Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sermon-- 4/1/07-- An Emotional Day -- Triumphal Entry

An Emotional Day

I remember the first time I ever went on a Roller Coaster at Six Flags just outside Dallas, TX. I was pretty nervous. I remember my fear hearing the chains click as the train was pulled up the first hill. It was one of those classic wooden coasters that just went up and down. I remember holding on tight, of course, because I remember rising off the seat and being caught by the lap bar. Of course, it didn’t take me long to slightly let go and put my hands in the air. When it was over, I demanded that we ride it again. All my fear was gone, replaced by awe and excitement. This was a lightweight coaster by most standards, by the end of the day, I rode the coaster that had 2 back-to-back loops.Have you ever had one of those roller coaster days where you run the whole gambit of emotions. Life’s ups and downs take you from being elated, to angry, to crying, to thrilled. Days like this are ones that are either the most memorable, or the ones you want most to forget.

We typically look at the day of the Triumphal Entry as a very exciting day for Jesus. And it is. But there was more going on that day than we typically realize—we take some of Jesus’ emotions for granted. That day for Him was a roller coaster of emotions.

Ranging from Celebration & Joy, to Righteous Indignation, to Weeping. Turn please to Luke 19

READ 19:28-40


At Jesus’ approach to Jerusalem, His emotion would have been Joy and Celebration. He would have been excited by the cheers and palms of the crowds. You get that sense of excitement when we read…

When Jesus approached Jerusalem the scene was intense.

He arrived at Passover time. A crowd of Jewish religious pilgrims had already flooded the city. And into this throng rides Jesus on the back of a donkey, and with him, his own parade.

The text tells us around v. 37 that the crowd, especially Jesus’ disciples “began joyfully to praise God.” The lifted up shouts of Hosanna! Which means, “Save!”. They shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.”

The other 3 Gospels say that the crowd waved branches (John says they were palm branches).

These had in the last few hundred years become one of the nationalistic symbols of Judea. Consistently used to celebrate military victories, and probably stirred up messianic hopes.

The Old Testament prophet Zechariah had written:
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)

Jesus came, not riding the War Horse of Military Conquest, but an peaceful young donkey. The people wanted a conqueror; they got a Savior. This was to be the last spontaneous display of public approval of Jesus, and it was also to be the

Why would these people applaud him at all? The text gives us some clues.

v. 37 says, they “praised God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen.”

They had seen the crippled walk. They had witnessed the blind receiving sight. Even the dead were raised.

If Jesus could do all that, imagine what He could do enthroned in Jerusalem!!! The crowds were excited to be a part of it—their deliverer had come. The one coming in the Name of the Lord!

He brought hope to their despair. He brought the dream of the Messiah and the expectation and excitement of what He could do fulfilling the Promise of God.

A man riding on a borrowed donkey using a donated coat as a saddle may not seem a very impressive sight but in the mind of the disciples, in the mind of the people of Jerusalem, He was for the moment… a King. Jesus was finally going to get what He deserved.

To these people Jesus was the hope of better days physically, economically and politically. Even though not all of these concepts were not correctly understood, He was their “Messiah.”
The Crowd was filled with Great Joy and Celebration. And even Jesus welcomed it. “I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!”

But that Celebration also created its own instance of indignation.

Two Instances of Indignation!!!
The Pharisees—vs. 39-40

When the Pharisees saw how the crowd was praising and worshipping at the parade of Jesus, they tried to step in and put a stop to it. The implored Jesus to rebuke His disciples and shut them up. After all, what they were saying could easily be understood as blasphemy. The last thing the Pharisees wanted was for the people to look to Jesus for spiritual guidance.

Jesus responded to their request with a powerful declaration of His importance in the universe. At this moment, the praises of the people were vitally important. Only God Himself is worthy to be praised and the Pharisees knew this. To allow this worship to continue is to commit blasphemy. But Jesus encouraged it—and it made them mad. So that’s proof that sometimes the things that God does makes us humans mad.

If every person refused to worship God, He would not be without a testimony and declaration of Praise. Creation itself would fill the void. The only thing creation can offer praises to is the One who created it. We have choice where the rest of creation does not. We can refuse to worship our Creator—the rest of Creation will not. And Jesus was worthy of the same kind of worship, even from Creation itself as God is. The Stones would cry out. Jesus, the Word of God was not only worthy of the praises of creation, but worthy of the people’s praises. He received the people’s praise without rebuke.

The Pharisees were indignant because Jesus was receiving praise and worship as only God should. They were worried about bringing offense to God. When in reality—God was much more indignant and upset about something else.

Jesus in the Temple—vs. 45-46

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the first place He went was the Temple, the center of religious life in Judaism, the reason why all those travelers were there in the first place.

It was a magnificent structure. It was supposed to be a holy place, a place of reverence and worship.

But for many, it was a place of business and trade. It was noisy and filled with animals, not to mention their smell. It was a place where many traveling religious seekers were cheated and swindled. This elicited a very unusual response from Jesus. He became angry. In front of the entire city and His disciples, Jesus began kicking people, their booths, their animals out of the outer courtyard. He began cleansing the Temple.

Nothing is said about the disciples helping Jesus clean house. What happened to the loving Jesus? He was physically throwing people out of the temple! We don’t usually think of having Bouncers at church, but apparently Temple needed one.John’s description of Jesus’ cleansing the Temple occurs in ch. 2—vs. 15—puts it this way—“So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the Temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn My Father’s house into a Market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”

What made Jesus so angry?
a. His house was being prostituted for purposes other than what was intended.
Imagine our church with these signs of welcome

What if, instead of songs of Worship, you heard only their jingles and tunes of commercials? Imagine if during the sermon, there were people shouting--"Get your peanuts, your hot roasted peanuts!" or some other such phrase. It would be distracting to your purpose in coming. (side-note: I've had a couple of people nominate the Starbucks franchise for UBC!)

"This place looks and feels more like a mall than a temple.”

I. These moneychangers and merchants were Just Doing Their Jobs—but then again, they were profiteers, price-gougers and swindlers, taking advantage of people’s desire to worship God.

Jesus was defending the Holiness of His Father’s House, of the Temple. It should not be looked upon casually. Entering the Temple should be understood as entering into the Presence of God. It made Jesus justifiably angry, righteously indignant, to see it treated so poorly.

The Pharisees had wanted Jesus to shut the genuine worship of the crowd of disciples all because they were worried about offending God. Yet they were perfectly willing to profane God’s Name by allowing all this junk in the Temple.

Jesus went from Celebration to Indignation and Anger, but in between those emotions came another powerful one. An emotion that demonstrates His heart for those around Him and for us today—we see Jesus Weeping—and the cause of it, the root of it is His Love.


Luke 19:41—“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes.”

v. 44—“ you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

This is what truly grieves the heart of God. Jesus knows there are people all around Him in the city of Jerusalem, that won’t recognize Him, that will reject Him.

It’s not the first time Jesus cried over the rejection coming from Jerusalem.

Matthew 23:37—“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

Our unwillingness to come to Him when He invites us grieves His heart.

The story comes to its climax, not in Jesus entering Jerusalem, but in his weeping over it. While Jesus deserves a triumphal entry as king, Luke emphasizes that he is moving instead to the place of his rejection.

Eventually the applause ends. It doesn’t take long for the mood to change. And a great truth is dramatically reinforced. That truth being that people have a fickle voice.

At sporting events the same crowd who boos at a player madly after a series of mistakes will cheer for him wildly after a great play. Crowds have a short memory. They’re usually asking, “What have you done for me today?”

That happened to Jesus. The same voices that shouted, “Hosanna!” on Sunday were yelling, “Crucify him,” and “Give us Barabbas,” by Friday morning. It’s pretty sad.

He was weeping for Jerusalem and for those in it who would reject God’s provision of love and forgiveness. It didn’t matter how good of people they were, it didn’t matter how bad of people they were—if they rejected Him, he mourned for that separation.

And if He wept for them, know that Jesus was also weeping for you.

JESUS WEPT FOR YOU. For Jesus, there are no "strangers" in the crowd.

There were those who loved him. There were also sinister faces there, waiting for Him to say one wrong word, to make one mistake.

He still weeps for you today if you do not know Him. He scans the crowd, with the cross now behind Him, offering complete forgiveness to all who will come to Him. "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not, but as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to those that believed on His name." - John 1:11-12.

Tell me, what does Jesus see when He looks your way this morning? You may have shouted and sang along with the crowd this morning, but in your heart, have you made Jesus King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

If you’ve not accepted His ultimate sacrifice for you on the cross as the only way of forgiveness from sin, then Jesus weeps for you. The Weeping Hero still sheds tears of compassion because He came for you and you have yet to acknowledge the day of His visitation. Your life can be so different. Your home can be so different. Even your death will be so different if you will only make him Lord of your life! Won’t you come to the Weeping Hero this morning?

It was a very Emotional Day to begin a very emotional and painful week for Jesus

Palm Sunday leaves me with a question about myself. Would I have fared any better than those disciples or the crowd in my ability to cheer for Jesus in one minute and distance myself later?

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