Message: “The King is Coming” – Pastor Roy Dowdy
Sunday, April 14th, 2019
Palm Sunday is both a celebration of Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and a solemn remembrance of the end of His earthly ministry.
All four of the gospels record that Jesus and the disciples had traveled to Jerusalem. Jesus has been met with adoring crowds, riding on a donkey, thus fulfilling the prophecy recorded in Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
As students of history, we run the risk of viewing events through the lens of our experience rather than in the context in which the events occurred. Think of what must have been running through the disciple’s minds – Messiah had come! Jerusalem would be his capital city, and from here his power and authority would spread to all nations. The people are behind him, prophecy is fulfilled, and even the Pharisees say, “Look, the world has gone after him.” Mission accomplished, that’s a wrap, roll credits.
But what the disciples, already bickering among themselves as to who would sit at Jesus’ right hand, had failed to see, was that this triumphal entry was just a small part of the story. Had Jesus seized His throne and established His seat of power that day, we would not have the promise of a home in heaven where we’ll worship and sing His praise throughout eternity. We know that Jesus’ true kingdom required something more – the cross.
Within a week of His Triumphal Entry, the crowds would turn on Jesus. He’d be denied by Peter, betrayed by Judas, condemned by Pilate, and crucified by Roman guards. Imagine the disciple’s frustration and confusion. Each of these men had given their life and livelihood to follow Jesus. Their promised king wasn’t supposed to die. He was supposed to establish a kingdom more magnificent than even the Roman Empire, bringing peace and righteousness to the world. They thought they had understood the plan - what God was going to do and, as part of Jesus inner circle, how He would do it. But, Jesus didn’t meet their expectations.
How deeply does that resonate with you? How many times have you asked for guidance and direction, followed what you believe God wanted you to do, but suddenly everything goes sideways, what you thought was the plan turns out to be an illusion, and suddenly you’re sinking in quicksand.
None of the events of Jesus’ last week were a surprise to Him nor were they to His father. Neither are the struggles we face today. Even mature believers sometimes put God in a box, and invite him along as though He’s part of the plan, not the one orchestrating it. When things go wrong, we panic and question whether God is even paying attention. Just like the disciples, we only see part of the picture. Hardship and defeat aren’t signs we’ve been abandoned; sometimes they’re a test of whether we have the faith to trust when God doesn’t show up the way we wanted Him to.
Focusing on your situation reveals to those around you that circumstances govern your faith. It tells them your current situation is more “real” than the promises of God. Stop trying to be sovereign and trust that the God who created you loves you enough to sustain you and carry you through even the darkest days.
Yes, there will be disappointments ahead, but hold on. The king is coming.
Jesus is the King
The Triumphant Entry is a fulfillment of prophecy
Jesus has a kingdom not of this world
Every knee will bow to this king
The king comes to claim his kingdom through victory
The king will return
Jesus didn’t meet the expectations of the disciples and His followers. Have you ever known someone who was disappointed when God didn't meet their expectations? Have you ever felt He let you down?
What are some unrealistic expectations we sometimes have of God? What can we do to keep our expectations of God rooted in truth?
Jesus had visited Jerusalem many times before but this time was different - he knew He was coming to die. Looking out on the city, Jesus knew that the next time He would come bringing judgment. How do you think Jesus was feeling knowing what lay ahead?
Some of Jesus’ most outspoken critics were the Pharisees and other religious leaders. The same people who laid down their robes would soon cry crucify him. The disciples were confused, though most remained loyal to Him. Where do you see yourself in this story?
Luke 19:42-44 is an expression of Jesus’ heartbreak for His people. Has God given you a heart for your neighbors? How can you demonstrate God’s love for them.