Dave preached from Matt 21:1-11 this morning, a very familiar passage about Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In Luke 9, we read that Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem, determining to arrive there for the Jewish festival of the Passover, when Jews remembered God’s great deliverance from Egypt. Josephus, the historian, estimated that 250,000 lambs were sacrificed in Jerusalem each year; there must have been at least half a million visitors to the city, with every adult male living within 20 miles expected to go there for the festival and many more travelling much further to celebrate this festival. That year, the people were surely expecting another kind of deliverance…

Jesus’s triumphal entry, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9, was a clear sign of His identification as Messiah. Previously, He had urged those He had healed to keep His identity a secret, but now it is the time to reveal His identity and to enact a deliverance far greater than any previously experienced or expected.

What can we learn from this narrative?
(1) We must learn to trust in God’s timing.
Jesus was working to a divine timetable. He is control, even though He ulitmately appears to be the victim of plots and scheming throughout the week to come. None of this took Him, or His Father, by surprise. True disciples must learn to trust God’s heart and wait on His timing. Jesus’s triumphal entry stirred the whole city (the same word as used for earthquakes!), and when told to rebuke His disciples, Jesus retorted that if He did, even the rocks would cry out. The first ‘rock concert’, maybe?!

(2) We have to give Jesus our time, our talents and our possessions.
The unnamed man who lent Jesus his colt was the means Jesus chose to use to see prophecy fulfilled. What is the ‘little donkey’ that we can give Jesus? Whatever our talents, when we give them to Jesus, He is able to multiply their usefulness and achieve miracles through them. There is nothing and no one insignificant in God’s kingdom.

(3) We must love people as much as Jesus loves them.
When He reached the Mount of Olives, Jesus looked down over Jerusalem and wept (Luke 19:41). He loved the people so much and knew that they would not ultimately receive the deliverance God had planned for them. God is so much more than simply a benevolent, friendly force. He is love. We must be moved with real tears, as Jesus was. We must learn to weep with those who weep.

(4) We must learn that Jesus’s way is the way of the Cross.

Jesus was born to die, to be our Passover Lamb, in a particular way for a particular purpose. The crowds wanted a Messianic King, not a Saviour. They did not understand how salvation could come through death. They were obsessed with themselves. Self-interest is the way of the world. Self-denial is the way of Jesus (Luke 9:23). If we do not learn this, we will never ultimately see spiritual life, for it only comes through death.