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THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, March 20, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Tell ye the daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass" (Matthew 21:5).


Jesus has completed His three years of ministry on earth. Now He begins the last week before His death by crucifixion. Before this, Jesus always entered Jerusalem modestly, unobtrusively. Now He comes into the city openly proclaiming Himself as King.

Jesus and His disciples have come near the city of Jerusalem, to Bethphage, a small village near the Mount of Olives just to the east of Jerusalem. Jesus sends two of His disciples to get a young donkey. They bring the colt and its mother to Him. Jesus gets on the colt, which no one had ever ridden before. He rides it slowly into Jerusalem. This was done to partially fulfill Zechariah 9:9. Dr. McGee pointed out that Matthew 21:5 leaves out certain words from Zechariah 9:9 because those words refer to His Second Coming (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1983, volume IV, p. 111). When Jesus returns at the Second Coming, He will descend from Heaven to the Mount of Olives and come into the city of Jerusalem to reign over the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then will come to pass the full prophecy of Zechariah, at His Second Coming, the final triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Now, the prophecy of Zechariah was partly fulfilled. The little donkey He rode on was not a symbol of His meekness, although Jesus was humble. This was the way kings entered the city. When Jesus came into Jerusalem on this little donkey, He was offering Himself as their King. He was giving Israel the opportunity to receive Him or reject Him as their monarch and Messiah.

There was a general feeling at the time that the Messiah was about to come to deliver Israel from its oppression by Rome. Israel had been beaten down and was controlled by Roman soldiers. There was a general hope that the Messiah would soon come and free the nation from Roman rule.

Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead a few days earlier (John 11:38-44). I will speak on that tonight. He had also opened the eyes of two blind men (Matthew 20:29-34). The chief priests and Pharisees were afraid because so many people had seen these miracles and were ready to accept Him as the Messiah and King. They said,

"What do we? [What shall we do?] for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation" (John 11:47-48).

The religious leaders were not willing to believe in Him because they were afraid He would start a movement against Roman occupation that would cause the Romans to take away all of their rights and freedoms. That is exactly what happened about forty years later, in 70 A.D., when the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and drove the Jews into exile into North Africa, Europe, and other places. But they were wrong about Jesus. He would not have led an insurrection against Rome if they had believed on Him. I can't go into that this morning. I am only giving this information to show that this is what the religious leaders thought. They said, "This man doeth many miracles. If we let him…alone, all men will believe on him." Spurgeon said,

There was an anxious desire that somebody or other should… lead the people against their oppressors. Seeing the mighty things which Christ did…they imagined that He might probably restore to Israel the kingdom and set them free. The Saviour…saw that it was coming to a crisis. For him it must either be death for having disappointed [them], or else he must yield to the wishes of the people, and be made [an earthly] king. You know which he chose. He came to save others, and not be made a king…in the sense in which they understood. He had raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been buried four days. This was a miracle so novel and so astounding, that [everyone was talking about it]. Multitudes went out of Jerusalem to Bethany, it was only two miles distant, to see Lazarus. The miracle was well authenticated; there were multitudes of witnesses; it was generally accepted as one of the great marvels of the age, and they drew the inference from it that Christ must be the Messiah. The people determined that now they would make him a king, and that now he should lead them against the [army] of Rome. He, intending no such thing, nevertheless [allowed] their enthusiasm that by it he might have an opportunity of [fulfilling] that which had been written of him [by] the prophets (C. H. Spurgeon, "The Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem," The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1986 reprint, volume VII, p. 457).

"Tell ye the daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass" (Matthew 21:5).

I believe that Christ used the fanaticism of the people as an opportunity to reveal Himself as the true King, the real Messiah. He showed Himself as King by riding into Jerusalem like kings of the Old Testament (cf. II Kings 9:13).

"Tell ye the daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass" (Matthew 21:5; Zechariah 9:9).

Let us see what we can learn from this.

I. First, Christ is a king.

Look at verse eight. Let us stand and read this verse aloud.

"And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way" (Matthew 21:8).

You may be seated.

It was a very large crowd. Dr. Gill estimates it in the thousands. Many of them had followed Him from Jericho. Many others had already come to Jerusalem for the great Feast of the Passover, which was about to begin.

They spread out their cloaks along the roadside for decoration. They cut down branches from the olive trees and from the palm trees and spread them out on the roadside. John was an eye-witness. He said that they

"Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him"
     (John 12:13).

This is what the Jews did at the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:40). This was not the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, but of the Passover. Yet it was common for the Jews to express joy by taking palm branches in their hands on any joyful occasion. When the Temple was purified after being polluted by Antiochus, they joyfully brought palm branches and rejoiced for eight days (cf. the noncanonical apocryphal II Maccabees 10:6-7). They strawed them in the way, not in the middle of the road, but by the sides of it. They were welcoming Christ as a king, the Messiah, their liberator from the captivity of Rome.

They realized that Christ is a king. And indeed He is. The New Testament repeatedly calls Jesus "Kurios" which is the Greek word for "Lord." W. E. Vine says, "Kurios signifies power or authority, Lord, Master." The Bible says,

"Every tongue [shall] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord"
    (Philippians 2:11).

At the Last Judgment every human being who has ever lived will "confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." They may not confess Him as Lord now, but they will do so then - before they are cast into the Lake of Fire.

In the first century, the Roman Emperor Caligula allowed himself to be called "Lord." Then the Emperor Nero was even more widely called "Lord," and finally the Emperor Domitian was officially called "our Lord and God" (cf. H. C. Thiessen, Ph.D., Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, Eerdmans, 1963 reprint, p. 142). No wonder Caligula, Nero and Domitian so strongly opposed the new faith called "Christianity." The Christians refused to call these emperors "Lord." They knew there was only one Lord - the Lord Jesus Christ! And that is why you cannot be a real Christian without placing your faith exclusively in Christ. You must not believe in Christ among other gods. You must believe in Him alone. He is Lord (Kurios). Caligula is not kurios. Nero is not kurios. Domitian is not kurios. Christ alone is kurios. Christ alone is Lord. And "every tongue [shall] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

And "Lord" was applied to Christ in the sense of deity. Jesus is called "God" seven times in the New Testament.

The Apostle John said,

"The Word was God…And the Word was made flesh"
    (John 1:1, 14).

The Apostle Paul said,

"God was manifest in the flesh" (I Timothy 3:16).

And the Apostle Thomas called Him

"My Lord and my God" (John 20:28).

Jesus is Lord. Jesus is God. Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one"
    (I John 5:7).

Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus Christ is God the Son. Jesus Christ is

"King of Kings, and Lord of Lords" (Revelation 19:16).

Basileus Basileon kai Kurios Kurion

"King of Kings, and Lord of Lords"

Do you think that the crowds of people who spread out their cloaks and waved palm branches at Him that day understood this? Do you think they really knew that Christ was King of Kings and Lord of Lords? No, it is clear that they did not.

II. Second, Christ is a different kind of King.

"Tell ye the daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek,and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass" (Matthew 21:5).

The text says that He is "meek." The Greek word is "praus." It means "gentle, mild." Jesus said,

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29).

"Meek and lowly in heart" - humble, "gentle and mild." They had never seen a king like that. Every king of Israel and Judah, in the Old Testament, was a fierce taskmaster. God told Samuel,

"Ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day"
      (I Samuel 8:18).

And so they had one king after the other. Most of them were very bad men. All of them were a burden to the people.

The Roman Emperors were even worse. Caligula oppressed the Jews and killed the Christians. Nero did more - he slaughtered Jews and tied Christians to poles, covered them with oil, and set them on fire, as lamps, to give light to his gardens at night.

Jesus was, and is, a different kind of king. He is gentle and humble. That isn't to say that He is weak. Oh, no! Right after He came into Jerusalem at His Triumphal Entry, He went into the Temple

"and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves" (Matthew 21:12-13).

No, there was nothing weak about Him. But He was meek, gentle and humble. The very next verse tells us,

"And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them" (Matthew 21:14).

You must not think that Christ is weak, and you must not think that He is going to treat you roughly either.

"For [He said] I am meek and lowly [gentle and humble] in heart" (Matthew 11:29).

You can come to Jesus now, and He will cleanse your sins and give you eternal life.

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:17).

III. Third, Christ's kingdom is entered by faith in Him.

Look at verse nine. Let us stand and read it aloud.

"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"
      (Matthew 21:9).

You may be seated.

The crowd that went in front of Him, and behind Him, cried out, "Hosanna!" The word "hosanna" means "save, we pray" (Vine). They were crying, "Save us, we pray!" But they were thinking He would save them from the Romans. They were thinking that He would give them physical, earthly salvation. Many today are seeking for Christ to give them physical blessings, a better life, even money. But that's not why Christ came. We must remember

"that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"
    (I Timothy 1:15).

That is the complete gospel.

"Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

That alone is the true gospel.

The people that day cried out, "Save us!" But they didn't realize that He came to save them spiritually - from sin and damnation. A few days later Jesus told the Roman governor Pilate,

"My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36).

He came to save us from sin and give us everlasting life in His kingdom, which is "not of this world," but in the world to come.

Now look at verses ten and eleven. Let us stand and read these two verses aloud.

"And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee" (Matthew 21:10-11).

You may be seated.

Some people in the crowd said, "Who is this?" They were crying out "Hosanna in the highest," but they really didn't know who He was. Others in the crowd told them, "This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth" in Galilee. They, too, were wrong. They thought He was only a prophet. That's exactly what the Koran says, that He is a prophet. The Muslims are wrong. He is not a prophet! He is the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity!

No wonder most all of these people in the crowd turned on Jesus so quickly. Just a week later, on Friday of the next week, those who cried, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest" were screaming,

"Let him be crucified" (Matthew 27:22).

"Crucify him, crucify him" (John 19:6).

They didn't know who He was. The Scofield note on Matthew 21:4 says that this was

The King's final and official offer of Himself according to Zechariah 9:9. Acclaimed by an unthinking multitude whose real belief is expressed in verse 11 ["This is Jesus the prophet"], but with no welcome from the official representatives of the nation, He was soon to hear the multitude shout: "Crucify Him" (The Scofield Study Bible, note on Matthew 21:4).

Make sure that you don't make the same mistake. Come to Jesus and be saved. He died on the Cross to pay for your sins. He rose from the dead to give you life. He has ascended, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father up in Heaven.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
    (Acts 16:31).

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).

Come to Jesus Christ by faith and you will be "born again" (John 3:3). And you will enter Christ's eternal kingdom.

"Tell ye the daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass" (Matthew 21:5).

May God grant you faith to believe on Jesus, His eternal Son. Amen.

Please stand and sing hymn number seven, "Rejoice, the Lord is King," by Charles Wesley.

Rejoice, the Lord is King: Your Lord and King adore!
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing, And triumph evermore:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Saviour, reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains, He took His seat above:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His Kingdom cannot fail, He rules o'er earth and heaven;
The keys of death and hell Are to our Jesus given:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
    ("Rejoice, the Lord is King" by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 21:1-11.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Rejoice, the Lord is King" (by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

THE OUTLINE OF

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Tell ye the daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass" (Matthew 21:5).

(Zechariah 9:9; John 11:38-44; Matthew 20:29-34;
John 11:47-48; cf. II Kings 9:13)

I.   Christ is a king, Matthew 21:8; John 12:13; Leviticus 23:40;
Philippians 2:11; John 1:1, 14; I Timothy 3:16; John 20:28;
I John 5:7; Revelation 19:16.

II.  Christ is a different kind of King, Matthew 11:28-29;
I Samuel 8:18; Matthew 21:12-13, 14; John 3:17.

III. Christ's kingdom is entered through faith in Him,
Matthew 21:9; I Timothy 1:15; I Corinthians 15:3-4;
John 18:36; Matthew 21:10-11; 27:22; John 19:6;
Acts 16:31; Mark 16:16; John 3:3.