The Triumphal Entry
Have you ever been tempted to exchange your, “Hosanna,” for a, “Crucify?”
Easter is almost here, and we’re soaking our spirit in several moments of the last week of Jesus’ life.
As we walk through the last week of Jesus’ life we see a painful depiction of our interactions, and our handling of God in our own lives. Sometimes it’s really painful to think through, but it’s also very beautiful to understand despite our misunderstanding, God chose the Cross.
Join me in this episode as we explore Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and liken it to His triumphal entry into our heart.
Triumphal Entry (one week prior to Jesus death)
This moment is recorded in all four of the Gospels:
- Mark 11:1-11
- Matthew 21:1-11
- Luke 19:28-40
- John 12:12-19
As we look at this I want us to see Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem as His Triumphal Entry into our own Heart. Today we’ll focus in on Luke’s account – but before we jump to His entry I want to look 10 chapters before that in:
Luke 9:51-56 KJV, "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."
Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem.
What does this mean to you? Do you think this was a straight path to Jerusalem?
That is a statement that has stood out to me for a couple of weeks. For me, I see this as the time when He set his determination to fulfill His mission. He knew it was time to start moving to Jerusalem. He came in pursuit of the cross always knowing that was the End Game – but here we see things become more and more intense.
Was it a straight path? I don’t really think so – but was he advancing to the fulfillment of his purpose? Absolutely. This statement draws my mind to Isaiah 50:7 and Ezekiel 3:9
Isaiah 50:7, "For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed."
"I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”
When you look at these verses, the depth of the words, “Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem” increases substantially. We realize, it’s not just a physical position, it’s a mental determination.
An interesting note: Flint was abundant -> all over the plains and valleys of the wilderness where the Israelites spent 40 years wondering. What is it? It’s a hard rock that is often used to start a fire.
When we look at this in comparison to His Triumphal Entry into our heart, we compare it to our own experiences in Wilderness places. I see the abundance of this rock being there as a reminder of sorts. Their deliverance from that place was coming, just as ours. It’s a reminder of our need to be firm and resolute in our own determination to take up our cross and follow Him.
This statement, Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem… He set His face life Flint is telling us
Our Messiah is firm and resolute. He made up his mind to endure the contempt and scorn that would come at Him. He wasn’t going to shrink away from the suffering.
When He saw time was quickly wrapping up – He saw through what was coming. He had the ability to see past it all, to the Glory to come. Jesus knew His death wasn’t an end. Our Savior understood this was a translation, and when we hear of him explaining it it causes us to see it as something to look forward too.
The last Beatitude tells us:
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Jesus shows us exactly how to live this out.
What’s our natural reaction to pain?
We draw back, and turn our faces another way. He steadfastly set his face against all opposition, to go through it in order to work out our salvation.
We see very quickly after Jesus has set His face to Jerusalem he’s already met with rejection.
James and John step in and want to destroy the city – but here we see Jesus rebuke them.
“For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”
What characteristics do we observe in James and John? (They believe they can do all things – what they know happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, their asking for it. What they know happened in times past their reaching for it. That’s good. Their belief is so strong but they can also be viewed as being prideful and assuming they know God’s plan. They have jumped to a conclusion.
How many times have we done that? We assume that because a path seems painful it’s not the path for us – but that’s not always the case.
God’s way always seems so counterintuitive.
John 12:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
It’s this beautiful depiction God using the physical to explain the spiritual and we see it all around us. We live in agricultural America where this is so common place that we skip over the fact that each planting season we’re seeing the Gospel play out. Think of the rows of corn we drive by, the seeming ocean of soybeans that surround us. The random wildflowers, the flowers we intentionally plant each spring, the gardens we prepare for, the trees we see all around us. Every one of these plants were started from a seed that has died. It isn’t a mistake that this is every where – but it is a mistake that we look at them as common place.
It draws my mind to take up your cross and die daily.
Luke 9:23, "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
God desires to perpetuate the Gospel throughout all generations – we are called to be a vessel where this perpetuation can move through.
Jesus sent on 70 going 2*2 into every city he would go.
This was something Kings would do to announce their coming. This is also something that Jewish Bridegrooms would do so their Bride would not miss their coming. The groom would send his friends ahead of him to announce is arrival. Jesus is our Bridegroom. We are the Bride of Christ. From Luke 9 on we have 10 chapters outlining what he did on that path to Jerusalem. Finally, we land in Luke 19 where we learn of his last week on earth.
Before we jump there however, let’s stop and read:
Luke 18:31-34, "Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken."
Here we find Jerusalem is swarming with people preparing for Passover.
Question: What was happening – why had the people all gathered in Jerusalem. Headed to Jerusalem to celebrate the passover feast. There are thousands of other pilgrams in the area that had done the same.
Luke 19:28-40 28 And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, 30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. 31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. 32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. 33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him. 35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. 36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. 37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; 38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
The people assumed He was there to lead them to victory. They wanted to revolt against Rome. They were seeking an earthly kingdom taken by force.
How many times do we get caught up in that same thought? We feel like we’re in a place of captivity, and we have that “get ’em” God attitude.
Has anyone ever had one of those experiences where you thought God was going to slay your oppresser but God’s plan was less instant, and more long suffering?
I went through a trial that lasted 600 Days. Going into it I just assumed God stand up flex his muscles and BOOM the whole thing would be over. But as I reflect I realize I had a prideful mind assuming I had everything figured out. Walking through those 600 days God showed me so many hard spaces in my heart – and did a breaking up of fallow ground like I never imagined.
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem shows us a picture of His triumphal entry into our heart.
As we walk through the last week of Jesus life we see a painful depiction of our interactions, our handlings of God in our own lives. Sometimes it’s really painful, but it’s also very beautiful to understand God chose the cross despite of our misunderstanding. God doesn’t come in and take things by force. He demonstrates for us that His Kingdom is one of lowliness and servanthood. Pushing through the here and now momentary (but seeming eternal) pain of our current circumstance and reaching for our Heavenly Reward.
It’s interesting to note that the people who were shouting “Hosanna,” were the ones who days later were the shouting “crucify.” We can get after them and wonder how could they miss it? But there are times when we are tempted to do the same, especially during those long prayers where we’re just like, “Come on God! Where are you?”
We all, if we’re not careful can be tempted to exchange our Hosanna for a crucify, which is why it’s so important that we stay entrenched in our Bibles. We need the consistent reminders He gives saying, “I told you this was coming.”
All throughout the Gospels and really, our entire Bibles we read prophecy after prophecy after prophecy telling us what’s happening. Jesus was so intentional about telling His disciples what was to come. He knew they didn’t get it now, but in time they would and it was going to strengthen their faith. As He was speaking these things He was solidifying in them saying, “I AM Sovereign.” And these prophecies are purposed for the same in us as we liken this to His triumphal Entry into our heart.
He’s told us things. He’s given us glimpses of things to come. These things are all in demonstration that He is the I Am. We’re seeing prophecies fulfilled now. It’s not by accident. He wants us to see what He has written so we understand – He IS COMING.
Don’t miss it.
Jesus purpose in riding into Jerusalem was to make public His claim to be their Messiah and King of Israel.
It strikes me as strange every time I read Jesus perform a miracle and He says, “Stay quiet, or don’t tell anyone.” As we become more acquainted with His word however, we find He couldn’t be revealed until just the right time. Which is exactly what the triumphal entry was – it was the time. The triumphal entry was the moment He wanted to be openly proclaimed as King. This was fulfilment to Old Testament prophecy. Jesus coming into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey was an exact fulfillment of
Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
Jesus was hailed King. He ascends to His palace – not a temporal palace but the spiritual place. He stops telling his disciples to be quiet about him, and instead to shout and worship him openly. The spreading of cloaks as he road in was an act of homage for royalty. The same thing happened in 2 Kings 9:13 when Jehu was appointed King.
Jesus was openly declaring to the people, people who were faithful and familiar with scripture. Who knew the prophecies well that He was their King and the Messiah they were waiting for.
But – They misunderstood the type of King He was — and sometimes we do the same.
They kept assuming he was this earthly king – not their heavenly king. The crowd thought He was their Savior from Roman bondage – NOT their Savior from Sin. They were focused on the temporal. Jesus was focused on the eternal. The people recognized him as the Son of David who came in the name of the Lord they demonstrated this by quoting Psalm 118: 25-26 Psalm 118.25-26 referring to Jesus as the “Son of David,” chanting the words of “Hosanna! (or God saves!) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” and others respond, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
They cut palm branches or other leafy plants as Jews did at other celebrations and festivals and laid them in Jesus’ path. This act was the same as rolling out a royal red carpet. But when he didn’t meet their expectations… their hearts began to turn like some times our hearts can begin to turn. We must be careful not to try to tailor God to fit our expectations. Jesus is God. He knows what is best. If we try to make him fit our expectations, we will quickly find ourselves on the path to self-destruction.
He came poor and humble. They thought he would come royal and boastful.
They misunderstood his reason for coming.
He didn’t come to conquer nations, rather hearts and minds. Not taking it with a revolt and demand, but with peace and love. And he still works the same way today.
His Kingdom perpetuates when we choose to follow His footsteps, exhibiting these same qualities so the world can see Him living and reigning triumphant over our heart.
Psalm 86:13, "Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway."
Let’s take time this week to really think about what this means to us. He set his face as flint for our heart. Resolute, Determined – immovable. That’s the passionate love of our Savior, something worthy of pondering processing, and spending time this week in deep repentance over the way we have overlooked His work, His pursuit for us.