The Authority of Jesus
April 5, 1998 Palm Sunday
Scripture: Luke 19:28-48 (chonological)
Lu 19:27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them-- bring them here and kill them in front of me.'"
Lu 19:28 ¶ After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
Mr 11:1 ¶ As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples,
Mt 21:2 saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her (which no one has ever ridden - Lk 19:30). Untie them and bring them to me.
Mt 21:3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."
Mt 21:4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
Mt 21:5 "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'"
Lu 19:32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.
Lu 19:33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?"
Lu 19:34 They replied, "The Lord needs it."
Lu 19:35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.
Joh 12:12 ¶ The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
Joh 12:13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"
Joh 12:16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
Joh 12:17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.
Joh 12:18 Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him.
Joh 12:19 So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"
Mt 21:8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
Mt 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! (Mr 11:10)" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!"
Lu 19:37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
Lu 19:38 "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
Lu 19:39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
Lu 19:40 "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
Lu 19:41 ¶ As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it
Lu 19:42 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.
Lu 19:43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.
Lu 19:44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."
Mt 21:10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"
Mt 21:11 The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
Mr 11:11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Mr 11:15 On reaching Jerusalem (the next day), Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves,
Mr 11:16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.
Mr 11:17 And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: "'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"
Mr 11:18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
Mt 21:14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.
Mt 21:15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant.
Mt 21:16 "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?"
Mt 21:17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Lu 19:47 Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him.
Lu 19:48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
Lu 20:1 ¶ One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him.
Lu 20:2 "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they said. "Who gave you this authority?"
A. The Triumphal Procession: the Authority of Jesus to Rule (28-40)
1. There was the constraint to go to Jerusalem: To suffer and die (28)
After his convicting statement in the previous verse, Jesus sets his heart upon Jerusalem, going on ahead he knew his cause and purpose. He would be a king like none the world had ever known. He would earn the right with his own blood, not the blood of others. Such a king deserves the allegiance of those whose blood would be spared, but not all would be as generous toward him as he was toward them. The road led up but the blood would flow down.
2. There was the deliberate claim to be King (29-35)
a. He planned a dramatic demonstration in detail
b. He used the title “the Lord” in laying claim to men’s property
c. His instructions were carefully followed
d. He accepted the recognition of the disciples
His claim to the throne was not in any sense of fleshly power or presumption but with spiritual savvy and sophistication. Once again, Jesus was going to blow people’s minds with a miracle. This time it would be with a miracle of the mundane. Nobody, absolutely nobody who would be a king, would ride into camp on a donkey. It was ridiculously stupid in man’s eyes but not in God’s eyes. God doesn’t need to prove to men who he is. His presence speaks for itself, to those who would see for themselves, without the blindness of following others. This would be a test for what men sought in a leader. It would be an example for any who would seek to be leaders.
Pres. Clinton’s staff spent a lot of time, energy and money making him look good. He needed it. But Jesus didn’t need a public relations staff - he was good. Isn’t it a breath of fresh air to know a leader whose actions speak louder than words in a positive sense, who isn’t afraid to be real, whose position and authority flow directly from God? Just as Jesus put a new spin on love and generosity, so now also on leadership.
Notice that his instructions were that the Lord needs it. He has a claim to everything that we might call ours. Would we be so generous when prompted by the Holy Spirit? This not only fulfilled prophecy and revealed Christ’s intentions of leadership, it was a miracle that this unbroken colt could readily be ridden. And it was a necessity of holiness that it was never put to other use except for the King. Perhaps we should be so readily broken as this donkey that the King could ride our backs to glory. And what if Christ were to send us on an errand? Would we obey him to the letter? His purpose may depend upon us. Would we give our cloaks for him to sit on? What if he asked for our tunics too? Certainly he accepts the offerings of a humble and obedient heart.
3. There were the people proclaiming Him to be King (36-38)
Notice the actions of the people following the actions of the two disciples. They put their cloaks on the colt. The people spread their cloaks on the road. As a bride walks down the aisle on a cushion of unrolled velvet, so now Jesus rides down the road upon an interlaced network symbolizing man’s greatest gift. These cloaks may have been the only real possession many of these people had. In laying them down, they were saying in effect that I am your subject. I bow before you and desire that I should be a road for your feet. Upon me you may go wherever you wish. You are my King. I give myself to you.
Now the road is nearer Jerusalem and the praise picks up intensity. The people in one voice of charismatic diversity each praise him for what each has heard and experienced. In some way Christ has spoken to each heart and now each responds in the unison of diversity. There seems to be no end to the network of praise. What a picture of heaven on earth. What a picture of the birth of the church. What a blessed hope – Thy Kingdom Come!
4. There was the insistent claim of Jesus; He was to be proclaimed King by the people (39-40)
a. The religionists rebuked Him
b. Jesus insisted: Proclaiming Him King was inevitable
It seems to be a principle of life that there is a rotten apple in every barrel. Some of the bottom scrapes off on the Pharisees who croak rebuke upon the praise. Can you imagine their indignation and the responsibility they must feel for being so wise as Israel’s teachers? Certainly they must protect the people from their misguided exuberance. But Jesus puts them in their place by pronouncing that even rocks have more brains than to keep quiet when it is time to praise God.
B. The Dramatic Prediction: the Authority of Jesus to Judge (41-44)
1. The great love of Jesus for the city (41-42)
a. He wept over the city
b. The reason: The city rejected the way of peace; that is, it rejected the Messiah
Jesus has done everything possible to show these men that he was on a mercy mission - even his manner of entry. Wouldn’t you weep if you had arrived in time to save someone from disaster but they refuse help? Jesus weeps over God’s city. Certainly he does not want to see it destroyed. Here was opportunity for a profound peace but war was declared by an even more profound ignorance - an opposing power that unwisely misunderstood true power. In effect, those who opposed Jesus opposed themselves. This was a window of opportunity they would ignore to their great detriment. Rejection of truth hardens the heart and blinds the eyes. It is impossible to find what you refuse to see. Christ comes humbly to each of us to give salvation, but many ignore his humble authority and rebuke him and cast away the only peace they could ever know (Rev. 3:20). Prov. 12:15 says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” And Prov. 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
2. The terrible fate of the city foretold (43-44)
a. Was to be encircled
b. Was to be utterly destroyed
c. Was to be personally judged
Without the protection of God’s peace, there is not much left. Only He sustains life. If He pulls back his hand we are at the mercy of those who have no mercy. Remember David when he was faced with three options of punishment regarding his sin of census when he counted his fighting men in 2Sam. 24? David was a wise man in spite of error. He knew his chances with God regarding three days of sickness and plague far outweighed his chances with three years of famine or three months of war at the hands of men. Even God’s discipline is merciful. What kind of fate awaits us when we choose to go our own way against God except to be surrounded by enemies who will take our families down with us and destroy our homes.
3. The cause of the city’s doom (44)
Psalm 2 explains God’s attitude toward those who would exalt themselves against him - he regards it as extremely humorous that any man would think he could get away with it for long. We must recognize God when he comes. We do that by obeying him, offering him everything we have, praising him and seeking his salvation. Has God come to you today? Will you humble yourself before him. The alternative isn’t pretty. The reward is heavenly. His kingdom is coming whether anyone likes it or not.
vv. 1-6. God’s response to those who oppose Jesus.
vv. 6-9 God’s declaration about Jesus’ authority.
vv. 10-12 God’s instructions to those who would oppose Jesus.
v. 12 God’s blessing to those who submit to Jesus.
C. The Righteous Purification: the Authority of Jesus to Discipline (45-48)
1. How He cleansed the temple: Cast people out (45)
a. Those who profaned
b. Those who exploited
2. Why He cleansed the temple (46-47)
a. The place of His presence and dwelling
b. The place of prayer
c. The place for teaching the Word of God
Jesus now enters the close of his ministry like he began it, consumed with zeal for God’s house (John 2:13-18). The N.T. reminds us that we ourselves are God’s temple if God lives in us by faith. Imagine the zeal that Christ has for us, that we should not defile ourselves or him by selling out to other interests. His zeal here gives us a picture of how he feels about his Name and his possessions that have his Name on them. He will protect us with the same zeal with which he is jealous for us. He drives out those who choose ignorance of his ways. He drives out those who choose ignorance of their own self-interest by not choosing his interests. It is a divine teaching moment they will not soon forget.
1Co 3:16 ¶ Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
3. The results of His cleansing the temple (47-48)
a. The leaders: Sought to destroy Him
b. The people: Listened to Him attentively
Some of the religious and political leaders think the people will forget soon enough if they just dispose of this arrogant personality who thinks he can waltz right in and upset their apple cart. They feel threatened and they plot action. They are threatened because they want to be the ones in charge, not Christ. They ignore his warning of doom upon their actions. Arrogance is assuming that which is not yours. The question here is ownership and identity and right of action. They have lost direction on all counts. This calls into question our own direction. Have we fully yielded our ownership, identity and right of action to Christ? There were some here who did. They hung on his words. The worshipped and adored him. It is to this that we are called today.
What began with Jesus’ statement of doom for those enemies of his who did not want him to be king over them now ends with the challenge of his authority by the religious and political leaders of the day. They had their day and succeeded in killing him. But not for long. Three days to be exact. You see, Easter was coming. And time-bound man is at the mercy of timeless God. Thy Kingdom Come!
What would today’s church leaders do (say, think) if Jesus came to their church as King? Would he face hatred and jealousy? Would he upset their balance of power? Would his authority be challenged? Or would they be as loving and generous toward him, as God has been toward them, through him? Even if you welcome him in, would you willingly let him ‘clean house’? Have you made him King? Even if you welcomed him as King when you were saved, has your palm branch wilted? Has your cloak become soiled? Even though he made a triumphal entry in your heart, have you placed him on the throne and allowed him to change you? Are you willing to change? Or did you just want the part that was free without the part that costs? Did you just want the ride into town without the ride to the cross?
Solo: At the Foot of the Cross
Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
Joh 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Joh 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--
The authority of Jesus is absolute. And I am absolutely sure. He not only has the authority to rule, judge, and discipline. He has the authority to save. If Christ has made a triumphal procession into your heart today, I invite you to come forward and make a public profession of faith. I will be glad to pray with you to secure your assurance of forgiveness and eternal life.