READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is a triumphal procession. John mentioned that palms were used and hence it became known as Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week when Jesus was betrayed, arrested, tried, and sacrificed on the cross. The triumphal entry was a very significant event, not only to people during Jesus’ day but also to Christians throughout history.
This is the only instance where Jesus rode on an animal. He walked all the way from Galilee, so He did not need to ride on a donkey for the last 2 miles. Riding on the donkey is a very deliberate act and there is a purpose behind this. Matthew 21:4-5 spelt out that this took place to fulfil what the prophet said about the king coming on a donkey. The plan went well as Matthew 21:6 said the disciple did what was instructed. The procession in Matthew 21:7-8 saw celebrations and honour as depicted in victory parades by triumphant kings and generals. The whole procession had a very powerful impact on the people and left them wondering who Jesus was.
A. The Triumph [Matthew 21:4-5]
1. Triumphal Entry?
According to the New American Commentary, although Jesus appeared to be popular, the crowd did not show appreciation for His suffering and death.
2. Note of Roman Triumph
Jesus performed a Triumph like the processional entry of a victorious general in ancient Rome. Jesus’ purpose in riding into Jerusalem was to make public His claims to be their Messiah and King of Israel in fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecy – ending of Israel’s long exile and captivity to other empires.
3. Nature of Jesus’ Arrival
The prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 indicated that Jesus came as the righteous one who offered salvation, not as a conquering military leader but to conquer with love, grace, mercy and His own sacrifice. His kingdom of lowliness and servanthood conquers hearts and minds. Jesus’ riding on a young donkey embodied the peace that God brought to His people.
What went wrong with Jesus’ triumphal entry a week later? Why did the crowd turn on Him? The people welcomed Jesus out of their desire for a Messianic deliverer and someone who will lead them on a revolt against Rome. Jesus will rule and reign triumphantly but not until He was crucified and resurrected.
B. The Turmoil [Matthew 21:10]
Jerusalem was in turmoil when Jesus entered. It was in a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty. The people asked who Jesus was. Whatever turmoil we are going through, it already resounds with Easter. The One who entered the turmoil of Jerusalem was the One who came in the name of Our Lord. He will rise to new life on the third day.
C. The Truth [Matthew 21:10-11]
1.Who Is This?
The crowd thought Jesus was a prophet, like Isaiah and Jeremiah.
2. Jesus Is More Than A Prophet
Jesus asked His disciples who people say He was. Peter was the only one who declared that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
3. Reaction Of The Crowd
Some in the crowd already knew Jesus. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, this group of people responded, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Garments were laid on the ground and branches were torn from trees, creating a red carpet for the man whom they believed to be the Messiah. They made noise, created uproars, and welcomed the change that Jesus’ arrival would create.
There were also those who had no idea who Jesus was, and they were probably the majority of the citizens. They did not know what was going on that day, so their response was dismissive and full of contempt.
4. Imagine: Possible Response
Some questioned in a tone of contempt as they looked down on Jesus because He was a country boy dressed in common robes and rode into town on a donkey. They were unwilling to connect the Messianic Prophecy to the man they saw before them although they would be aware of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.
There were also those who were impressed by One who could bring crowds of people out to cheer as He passed. They may not know who Jesus was, but it was obvious that many knew Him. Who is this that the people created a carpet for His donkey to walk on? None of the priests in the temple nor any Roman governors had received such a hero’s welcome.
5. Who Is Jesus?
Why do people pay attention to His teachings and put their life under His authority?
Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Him. God sent him because God so loved the world. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He came that we may have abundant life. He welcomes all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and He will give us rest.
6. You Can Know This Jesus
If you do not know Jesus, begin your discipleship journey with us. Click here to connect with Wesley Methodist Church so that you can know more about the Christian faith.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me [John 14:1]
(Sermon notes by Honey Vreugdewater)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- Read Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 21:2-3. How would you have felt if Jesus gave those instructions to you? Why do you think the disciples obeyed Him?
- Imagine seeing Jesus riding into Jerusalem on that day, how would you describe your feelings? (excited?, afraid?, …)
- Matthew 21:8-11 describes Jesus’ triumphal entry. The crowds surrounding Jesus shouted “Hosanna…”. What did they need to be saved from?
- Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem stirred up much excitement, interest and discussion in the city. The people were asking, “Who is this? How would you answer the question “Who is Jesus?”
- How is Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey different from the kings of this world? Why was the whole city in turmoil? How would you describe the triumph and truth in Jesus?