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Whiteville Bapt. 3-25-18

MESSAGE:  3-25-2018 - "CROWN  HIM WITH MANY CROWNS" - Matt. 21:1-11

INTRODUCTION:  Today's message, which I have titled, "Crown Him with Many Crowns," relates to the coronation of a royal person.  Have you ever heard of Queen Victoria of England?  Her coronation as Queen took place in 1838 in a ceremony that lasted five hours and involved two changes of dress for the new queen.  It was an extravaganza that cost Nine Million Dollars by today's values. The crown she received would be worth 85 million dollars today!  [This came from Wikipedia]

The coronation of Jesus Christ as Israel's long-awaited King was totally different from that of Queen Victoria. It involved Jesus riding, not in a golden carriage like the Queen, but on the colt of a donkey. His audience consisted of thousands of pilgrims from Galilee and Judea who waved palm branches and threw garments down in front of Him. It was not lavish but a humble coronation.  But this was a coronation like no other because Jesus was and still is a King like no other!

BIBLICAL/HISTORICAL CONTEXT:  This passage is the account of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Sunday, the beginning of Passover week, which became Passion week - because, on Friday, Jesus was crucified. In the Christian calendar, it is called Palm Sunday. This event is also a continuation of the subject of His identity. The topic of His identity started with the question Jesus asked His disciples back in Matt. 16:13, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" In verse 15 He followed with another question, "Who do you say that I am?" The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem was the formal presentation of Himself to people and  leaders of Israel as the Messiah.

I.  THE PREPARATION, Read Matt. 21:1-7

1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once." 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'"  6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.

Jesus and His disciples traveled 17 miles from Jericho to Bethany along the Roman road climbing about 3000 feet in elevation. Sidebar: This is why the NT says that people go "up" to Jerusalem. It is referring to elevation, not direction. We say to go "up," meaning to go north. The little village of Bethphage ("house of figs") was slightly farther west than Bethany on the S.E. slope of the Mount of Olives.

Verses 1-3 - Notice, Jesus knew exactly the location of these animals and the disposition of their owners.  Dr. John MacArthur's commentary on the Bible said about Jesus in this passage, "Such detailed foreknowledge clearly shows Jesus' divine, all-knowing nature."

This is the only record of Jesus ever riding an animal. He did this in order to recreate the return of King David to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 19-20), and the entrance of Solomon for his enthronement as King (1 Kings 1:38-40). A king riding either a donkey or a mule meant that he came in peace, while if a king rode a horse, normally a white stallion, it indicated that he came as a conquering warrior.  In this case, Jesus rode on the colt of a donkey to demonstrate His humility.

Verses 4-5 - Matthew refers to Isaiah and Zechariah, two OT prophets who prophesied regarding the coming Messiah. Their prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus.  So this was the King's final and official offer of Himself, in accord with the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9."

One last time, Jesus was offering Himself to Israel as the Messiah. Modern skeptics say that Jesus never planned for any of this to happen this way- that He somehow got caught up in the festive atmosphere, which led to the frenzied crowd claiming Him as their King, resulting in His eventual crucifixion. They say Jesus was confused, and didn't truly under- stand what was happening or why.  Skeptics argue that all of these events occurred because the crowd was uncontrollable.  This is total nonsense:  Nothing could be further from the truth.  All of His careful preparation shows that Jesus was in complete control.

II.  THE PRESENTATION, Read Matt. 21:8-9

8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

According to several commentators, during Passover Jerusalem would swell in population by at least 10-fold. Some estimate that there were as many as two million people in and around Jerusalem during Passover. So, the entry by Jesus, with this parade-like atmosphere, means He would have been by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people! In those times, it was customary for people to recognize a royal personage by spreading their garments on the road ahead of the monarch - see 2 Kings 9:13. It was their version of what we would call "rolling out the red carpet." In line with that custom, people would also throw palm branches on the ground ahead of the procession, which signified that it was joyous occasion.  That's where the name "Palm Sunday" comes from.

The text reveals that there were people who walked ahead of Jesus as well as others who were following behind Him.  It's likely these were made-up of two groups: (1) A large following that had come with Him from Galilee and (2) Those in Jerusalem who had heard of Him and anticipated His arrival. So, there were two gatherings - Galileans and Judeans who came together in a huge mass of humanity on this day in Jerusalem, with Jesus Christ as the center of attention - what a scene it must have been!

Their words of praise came from Psalm 118:25-26, which the Jews traditionally recited at Passover as part of "the great Hallel," collected in Ps. 113-118. "Hosanna" means "Save us now!" and "Son of David" is the messianic title that signified the kingly role that the Messiah would play. "Hosanna In the highest" meant "Glory to God in the highest."

So, how did the crowd see Jesus at this point? It's clear they were praising God for sending the Messiah and crying out to Him for deliverance.   Notice that these people were proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah, and He acknowledged it-accepted His Messiahship

MAIN BIBLICAL TRUTH:  All of these events in Jesus' triumphal entry completely validate that He was then and still is the long-awaited Messiah foretold by OT prophecy!

HOWEVER, there was a problem. For the most part, the crowd knew who He was (His public ministry had by then made Him famous), and many were familiar with OT prophecy.  But, He wasn't the type of Messiah they were expecting-one who would deliver them from the bondage of Rome and restore Israel's past glory-i.e., a political and military figure. At first glance, they mistakenly believed that Jesus was this type of messiah.  But that was never His mission. Jesus didn't come to deliver them (or us) from political or economic oppression, but to "seek and save that which was lost" (Luke 18:10)-He came to save us from our sins and to reconcile us to a holy and righteous God.

APPLICATION:  People today want to make Jesus into a type of messiah who will meet all of their needs and solve all of their problems. They mistakenly think that if they believe in Him, get Baptized, and join a church, that they will thereafter enjoy a life of health and material wealth.  But Jesus never promised us these things-because that's not who He is or why He came. Jesus isn't a genie in a bottle waiting to pop out and grant our every wish.  We can't place our own selfish ideas on Jesus; we must worship Him in Spirit and Truth as the Jesus Christ revealed to us by the Word of God.

III. THE REACTION, Read Mt. 21:10-11

10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" 11 And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee."

The entire city was stirred up and shaken over this scene, and they asked the natural question: "Who is this man?" In other words, "who is causing all of this commotion?"

Among the crowd, there was a mixed bag of reactions to Jesus' triumphal entry.  Many were confused as to who He was and His reason for coming. Although Jesus was no stranger to Jerusalem, no one had expected Him to come riding into the city in the midst of a horde of people singing His praises and declaring Him to be their Messiah! Conspicuously absent from His welcome were the official representatives of the nation.  Oh yes, they already knew about Him but had rejected Him as Messiah. In fact, as far back as Matt. 12:14, the religious leaders had been making plans to discredit and, indeed, to destroy Him.

Ironically, in this crowd, you had the same types of individuals who always seem to "follow" (using the word in the broad sense) Jesus even today.  So, let's identify and describe them:

1.  The committed. This group included Jesus' Disciples. But, even those closest to Him, who believed in Him, at times had questions about who He was. In fact, it didn't become perfectly clear to them until they were filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-13.

2.  The convicted. They were attracted by His message, aware of their need for a Savior, but wanted to hear more. They were seekers.

3.  The confused. This group could not get their head around who Jesus was and what His mission was. They needed to hear more.

4.  The curious. These had seen some of Jesus' miracles and wanted to see what He would do next. They followed Him primarily for the entertainment value, to see if He might perform another miracle, like when He fed the 5,000 (Mt. 15:32-39).

5.  The counterfeit. This group appeared to be faithful followers; they used the right words; they blended into the religious crowd, but were not genuine disciples of Jesus Christ. Judas Iscariot was in this group.

6.  The nay-sayers. This group consisted mostly of religious leaders who wanted to discredit Jesus and eventually see Him put to death. The Scribes and Pharisees headed up this crowd.

APPLICATION QUESTION:  Do you know anyone who is in one of the last five groups mentioned above-someone who hasn't taken the final step of repenting and accepting Jesus as their savior?  If you do, you should tell this person that Jesus doesn't leave us the option of a neutral position.  They need to know that if they aren't fully committed, the window of opportunity will close at some point, and they have no assurance of tomorrow.

CONCLUSION:  The coronation of Jesus in Matthew 21 was a coronation of humility because, in His first coming, Jesus came to us as the Suffering Servant. The triumphal entry occurred during Passover because Jesus was and is our Passover (see 1 Cor. 5:7)!  He is "...the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"(John 1:29).  Just four days after His triumphal entry, most of those same people who had cried "Hosanna!," shouted, "away with Him, crucify Him!" (John 19:15).

Jesus Christ will come a second time, not as Suffering Servant but as the Judge. The real coronation of Jesus is recorded in Revelation 5:11-14. At that time, all of heaven and earth will bow down and worship Him!