Peninsula Community Church
The Triumphant Entry of Christ
April 1, 2012
Text – Luke 19:28-40
The story of the Triumphant Entry of Christ is found in every one of the gospels of the New Testament. Each story adds a dynamic to the story by looking at the story from a different perspective (Matthew 21:1-16; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:9-19). Since the story is found in every New Testament Gospel it must be an important story.
As we read these various accounts it is interesting to note that there are several key components to the story. Understanding each of these will add a depth to the story which gives a clearer picture of what transpired on the particular day.
The first of these components is the donkey. This may seem like a non-important aspect of the story but there is much to be said about the donkey.
It is not a coincidence that Jesus was riding on a donkey as it was a fulfillment of prophesy. In Zechariah 9:9 where the prophet says: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
This was also interesting as most wanted Jesus to come as a warrior and not a man of peace. This goes back to the Romans and Greeks who would either use a donkey or a horse when they entered a town. When a King would enter a town and he wanted to show that he was coming in peace he would ride a small horse or a donkey. However, when the king wanted to show that he was coming to conquer the town He would ride a white stallion or horse. It is noteworthy that in Revelation 7:9 that Jesus returns to do battle on a white stallion.
The second component of the story is the palms themselves. The crowd did not just through palm branches but they also threw down their outer garments and other branches they could find. This act was one of honoring Jesus as a King, as this was one mode of honor given to a king or a general of the army who was returning from battle.
The third component was the term Hosanna which means to “Save Us Now.” The people of the day were looking for a Savior not to save them from their sins but from the weight of the government of the day. Taxes were high, unemployment was high and the government could do just about what they wanted to without any accountability. (Sound familiar).
The fourth and final component is the crowd itself which actually is made up of four different groups which included the disciples, the group who saw Lazarus raised from the dead, the group who heard about Lazarus being raised and the Pharisees and the religious leaders. Each one of this is interesting in themselves.
The disciples had been with Jesus and knew him better than anyone else. They had been with him through the good times and the bad. It is especially interesting to note that while the disciples where with him that day but only one week later most of the disciples were nowhere to be found. When Jesus needed them they were not there. According to the gospel story the only disciple that we see near Jesus is John. Peter denied Him. Thomas doubted Him. They all left. What happens to you when it seems that Jesus falls short of what we think He promised? Do we retreat? Do we focus on other things to take His place?
The second group was the crowd that was there when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The question I always have with those following Him was their motivation. Were they there because of who he was or for what they hoped they could get from Him. Why do we follow Him? Is it because we think of Him as a genie or a Santa Clause that will give us whatever we want. Even as believers we can be guilty of following Jesus for all of the wrong reasons.
The third group was the crowd who had only heard about Jesus and his miracles. They had not experienced his grace but they wanted to see who He was and what he was about. They were curious about what Christ had done but they didn’t know Him. Some people will follow Christ not because they really know Him but they have heard about him.
The fourth group was the Pharisees and the spiritual leaders who rejected Jesus and his disciples. In fact they wanted to shut them up. They felt they were being a nuisance by worshiping Him the way they were. There will always be someone in your life that will try to discourage you and try to turn you away from worshiping and following Jesus with your whole heart. Sometimes it is not a matter of getting you to reject Him but just to not be as exuberant. In other words compromise just a little. But a little compromise can go a long way to rejecting Jesus.