READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l We live in a broken world with pandemic, wars and power struggles resulting in the loss of innocent lives. History is littered with stories of kings and queens who did much harm, including many examples in the Bible. Our hope is not in human kings or the powers and principalities of the world, but in Jesus our Messiah, the King of kings.
Three aspects of the kingship of Jesus:
1) The Prophesied King
The population in Jerusalem tripled during the Passover as Jews gathered to celebrate their deliverance from Egypt. Hopes were heightened that God would deliver them from Roman rulers. In this context, Jesus entered Jerusalem from the east, as Jews expected the Messiah to do.
V5- Jesus sent 2 disciples to get a donkey for Him to ride on, in fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy 500 years ago (Zech 9:9). In doing so, Jesus intentionally presents himself as the prophesied King of the Jews.
V8- the crowd spread cloaks and branches on the road to welcome Him. The spreading of cloaks symbolised the enthronement of a king, as seen in the inauguration of King Jehu in 2 Kings 9:13. The Jews associated palm trees with the Feast of the Tabernacles, a symbol of deliverance from Egypt. (Palm branches mentioned in Jn 12:9)
V9- the crowd was shouting messianic verses, alluding to Jesus as Messiah, and it is noteworthy that Jesus did not restrain them.
Nearing the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus presents Himself to Israel as the Messianic King in accordance with Scripture and tradition. Everything about Jesus speaks of poise and control; nothing is random as the sovereign God is working out His purposes through Jesus. Jesus went to Jerusalem fully aware of man’s plot, but yet He chose to abide in the divine script of God.
2) The Peaceable King
The image of a victorious king riding on a donkey is counter cultural. Pontius Pilate entered Jerusalem accompanied by troops, riding on a warhorse. Earthly powers invade using weapons. Jesus entered Jerusalem peacefully riding on a donkey though He could call on an army of angels. He came in meekness, gentleness and peace, not to enslave but to rescue. Jesus’s kingdom is established not by violence but through humble submission to God’s will, and by doing God’s work God’s way.
As disciples of Christ, are we growing to be more like Jesus – peaceful, humble, compassionate to the weak and needy or are we more like Pilate? God sends ordinary people redeemed and purified by Him to change the world, as ambassadors of His peace. Jesus is the perfect embodiment of heavenly wisdom (James 3:17). Are we displaying godly or earthly wisdom at work, home and church?
3) The Purifying King
The people may be expecting Jesus to go to the Roman leaders to defeat them. Instead, Jesus went to the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. His action was an indictment of the temple worship, which had become corrupt and unacceptable to God (V13). God’s redemptive purpose for Israel’s worship (as prophesised in Mal 3:3-4 and Zech 13:1) was coming to pass, through the Cross. Instead of the temple system, Jesus would be the “house of prayer” where the nations would receive their cleansing.
Have we constructed our own religious system at our convenience and on our own terms? Are we willing to be vulnerable before Jesus, return to the physical house of God as an act of worship/devotion and spread our cloaks of worship under His feet?
In a world of fallen leaders, the Bible gives us a king willing to be tortured and killed so we can be children of God. Jesus will undo the brokenness of the world and not let evil triumph over us. He is the only One worthy of our worship. Whatever challenges we face, there is a King waiting for us to turn to Him. Will we surrender our lives fully to Him?
(Sermon notes by Woo Choi Yin)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. Read Matthew 21:1-15 prayerfully. Observe the details of the scene of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
1.1 The Prophesied King: In what ways did Jesus deliberately seek to present himself as the messianic king prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 (quoted in Matthew 21:4-5)? What other parts of Jesus’ triumphal entry, whether acted by the disciples or the crowds, pay Messianic homage to Jesus?
1.2 How does the intentionality of Jesus reflect His obedience To God? How does Jesus’ fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy (given hundreds of years before) reflect the Sovereignty of God?
2.1 The Peaceable King: In what way is Jesus’ entry into Jesus on a donkey different from the kings and rulers of this world? How does this reflect the character of God and His posture toward us?
2.2 Read James 3:13-17. In what way does Jesus reflect heavenly wisdom? Prayerfully consider what aspects of heavenly wisdom you might need to grow in and what aspects of earthly wisdom you need to let go?
3.1 The Purifying King: Why did Jesus enter the Temple straight away after entering Jerusalem, and what did he do there? What do you think his actions might symbolize?
3.2 In what way might the temple system have failed? How would Jesus redefine worship at the Cross, and what does it mean for us today? (You may read Hebrews 10:11-22 as a resource)
4. Prayerful reflect upon the Kingship of Jesus in your life. What might the Lord’s invitation be to you in this season of Lent, as your next step in obedience and submission to His Kingship?