Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11)
Jason White



On Palm Sunday, the crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem seemed to be submitting to Him as their King, the long-awaited, promised Messiah; however, just a few days later they cried out “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” They were looking for peace from the oppression of Rome when Jesus came to provide peace between humanity and God.




Sermon Audio Transcript
So again, if you have your Bible, we're going to be looking at Matthew chapter 21, we'll be looking at the first 11 verses, you can be turning there and follow along with me in that way, or you can follow along with all the Scripture references that will come up on the screen, Matthew 21, verses one through 11. And we'll be there in just a moment. So most of you know that before I started vocational ministry, and the Lord called me into vocational ministry that I spent several years teaching and coaching a high school tennis team over in Corsicana. And early on in my coaching career, you would have people or I had people that came to me, and just kind of warned me about things, especially early. I mean, my very first year that I came into coaching and teaching, I had several teachers and administrators, other parents who even came to me and kind of started warning me about a certain set of parents of a student who was on the tennis team, they were telling me that this set of parents had a reputation for being a little bit difficult. That's putting it mildly. They were basically saying, they were out to get me to make my life miserable. And I was just listening to everything that they had to say, Jason, you better watch out for them. Oh, man, I feel sorry for you, man, your world is about to get rocked by this particular set of parents. And so I'm taking all of these comments in and of course, I'm it's my first year teaching and coaching. I'm 22 years old, I'm just fresh out of college and don't really know what I'm doing. And I'm getting worried I'm anxious. I'm honestly scared about what is coming my way with this set of parents. But as we got into the season, and I got to know them and experience them and do life with them, you know what I found out.None of that was actually true. Or at least it wasn't true. In my case, they were some of my biggest supporters. They encouraged me, they were nice to me, they affirmed me basically, those people were wrong about them. I was wrong in my assumptions about them and who they were I got caught up in the frenzy of what everybody was saying about them in midst who they really were in the beginning until it got revealed to me, I wonder if you've ever done that before. You ever gotten caught up in what other people said about someone else and just judged who it is that they were you made up your mind about who they were and what they were all about before ever really getting to know them yourself. We've probably all been there and done that. And if it wasn't something that someone else said maybe it was just your own preconceived ideas about who they were based on the way that they dressed or something that you overheard them, say to someone else and missed out on the context of those particular things. I imagine that we've all done this from time to time. But I wonder this morning, if we sometimes do this with Jesus, I wonder if sometimes we get caught up in what other people say about who he is, and we miss the real Jesus. I mean, a lot of times, I think we just take people's word for things. They say this is who Jesus is. So this must be who he really is. Or I see these people on social media doing these things. And they say that they're Christians, but they're kind of acting crazy. And they're doing some not so nice things. So we make these assumptions that maybe that's what Jesus was about, as well.Again, maybe it's not what other people are saying, but it's just our own preconceived ideas. Either way, sometimes I think we have this perception of who Jesus is based on our own preconceived ideas, or what we've heard other people say about him at different times, or maybe through the way people are acting and behaving, who claim to be followers of his. But what if it's not right?What if it's one of those situations like I described to you, when I got caught up in what other people were saying about that set of tennis parents. I thought I knew who they were, but I was wrong about them. It's possible that we do the same thing with Jesus. As a matter of fact, there were a group of people on this day what we call Palm Sunday, a few 1000 years ago who got caught up in what other people were saying or their own preconceived ideas about Jesus and they completely miss him, too. Let me show you what I'm talking about. As we dive into this text, Matthew, chapter 21, beginning of verse one says, Now, when they drew nearer to Jerusalem, this was Jesus and his disciples when he says they, they came to Bethpage to the Mount of Olives, and Jesus sent two disciples saying to them, Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied to a coat with her, Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say the Lord needs them, and He will send them at once. Now, that's kind of interesting, right? I mean, can you imagine putting yourself in that situation?Question where Jesus is saying that to you, I mean, I'd be a little bit nervous, like, really, Jesus, you want me to go and just start untying someone else's donkey? And then if they asked about it, then I'm just supposed to tell them that you need it. And they're gonna be okay with head. I mean, I'm thinking Jesus, why don't you go do that yourself? Right? If you really need it, why are you putting me in this situation where they might be blaming me about those things? Of course, sometimes we think that maybe the case would be, well, maybe Jesus prearranged all of these things. Maybe he had seen this person, he knows this person, they had set all of these things up ahead of time. And it was just some some arrangement that had been made. But the text doesn't really say that.This was not a pre arranged thing. This was Jesus being fully God and fully man who was omniscient, who knows all things and knew where this donkey would be and knew that if they went, and they told him that they needed it until the Lord needs it, that everything would be okay. I mean, as a matter of fact, if the Lord really needs it, it's his anyway, right?I mean, ultimately, all things are his as the creator of all things, he owns all things, including our things, we just get to manage them in the process. So either way, Matthew makes us aware of all of this, and this is the way that things went down, and this donkey, they attained this donkey here. But now he makes kind of a parenthetical remark to make sure that we don't miss something about this particular event. In verses four and five, Matthew says, this took place like this is why they went to go get the donkey and all of these things happen that I was just telling you about this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet saying, Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King is coming to you humble and mounted on a donkey, a colt, the full of a beast of burden. Now this, Matthew is saying is the fulfillment of prophecy. These events that he's describing, for us are saying it was something that was written about in the Old Testament, that would happen in the future, and Matthew saying, This is that time in the future, right. And what he really does here is he takes from two different Old Testament passages, he quotes two different Old Testament prophets. To make his point about this. The very first one comes from Isaiah, where it says, Say to the daughter of Zion, in Isaiah, chapter 62, verse 11, Jerusalem is referred to as the daughter of Zion. Zion is the most elevated part of Jerusalem and kind of had become to stand for Jerusalem. Like if someone mentioned Zion, they understood that you were just talking about Jerusalem, right? And this is a passage when he says, Say to your daughter, Zion, that says, your Savior is coming. He's mentioning that your Savior is coming. And so Matthew is making the point that as Jesus is coming into Jerusalem, right that this had been talked about the Savior was coming into Jerusalem had been prophesied about in Isaiah 6211. And this is the fulfillment of that prophecy. This is not just a random occurrence, but not just a quote from Isaiah 6211. And that this was going to happen that the Savior was going to come into Jerusalem, but how it was going to happen in Zechariah, nine, nine is where it says, Behold, your King is coming to you how humble and mounted on a donkey on a coat on the fall of the beast of burden. This was again prophesied about in Zechariah, nine, nine where Zachariah was saying this is how the Messiah would come into Jerusalem not as some king who would be on a war horse parading around in victory, but one who would come in humility, one who would come in meekness, the donkey was a symbol of peace. It was a symbol of humility. And so these Old Testament passages tell us that the Savior would be coming in and how he would be coming into Jerusalem and then we're seeing that very thing happen. And again, a lot of these people, a lot of the crowd that we're about to be introduced to would have been familiar with these passages, maybe them seeing these particular things happen, would have taken their mindbind to those things. As a matter of fact, I think in a lot of ways we believe that it does based on the rest of what Matthew writes about here because look what he says happens.Beginning in verse six, he says, the disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them, they brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and the others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. So there would have been a lot of people traveling along this road and into Jerusalem. This was the time of Passover. This was when people were moving into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. And as the crowds began to gather, and as Jesus is writing in on this donkey, he tells us that they begin to take off their garments and throw them on the road. Well, what's that all about? Well, this is kind of a symbol of submission to a king, right? I mean, it's kind of like they're, they're giving him the red carpet treatment, right? You're laying these things down before him recognizing him as a king, and not just recognizing Him, but submitting to him vim as their king. He says others cut down palm branches. It doesn't say palm branches here just says branches. But we know from one of the other Gospel accounts in John, He mentioned that they are palm branches. And these palm branches had come to symbolize Jewish nationalism and victory. And so this combination of the garments being spread and submission to Him is king and these branches with Jewish nationalism and this Savior that would come to rescue the Jerusalem or the Jewish people. It was something that they were getting caught up in, we get the idea that they there was no mistake about the fact that when Jesus was entering Jerusalem, these people viewed him as the anticipated King. They viewed him as the Messianic Son of David that had been prophesied about in the Old Testament, we even see this in what they begin to say, as Jesus is riding in my says, and the crowds that went before him are and the crowds that went before him. And that followed him were shouting Hosanna, to the son of David bless it is he who comes in the name of the Lord Hosanna in the highest.Go ahead and finish it out here before we move on.says and when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up saying, Who is this, and the crowd said, this is the Prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee. Let's go back here, though. And look at some of the things that the crowds were saying. There's a lot here, the picture that's kind of being painted with, with Jesus coming in, and then throwing their garments in the palm branches on the ground, and him riding the donkey over these along this and then shouting all of these different things, these praises and singing praises to Him is the picture in the picture of these old victory parades that we see in the Old Testament victory parades were triumphant kings and generals are welcomed back from war, and they're celebrating them and submitting to them as their king. And they're saying, again, these things right here we're saying, we see several things that are said, the very first one is that they're saying Hosanna, which means, of course, save us that Jesus is writing in and they're laying all these things before him and they're saying, Hosanna save us now in order to save that means that they believed that he was someone who was whatcapable of doing that very thing, right, save us, meaning we see you as someone who can do that very thing. Hosanna to the Son of David, when we look at the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, we see that he's referred to as the son of David that he would come from the lineage of King David. And so in these two things, we're seeing that they're recognizing Him as the Son of David, this prophesied Messiah and the prophesied Messiah from the Old Testament. And next they're quoting Psalms Bless. It is he who comes in the name of the Lord? This is comes from Psalm chapter 118, and was part of a set of psalms that was sung about during this time called the Great Hillel, it was Psalms 113 through 118. And these different Psalms would be sung during the Passover and theyWe're seeing this whenever they were gathering together and on the road to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. And so when we're seeing them seeing these things over Jesus, it's just even one more sign that they're recognizing Him as the Messiah. And then finally, we see again, the Hosanna, the save us. And then we even get this phrase in the highest. I mean, they're bestowing a great honor on him. They're not just recognizing Him as some ordinary guy. In this moment, this is implying praise to Yawei Hosanna in the highest, right Yawei, who is the highest and who dwells in the highest heaven. And so they seem to be saying all the right things, they seem to be recognizing Him as the promised seed of David that was going to grant them salvation, both in their actions and their words, they're bestowing honor on him as the one coming into the city at last, finally, to present himself publicly as their king. But even though this crowd is giving him the royal treatment, even though they're giving him the red carpet treatment, and they're saying all of these things that we're reading about in this moment, we also know that many of them are the exact same people who in just a few days will cry out, Crucify Him, Crucify Him.How in the world do we get from this place where they're giving him the red carpet treatment and welcoming him to Jerusalem as their king to now know, Crucify Him, just go ahead and kill him.I mean, two very drastically different pictures that we see. This is because they had mistaken Jesus for who He truly was and what he was coming to do. Jesus was not riding into Jerusalem again, on a war horse, we saw this, he was riding in on a donkey. He wasn't riding in like all of the kings do after a military victory. He was riding on a lowly donkey, which we said earlier was the animal of peace that a man of peace would write in. In other words, the people saw Jesus as one who was coming to fight the Romans and deliver them from oppressions. But Jesus was coming to establish peace, peace between God and man, the crowd on Palm Sunday did not understand that they missed who Jesus really was, and what he really came to do. This is why in Luke's account of or his gospel in the retelling of this particular version, that we see Jesus weeping over the city as he comes in, let's just look at the very end of the account of what Luke had said. He said, as Jesus, he approached Jerusalem and saw the city he wept over, it didn't just cry, and he wept, he sobbed over it, instead of only you, even you had known on this day, what would bring you peace. They didn't recognize what would bring them true. Peace on that day, and it broke Jesus's heart. He knew that they had missed who he really was what he had really come to do to offer them true peace in this moment, and it broke his heart. Jesus was coming in to give them true peace. But they thought that if Jesus just changed their situation, if they changed their situation with the Roman Empire, and delivered them from oppression, then they would finally have true peace. But Jesus was coming to give them the peacethat wouldn't be found through situations or circumstances, but could only be experienced in Him. The apostle Paul writes about this after Jesus's death and resurrection. He says, But now in Christ after His death and resurrection, in Christ Jesus, You who were once far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ, for he himself is our peace. The peace doesn't come through situations and circumstances through better situations and circumstances through the delivery from oppression and the Roman Empire. It comes from Jesus. Jesus was not riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to fight the Romans For victory, but to give Himself as a sacrifice on the cross.for the forgiveness of sin, sin, of course had to be defeated because it was the barrier that existed between humanity and God and True peace could only be found in him cannot be found in an outside of a relationship with Him. And so when Jesus was riding into Jerusalem, again, even though they were giving him the royal treatment, the red carpet treatment, he knew that they were going to miss out on the real peace that he came to offer. And that is why we see Jesus weeping, weeping over Jerusalem. And he doesn't just weep for people on Palm Sunday, he also weeps for all people who will not recognize Him for who He truly is, and for what it is that he came to do. And that, of course, includes you.John tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, He loves you, He died for you so that you could have complete forgiveness and ultimate peace that could only be found in him.So I want to ask you today, have you missed the real Jesus,you have your own preconceived ideas about who Jesus is have been listening to what other people have said about Jesus and making judgments about who he is based on what it is that they were saying, and just assumed they were right. Again, I mentioned the parents earlier that I told you about that were mean and going to be out to get me in, they ended up not being that way at all. And maybe that's where you are. But with Jesus, today, maybe you've always thought of Jesus as kind of like a drill sergeant, right, he's the person in charge, who sets all of the rules. And he's always looking to see, if you're breaking the rules. He's the one who was out to punish you for breaking His commandments. And so you just kind of find yourself always looking over your shoulder to see if you're doing it right. If he's about to punish you for doing something wrong. Maybe you've thought of Jesus is kind of like a genie figure. He's the person that can grant all the wishes that you have, and you go to him to wish for more money, you go to him to wish for a bigger house, you go to him to wish for a bigger car, a better car, you go to him to wish for a better job or to wish for your favorite sports team to win. Maybe that's how you've viewed Jesus. It's what other people seem to think about him, maybe that's true.Maybe you've thought about Jesus as being a reward giver, if you go to church enough for you read your Bible enough, you give enough money or you do the right things. And he's the guy that gives you rewards for the things it is that you do. And so if you do all the right things that maybe he'll give you or reward you a spouse, maybe he'll reward you with children, maybe he'll reward you with grand children, maybe he'll reward you with that better job or with freedom from pain and sickness or disease. He's the guy who can make your situations and circumstances better if you just follow His ways, and do the things that he wants you to do. But the truth is, is that none of these reflect the real Jesus, Jesus did not come to give us a bunch of rules to follow. He didn't come to be your genie. He didn't come to give you rewards based on the way that you are following Him, He came to give you himself,he came to give you himself. The truth is that whatever you're hoping that Jesus can give you provide for you or change for you is far less than what you can have in Jesus Himself.Jesus is life. Jesus is peace, and you will only find true fulfillment and satisfaction in him and in him alone. So if you're here today, and you've missed the real Jesus, I'm hoping that you're starting to see Him for who He truly is. And then what it is that he did for you so that you could have real forgiveness and spend the eternal life with you. And if you're starting to see that today, or you're watching online, and you're seeing that today, then I want you to know that his gift of salvation and it is a gift, His free gift of salvation is available to you. No matter who you are, no matter where you've been, no matter what it is that you've done. If you'll just receive the gift. That's the thing about gifts, they're never really yours until you actually receive them. And if you've never received His free gift of salvation, the way you do that is by putting your faith and trust in Jesus to rescue you. And if that's you, and you're starting to see that today there who the real Jesus is and what it is that he came to do for you. I'm gonna give you a chance in just a moment to pray to put your faith in himto receive forgiveness and eternal life. But there might be some of you who are here today who have understood who Jesus isBut kind of missed out on the full message about Jesus, you've understood the truth about Jesus being savior, right that you needed to put your faith and trust in him to have eternal life that there was nothing that you could do to earn those things. But maybe you've been living the Christian life after receiving Him by faith, as if he is like that reward giver that we talked about earlier, you know, that you can't get rewarded heaven. But the way that life works until you get there is to just obey the rules and do all the right things, and he'll make your situations and circumstances better. But remember, the crowd on Palm Sunday was hoping that Jesus would change their situation with Rome so that they could have peace. That's basically the situation that they were in Jesus, if you do something about the situations and circumstances we're in, we'll finally have peace. But Jesus wept because they missed out on the real peace that he came to offer them. And so maybe you've been trying to get your peace through better situations and better circumstances. But again, I can promise you that whatever you are trying to get from Jesus pales in comparison to what you already have in Him. If you've said yes to Him.Jesus is your life. He is your peace, you are completing him, and you are not lacking in any way. And so maybe what he is saying to you today is Quit Chasing after life and peace, through better situations and circumstances through trying to impress him by how it is that you're living and instead, rest in the life that you already have and in the peace that you already have in Him and in Him alone.