DUNCAN/The triumphal entry
If you have your Bibles, I’d invite you to turn with me to Matthew chapter 21:1-11. In the first three verses we see Jesus focus our attention on His person and His work. In the fourth and the fifth verses, we will see Jesus remind us that who He is and what He does is rooted in the prophecy of God even in the scriptures of the Old Testament. And then in verses six through eleven, He will force upon us the question “Who am I?” And we see it in Matthew’s words there in verse ten when the people of Jerusalem ask the question “Who is this?” about Jesus Christ. So, I’d like you to see three things as we study this passage together. First, we must live in the light of Jesus’ kingly knowledge. Second, that scripture proves His claims and reveals His person and work. Third, that Jesus’ coming demands a response.
I. We Must Live in The Light of Jesus’ Kingly Knowledge
First of all, in verses one through three you will see Jesus give a kingly command. He sends His disciples on an errand that only a king could send them on. And, in fact, in the process of giving that command, He also gives them a prediction as to what is going to happen when they carry out His words. And as we study this passage, I think we will also learn that we need to live our lives in light of the knowledge of Christ.
This passage also reminds us that we always live under the gaze of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is really extraordinary, isn’t it? Jesus saying to the disciples, ‘You go into such and such a village and there will be a donkey and a foal waiting for you. Now you just take them and bring them back to Me and oh, by the way, if one of the servants stops you, you tell them that I need them.’ This is really remarkable, isn’t it? Jesus knowing this, how does He know this? Because He’s the Son of God and Savior of sinners. But do we realize that His eyes are on us just like His eyes were on the disciples and even on that donkey? You know, if He knows even the position of domestic animals, we can be sure that He knows our hearts. Do we see our lives in light of that kind of knowledge? Do we live our lives in light of that kind of knowledge of Christ? He knows everything. I would suggest to you that sometimes we live as if He doesn’t know where we are, what we’re doing, what we’re saying, and what we’re thinking. But this passage reminds us again that our Lord is omniscient. He knows everything. And so, we must live that way.
II. Scripture Proves His Claims and Reveals His Person and Work
There’s a second thing I’d like for you to see in this passage in verses 4-5. Not only do we have that kingly command and prediction of the first three verses, but we have this fulfillment of the Scriptures in this action of taking the foal and Christ riding on that foal into Jerusalem. Scripture not only proves Jesus’ claims, it also reveals His person and work so that when we attend Scripture, our idea of the Savior is changed so that we understand Him like He wants to be understood. We all have our preconceptions of Jesus. But Jesus wants to define Himself to us and even as we see Him fulfill Scripture, He is defining Himself to us.
Here in verses 4 and 5, Matthew tells us what messianic prophecy Jesus fulfilled by this action. By riding into Jerusalem on this foal, He is fulfilling Zechariah 9:9. That passage testifies that Jesus is in fact the Messiah. Notice that He comes as a king, but He comes in humility. He comes on a humble beast of burden riding on a borrowed donkey’s colt. This is the Lord God of the universe. The one who sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. Riding into Jerusalem on a beast that He didn’t own. It is a picture of humility. And as we study Scripture, we not only gain confidence in who Christ claims to be by seeing Him fulfill prophecies like this, but our preconceptions about Christ are changed and shaped according to the word.
III. Jesus’ Coming Demands a Response
And then lastly, you see in verses 6 through 11, Jesus’ kingly but humble entrance into Jerusalem. Jesus, by coming into Jerusalem this way, is demanding a response. We said in the first three verses that He was drawing attention to His person and work by making a claim to be a king. In verses 4 and 5, He is further drawing attention to that person and work by rooting His claim in the fulfillment of the Scripture. He is saying, ‘Not only am I a king, but I am fulfilling in this action predictions made by the prophets of the God of Israel about the Messiah.’ Now He is forcing a response to who He is. He’s saying, “I’m not satisfied with you just saying, ‘O.K., well, so what.’ I am going to force you to take a position on Me.’ He is demanding a response from the people in Jerusalem and of course, He’s demanding a response from anyone who reads this passage: Us, today.
Now there were three basic responses in this crowd to Jesus. Some people were very positive about Jesus but they were superficial in their knowledge in this support, this is the crowds.
The second response comes from Jerusalem itself. The people in the city. And what’s the response? Ignorance! “Who is this?” Jesus had been in Jerusalem before and yet the people are saying, “Who is this?” There’s ignorance. There’s superficiality. The third response was the Pharisee’s. Their response was, of course, devious and deliberate opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew is making it clear that all three of those responses are inadequate responses and they will get you nothing but hell. Superficial knowledge of Christ. Positive views of Christ. Ignorance about Christ. Opposition to Christ. All of those will bring us condemnation. We must deal with Jesus. Indifference to Jesus is defiance. Superficiality about Jesus is dangerous. Opposition to Jesus is fruitless.
If you think well of Jesus, but have not embraced Him as your Savior, and all across this land there are many churches thriving with lots of people in them, but we suspect that there are still people in those churches that think well of Jesus but they’ve never embraced Him as their Lord and Savior. On the last day, only those who have embraced Him and bowed the knee will find the mercy and the blessings and the eternal salvation for which He died. May God help us to choose this day.