Sunday, February 17, 2013

Luke 19:28-44 - The Triumphal Entry

Key Truth: Luke wrote Luke 19:28-44 to teach believers to trust the King who sends us forth for He is worthy to be praised because He is the only Hope for a doomed world.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about trusting the King.
Pray and Read:  Luke 19:28-44


Contextual Notes:
Throughout his Gospel, Luke emphasizes the importance of walking in faith and avoiding unbelief. He has made it clear that every individual who meets Jesus Christ must make a decision about Him. Christ must be received or rejected. His claims must be believed or denied. When the Gospel shifts gears at Luke 9:51, Luke urges us to prioritize faith over unbelief (Luke 9:57-11:36) and warning us to trust the Lord rather than ourselves (Luke 11:37-12:59).
Christ then calls us to a Kingdom marked by grace (Luke 13:1-21), repentance (Luke 13:22-35), provision (Luke 14), and redemption of the lost (Luke 15). Luke warns us to prepare for His Return by responding to God’s Word in repentance (Luke 16), guarding against sin with obedience and thankfulness (Luke 17:1-19), waiting with faithful service (Luke 17:20-37), and persevering prayer (Luke 18:1-8). God always responds with mercy to a humble and simple reliance on Him (Luke 18:9-17).
True faith is complete reliance on Him. The necessity of complete reliance on God is emphasized in Jesus’ response to the little children (Luke 18:15-17), the response of the rich young ruler to Jesus (Luke 18:18-30), and most powerfully by Jesus Himself when He shares with His disciples His coming death and resurrection (Luke 18:31-34). Then in two examples of His free mercies, Jesus turns aside to free from blindness a beggar who sees with faith Christ’s identity as Messiah (Luke 18:35-43). Then He turns aside to help a wealthy tax collector find the riches of Christ’s presence and purpose (Luke 19:1-10).
After Luke gives Christ’s clear mission on the planet, “to seek and save the lost,” (Luke 19:10) he follows with a parable summing up our mission on the planet as we await Christ’s return (Luke 19:11-27). Now we see Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem and His acclamation of Messiah (Luke 19:28-40), but the shouts do not reflect a true understanding of who Jesus is. That failure will soon result in disaster for their nation (Luke 19:41-44). Picturing the utter necessity of a heart return to God, Jesus again cleanses the Temple of its merchants, arousing the fury of the religious leaders who become even more determined to kill Him (Luke 19:46-48).
Sermon Points:
1.   Trust the King who sends us (Luke 19:28-36)
2.   Trust the King who is worthy to be praised (Luke 19:37-40)
3.   Trust the King who brings hope to a doomed world. (Luke 19:41-44)

Exposition:   Note well,

1.   TRUST THE KING WHO SENDS US (Luke 19:28-36)
a.   || Matt. 21:1-9; Mark 11:1-10. 

b.   After arriving from Jericho, Jesus spent the night in Bethany (John 12:1). On the morning of His Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem, Jesus sent two disciples to Bethphage to procure a donkey colt (Mark 11:2). Then Jesus heads into the city from Bethany. Though we call it the Triumphal Entry, Jesus is deeply aware that the cheering multitudes have no real faith in our commitment to Jesus. They cheer because they sepend Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-40) and his lament over the city (Luke 19:41-44) set the stage for the great events which will soon take place there. 

c.   Though Luke does not cite Zechariah 9:9-10 (as Matt.21:5 does), there is little doubt that Jesus’ actions are a fulfillment of Zechariah’s vision of the humble and righteous King who brings salvation and peace: “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. . . . He will proclaim peace to the nations His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

d.   Luke 19:29 – Bethphage and Bethany: Bethany was a village located on the road from Jericho about two miles east of Jerusalem, on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. It was the home of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. The location of Bethphage is still uncertain, but probably near Bethany on the same road.

e.   Luke 19:29 – The Mount of Olives: (2600 feet above sea level) overlooks Jerusalem and the Temple Mount from the east. It is the mount on which the Garden of Gethsemane is located. It is significant that Jesus ascends from the Mount of Olives with a promise to “return in the same way” (Acts 1:11). The prophet Zechariah predicted that when Messiah returns, he would appear on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4).

f.    Luke 19:30 – find a colt tied there: The colt here is the offspring of a donkey, not a horse (Zech 9:9; Matt 21:2). The use of a donkey’s foal points to Zech 9:9-10 but perhaps also to Solomon’s coronation (1 Kings 1:32-40) and Judah’s line predicted in Gen 49:9-11, who tethers his colt to a vine. There is no avoiding the strong Messianic and royal focus of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem. Some people kept animals for hire, yes, but this is probably not the case (and Jesus certainly did not order his disciples to steal a colt!) The background is the right of a king or person of authority to borrow an animal needed for immediate service. Not only is Jesus’ authority as Messiah  asserted here (“the Lord needs it”), but also His omniscience, his divine knowledge and foresight (Luke 19:32).

g.   Luke 19:30 – which no one has ever ridden: An unridden colt points first to its purity – fit for a king. The OT sometimes demands animals that have never been yoked or worked to be a pure sacrifice (Num 19:2; Deut 21:3), but second is the submission necessary for an unbroken animal to let this One of divine authority be ridden. Who would ride an unbroken animal? One who can demand instant and full submission through His authority as Lord. We see something similar in 1 Samuel when two cows which had calved and never been yoked were selected to carry the ark of the covenant, the symbol of the presence of God (1 Sam 6:7).

h.   Luke 19:35 – Donkeys were used for civil, not military, processions (1 Kings 1:38). This is not a triumphal entry in the sense of the Roman triumphal processions. Jerusalem is receiving a meek and peaceful King.

i.    Luke 19:36 – cloaks on the road: The spreading of garments indicates their homage to this person of great rank and recalls the royal greeting to Jehu in 2 Kings 9:13, Jehu, who came to Samaria to take the throne of Israel from Jezebel.

j.    APPLICATION: You can trust God’s Word. Our king is so poor that He had to borrow His royal mount. How under heaven, then, are we not called to reach out to the poor?

2.   TRUST THE KING WHO IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED (Luke 19:37-40)

a.   Luke 19:38 – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! This phrase is drawn from Psalm 118:26, and links to Zech 9:9 to bring out its Messianic significance. Psalm 118 celebrates the Return of a Davidic King from victory in battle (Psalm 118:10-18) and his ascent to the Temple to worship (Psalm 118:19-29), so Psalm 118 is also a prophecy of the Return of Christ. In Judaism it was one of the Hallel (Praise) songs (Psalm 113-118) used at the Feasts of Tabernacles and Passover. The disciples later saw clearly the prophetic significance of the Messiah and His Second Coming (Luke 13:35).

b.   Luke 19:39 – Luke alone tells us that not everyone was festive about Jesus’ appearance. The Pharisees asked Christ to silence the multitude and restrain them from such outbursts of enthusiasm.

c.   Luke 19:40 – The stones will cry out: Jesus tells the Pharisees that if the people (and the children) keep silent, the rocks themselves will cry out in praise. The prophet Habakkuk says that the “stones of the wall will cry out” in judgment against Babylon (Hab. 2:11). Jesus will soon pronounce judgment against Jerusalem, predicting her destruction, so that not one stone will be left on another (Luke 19:43-44). The creation is personified also in Isaiah 55:12 which says the mountains and hills “burst into song” and the trees of the field “clap their hands,” rejoicing at God’s deliverance. 

3.   TRUST THE KING WHO BRINGS HOPE TO A DOOMED WORLD (Luke 19:41-44)

a.   Luke 19:41 – He wept over it: Jesus’ prediction and tears recall the OT prophets who often wept over Israel’s sins and coming judgments (2 Kings 8:11; Jer. 6:26; 8:18-9:3; 14:17; Lam 1:4). Zechariah the priest in Luke 1:67 had praised God who had visited His people, but Jesus says “you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

b.   Luke 19:43-44 – You enemies will build an embankment: Jesus’ prediction came true in A.D. 70 when the Roman army, under the general and future emperor Titus, son of Vespasian, destroyed the city. The historian Josephus describes the walls and embankments built to prevent the escape of the Jewish inhabitants so that they could be liquidated. Jesus was not the first to predict Jerusalem’s destruction. Isaiah 29:3, Jeremiah 6:6, and Ezekiel 4:2 all predict the same thing.

c.   Luke 19:44 - Dash you to the ground and your children: Josephus tells us in great detail the terrible and gruesome suffering of the inhabitants of Jerusalem during the three-year siege of the city. Many died by a terrible famine. Others were killed by desperate bandits within the city. Thousands were slaughtered by the Romans when they breached the walls. Josephus says that 1.1 million Jews perished during the siege and 97,000 were taken captive. Today’s historians claim Josephus grossly exaggerated the numbers (they say 250,000 – 500,000 died).[1] Even if the reduced numbers are correct, they reveal horrible suffering for the city of Jerusalem.

d.   Luke 19:44 – Not leave one stone on another: This image is one of total devastation. Some say that Jesus was not speaking literally or was mistaken because according to Josephus, Titus demolished the entire city but left some important towers and part of the west wall standing as a garrison for his troops. Today that Western Wall is where the Jews pray. But Jesus (see Luke 21:6) was speaking of the Temple, not the entire city. Titus leveled the city as a whole to the ground so as to leave future visitors to the spot no basis for belief that the place had ever been inhabited. For decades no Jew was allowed to approach its site, or even to visit the Holy Hill on which the Temple had once stood.

e.   APPLICATION: Today we as Christ’s people are privileged to present Him to a doomed world. May our generation prove wiser than those in first century Jerusalem, and recognize the time of God’s coming to us.

Invitation: 

[1] By comparison, Josephus said that the number of lambs sacrificed was 256,500. At a low estimate of one lamb to 10 persons, the number of people gathered all around Jerusalem for Passover at the time of the Triumphal Entry would be 2.7 million. If true, the numbers Josephus gives for Jerusalem’s dead and captive seem reasonable, especially if the populations of surrounding villages fled to the city at the onset of the Roman army.