These next three entries were given as a teaching at Family Bible Church on March 28, 2021.
Often, when we read about Jesus’s time in ministry, depicted in the four gospels, we focus on the red words- what Jesus said, and His actions. And for good reason- because He’s Jesus! God manifested in the flesh and living among man. His actions and words are crucial to any Christian’s development.
But for the next three days, I want to share some different perspectives. I am going to use scriptures about Palm Sunday and the events surrounding it and talk about six people and groups other than Jesus. My hope is to show different ways that people thought or felt when interacting with Jesus because those same thoughts and feelings exist in the church today. And we should therefore ask ourselves whether or not we have the right thoughts (mind) and feelings (heart) toward our Lord and Savior.
Let’s start with the actual event where Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. All four gospels give this the heading “The Triumphal Entry” I will be reading from Mark chapter 11.
The Triumphal Entry
11:1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; 2 and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. 3 And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”
4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. 5 But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?”
6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!”
Here Jesus is fulfilling old testament prophesy and entering Jerusalem as the Jewish Messiah, or king. The crowd before and after Him cried out “Hosanna” or “Save us, please.” But what the crowd really wanted to be saved from was rule by the Romans. They thought that Jesus would come to Jerusalem, overthrow the Romans, and take His place as the King of Israel. Instead, thank God, Jesus had other plans. This crowd saw what they wanted in Jesus. They were following Jesus but for the wrong reasons. They were confused as two left shoes.
Do you know anybody like that? They go to church because of the awesome music? Or their friends are there, or they want to make business contacts? Or maybe because of the free child care? We need to make sure that the main reason we are in church is to learn more about God- to develop our relationship with Him. Anything else and you might be singing Hosannas to the praise team…just sayin’…some of those same people who shouted ‘Hosanna!’ at the gate were the ones who shouted ‘crucify Him!’ just a few chapters later.
The next story- the next perspective- is taken from Luke and it’s about a man named Zacchaeus. This takes place just before Jesus enters Jerusalem
Jesus Comes to Zacchaeus’ House
19 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Zacchaeus wanted to meet Jesus badly- so badly that he climbed a tree to get a better view. Why? He was a tax collector- tax collectors were reviled in Jewish culture at this time. They were considered traitorous- Jewish men who collected taxes for the Roman empire (and often skimmed some for their own pockets). Zacchaeus was rich but hated. I think Zacchaeus realized he needed something more and this Messiah Jesus could help him.
Then Jesus invites Himself to Zacchaeus’s house for dinner- and he immediately accepts. I’d be like… ummmm give me a little time to clean up first? A lot of people want to clean up first before they invite Jesus in but not Zacchaeus. He tells Jesus that he’s trying- he is giving money to the poor and making restitutions when he wrongs someone. And then Jesus says that salvation has come to this house because Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. Everybody thought Zacchaeus was a lost cause but Jesus knew otherwise.
So we have two lost examples; one in the crowd who were lost and thought they were right- like a man that won’t ask for directions…, and Zacchaeus who was lost and knew it. Which one are you? Do you recognize your lost condition and your need for God- that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Thank God for His saving grace and mercy.
Grace & Peace,