May 17, 2024


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Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM

“Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass,Go and a colt the foal of an ass.” — Matthew 21:5.

There was an expectation upon the popular mind of the Jewish people, that Messiah was about to come. They expected him to be a temporal prince; one who would make war upon the Romans and restore to the Jews their lost nationality. There were many who, though they did not believe in Christ with a Spiritual faith, nevertheless hoped that perhaps he might be to them a great temporal deliverer, and we read that on one or two occasions they would have taken him and made him a king, but that he hid himself. There was an anxious desire that somebody or other should lift the standard of rebellion and lead the people against their oppressors. Seeing the mighty things which Christ did, the wish was father to the thought, and they imagined that He might probably restore to Israel the kingdom and set them free. The Saviour at length saw that it was coming to a crisis. For him it must either be death for having disappointed popular expectation, or else he must yield to the wishes of the people, and be made a king. You know which he chose. He came to save others, and not to be made a king himself in the sense in which they understood him. The Lord had worked a most remarkable miracle; he had raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been buried four days. This was a miracle so novel and so astounding, that it became town talk. Multitudes went out of Jerusalem to Bethany, it was only about two miles distant, to see Lazarus. The miracle was well authenticated; there were multitudes of witnesses; it was generally accepted as being one of the greatest marvels of the age, and they drew the inference from it that Christ must be the Messiah. The people determined that now they would make him a king, and that now he should lead them against the hosts of Rome. He, intending no such thing, nevertheless overruled their enthusiasm that by it he might have an opportunity of performing that which had been written of him in the prophets. You must not imagine that all those who strewed the branches in the way and cried “Hosanna” cared about Christ as a spiritual prince. No, they thought that he was to be a temporal deliverer, and when they found out afterwards that they were mistaken, they hated him just as much as they had loved him, and “Crucify him, crucify him,” was as loud and vehement a cry as “Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Our Saviour thus availed himself of their mistaken enthusiasm for divers wise ends and purposes. It was needful that the prophecy should be fulfilled — “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, he is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” It was needful again, that he should make a public claim to be the Son of David; and that he should claim to be the rightful inheritor of David’s throne; — this he did on this occasion. It was needful, too, that he should leave his enemies without excuse. In order that they might not say, “If thou be the Messias, tell us plainly,” he did tell them plainly. This riding through the streets of Jerusalem was as plain a manifesto and proclamation of his royal rights as could possibly have been issued. I think, moreover, — and upon this I build the discourse of this morning, — I think that Christ used the popular fanaticism as an opportunity of preaching to us a living sermon, embodying great truths which are too apt to be forgotten because of their spiritual character, embodying them in the outward form and symbol of himself riding as a king, attended by hosts of followers.

He knew the end was near. He knew the finality of Friday. He read the last chapter before it was written and heard the final chorus before it was sung. As a result, the critical was filtered from the casual. Distilled truths taught. Deliberate deeds done. Each step calculated. Every act premeditated.

Knowing he had just one week with the disciples, what did Jesus tell them? Knowing it would be his last time in the temple, how did he act? Conscious that the last sand was slipping through the hourglass, what mattered?

Feel his passion. Laughing as children sing. Weeping as Jerusalem ignores. Scorning as priests accuse. Pleading as disciples sleep. Feeling sad as Pilate turns.

Sense his power. Blind eyes…seeing. Fruitless tree…withering. Money changers…hastening away. religious leaders…cowering. Tomb…opening.

Hear his promise. Death has no power. Failure holds no prisoners. Fear has no control. For God has come, God has come into your world…to take you home.

The TRIUMPHAL ENTRY (was) the entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem on the Sunday prior to His crucifixion. Due to the fact that palm branches were placed before Him, this day is often called “Palm Sunday.” The event is recorded in Matthew 21:1-9; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-15. All accounts agree in substance with each adding certain detail. Whether by prearrangement or by divine foreknowledge, the disciples found a colt in Bethphage as Jesus had described (Matthew ties the account closely to Zechariah’s prophecy (9:9), mentioning the colt and its mother.) It is likely that Christ rode the donkey for the more difficult part of the journey, transferring to the colt upon actually entering Jerusalem. There a large crowd applauded Him, spreading the road with their garments and with branches. They acknowledged Him as the son of David.

The triumphal entry is of vital significance in understanding the messianic mission of Jesus. Prior to this moment, Jesus had refused to allow any public acknowledgment of His being the Messiah. By conducting His ministry outside Jerusalem, He had avoided further intensification of conflict with the Jewish religious leaders. Now, however, the time was at hand. The opponents of Jesus understood the strong messianic implications of the manner of His entry into Jerusalem. The riding upon the colt, the garments and palm branches in the road, and the shouts of the multitude – all of this pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. When He was urged to quiet the people, Jesus replied, “If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out!” (Luke 19:40).

So with all this symbolism, it becomes explicit then with their praise. That’s what they are saying. With their language, with their body language, with their gestures. But from their lips, they also shout out, “Hosanna to the son of David!” [Matthew 21:9] We sing the song, Hosanna. We hear the word, ‘Hosanna’ but what does the word, ‘Hosanna’ really mean? Not hosay bo [are you alright in Hokkien dialect] ah. Hosanna, Hosanna, what does it mean? Hosanna means save now, we beg you. Oh, we beg you, we pray to You, save us now! That’s the meaning of the word, ‘Hosanna’.

I have no doubt that the vast majority of the Jewish people gathered that day, were crying Hosanna in that they were hoping that this Jesus would deliver them from the Roman Empire. You see, they were a people controlled by Rome. They had to pay taxes to Caesar, they were not ruling themselves and they hated the Roman Empire.

There was a seething anger, animosity towards the Roman people. We know that for example, 35 years after Jesus died, they staged a rebellion against the Roman Empire. And as far as we know, in AD 70, the whole of Jerusalem was razed to the ground. They were destroyed by the Roman Empire but they staged a revolt because there was a deep anger towards their ruler, Caesar.

And so it is very likely at this point of time, they were very unhappy about the Roman Empire and wanted and was hoping that Jesus will be that deliverer. So the cloaks, so the palm branches. They say, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The phrase, ‘Son of David’ is something we looked at just one or two weeks back, isn’t it? It is a very pregnant term! It’s a very loaded term, very rich term, because that is a term that represents the Promised Messiah.

God had promised David that from his descendant will come a King who will have an everlasting kingdom. He will be the everlasting King. He will not be like Saul or David or Solomon. He would have an everlasting kingdom. And later on, Isaiah will tell us that this Messiah, this King will be the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. And actually, if you think about it, the promise of this Saviour is not just during David’s time in 2 Samuel, but it dates all the way back in Genesis, when God said to Adam and Eve, “The seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s head.”

When God said to Abraham, “In your seed, in your descendants, shall all nations be blessed.” So the Jewish people have always been waiting for the Son of David, for the Messiah, for the promised Saviour, the Saviour King, the everlasting King. And so they are saying, “We recognize Jesus. You are the Son of David. You are the Messiah. So come, save us now, we beseech You!”

The Jewish crowd was also a very, I will say, an educated crowd. They really knew their Bible because not only did they say “Son of David”, they also said in verse 9, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.”

But Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones will cry out.” If they shut up, someone has to give praise. And if it need be, the stones will give praise because this is exactly right. The Son of David has come. The Messiah has come. The King has come and blessed is the Name of He…blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.

The story of the triumphal entry is one of contrasts, and those contrasts contain applications to believers. It is the story of the King who came as a lowly servant on a donkey, not a prancing steed, not in royal robes, but on the clothes of the poor and humble. Jesus Christ comes not to conquer by force as earthly kings but by love, grace, mercy, and His own sacrifice for His people. His is not a kingdom of armies and splendor but of lowliness and servanthood. He conquers not nations but hearts and minds. His message is one of peace with God, not of temporal peace. If Jesus has made a triumphal entry into our hearts, He reigns there in peace and love. As His followers, we exhibit those same qualities, and the world sees the true King living and reigning in triumph in us.

We claim as Christians that it was the incarnate Creator of the universe, the God who on the sixth day created donkeys, who was riding on this mule into Jerusalem. This is how God is! There were spontaneous cries from the common people especially excited children welcoming Jesus. This entry of Christ into the city of Jerusalem was a sign of the nature of his kingdom, that it is not of this world. I wish that every Muslim and other unbelievers in the whole world would read of the way that Jesus, the King of kings, entered Jerusalem. You remember the apostle Paul describing to the Corinthians our warfare, “Some people think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cors. 10-4). The Prince of Peace entered the city of David while riding upon a little donkey, not on a war-horse, and that tells us about the nature of true blessedness, that it is being poor in spirit, and being meek, and pure in heart and being persecuted for the sake of righteousness. It tells us about our worship, that it is accessible and modest and encourages the graces of love, joy and peace. It shows us the true and real Lord whose name is above every other name. This is God! And this is what Jesus said, “I am meek and lowly of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Charles Wesley sings the praises of him who called him out of darkness into his marvelous light:

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night.

Thine eye defused a quickening ray; I rose; the dungeon blazed with light.

My chains fell off; my heart was free; I rose went forth and followed Thee.”

The central message of Easter is that God still loves us, and because of Christ we can be forgiven. He came for one reason: “Christ died for sins once for all … to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). May you welcome Him into your life during this holy season.”