Matthew 21:1-11 Palm Sunday
Why kill Jesus?
! 1. Jerusalem was a Roman Province
Jews didn’t have the death penalty available to them.
Only Rome could execute criminals.
· Julius Caesar had conquered the known world.
· Adopted son – Octavian
· Becomes “Caesar Augustus”
o Ruled world from England to India
o Caesar Augustus believed he was from heaven
§ Came from heaven to earth
§ The son of God walking around with us on earth
§ “king of kings, lord of lords”
o “Caesar is Lord”
o “There is no other name under heaven by which people can be saved than that of Caesar”
§ Offer incense to him
Caesar Augustus called for the census that brought Mary & Joseph to Bethlehem for Jesus’ birth.
New Caesar = Caesar Tiberius
· The line of Herod was not doing a good job keeping peace
· Tiberius sent Israel a governor – Pilate
o Ordered to keep peace
o To bring in taxes
o To enforce Roman rule
2. Jewish Feast Coming = The Passover
A. The Background
"The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”" (Exodus 3:7-10, NIV)
12-14 When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,
The Exodus in Detail
43-45 So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing. And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil, that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord!
B. In Jesus’ Day
Historians say 200,000 Jews would pack the Temple during Passover.
· Celebrate Deliverance from foreign oppressors
· Sing Psalms
· Remember how God has always freed Israel from the superpowers of the world.
Code throughout the year “Next year in Jerusalem”
- Looking forward to the Passover celebration
- Also hoping that “next year in Jerusalem” the Messiah would be there.
This was a 2-way feast.
1) Looking back at what God had done and how He had saved Israel
2) Looking forward to what the Lord would do
- Bring Messiah to rescue
- Have the Great Resurrection
§ They knew that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem to become King
§ On that day, they believed he would bring all the dead of Israel back to life to become a mighty army
§ Many people actually put themselves in Tombs along the road on the way to Jerusalem
o Pictures of the road – lots of big rocks closing off burial tombs
· When the Great Resurrection comes, I’ll be right there!
· Front row seats to the end of the world!
3. Roman’s Response to the Passover
If you are Pilate, how much do you like the Passover?
· 200,000 frustrated Jews singing, shouting and waiting for their “real King” to come
· They are shouting to each other – Remember, our God delivers us from foreign oppressors, He’s done it a couple dozen times already!
If your job is to keep Israel at peace and under Roman rule, you hate the Passover.
Pilate lived in Caesarea
Annual procession from Caesarea to Jerusalem for the Passover
1) Roman Eagle
2) Etchings of Caesar
a. He rules the World
b. Every nation Caesar had crushed
c. Divine Titles
d. The Accomplishments of Rome
Message = Everyone that has ever fought us has been crushed
“Resistance is Futile!”
3) Roman Army
b. Designed to bring fear & terror into the hearts of people
c. Blood red cloaks
d. Iron shod boots
e. Shields with Roman wings on them
f. Shields on shield crashing as they marched
80-90% of Israelites were simple people
Tradesmen, crafters, subsistence farmers
Message = Don’t even think about it!
4) Soldiers on Horseback
5) Pilate – either in front or back
Message to Jerusalem at the Passover = Don’t even think about rebelling
Pilate entered from the West
4. Jesus’ Procession before the Passover
Bethphage is in the mountains, east of Jerusalem
Mountain range ran North / South, east of Jerusalem
Pilate came from the West
Jesus came from the East
Ezekiel 43:1-3 “Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory.”
1) People’s Praise
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
Psalm 118: 20,25
Hosanna = “O Lord, Save Us”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”
Luke 19:38 (written for Gentiles) – “blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord”
“Hosanna in the Highest”
- Sovereign lord who is over all and above all
With a jumpy Pilate, this is not the right thing to be shouting.
The whole Roman army had just marched in to keep the peace, now is not the time to be shouting to a different King.
2) Rocks Cry Out
Lk 19:39-40 "Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”"
Remember what I said about the hope for the Great Resurrection?
Tombs lined up along the road between Bethphage & Jerusalem
“The Rocks will cry out” = “I’m the king able to open these graves and cause the dead to sing my praises.”
3) On a Colt
Quote from Zecheriah 9
- Remez = quote the first part of a verse because the rest is known in the head.
Example = a bird in the hand (is worth two in the bush)
= “Hello, my name is Indigo Montoya…”
Matthew quotes Zech 9:9
That would bring to Mind Zech 9:10-11
v. 11 - As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
The Message of Palm Sunday
The king is coming from the East, where people would look for the Glory of The Lord
The king is coming down from the mountains
Ps 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
The King is coming to free His people
A Great Exodus from slavery
A Great Exodus accomplished by the blood of the Covenant
Our #1 slavery is not to Rome
Our slavery is to SIN
Our slavery is to Death
Rom 6:17-18 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Rom 6:22-23 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1) Repent and be Baptized
Acts 2:36-39 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Life … all out of Gratitude
Passover = a meal to celebrate God’s past victory
Communion = a feast of remembrance, communion & hope
RCA “Meaning of the Sacrament”
Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ,
the holy Supper which we are about to celebrate
is a feast of remembrance, of communion, and of hope.
We come in remembrance
that our Lord Jesus Christ was sent of the Father into the world
to assume our flesh and blood
and to fulfill for us all obedience to the divine law,
even to the bitter and shameful death of the cross.
By his death, resurrection, and ascension
he established a new and eternal covenant of grace and reconciliation
that we might be accepted of God and never be forsaken by him.
We come to have communion with this same Christ
who has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the world.
In the breaking of the bread he makes himself known to us
as the true heavenly Bread that strengthens us unto life eternal.
In the cup of blessing he comes to us as the Vine
in whom we must abide if we are to bear fruit.
We come in hope,
believing that this bread and this cup
are a pledge and foretaste of the feast of love
of which we shall partake when his kingdom has fully come,
when with unveiled face we shall behold him,
made like unto him in his glory.
Since by his death, resurrection, and ascension
Christ has obtained for us the life-giving Spirit
who unites us all in one body,
so are we to receive this Supper in true love,
mindful of the communion of saints.