted thousands of years earlier. Jesus, God in human form, would die on the cross, to pay for the sins of the world.

Jesus, God with us, gave himself at the cross for me. He was nailed to the wooden cross for my sins. It was as if I sat in a court room, and a list of my sins was being read off. We all have that list, of things we’ve done, harmed women, lied, hurt our parents, stolen things, make bad choices, and committed evil deeds. That list is being read off in the court room, and I’m guilty. I know I’m guilty. I deserve to be sent out from God’s presence, to outer darkness, and I know its true. God is so holy, so perfect, and I want that so badly, but I know internally that my sins are too much.

As Isaiah wrote in chapter 59 verses 2-3:
It’s your sins that have cut you off from God.
Because of your sins, he has turned away
and will not listen anymore.
Your hands are the hands of murderers,
and your fingers are filthy with sin.
Your lips are full of lies,
and your mouth spews corruption."

The judge declares me guilty, and I know he’s right. But Jesus walks over to this judge and says no, all of those sins, I’ll take the punishment for him. I’ll receive the sentence that he deserves, I’ll remove those sins that are destroying him, I’ll take them all into my being, and receive the death penalty for him. Jesus sets me free.

That’s how great Jesus is. But even further, he gives me eternal life, he comes with me on the journey of life, helping me along the way. And he did it for me, if I’ll just believe that its’ true, that Jesus lives, he resurrected for me, and is my King forever.

Do you know him? Have you really personally made that commitment? make that commitment today. It’s the best choice I ever made in life.

So in conclusion today, as we celebrate the Triumphal Entry, Palm Sunday, rejoice and be glad today. Celebrate and wave the branch to Jesus entry’ into your heart. And continue to seek God!

Isaiah wrote: "Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously." -Isaiah 55:6-7 NLT