April 09, 2017 | David Crosby
Passage: Luke 19:28-46
I was walking in my neighborhood, striding down the middle of the street. And I was praying. Suddenly there came over me such a sense of God’s presence. And I began to praise him as I walked on the road, just as these disciples did. And I told the Father that I wanted his peace and wanted to rest in his presence. And it was a glorious moment of worship.
This is Palm Sunday. Today we remember this moment in the life of Jesus. It is a moment of pure praise and joy. Jesus is enjoying it as are his disciples. I picture it as a beautiful day, maybe something like today.
Jesus makes a statement at the end of the parade in his honor. He is in part responding to the critics who want him to silence the people. In part he is lamenting the condition of his own people who do not recognize who he truly is.
Answering the question “Why Jesus?” in part involves noticing Jesus—how he acts and what he says. Take note of these things in this passage:
Meet His Need:
If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” — Luke 19:31
Jesus speaks of “the Lord.” He might be speaking of Yahweh, the God of Israel, and some suggest that he is. But he may also be speaking of himself as “Lord,” for that is his title. In any event, Jesus is living out now a script that the Lord, the God of heaven, has prepared for him.
Hear how Jesus tells his disciples his need. Jesus has a need. This need relates to our salvation. This is a moment when his true identity will be on display in Jerusalem. He needs a donkey. As Solomon rode into Jerusalem on David’s mule, and everyone knew then that he was the king, so Jesus will ride into Jerusalem on this Donkey, as the prophet Zechariah prophesied (9:9).
Hear the answer that Jesus prefers for our actions when asked “Why?” The Lord needs it.
Understand how this preparation relates to the identity of Jesus.
- When David chose Solomon to succeed him as King of Israel, he gave his mule to him and had him ride that mule into the city. The people received him with praises.
- Jesus fulfilled the prophesy of Zechariah: “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey” (Zech. 9:9).
The critics cannot give the Lord what he needs on this day. They are too caught up in their own opinions.
- God always deserves praise. They could interpret this moment in another way and join in the celebration.
- God cannot use the critical spirit.
Psalm 106:33: “They made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips” (Moses enduring the complaint and criticism of the children of Israel in the wilderness).
Give Him Praise:
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” — Luke 19:40.
Note the spontaneous honor and praise. They have come over the crest of the mountain on the east side of Jerusalem, and they are now going down the Mount of Olives towards the Kidron Valley. They can now see the walls of Jerusalem and the Temple across the valley.
- They are placing their coats on the road. They are waving palm branches, and they are singing Hosanna, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord” (v37). The entire scene is one of wonder and great historical significance.,
- Worship is a powerful thing. It turns the heart away from yourself and toward the God who made you. It changes your focus and your perspective and your understanding.
- Worship changes your heart. If you are upset today, I highly recommend that you open your mouth and sing the songs with all your heart. Thank God for all that he has done. If you are feeling down or bitter or confused, give God the honor due his name.
See how praise draws objection and criticism.
- Praise is a pure response of the heart to God.
- The Pharisees are upset that Jesus is receiving this high praise without rebuking the disciples.
- Jesus turns their objection on its head. Not only is this throng doing the proper thing in hailing Jesus as King, this moment was ordained by divine providence. If they were to withhold their praise, the rocks would start singing.
Understand the orchestration of this moment by God.
- All of this has come together so that Jesus of Nazareth may be recognized for who he truly is.
- This is his moment on earth when he is given the honor due his name.
See how Jesus walks through it.
The critics miss the entire joyful moment. They cannot praise God because they are too out of sorts.
Receive His Peace:
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace” — Luke 19:42.
See Jesus in agony for his own people who would not acknowledge his coming.
Hear Jesus predicting a future that will come to pass.
Understand what brings peace.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. They have rejected him and therefore rejected peace.
Jesus knows what is going to happen to him. Despite the acclaim that he receives on this day, his enemies will soon grab hold of him and accomplish what they have resolved to do. He is going to die in Jerusalem, the city into which he rode on this donkey.
Jesus is receiving this praise because it is right and proper to do so. And he will also lay down his life because that is what he came to do.
The critics are all stirred up. They have lost their peace. They will not receive the peace of God because the way God is working does not fit their style or program.
- A critical spirit will agitate you like a lawn mower spraying dust and pollen. People will have to wear masks around you to keep from getting poisoned.
Enjoy His Presence:
“…you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (44)
God came to them. God came to them. God came to them, and they did not recognize him. God comes to us in specific times and places. The greatest tragedy of life would be for us to fail to comprehend that we were visited by God.
Wisdom would have us watch for God’s coming and recognize the event as the work of God.
Understand the consequence of refusing Jesus as Lord. Judgment falls upon the person who does not recognize the coming of the Lord.
The critics have completely missed the presence of God, which is the saddest thing of all. They are so focused on the minutia that they are unable to see the larger picture of what God is doing right now in their world.
- That critical spirit will certainly lead you to miss a lot of what God is doing.
- Sometimes you need to rest and relax in the presence of the living God. Let him carry you, sustain you, comfort you, and keep you.