Timewise, it was a Sunday morning in April of 30 A.D. when these events took place. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem where He would make His Triumphal Entry we call Palm Sunday.
This is an old story, told in a lot of different ways, but I hope it will touch your heart this morning and help you realize the great sacrifice that Jesus made for you and me there.
Events that morning started the clock ticking on the last 6 days of His pre-resurrection life. They would lead to Jesus' betrayal, His arrest, His trial, and execution. All four Gospels record the King of the Jews entry into Jerusalem but each one records details that give us a more complete account of the last 6 days of His life.
Luke 19:28-30: “And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. 29: And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, 30: Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. 31: And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. 32: And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. 33: And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?"
The owners said "Why are you untying that colt? That's my donkey.” The business men would have handed them a rental agreement from Jacob’s Rent A Ride and said, “sign here.”
Verse 34: "And they said, The Lord hath need of him.” They willingly gave it to the Lord’s use. It was an un-broken colt but the Master demonstrated His power over all His creatures.
The Mount of Olives overlooks Jerusalem from an elevation of about 100 feet higher. That’s where Jesus ascended up to heaven after His resurrection and where He will return at His Second Coming. Down in Jerusalem He offered Himself as their king, and rightly so, but He was rejected and the week ended with His crucifixion where He paid for the sins of the people who crucified Him and for yours and mine.
Luke 19:35-40: “And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. 36: And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. 37: And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; 38: Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39: And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40: And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."
Jesus threatened them with "Rock Music" if someone didn't praise Him as King! And if people won't do it, other things of His Creation will.
What a day! Jesus could have established His kingdom right then and there, and thousands would have proclaimed Him King. But as we know now, that wasn’t God's plan. Jesus will have an earthly kingdom at a later time when He returns to earth in power and glory.
He could have saved Himself by not going to Jerusalem. He could have stayed in Galilee. He was fairly well accepted there. He had preached the Sermon on the Mount there and when He fed the 5,000 they wanted to make Him king. So many people crowded around to hear Him at the Sea of Galilee that He had to preach from a boat. He walked on water on the Sea of Galilee and He stilled the storm and calmed the waves. There was plenty of work to be done there healing the sick and feeding the hungry and saving the sinners. He could have stayed in Galilee, but He chose to go to Jerusalem. Luke 9:51: "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem." He could have saved Himself. But He couldn’t save Himself and us, too. Our salvation depended on His sacrifice, the shedding of His blood for our sins.
When they came for Him in the garden of Gethsemene, He could have saved Himself. Matthew 26:53-54: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54: But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” Shortly after this, He carried His cross up Calvary. His robe that was woven without a seam was soaked with His own blood. He couldn’t save Himself and fulfill Scripture, too.
Even after He was on the cross, He could have saved Himself. But then, He couldn’t save us. He had to become what we are in order to take our sins on Himself and die for you and me.
All throughout the Lord's earthly ministry He told the disciples He had come to die.
Mark 10:45. "The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many"
He didn’t come to do His own will, but to do the will of the Father who sent Him. Our Lord's destiny lay in Jerusalem and He would die there for the sin of the world.
The religious establishment hated Jesus and wanted to kill Him but the common people who followed Jesus loved His Triumphal entry into Jerusalem. After all, He had healed the sick; He fed the hungry; He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and cured the crippled and preached repentance and salvation and He even raised the dead.
Tradition has it that when a Jewish king came into a city in peace, he did so on a donkey. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into the city on a donkey. Thousands were there to celebrate the Passover the following Friday and they gave Him a resounding welcome and spread branches and coats on the street to give Him a red carpet welcome.
These events had been predicted by the prophets. Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh to thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of an donkey.”
Matthew 21:9: “And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” They asked for salvation. "Hosanna!" means "Lord, save us!" They quoted Psalm 118:26 "Blessed is who comes in the name of the LORD!"
Luke 19:41-42: “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42: Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.”
He entered Jerusalem, knowing full well what would happen there, and as He left the city for the night, His answer was to shed tears of grief for the city.
Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
He wept because the nation of Israel, God's chosen people, refused the Messiah they had been longing for. They rejected the Redeemer that was promised since the first sin in the Garden. They called Him insane and demon-possessed, and crucified Him as a common criminal. He knew His rejection would result in the destruction of Jerusalem and God’s people would be brutalized and scattered all over the world.
He also realized that for the first time, in this life and in this city, hanging on a cross, He would experience complete separation from the God the Father. The intimacy of an eternity together within the Trinity would be broken when Jesus was made sin for us and endured God's holy wrath.
Look at your own life today. Are you separated from God? You don't have to be, because of what Christ has done.
Luke 19:43-44: “For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44: And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
Jesus' words came true. Exactly forty years later, the Roman general Titus, leveled the city and killed or exiled all the people and burned the Temple and the city. The gold in the Temple melted and the soldiers took the building apart stone by stone to get the precious metal and they didn’t leave one stone standing on another. Verse 44 tells the reason for this, they didn’t recognize God in the flesh as Messiah when He visited them.
Here is a Quotation from Max Lucado’s book “And the Angels were Silent” "Forget any suggestion that Jesus was trapped. Erase any theory that Jesus made a miscalculation. Ignore any speculation that the cross was a last-ditch attempt to salvage a dying mission. If these words tell us anything, they tell us that Jesus died on purpose. No surprise. No hesitation. No faltering. No, the journey to Jerusalem didn't begin in Jericho. It didn't begin in Galilee. It didn't even begin in Bethlehem. The journey to the cross began long before. When the echo of Adam and Eve crunching on the fruit was still sounding in the garden, Jesus was leaving for Calvary."
Jesus willingly left His glory throne to take on a human nature and die for your sins and mine.
During the wilderness temptation, Satan tried to detour Jesus from Calvary by offering Him a crown without a cross. He offered Him all the kingdoms of the world. His attempt failed.
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God, whose death would take away the sin of the world.
But His mission to die began before that.
600 years before Jesus' birth, Isaiah wrote in chapter 53 of the coming Servant who would die as a sin offering to bring forgiveness to God's people. God would impute to Him all our sins and punish Him in our place. Isaiah wrote "By His knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their sins." The punishment that brought us peace with God was inflicted on Him. But Jesus' mission to die began before that.
1,000 years before Jesus' advent, David foretold the manner of his offspring's death in Psalm 22. David wrote; “They pierce my hands and feet, and cast lots for my garments.”
But Jesus' mission to die began long before that.
Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, God promised a coming sin offering by declaring the serpent would bruise the heel of one of the woman's offspring, and this offspring would crush the serpent's head. But Jesus' mission to die began even before that.
John saw a vision, in the Book of Revelation, of a Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world. That Lamb was Jesus Christ. Before one particle of this world or this universe was created-before time even existed-it was in the mind of God to send His Son to die for you and me. Nothing in heaven or earth could or would thwart God's provision to save us.
The only question with any real meaning this morning is: Are you saved? I'm not asking if you’re a churchmember of if you think you're a good person and try to keep the Ten Commandments. The Bible says that all have sinned and there is none righteous, no not one. And if you doubt Scripture's verdict, watch the evening news.
We don't have within us the moral power to reform ourselves. We’re born sinners and we can't turn over enough new leaves to change that. If we could, Jesus wouldn’t have come to die.
The only remedy for our sins was His shed blood. Sin is a fatal disease, it’s that severe. If it’s left untreated we will stand before God and be condemned to hell for eternity.
Jesus finally got to where He has been headed all along - Jerusalem and Calvary, the center of Jewish religious activity. It’s known as the city of David or the holy city. It’s the most important city in Jewish life and history, even to this very day.
Timewise, in Luke 19:28-44, we already covered the events of Sunday. Acquiring the donkey, the triumphal entry into the city and the welcome by the crowd, the complaints about the noise by some Pharisees, and His distress and tears for the people’s spiritual condition.
He left Jerusalem each evening and spent the night in Bethany, returning the next morning.
Monday He cleansed the temple and taught the people many things. The chief priests and the scribes sought to kill Him, but He continued to teach in the Temple.
Luke 19:45-48: “And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46: Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. 47: And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, 48: And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.”
Tuesday: Luke 20 and 21. Jesus continues teaching in the Temple to receptive audiences of the common people, however, His authority is questioned by the Pharisees.
Luke 20:1-2. “And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, 2: And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?”
Luke 21:37-38: “And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. 38: And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.”
Wednesday. Luke 22:1-6. “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. 2: And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. 3: Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4: And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 5: And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. 6: And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.”
This actually begins at sunset, two days before the Passover. Satan has a hold on Judas Iscariot and he has agreed to betray Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Most of the religious authorities didn’t want to believe Jesus was the Messiah. If He was, their high rank in the religious world would tumble and they didn’t want to lose that so they sought to kill Him.
Thursday, the fifth day. Luke 22:7-13. “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. 8: And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. 9: And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? 10: And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. 11: And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12: And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13: And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.”
Isn’t it amazing how God takes care of details? Jesus sent Peter and John to find a place for the Passover and, by God’s directions, a man carrying a pitcher of water would show them. Carrying water was a woman’s job so that was very unusual for a man, but not for God.
You can’t surprise God. His ways are not our ways. He is always in complete control.
The last Passover was made ready, and God would not recognize any future Passover. Christ would be the final Passover Lamb. Hebrews 10:12. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”
Luke 22:14-20. “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15: And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19: And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20: Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
Jesus wanted to spend this final hour with those who trusted in Him. They ate the Passover meal together and then Judas left to betray Him. In verses 18-20, He instituted the Lord’s Supper. Paul later wrote, in 1 Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.”
After supper, they sang a hymn and walked to the Mount of Olives. There Jesus would pray the most important prayer of all time and there He would be betrayed by a friend. Matthew 26:39b: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
Friday brought about several trials and the crucifixion. He came only to do His Father’s will. He was willing to shed His blood as the perfect sacrifice for man’s sin. God has always demanded a blood sacrifice for sin. Jesus gave the final and only perfect sacrifice for all the sins of the world.
If you are here today and you’re not saved, there will come a point in time when you will meet the Master face-to-face as your Judge. He won’t be on a donkey weeping, He’ll be on a white horse, conquering. What will your thoughts be then?
I came across this poem that focuses on the necessity of meeting Christ as Savior in this life rather than meeting Him later as our Judge. It's entitled...
WHEN I MET THE MASTER
I had walked life's path with an easy tread,
Had followed where comforts and pleasures led,
Until one day in a quiet place
I met the Master face to face.
With station and rank and wealth for my goal,
Much thought for my body, and none for my soul,
I had entered to win in life's mad race
When I met the Master face to face.
Met Him and knew Him, and blushed to see
That His eyes, full of sorrow, were fixed on me,
And I faltered and fell at His feet that day,
As my castles melted and vanished away.
Melted and vanished, and in their place
Naught else could I see but the Master's face;
And I cried, "Oh Lord, please make me meet
To follow the steps of Thy wounded feet."
My thought is now for the souls of men,
I have lost my life to find it again,
E'er since one day in a quiet place,
I met the Master face to face.
Have you met the Master face to face?