Text: Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19. (This sermon was preached at an all-age service)
As Jesus approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her, which no-one has ever ridden. Untie them and bring them here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs them and will send them back here shortly.'” This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'”
They went and found the donkey and her colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied them, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.
They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen. They took palm branches, and shouted: “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
What happened next?
1. Did Jesus
(a) burst into laughter
(b) burst into song
(c) burst into tears
Luke 19:41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it… “Your enemies will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
2. Did Jesus
(a) talk to Simon Peter
(b) talk to his heavenly Father
(c) talk to a tree
Mark 11:13-14 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”
3. Jesus went into the temple. Did he
(a) offer a sacrifice in the temple
(b) say a prayer in the temple
(c) cause a rumpus in the temple
Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'”
In each case, something which on the outside looked full of life, was, in fact, as good as dead, and ripe for judgement. The fig tree, though green and leafy, had no fruit. The temple, though meant to be a house of prayer, had become a den of robbers. Jerusalem, the holy city, though thronging with joyful pilgrims, did not recognise her Messiah.
4. Just a few days later, did the crowd shout
(a) “Crown him!”
(b) “Release him!”
(c) “Crucify him!”
Yes, just a few days later, many of those who had praised God and shouted ‘Hosanna!’ were shouting ‘Crucify him!’
We have come to church this morning. We have sung God’s praises. We have named Jesus as Lord. I want to ask you, What happens next? May God grant that we honour him not only with our lips, but in our lives; not only in what we receive, but also in what we give; not only with palms, but with purses.