Holy Week
The Triumphant Entry - Part 1

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Hello and Welcome to Our Church Without Walls: Today, being Palm Sunday, I’ll begin preaching on HOLY WEEK

Join with us now as we look at Palm Sunday: THE TRIUMPHANT ENTRY. Today’s Text is Matthew 21:1-11

Now, when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.”

Ah yes! Spring! Welcome to Spring. It's a beautiful time of the year. With its arrival, comes the advent of Easter, and with Easter comes the celebration of Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday, the beginning of "Passion Week".

This is Palm Sunday, Passion Week, and Easter…just another man-made excuse for vacations and celebrations…or is it a time for reflection, fasting, praying and special worship expected from traditions or commanded from the days of antiquity? Why is Palm Sunday so special anyway? Why is it celebrated? And why the "Palm" branches? Let’s look into God’s Word and see if we can answer those questions as we look at this special time of the year.

In Matthew 21, the first eleven verses, we read about a story of when Jesus Christ entered a city. He and the disciples had spent the night in Bethany (John 12:1) and had planned to go to Bethphage (Mark 11.2). Bethphage was a small suburb outside of Bethany having fig-gardens. This is most likely the site where Jesus cursed the fig tree, and it withered up. Jesus arrived in Bethany about six days prior to the Passover (John 12.1). It was during this week that Jesus cleansed the temple (Matthew 21:20-22), had controversy with the religious leaders (Matthew 21:23-33:39), went to the Mount of Olives and delivered what is known as the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1-25:46), and then began preparing for His death. But why were Jesus and the disciples going to Jerusalem at that particular time? Because it was the time for the Passover. This was a time of special worship and celebration for the Jewish people. They came from all over the known world to this event. Jesus, being of Jewish decent, had every right to be there. But His reason would be different than anybody else.

The celebration was to begin before the Passover, this was called "the Feast of Unleavened Bread". The Jewish people were to observe this feast each year until the coming of Messiah. It was to begin the 14th day of the month. According to Exodus 12:3, they were to take a male lamb, without blemish. It was to be without any flaws. This would represent a pure, wholesome sacrifice given to Yahweh. The lamb would be chosen on the 10th day of the first month and to be sacrificed on the 14th day. The city where this was to take place was Jerusalem, where Jesus and the disciples were going.

So, we have Jesus traveling with His disciples, performing miracles everywhere He went. Have you ever noticed that Jesus always walked where He went, or took a boat to cross over waters? Sometimes He even walked on water! Yes, Jesus walked everywhere He went, except for one time. This was the time Jesus made an exception. As Jesus entered the city, He rode in on a donkey!! What? Our Lord and Savior, the King of Kings, the Son of God riding on a lowly donkey? Yes! But why? There are a few opinions as to why, and all of them good, and all could apply. One opinion says that a donkey is a symbol of peace. Another opinion and known historical fact is that the sons of a king would ride on a white donkey when entering a city. This showed He was second in command and the next to rule the world (Judges 5:10; 12:14). You see, Jesus rode a donkey (actually, it was a colt) into the city to show the world He was the Messiah. He was who He said He was and is. Many people, including Jews, recognized Him as Messiah. They knew the Scriptures and knew that the Scriptures gave evidence of the coming Messiah. They also knew that Jesus met all those evidences and qualifications of Messiah. That's why He rode into town in triumph! Oh but Jesus could have called for a thousand angels to usher Him in. He could have darkened the skies and caused a terrible earthquake, but He entered the city in peace. Yes, Jesus also entered the city to fulfill the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9.

Just imagine. You have taken your family to the once a year festival of your nation (kind of like our July 4th). You have carefully planned and prepared your sacrificial lamb (like taking your favorite pet) to be sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins for your family for the entire year. You know you cannot miss this or you and your family will live in judgment all year long. This was the way, and only way, for forgiveness of sins at that time in history. You have arrived in the city and pitched your tent. Your kids with other kids and relatives. Everyone is filled with excitement with great anticipation of the coming events. There are millions who have come (according to the historical records of Josephus, over 2.7 million). All who are there know that the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" and "The Passover", will continue annually until the coming of the Messiah. Now, as you are talking with some friends, you notice some commotion. There are people gathering quite quickly at the edges of the road. You cannot believe your eyes. That's when you hear it. Someone cries out, “It's Messiah! Messiah!" And according to Mark 11:9, they shout "HOSANNA!" to the Son of David. They sing and shout and chant, "Hosanna", "Save now"; "Blessed be He that comes in the Name of the Lord!" Jesus has come!! Our Savior, Our King!”

Ah yes! Jesus has come!! Welcome to "Passion Week". Welcome to the celebration of our coming Savior... But His welcome is not shared by all.

They sing and shout and chant, "Hosanna", "Save now"; "Blessed be He that comes in the Name of the Lord!" Jesus has come!! Our Savior, Our King! And that's why people are placing their coats and jackets in the street!! The Messiah should not be walking on a dusty, dirty, muddy, rocky road. And others cut palm branches and placed them in the road. Hey, wait a minute. Palm branches? Yes, palm branches. Why palm branches, one might ask? Well, this was proof that the people recognized Christ as Messiah, their Savior. The palm branches were cut down in remembrance of the Feast of Tabernacles (or Feast of Booths). This was a feast observed by the Jews (Zechariah 14:16; Leviticus 23:39-43). They were required to live in booths made of palm and willow branches during the feast. It was to remind them of God's deliverance from the wilderness. Thereby, the palm branches were placed in the streets indicating liberty, victory, and joy that their Messiah was to bring.

But how could Jesus, the Son of God, go into town knowing He was going to get beaten down and then to face His own death? That's because Jesus knew His glory was in another world. It was the Kingdom He so frequently talked about. His glory being in the Kingdom of Heaven is what He set His heart upon. Jesus could focus upon the cross because He knew He would defeat death and the devil. There was no doubt in His mind about that. Jesus knew it was the only way to reconcile the relationship between God and man. So here He was, our Messiah; our Deliverer; our King. And oh, by the way, I mentioned earlier that it was the 10th day of the first month (Calendar date, Nisan 10 according to the Jews) that the lamb, without blemish, was to be taken up and held for the sacrifice. The day of the triumphal entry would be this same day when Christ entered Jerusalem and presented Himself as Israel's sacrificial lamb.

The reality is that the truth of all Christianity rises and falls on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came into the world on purpose. That was to give His life as a ransom. The story of Jesus Christ is well documented by eyewitnesses, historians, and by archeologists, alike. It is one of the most researched parts of history. Yet, to this day, none have ever given proof to its fraudulence. To this day, the story of Jesus Christ is just as much a part of history, and its truths, as other past presidents or famous people, past wars, or other historical events that have been documented. As far as the Scriptures are concerned, and the Bible as we have it today, it is ten times more accurate in it’s copies, than the writings of Shakespeare, and many times more accurate than all other literary documents.

The story of Easter, and Passion Week is no shallow, symbolic myth. It is the account of a very real human being (just as much God as He is man) who paid a high price to succeed at the project God had given to Him -- the redemption of humankind.

Yes! Jesus has come!! This is the week that marks the celebration of our coming Savior. He is your Savior, isn't He? Or, have you never accepted Him (by faith)? When the nation of Israel rejected Him, Christ was overcome with grief, and cried over the people. Will you reject the only One who has the power to reconcile your relationship with God? Will you reject the Messiah, the Son of God? Will you crucify Him one more time (in your heart by rejecting him)? Or will you throw down all you have for Christ, and accept God's grace by faith in Christ Jesus? He is standing at the door (of your heart) and knocking (Revelation 3:20). It is a good time of the year to reconcile your relationship with God. Will you let him in?

This is Palm Sunday, and welcome to Holy Week.

I’m Dr. Robby sharing His Word, His Work, His Way