Topic: New Testament Passage: Luke 19:28–19:48
Christopher Rich – March 25, 2018
FOOLISH| PALM SUNDAY | EASTER 2018 Series
Foolish Arrival | Luke 19:28-48
Introduction | Foolish
Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. This week we join with Christians around the world celebrating Palm Sunday. This is week of contemplation. Of remembering. Of being challenge AND of resting in what has been accomplished. Jesus has just been preaching and teaching in the region around Jericho and now he’s turning towards Jerusalem on His way to Passover. A time God’s people were gathering in a Holy City to remember the God who took them out of slavery in Egypt where death passed over them because of a symbolic sacrifice in their place. God’s people coming to their city in their promised land to celebrate God’s salvation, but it doesn’t feel quite right. Jerusalem (and Israel), at this time, isn’t independent and is not thriving. It’s under oppression from Rome. It’s a bit of a ghetto where a subculture of Judaism and temple worship is permitted but has been be a bit perverted. The people’s government is corrupt and self-serving regularly selling the people out for their own interests. Everyone knows the real power is in Rome. Change is desired, satisfaction in lacking, and different parties have competing worldviews on what freedom and flourishing look like. As the city begins to fill up with visitors, Jew and gentle pilgrims, the Roman military presence is also increased bring the intensity level to a near boil. This is not paradise, this is not peace. Disorder, discrimination, and discord are reigning. This city needs a savior, and He’s coming.
PART I | Foolish Arrival | v28
Luke 19:28-40 | 28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
This city needs a savior King and one is coming…. On a Donkey. This does not look like victory this looks a bit foolish. A grown man riding a young smallish animal is a bit like riding a kiddy bike. But let’s look a little closer. This scene and how it unfolds has a lot to it. It would have been easy for Luke to say Jesus arrived riding a young donkey but three of the gospel accounts talk about Jesus giving this specific direction to his disciples. What do we learn about Jesus and us as disciples from this?
Jesus arrives prepared. Jesus doesn’t guess at anything. Jesus leads with clarity and certainty. Jesus knows there is young donkey in the village tied up. He knows his disciples will find it, he knows someone might care that their young donkey is being untied, he knows how His disciples should respond when asked and that they owner will graciously allow the young donkey to be used. Jesus could have used His “I am God super powers to know all this, or he simply could have prepared in advance to prepare for what was to happen. Jesus had influence and followers all over the region ready to serve him.
Foolish Followers – willing to act and look foolish in the eyes of the world to follow and obey Jesus. Jesus disciples obey Jesus and they honor Jesus. They do what he says, they give freely for His purposes. as Jesus and his crew come to an outlying village from the city He gave specific instructions to His disciples to get him a Colt, a young unused donkey, for Him to ride from the village to the city on. This doesn’t make much sense to us, and it likely didn’t’ make much sense to the disciples because He told them to find the colt, and untie it and IF anyone asks tells them “The Lord has need of it.” Don’t ask for permission, don’t try to buy or rent the animal, just find one parked in the road, untie it and bring it to me. As uneducated fishermen this would have seemed awkward and likely insane to them. Trying going to Everett, find a guy’s motorcycle parked outside, start hotwiring it and when he come out try telling him that it’s for a homeless guy you’ve been hanging out with that says he’s God and he needs to ride it into Seattle to kick off Seafair. It would not go well. In this case Jesus has clearly laid some ground work to ensure everything goes according to plan. Jesus followers listen to His specific instructions and respond with obedience.
Jesus arrives in humility. We’ve done a lot the past few weeks to look at God’s power and glory, here in Jesus we see God displaying great humility. This characterized all of Jesus earthly life, born in a manger, raise by a poor working family, in a poor region. Homeless during His ministry. In Jesus we see God coming down to us. God has to humble Himself to come to us. Not because we are so great but because we are so small. Jesus left heaven and came to earth. That is humility. Humility so He could engage with us. For the disciples it’s possible the donkey may not have made much sense to them, So why the donkey?
Jesus arrives intentionally. Jesus is trying to evoke a certain imagery and symbolism. This is humble but it’s also historic. In riding a young unused, unspoiled donkey He’s actively fulfilling a 500 year old prophecy.
Zech 9:9-10| Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
The symbolism was quite clear to Jesus’ adversaries the scribes and Pharisees as he came near the city. As men who had spent their entire adult lives studying the Old Testament they knew that Jesus riding in on a donkey was Jesus identifying Himself as the King of Israel bringing righteousness and salvation, and that His rule would extend with peace to all nations (not just Israel) Jesus didn’t do this by accident. Jesus wants the religious people to understand all they have been studying, teaching, and doing has been to pointing to him. They’ve looked to God and His promises for their hope and here He is. This demands a bit of a response. Jesus knows this will agitate. When Jesus enters the scene where we are comfortable He is good and right to agitate. To stir up for the purposes of clearly showing us who He is. Jesus entry into Jerusalem was clear and public claim to both His messiahship saving His people and His Kingship ruling His people; not only to the Jews but for the entire world. But according to v10 this Kingdom would not be won through military victory but through peace. This time Jesus isn’t going to wag a winning battle of bloodshed. He’s coming to bear defeat and take in on the Cross. The only bloodshed this week will be His.
This is very different then the way the world works. At a similar time on the opposite side of the city, Pilate the roman military leader is coming into the city with a formal military procession in an intentional show of force. As Jesus draws close to the city the crowds around him grow. There is a multitude of people around him, some are faithful followers, others many be foolish fans but all are giving him praise and rejoicing.
Foolish Fans- They have great enthusiasm and as much as they’re right Jesus is honored. See it’s not enough to only have passion and enthusiasm, it has to be directed properly. Think about Basketball:
- Great enthusiasm with great error leads to a huge miss. (I really like Jesus as a good teacher)
- Great enthusiasm with great accuracy lead to great effectiveness. (I know Jesus as savior- king)
But there is no being half right with Jesus. If they’re only cheering Jesus for what they hope he will do or has done they’re…. If they have expectation of Jesus that are not realistic or overly worldly. It just like Israel wanting a king like Saul who was tall, big tough. The king they needed was David the humble song writing shepherd who ALSO is tough and victorious. He was an imperfect shadow. They wanted Jesus to kick out Rome and set them up again as prosperous and influential rather then poor and insignificant. Many didn’t want their heart change just their circumstances to change. They like how Jesus can help them now, but not how He can change them forever. They want too little. Jesus not less than they expect, He is more. He transforms people and will continue to change the world before eventually remaking it entirely.
We are called to respond and accept Jesus for who he is, not for who we think he should be. Jesus has been preaching and teaching and leading in the region for 3 years. His platform was political (pledged allegiance to His Kingdom) revolutionary but it wasn’t built on violent rebellion but on voluntary repentance. He was about practical matters of individual life and corporate ways of being, but He didn’t come to overthrow Caesar in Rome (He told them to pay taxes) and sit on a throne in this old Jerusalem. He came to overthrow the kings and queens we’ve put on the throne of our own hearts and reign in the lives of His people now and the in a new Jerusalem/city forever
Who do you think Jesus is? Who have you wanted Him to be for your purposes? How have you changed Jesus to serve you? Have you asked Jesus to change you to be used for His purposes?
They praise Jesus for what he’s done. Miracles, healing, feeding, but the most recent is the high profile raising of the guy who had been dead for 4 days Lazarus. He might have even been in the procession. They cut down palm branches and place them on the road along with a “red carpet” of their outer robes. If you can raise a guy from the dead imagine the power this guy would have to overthrow Rome! Freedom fighters who fall would rise again to keep the fight going. Rome doesn’t stand a chance. Victory is here!! Some people misunderstand what victory in Jesus looks like, others understand perfectly and can’t stand it.
Foolish Foes – The Pharisees are trying to get Jesus to get His people in line. They want to control and/or contain Jesus. They’re trying to restrain Jesus. Don’t let your people get too excited about you. Certainly, don’t let them equate you with THE Messiah. These are the guys who have been searching out the Hebrew bible for years looking for life and God and now he’s here. They don’t love Rome, but they do fear it, so anything that can upset the balance of power they are concerned by because if it goes badly the people may suffer, and they’ll lose their perceived security. Where are you trusting in this world for security and fearful of what praising Jesus could mean in terms of earthly consequences? Jesus knows their motivations is going to stir them up. They cannot ignore Him they can only respond to Him. Foes of Jesus when they encounter Him will not remain apathic. They will only grow in agitation or be transformed to admiration. They cannot stop Jesus and they cannot stop people from responding to Jesus. The only thing they can do is go to Jesus. They are powerless. Jesus doubles down and says I’m not just the king of the Jews, the savior of sinners, He is the creator of the universe! Jesus laughs it off with what would have been a familiar retort from Habbakuk. Again a link back to the OT, saying “regardless of what men say about me, creation cries out that I am Lord.” Jesus doesn’t derive His authority from man’s approval or acceptance. He is Lord over all creation, and doesn’t always rule the way we think He should; Jesus recognized the people outside of Jerusalem where no different. God can and does make stones cry out to him. Our hearts without Jesus are hearts of stone, God makes us new He gives us hearts of flesh that beat for Him. So the fact that anyone praises Jesus, follows Him, loves Him, serves Him, is an act grace. God can make stone cry out to worship Him and He does! If you trust Jesus, then praise God for that! If you don’t ask God to change your heart!
PART II |Weeping and Wrath | v41-44
41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Our God is not impersonal and He is not unemotional. I think we equate Jesus to a stoic Vulcan. Our God cares deeply about people. He cares me and you as individuals. He cares about us as a people and as cities. Here He is in this scene of humble triumph. Why is Jesus weeping? Things seem to be going so well? People are celebrating His arrival! Is it because He knows how this week will unfold? In a sense yes. Jerusalem us supposed to be a Holy set apart city, where people come to be closer to God and here God is coming closer to them. Peace is communion with God. God is here in Jesus. He weeps because while many may show great enthusiasm now, He knows when their expectations of Jesus are not met they are easily swayed go from praising Him to chanting “crucify him.” To be clear there were many who loved and knew Jesus for who He is. But the great plurality who misunderstood are having the window of grace closing. There is urgency of what is about to happen. We need an sense of urgency in how we preach Jesus.
A city’s response to Jesus matters. Jerusalem’s crime is in rejecting Jesus. It’s rejecting God’ in their midst. Peace is there, peace is available. But woe is also coming. If they cannot see and experience peace with Jesus physically present they won’t when He is gone. People who trust in what seems stable now with no thought to the future or eternity will find themselves disappointed. The insecurity of the city will be exposed as Rome who they have been hoping to appease will eventual come, entrap them, and annihilate them. Better to see how we can deal with sin and oppression rather than just accept it or try to hope it will end on it’s own. This is what happens when we try to appease sin, to compromise, to coexit rather than seeking salvation from it. Foolish Ignorance You can ignore Jesus in Humility but you cannot ignore Him we when He returns in glory. There is judgement for rejecting Jesus.
PART III | Foolish Worship | v45-48
45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” 47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.
Arrival on Sunday… now we’re to Monday. Jesus doesn’t just arrive He is here for a purpose. Jesus has an agenda in the life of His people. He’s not just present, He’s active. Jesus doesn’t come in softly seeking common ground. He’s not coalition building. Ya’ll mean well. … But in radical reorientation of worship. Not a small tweak but a big shift. In His arrival we’ve seen how people have responded to Jesus in a variety of ways based on their expectations. Now it’s Jesus turn to respond to what He finds based on God’s expectations. This was to be a place of prayer, worship and celebration for people from all nations and instead it was racist…. place of commerce. Quoting Isaiah 56. Oh you came here to get closer to God, in need of communion with your Creator? Let’s extort you and take advantage of you for our benefit. But don’t forget we’re the holy ones, the chosen people. This is how the self-righteous interact with those who are genuinely seeking after God. They took a place that was meant for rest and reverence and made it a place for racist racketeering. How would Jesus respond to you if He arrived here and now? What would His reaction be? This should sober us but it should also desperately make us desire more of Jesus in our midst. Why? Because….
Jesus restores and renews. This is part of his purpose. This temple was made for God’s glory and man’s joy in enjoying God. We are made for God’s glory and our joy in worshipping God. The temple has been corrupted and coopted for our glory and other’s misery. Jesus retakes ownership and is reestablishing it as place of communion and peace. Jesus retakes ownership of us for the purposes of communion, worship, and peace. There can be resistance. Just as in this temple our temples have parts of us groaning and desiring that our corruption would remain. But Jesus will overcome it.
For Jesus opponents they didn’t just reject Jesus they rejected the change Jesus brings. They plotted and their answer was Jesus death. The cross was their best move and what they meant for evil, God meant for good. They thought Jesus taking defeat on the cross was their victory but Jesus wins on Easter. In resurrection, Jesus lives! He continues to arrive, agitate, and move those who are against Him to admire and adore him. Jesus is still cleaning and driving out sin and making space for Him to bring new life. When Jesus cleans out a place for himself and makes space He doesn’t stay silent, He continues to bring life to change and shape our life through His word, preaching and teaching.
Jesus is the temple, the place of peace and communion for all the nations. Jesus dwells in us and we’re sent out to all nation to bring the Gospel of our God and King.
Destroy Jesus or defer to Jesus.
They were consumed with thinking about how they could defeat Jesus. At a certain point not be trite, but if you can’t beat Him, join Him.
Jesus was popular and is popular. Jesus came to turn all sorts of fools into a new Forever Family who worships Him as Savior and serves Him as King. You cannot stop him, you cannot defeat Him you can only surrender to Him and join the Forever family of fools who hang on and live by His words as we Trust Jesus.
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