(A) Introduction. Read: Luke19v28to46

I have dealt with aspects of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem in my exposition on John12v12to19 and the cleansing of the temple in my exposition on John2v12to25. This is an abbreviated exposition that mainly covers points not made in the studies in John's gospel.

(B) Tasks set.

There were three:

(1) An errand to run.

He sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied, which no-one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. v29and30.

An errand boy is on the bottom rung of the employment ladder. Running errands is the most menial of tasks. I still run errands. I am sometimes asked to post a letter, pay in money at the bank, deliver a CD, flowers or vegetables.

No job is so menial that we shouldn't be prepared to do it for Christ. I remind myself of this when I empty and count the money in the missionary boxes still used by members of our congregation.

A significant and often overlooked way that we serve God is in our everyday tasks. Martin Luther understood this when he wrote, "The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays -- not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship." (Our Daily Bread, September 5, 1994)

(2) Possessions to share.

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?"

They replied, "The Lord needs it."

There are several instances in the gospels of Jesus needing someone's possessions: the little lad's five barley loaves and two fishes, Peter's boat, the home of Mary and Martha and Joseph of Arimathea's new tomb.

We should count it a privilege if Jesus has need of what we have. It may be a field for a Christian camp, a lorry to transport equipment, a car for giving lifts, a tractor and trailor, a home or some special expertise. One of the joys of being a Christian is the opportunity to share what we have with Jesus.

The more we give to Jesus and the more we do for him the better it is for us. The illustration below carries a salutary lesson:

The great violinist, Nicolo Paganini, willed his marvellous violin to Genoa -- the city of his birth -- but only on condition that the instrument never be played upon. It was an unfortunate condition, for it is a peculiarity of wood that as long as it is used and handled, it shows little wear. As soon as it is discarded, it begins to decay. The exquisite, mellow-toned violin has become worm-eaten in its beautiful case, valueless except as a relic. The mouldering instrument is a reminder that a life withdrawn from all service to others loses its meaning. (Taken from Bits & Pieces, June 25, 1992.)

(3) Improvisations to make.

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along people spread their cloaks on the road. v35and36.

The disciples didn't have splendid drapes for the colt such as were fitting for a king. There was no red carpet to roll out. So Jesus' supporters improvised with their cloaks. They made do!

There are times Christians have to improvise for Christ's sake. It is better to improvise than give up. When Japanese prisoners of war celebrated communion they had to do so with rice and home brew rather than bread and wine. During my time as sports organiser at Pioneer Camp when money was tight I made volley ball and tennis nets out of nylon sacks - and a very durable material it was! During my early days of singing carols round the village of Brockley we were accompanied by an accordion player. Eventually we had to make do with a lone trumpeter and finally, forty years later, we sang unaccompanied. It was only when the number of carollers shrank to about five and my chest began to protest against singing on cold winter's nights that we gave up!

(C) Triumph savoured.

Very briefly, as Jesus journey from Bethany to Jerusalem, he received the honour that was his due. The people:

(1) Praised him.

The whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen. v37.

It was entirely proper and not before time that Jesus was praised for the wonderful miracles of healing he had accomplished and the lives he had transformed.

We have much to praise Jesus for. He still transforms lives! He brings men and women out of darkness into his most marvellous light; he takes those crippled by sin and helps them to walk aright; he gives new life to the dead in trespasses and sin.

Millions can testify:

        What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
        Since, Jesus came into my heart!
        I have light in my soul for which long I had sought,
        Since Jesus came into my heart!

(2) Blessed him.

The crowd shouted: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord." v38

The people blessed the king who would reign, as none other, by God's appointment and authority.

It is a blessed thing that God has given all authority and power to the man Christ Jesus. We have a great High Priest who was tempted in every way we are. Sitting at God's right hand is one who identifies with us - who sympathises with us and intercedes on our behalf. I am so glad that I haven't got an angel, however grand, as my representative in heaven. I am not convinced an angel knows what it is to be human - but Jesus the beloved Son does.

(3) Recognised him.

"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest."

It appears that the disciples of Jesus realised that this triumphal procession was a source of satisfaction and delight in heaven. There was a great sense of well being and cause for rejoicing in heaven as God's anointed approached the city of promise. So strongly did God and his angels approve of the honour done to the Jesus that when the Pharisees asked him to shut the disciples up the Lord replied: "I tell you if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." v40.

Whenever we genuinely praise Jesus our praise is reciprocated in heaven. We are never more in tune with heaven than when we honour the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not think earth makes many contributions to heaven but I am inclined to believe that when we sing, from the heart, William Gadsby's great hymn:

          Immortal honours rest on Jesus' head;
          My God, my portion and my living bread;
          In Him I live, upon him cast my care;
          He saves from death, destruction and despair.

All heaven joins in.

(D) Tears shed.

As he approached Jersalem and saw the city, he wept over it ..... . v41.

Jesus did not weep silent tears over Jerusalem. These could have been mistaken for tears of joy! No he sobbed loudly as the ancient city came into view. It would have been better if Jesus had hid his emotion. Loud sobbing was not what his supporters expected! But Jesus could not suppress his grief. He had wept before at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus had not shed tears of sympathy, as many suppose, at the sorrow Lazarus' death caused the two sisters, Mary and Martha. Rather they were tears of anguish at the hardness of heart of his opponents who had gathered at the home of Mary and Martha to witness his discomfit. See my exposition on John11v1to44. It is the same in this instance. Jesus sobbed over:

(1) What the Jews would miss because of their blindness and hardness of heart. He said: "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now is hidden from your eyes." v42.

Spiritual blindness is a terrible thing. It is an awful mistake to decide to remain in the darkness. People who make this decision miss out on so much: Christ's saving work, new life in him, a fulfilling life of service to him, the fellowship of kindred minds and the hope of glory. It is something to know that God loves you - that he will provide for and protect you - to have experienced the truth of the old hymn:

          God shall alone the refuge be
          And comfort of my mind;
          Too wise to be mistaken, He,
          Too good to be unkind.

(2) The terrible outcome of their disbelief. Jesus told the people Jerusalem would be destroyed, "Because you did not recognise the time of God's coming to you." v44.

Jewish nationalism, pride and intransigence eventually resulted in the Roman's losing all patience and utterly destroying Jerusalem scattering the Jews to the four corners of the earth. All through the ages the Jews have suffered - suffering they would have been spared if they had welcomed the Lord's anointed.

The consequences of unbelief are awful. Just as Jerusalem was raised to the ground so, too, will all those who reject what God has done for them in Christ be destroyed. It is Christ's inevitable judgment on everyone who refuses to be saved!

(E) Truth stated.

In the passage Jesus stated two unpalatable truths:

(1) Jerusalem would be destroyed. This must have astounded Jesus' followers. It is the last thing they wanted to hear. The crowd accompanying Jesus expected Jerusalem to be at the centre of a Jewish Empire free of all Gentile influence from which God's anointed reigned in peace and righteousness. So Christ's lament over their beloved city was shocking and would have dampened the crowd's ardour.

No one takes very kindly to bad news. Harbingers of doom like Jeremiah are either ignored, ridiculed or silenced. Jonah was an exception - something more miraculous than the three days he spent inside the big fish!! I used to take an old man to church called Jack. His message was at one with the hymn writer: Change and decay in all around I see. On Jack's tombstone written according to his strict instructions is his epitaph, 'Called by some a Jeremiah.'

I am afraid that Christians true to the teaching of Jesus have nothing but bad news for unbelievers.

(2) The profiteers in the temple had turned what should have been a house of prayer into a den of robbers. v47.

It is dangerous and takes courage to take on the establishment, vested interests, powerful cliques or the money men. But thank God there have been innumerable examples of men and women with the courage of their convictions who have stood up for Jesus. Below is just one example:

The Prussian king Frederick the Great was widely known as an agnostic. By contrast, General Von Zealand, one of his most trusted officers, was a devout Christian. Thus it was that during a festive gathering the king began making crude jokes about Christ until everyone was rocking with laughter--all but Von Zealand, that is. Finally, he arose and addressed the king: "Sire, you know I have not feared death. I have fought and won 38 battles for you. I am an old man; I shall soon have to go into the presence of One greater than you, the mighty God who saved me from my sin, the Lord Jesus Christ whom you are blaspheming. I salute you, sire, as an old man who loves his Saviour, on the edge of eternity." The place went silent, and with a trembling voice the king replied, "General Von Zealand--I beg your pardon! I beg your pardon!" And with that the party quietly ended. Taken from Today In The Word, August, 1989, p. 7.

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