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Your King Comes to You

Date: Aug. 7, 2016

Author: Michael Mark

Matthew 20:29-21:11

Key Verse: Matthew 21:5

“Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

Has anyone here ever watched a Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, here in the United States?  Every four years on January 20th, the year following the election, the President of the United States is sworn into office in an inauguration ceremony at the Capitol Building, where the House and the Senate meet.  This is followed by a speech, and then a traditional parade from the Capitol Building to the White House, about a 2-mile distance.  You can watch the ceremonies on Youtube.  I recently watched the parade for President Barack Obama in 2013 – thousands of people lined the streets, and when he got out of his ride the crowds went wild.  In today’s day, the President of the United States is considered the most powerful man in the world.  He is the leader of the only world superpower in the current age.  The duties of the President include Chief of State, where he acts as the symbolic leader of the country, Chief Executive to execute laws, Commander in Chief of the armed forces, Chief Diplomat to negotiate with other countries, Chief Legislator to sign or veto laws and works with Congress on the budget, and superpolitician to help his party raise money and choose candidates. 

Have you ever stopped to wonder why we give so much honor to government leaders?  What is the meaning behind all of this?  When you look deep into why we submit to authority, you may see that there are powers you cannot see.  Rom 13:4 says, “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason.  They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”  Isn’t it interesting that even the most powerful authorities on earth, are still God’s servants?  What does this tell you about God?  That he is the King of kings.  It is not always easy to submit to authority.  Sometimes it is even hard to respect presidential candidates, or other world leaders.  What has gone wrong with God’s servants?  Sin.  Because of sin, all mankind, from the least to the greatest have become enemies against the kingdom of God.  You were born an enemy of the kingdom of God!  But God has sent his one and only Son, equal to him in power and glory, to come down to redeem a people for himself, and bring them into his kingdom.  God has sent a message to his people, saying, “See, your king comes to you.” May God open our eyes to see the majesty of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the king that has come to us.  As we learn about the triumphal entry of Jesus today to Jerusalem, keep that picture of the presidential inauguration parade in mind, and how the people celebrated and shouted for the arrival of the King of kings.

So first, let us “see”.  Our key verse in verse 5 says, “See,” so let us “see.”  Look at v.29, “As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.”  Jesus had been healing crowds of people in Judea, on the east side of the Jordan.  Now he would be making his final journey towards Jerusalem, so he crossed over the Jordan River and headed westward passing through Jericho.  The crowds continued to follow him.  We are now within the last week of Jesus’ life, and this was probably six days before he would be crucified for our sins.  It might have been a Saturday on the Sabbath.  Jerusalem was about 15 miles away, normally it could take someone 5-6 hours to walk that distance, but Jerusalem was about 3000 feet higher than Jericho and people would have to travel around mountains, uphill and downhill to get there.  The actual time to get to Jerusalem from Jericho could take around 8 hours, so Jesus, the crowd and his disciples did not have much time to lose.

As they passed through Jericho, they met two blind men, in v.30-31, “Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’  The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’”  Though these two blind men did not see Jesus, they must have heard the commotion coming through the town, and they also must have heard that Jesus was passing through.  Not being able to see, they shouted in their darkness for Jesus, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  Notice who they are asking for – the Lord, the Son of David.  You don’t just call anyone the Son of David.  The Son of David was a designation for the Messiah.  In essence they were shouting “Messiah, the promised eternal king over David’s throne, have mercy on us!”  See that though they were blind they believed that Jesus was God’s Anointed One.  They believed that he could heal them, and only he could heal them.  If they missed him, they would miss this opportunity forever.  But they had faith.  They were convicted, they were convinced that Jesus is the Messiah.  This conviction came, from the Holy Spirit, to open their spiritual eyes to call out, to shout to the Lord.  The crowd rebuked them, they discouraged them, but they were persistent and did not give up.

Look at what Jesus did in v.32, “Jesus stopped and called them, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’, he asked.”  Jesus stopped.  This whole crowd was following Jesus, probably eager to be on their way, but Jesus stopped for these two blind men who called out to him.  Their shouting was so loud, I believe he could hear them over the crowd.  He stopped, like a father, stopping what he is doing, when a child asks for something.  Jesus asked them, “What do you want me to do for you?” and they replied, “Lord, we want our sight (v.33).”  They were not too shy to ask Jesus for the impossible.  They wanted to be able to see.  They have lived at least many years, if not their whole lives, in darkness, so they wanted to see.

Now look at what Jesus does next in v.33, “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.  Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”  Jesus was moved with compassion, from deep down in his gut, he felt compassion.  I feel compassion for my little brother, whenever I hear about his problems with classmates or homework, and I am moved to help him however I can.  Jesus has compassion on those who are sick, distressed, or hungry.  He looks out at the lost and has compassion on them because they are like sheep without a shepherd.  God has compassion on us.  He hears our prayers to him, he never ignores them.  Jesus touched their eyes, and immediately they received their sight.  Jesus could have healed them without touching them, but the action was also for the crowd.  He wanted them to see that he is the one who brings healing, and that he is the Messiah.

Jesus wants us to see that he is the Messiah.  He wants to teach us faith in him.  The ultimate purpose of opening the eyes of the blind was not for the blind, but it was for God’s glory.  It was to show that Jesus is the Son of God.  It is not something we can see with our eyes, but it is given to us by the Holy Spirit.  If you can see that Jesus is the Messiah, do you believe it?  Do you believe that God really has compassion?  Sometimes our faith will be tested so that it can be proven.  Many of you know that Mary and I have been praying for a child now for more than 4 years.  Sometimes we have had to endure misunderstandings or people judging us wrongly.  We’ve tried everything, western medicine, hormone treatments, IUI twice, eastern medicine, herbal drinks, acupuncture, give up coffee, checking temperatures, checking home kits and counting days, and we pray, and we still pray, sometimes desperately.  But do we believe God hears our prayers?  Yes, we both do.  Do we believe God has compassion?  Yes, we both do.  Do we trust God?  Yes.  He heard Isaac’s prayer, the heard Leah’s prayer, he heard Rachel’s prayer, he heard Hannah’s prayer, he heard Elizabeth’s prayer.  He remembered them, all of them.  And he has heard my prayers, he has answered my prayers, specifically, for my job, for projects, for Mary, for her work, for her health, for each of you here, for my brother Joe, for my friend Eddy – I thank God that he has comforted my heart at times regarding their welfare, for my friend Gerritt, for my friend Andre, for strength and wisdom for messages or anything in service to him he has answered and given much more than I asked for.  Sometimes I am tempted to doubt his compassion.  Sometimes I am tempted to doubt he’s God.  Sometimes our struggles are there to reveal our weaknesses.  They are there to expose our lack of faith in him.  But thank God he opens our eyes to himself.  Jesus wants us to see God, and to see that God has come to us.  He is a compassionate king, a king who comes to us.  Jesus wants us to see God.

The apostle Paul testified to Jesus’ calling in Acts 26:14-18.  Jesus said to him in Aramaic, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?  It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”  Paul then asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The Lord replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  Now get up and stand on your feet.  I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.  I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles.  I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”  God has sent messengers to open our eyes and turn us from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, so that we may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ.  Forgiveness of sins – we need that.  And by faith in Christ, we may receive a place in his kingdom.  The two blind men that were healed continued to follow Jesus even after they were healed.

From John’s gospel we learn that Jesus stopped in Bethany and there was a dinner held in Jesus’ honor (John 12:1).  Bethany was about 1.5 miles from Jerusalem, and Jesus and his disciples stayed there for the night.  The next day was Sunday, and this would be the day he would enter Jerusalem.  His crucifixion would be on Friday, 5 days away.  The Sunday Jesus goes to Jerusalem is traditionally called Palm Sunday, and it is the first day of Passion Week, or Holy Week, which is essentially Jesus’ last week on earth.  Look at v.1-3, “As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her.  Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’”  Wow what is Jesus up to here?  Jesus seems to tell them out of the blue – go up ahead into the next village, and you’ll see 2 donkeys.  Take them.  Oh, and if anyone gives you trouble, tell them the Lord needs them.  But look who is in control here.  Who is ordering things that the normal person cannot see?  If any one of you were to say this, I might think you’re out of your mind.  But here, God is in control.  God knows those donkeys are tied there.  Remember these are the days before internet, you can’t google and see if they have donkey’s available, but God knows.  And you can see that it hasn’t been planned in advance, because Jesus tells his disciples what to say if they are questioned.  The fact that they are questioned shows that the owner of the donkeys does not know what is going on, but God knows everything that will happen.  The owner will send the donkeys right away.

Verse 4-5 explain why this is happening: “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’’”  We have the advantage of hindsight, and Matthew’s gospel to tell us, “Oh, this fulfills a prophecy.”  But put yourself in that moment, in that time at 30 AD.  There is no New Testament written yet.  You might be thinking, why would, Jesus want a donkey at this time?  But Jesus was well aware of what time it was, and it was time fulfill the prophecy given in v.5.  This prophecy was written by Zechariah, almost 500 years before Jesus was born.  It was a prophecy about the salvation of Jerusalem, but it applies to all of God’s chosen people.  Zech 9:9-10 says, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!  Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken.  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.”  The king will come to bring peace, and put an end to war.

This is what Jesus came to do.  He came to save God’s people.  Daniel prophesied about his coming around 600 years before Jesus came, and said that the Anointed One, the ruler, will come to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, and to bring in everlasting righteousness (Dan 9:24-26).  The one Daniel prophesied about was Jesus, who came to do all these things: to put an end to sin, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.  What man could do this?  Hosea, written almost 800 years before Christ came, writes this:  “Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them – not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses or horsemen, but I, the Lord their God, will save them (Hos 1:7).”  This is incredible to me.  God will save: not by bow, sword, battle, or horses, but by the ultimate weapon: himself.  God will save us by himself.  How is that?  How can he save us by himself?  We were born enemies to God.  We know this because it is natural for us to forsake and to disobey God, to refuse to trust him.  Our battle is not against flesh and blood – when we are sinners it is against God.  How can we win?  We can’t cut God with a sword, pierce him with an arrow, shoot him with a bullet.  God doesn’t even need these things to destroy us – but God doesn’t want to destroy us, he wants to save us.  So he rescues us from our enemies – sin and death, by himself.  Christ came to die for us on the cross.  He came to take for us the wrath of God and the punishment for our sins.  After paying for our debt, he then defeated the power of death and rose from the grave.  God could destroy the power of death with the snap of his finger, but before he did that, he cleared our debt – so that he could give us both the forgiveness of sins and the victory over death!  Through Christ, we are not only promised cleansing and sanctification, but also the resurrection from the dead into eternal life!  In Christ, and in Christ alone can we be saved!

That is what Jesus came to do, and the time was near.  Look again at the prophecy in v.5.  Can we all please read v.5 together: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”  Daughter Zion refers to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but it also refers to God’s beloved people, including the church. See – your king comes to you.  God has come to us, can you believe it?!  Will President Obama ever come to visit the chapel at IIT?  But the king of kings has come to you.  He is Immanuel, God with us.  Isn’t this amazing – that we were once enemies of God, but through the reconciliation that comes from Jesus, we are reckoned children of God.  In Christ, God is with us!  Jesus Christ came into this world.  We mark off our years from the year he came.  It is the 2016th year since Jesus came to earth.  The places he walked, and prayed and stayed are historical landmarks.  The Bible is eyewitness testimony of his coming.  And Jesus Christ is with us, the Holy Spirit of God is in us, and Jesus says wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am with them.  You are here because Jesus came to you.  He comes to you on a colt, a very young donkey – humble, and approachable.  Christ invites you into his arms.  He comes to you in gentleness and meekness, he is humble and compassionate.  How often do we sin against God.  How often are our thoughts not of him.  But he is merciful, he forgives, and has taught us to forgive.

The time was now; Jesus was very soon about to go to his death to become an atonement for the sin of the world – this is how he would save us and bring us peace, and sanctify us to receive an inheritance in the kingdom of God.  Now, Jesus would publicly declare himself to be the king and Messiah before Jerusalem, in the face of the governors and religious leaders in the city.  Before, he hid this fact, so that he would not be forced to die before the appointed time.  He told those that he healed not to tell anyone about it.  As the Jews were looking to kill him, he went a festival one year in secret (John 7:10).  But now, he would openly declare that he is the Messiah, the king sent to restore the kingdom of God.  Jesus was not too tired to walk to Jerusalem.  Jesus wanted to ride the donkey to declare himself as king.  Riding on a donkey signified royalty.  About a thousand years before Jesus’ time, King David had given an order to have his son Solomon ride on his own mule, and to blow the trumpet anointing Solomon as the new king.

Look at v.6-7, “The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.”  The disciples did just as Jesus had commanded, and found everything was just as he said.  Notice there are 2 donkeys: one is the mother, and the other the colt.  In the other gospels, Jesus is riding on the colt, but it was a colt that had never been ridden before.  The disciples might not have known which horse Jesus would take, so they put their clothes on both, but I believe Jesus just rode on the colt.  So here was Jesus on the colt, and the people’s expectation of the Messiah hits its highest levels ever.  Remember Jesus healed crowds of people in Judea.  Those that he healed in Galilee have come down for the festival.  Jesus within the past year had raised Lazarus from the dead in a prior visit to Bethany.  That was a huge miracle.  There was a man named Simon the Leper, who he also must have healed in Bethany.  On top of that, we just witnessed his healing of 2 blind men from Jericho.  The expectation of the Messiah was thick in the air.  Could it be?  Could Jesus be the Messiah?

Jesus rode the donkey until he came to the edge of the Mount of Olives.  From here you could see Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was about a half mile away, the two places separated by a valley in between.  From the edge of the Mount of Olives you had to go down into the valley and then back up through the gate.  It was when Jesus reached the edge that all the people burst out praise and celebration.  Look at v.8-9, “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Those crowds went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!’”  The crowds burst out in praise!  Hosanna to the Son of David!  Hosanna means “Save us!”  So they were all shouting, “Save us, O Son of David!  Blessed are you who come in the name of the Lord!  Save us, and may this be done in heaven as it is on earth!”  The crowds were all calling him “Son of David.”  They spread their cloaks on the floor – and this is also an acknowledgement of royalty.  They also put palm branches down, decorating and padding the path that leads to Jerusalem.  These joyful sounds came from seeing the Messiah and acknowledging him as King.  Imagine this joy that you have, when you look up in the sky, and Jesus Christ is coming again to deliver you into heaven.  Your cry would by, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” “Save us!  Save us! O Son of David!”

The whole city was in a stir, according to verse 10, and asked, “Who is this?” Some people may have been curious, “Who is this one everybody is celebrating over?  Why are they celebrating over him?”  In a presidential inauguration ceremony, there will be those who cheer, but there are also those who protest – the same is here.  Others might be envious, agitated and disturbed, “Who is this guy that everyone loves?  Look how the world is going after him!”  Look at v.11, “The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’”  What did they mean by, “the prophet?”  Why didn’t they say, “the Messiah, the Son of David?”  However, they might also be calling him the Messiah, but in a different way.  Back when Jesus fed the 5,000, the people began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”  This was in Galilee, and many of the people here in this crowd are from there.  At that time, Jesus, knowing they intended to make him king by force, withdrew from them (John 6:15).  But now he would accept the honor of being king.  When the Galilean Jews mentioned that he is the Prophet who is to come into the world, they were referring to Moses’ prophecy that one like him would come from God and lead the Israelites (Deut 18:15).  So in a different way, in verse 11, the crowds also acknowledged that Jesus is the Messiah.

So who is this?  Who is this to you?  Jesus is the Savior, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  He came as king, but not as a king anyone would expect.  He did not come as a political king.  That was never his intent, though his disciples misunderstood that often.  He did not come upon a great white stallion or a plush red carpet, but on a donkey, on the clothes of common people and palm branches.  If the governor of Judea saw it, he would think it no threat.  What army does he have?  What glory does he have?  Are those sweaters he’s riding in on?  But his kingdom is not of this world.  Jesus’ kingdom is higher.  Who is he to you? Who is he that has come to Jerusalem?  He is the Master, he is the Chief of State over heaven and earth, the Chief Executive, Chief Diplomat, Chief Legislator, and Commander in Chief of the Lord’s army.  He is your Maker, your God and your King.  He is your King.  He is your king that has come to you.  Your king has come to you.  Think about that.  And he has come to save you: to open your eyes and turn you from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that you may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in him.  So open your eyes!  And see!  See - your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  Hosanna!  Hosanna!  Hosanna to the King of kings!

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