Sunday, March 16, 2008

Here comes the King

Matthew 21:1 – 11

Here comes the King!

Historical background.


            1.         Passover was an awkward time of unease between the Romans and those celebrating because it commemorated God freeing Israel from the oppression of Egypt. Some were reading symbolic meaning into the oppression of the Romans.


            2.         This was the first day of the week. The day the Passover Lamb was being chosen. So this was a busy day for every family. Attention was being drawn away from the religious observance of the week towards what was perceived as a political movement.


            3.         Lots of prophecy is being fulfilled. (We will see this later.) Because of the prophecies, Jesus was making claims that challenge the core of everything from who owns our possessions, will we humble ourselves before Jesus, who has spiritual and actual sovereignty.


I.         The MAJESTY of the King.


            A.        The King is “gentle.”


                        1.         Someone has said that greatness is the ability to condescend.


                                    a.         Jesus is riding a donkey, symbolizing peace, not a horse which symbolizes war.

“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.” [Zechariah 9:9]


                                    b.         Jesus is setting a tone for the rest of the week: Peaceful Power.


                        2.         Yet, Jesus is who He is...

Revelation 5... [v 5] “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”

                        [v 6] “a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain”

[v 9] “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.”

“You are a lion's cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness--who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.” [Genesis 49:9 – 11]


            B.        The King is righteous.


                        1.         They watched Jesus, set traps, and used false witnesses. They found nothing, could not spring a trap that didn’t back-fire, and even the false witness couldn’t agree. Jesus was finally convicted (and rejected) by His claim to being God. [see Mark 14:61 – 64]


                        2.         Judas, who betrayed Jesus said, “I have betrayed innocent blood.” [see Matthew 27:4]


                        3.         Pilate stated: “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” [see Luke 23:4]


                        4.         The Bible claims that Jesus was not only faultless, He was without sin even under the severest pressure.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.” [Hebrews 4:15]


II.       The MASTERY of the King.


            A.        Jesus claims the surrender of possessions.


                        1.         Nobody questioned Jesus claim to the donkey. It was a small demonstration of Jesus’ Lordship.

                                    a.         Jesus commanded demons [see Luke 8:29 – 35]


                                    b.         Jesus commanded the sea to be calm [see Luke 8:22 – 25]


                                    c.         Jesus walked on water [see Matthew 14:22 – 32]


                                    d.         Jesus healed the sick [see Matthew 4:24, and others]


                                    e.         Jesus knew the thoughts and intentions of people [see Matthew 9:4, Matthew 22:18]


                                    f.         Jesus changed physical elements [see John 2:1 – 11]


                                    g.         Jesus forgave sin [see Matthew 9:1 – 8]


                                    h.         Jesus multiplied little into much, such as feeding 5,000+ with five loves and two fish [see Matthew 14:15 – 21]


                        2.         The donkey/colt. It takes 8 weeks to “break” a donkey. It takes even longer to get them used to the noise of a crowd.


            B.        Jesus claimed the surrender of pride.


                        1.         People recognized Jesus as one who would bring salvation.


                                    a.         The work “Hosanna” means “save now.” It is both a blessing and a prayer.


                                    b.         To say this, one would have to recognize the need for salvation.


                        2.         The crowd was shouting praise to God, recognizing God’s provision in Jesus.


                                    a.         This was/is a compelling desire when we recognize God’s provision for our salvation.


                                    b.         The event was so powerful that if the crowd was silenced, the rocks would have cried out.

“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.” [Luke 19:39 – 40]


III.      The MINISTRY of the King.


            A.        The King brings cleansing.


                        1.         The first “official” act of the Passion Week Jesus does is clean the temple.

“Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. [46] "It is written," he said to them, " `My house will be a house of prayer' ; but you have made it `a den of robbers.” [Luke 19:45 – 46]


                        2.         Why was this necessary?


                                    a.         The temple court was filled with everything except what God wanted...


                                    b.         They were providing a legitimate service, possibly engaging in profiteering (making an excessive or unfair profit – Oxford University Press) BUT it had become a “den of robbers.”


                                    c.         A “den of robbers” was a hide-out for thieves and other criminals were the law would or could not go. It was a safe for practicing criminals.


                                    d.         Prayer on the other hand does not hide our sin. It does not allow us to be “safe” from anything except the fires of eternal hell.

Choice: feel secure on the road to eternal hell or cleansed on the narrow path to eternal heaven.


            B.        The King brings salvation.


                        1.         If we continue reading after the prophecy about the donkey we will see this:

“As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.” [Zechariah 9:11]


                                    a.         Jesus at the “Last Supper” claimed, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” [1 Corinthians 11:25]


                                    b.         The blood of Jesus, seals the covenant God has made with us.

“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” [Hebrews 9:22]


                        2.         We see this sacrifice on the cross.


                                    a.         So we can be free from the punishment of sin.


                                    b.         So we can be free from the guilt of sin.


                                    c.         So we can be free from the rule of sin.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” [1 Corinthians 1:18]


IV.      The MANDATE of the King.


            A.        The question we must all face: “Who is this?” [see Matthew 21:10]


                        1.         Was Jesus a liar (who deliberately misled people), a lunatic (who was mistaken or insane), or Lord (who He claimed to be)? [C. S. Lewis]


                                    a.         Some people like Jesus’ moral teachings and good advice.


                                    b.         Some people hate Jesus (and followers of Jesus) passionately for various reasons.


                        2.         God gives us the freedom to choose. It is not forced. He took the initiative by sending Jesus to the cross. You can do two things today.


                                    a.         You can walk (or run) away.


                                                1.)       You might say, “this is not for me.”


                                                2.)       You might say “not today... I need time to think about it.”

[Reality check, the facts will not change. A decision will be made.]


                                    b.         You can bend your knee to the King of Kings, your King... Jesus Christ.


            B.        What is your choice?

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