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Matthew 21:1-19

The Splendor of the King

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • April 10, 2022

This is a story about God on the move. The road to the cross comes down the Mount of Olives with Jesus riding on the foal of a donkey with the crowds shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” But the road to the cross also brings Jesus in direct confrontation.

This story is about the response. When God sends His Son, that requires a response.

Some will receive Him as King; some will resist and harden their hearts. How will you respond? God loves you and He sent His Son to knock on the door of your heart so that you would also receive Him as your King.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

The Splendor of the King
Matthew 21:1-19                                            
April 9-10, 2022

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not just the greatest day on the calendar, it’s the greatest day in all human history. Everything before looks forward to that event and everything after looks back to it.

The road to the cross began before the foundation of the world. God sent His Son to reconcile the world to Himself, and the entire plan of God rests on the cross at Calvary and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

The road to the cross comes to Jerusalem as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on this day which begins what is famously called the “Passion Week.” He rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey; He taught in the temple, He healed the sick, and He confronted the Jewish leaders. Later that week He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, arrested and then brought before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, who had Him beaten, scourged and crucified.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, crowds were casting palm branches on the road in front of Him, shouting from Psalm 118, “Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David;” declaring Him to be the long-awaited Messiah, the King of Israel, and the hope of the world.

There was anticipation in the air, something big was about to happen. They had been looking, longing, hoping for someone who could overthrow Rome.  It’s very much like today in the sense that there is so much wrong in our nation that people are hoping and looking for someone who can heal our nation and bring this broken world to a better place.

Who better than the man who raised Lazarus from the dead and who confronted and humiliated the Jewish leaders that everyone knew were corrupt.

But Jesus didn’t come to conquer Rome. Jesus came to conquer something much greater than Rome; He came to conquer death; He came to become the Resurrection and the Life; to become the Way for us to be reconciled to God as our Father. He came to pay the penalty for our sin so we could be set free and have a life to live for eternity!

This is a story about God on the move. God is sending His Son. He is on the road to the cross. Some will receive Him as King; some will resist and harden their hearts. But it’s also a story that is personal; how will you respond?

Did you ever step back and ask what God thinks of sinners? Did He look down on this world and say, “Look at all those wonderful people. They’re so adorable I can’t help myself; I must have them with Me in heaven.” Like when my wife sees a puppy or like when many see a baby, they’re just so adorable you must have one.

No, God looks at sinners and sees they’re in trouble. God loves you and He sent His Son to seek and to save that which was lost. God sent His Son because He loves sinners and wants to reconcile sinners to Himself.

The story begins with those who receive Him with joy. The crowds are shouting and celebrating; they have found their King!

But the story is also about those who refuse to receive Him, to open their hearts. There were many that resisted the Holy Spirit, kicking against the goads, stiffening their necks and hardening their hearts. Why? Because they want to be king of their own lives; master of their own destiny, captain of their own soul.

Here’s the problem, people don’t have enough power to become king of their own soul; master of their own destiny. When they stand before God on judgment day, they won’t be able to say, “I don’t recognize the authority of this court.”

There is a day fixed when every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

This is a story about God on the move. The road to the cross comes down the Mount of Olives with Jesus riding on the foal of a donkey with the crowds shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” But the road to the cross also brings Jesus in direct confrontation. 

This story is about the response. When God sends His Son, that requires a response. 

 Some will receive Him as King; some will resist and harden their hearts. How will you respond? God loves you and He sent His Son to knock on the door of your heart so that you would also receive Him as your King.

I.  Rejoice that God has Made a Way

  • When Jesus came into Jerusalem, the crowd was shouting, “Hosanna, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” from Psalm 118, the Psalm for the Messiah. In that Psalm is the right response to the King…

Psalm 118:23-24, This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

  • Many have misinterpreted that phrase, “This is the day which the Lord has made.” Sometimes people will arise to a beautiful day and respond, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
  • It has nothing to do with the weather. This is the day of salvation; God has made a way when there was no way and that’s something to be glad about. That’s something to shout about.
  • What will your response be? We know from the other gospels that there were different people in the crowd. If you look at this crowd, you will find yourself there somewhere.        

A.  Some are curious

  • Many had heard of Jesus; His fame had spread throughout Israel as the One who healed the blind and cast out demons. They wanted to know more about Him.
  • Many would have come from the region around the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had done many miracles.
  • It had become well known that Jesus brought Lazarus back to life after he had been dead for four days.

John 12:17-18, So the people, who were with Him when He        called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from         the dead, continued to testify about Him. For this            reason also, the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.

  • There are many today who have heard of Jesus. They want to know more. They’re curious.  They’re even interested.  They haven’t closed the door of their hearts, nor have they opened their hearts.  
  • The problem is that many stay in a place of indecision far too long. You don’t know how long you have.  Today is the day of salvation. Rejoice that God has made a way!

B.  Some are offended

  • Others had heard the report of the wonderful things Jesus did, but they were offended at His power and His influence. It was threatening to think that He could have come from God.
  • Verses 15-16 — When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, they became indignant! That is simply an unbelievable response, but it shows their heart.
  • Why were they offended? Because they were threatened by Jesus, and they were afraid.

John 11:48, 53 “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” … So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.

  • Today, there are also many who are offended at Jesus, concerned about what they would have to give up if the reports of Him are true. They only want God on their terms; but God doesn’t do terms. He is the King of glory.

C.  Some respond with a willing heart

  • Many in the crowd were convinced that Jesus was the One who God had promised to send – and they followed with a willing heart.
  • They had seen the miracles; the blind could see, the lame can walk, He even raised Lazarus from the dead. They responded with their heart.
  • The donkey in the story is interesting. When the disciples went to find the donkey, the owner responded, “Why are you untying the colt?”  As soon as he heard, “The Lord has need of it,” he sent it willingly.  What an honor.
  • The Lord used many things in His ministry; what an honor to be used. He used Peter’s boat to teach from, he used five loaves and two small fish of a boy, he borrowed the upper room, He borrowed the donkey, and He was buried in a borrowed tomb, though He didn’t need it for long, He only needed the tomb for three days.
  • What an honor to be used by God. God has decided to include us in what He is doing!

Illus – When you invite someone to hear the gospel and God uses you to change someone’s life, what an honor!

  • When your heart is stirred and your spirit is moved, because of what God has done for you, you want to do something for the Lord.

II.  God Expects a Response           

  • God sent His Son, His only Son, with the message of love and the offer of reconciliation. When God gives an invitation, when God sends an offer of reconciliation, that demands a response.

Illus – When someone sends an invitation with the letters RSVP, it’s asking for a response. The more important the one who sent it, the more important it is to respond. If you receive an invitation to hear a time-share presentation, that’s one thing, but when God’s Son is knocking on the door of your heart, with an offer of reconciliation, that’s another thing altogether.

A.  Jesus stands at the door and knocks

  • God made an appointment with Israel exactly 483 years before. The prophecies of Daniel 9 were clear. The exact number of years from the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem to the coming of Messiah were clearly written. The Triumphant Entry is the exact fulfillment of that prophecy in Daniel.
  • When God sends His Son with a date fixed and miracles along with it, that demands a response.
  • Jesus made it personal in Revelation 3.

Revelation 3:20, Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

  • They were told in advance; it was right before their eyes. Jesus performed all the signs that were expected of the Messiah, and now He is walking right into the center of Jerusalem. That demands a response.
  • When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent messengers to ask Jesus, “Are you the One, or do we look for another?”

Luke 7:22, He said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard; the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

  • Just days before Jesus came into Jerusalem, He raised Lazarus from the dead! Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophecies of scripture!

Illus – What is the probability that one man could randomly fulfill that many prophecies? Astronomical!

B.  God grieves when we don’t respond

  • When Jesus descended from the Mount of Olives and saw Jerusalem before Him, He began to weep.

Matthew 23:37-38, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!”

  • Jewish music is traditionally written in minor keys which are dark and sad. Jews say this is because their Messiah has not yet come; they are still waiting.
  • What’s sad is that their Messiah did come, but they did not recognize Him at His coming. In fact, this is why Jesus weeps as He descended from the Mount of Olives…
  • God’s plans for us is that we be blessed; God wants us to choose life.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

C.  God may overturn some things

  • Jesus came on a foal of a donkey; a sign of peace. He uses love rather than power.

Romans 2:4, Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

  • He wants us to love Him as a response to how much He has loved us.

Illus – He stands at the door and knocks. He has the power to blow the door off its hinges and intimidate us into submission, but then we wouldn’t choose willingly.

App – He is meek, but He is not weak. Meekness is power under control. “I am” He said, and the crowd fell back when they arrested Him.

  • Why was Jesus angry? He loved Israel so much that He would not allow the Jewish leaders to keep people from God.
  • What makes God angry? Anything that keeps people away from God; obstacles in the way.
  • If God overturns some things in your life, you can be certain it’s because these are things that stand in the way of the fullness of God’s favor and blessings in your life.

1 When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them on immediately.” Now this [a]took place so that what was spoken through [b]the prophet would be fulfilled:

Say to the daughter of Zion,
Behold your King is coming to you,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their cloaks on them; and He sat on [c]the cloaks. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. Now the crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,

[d]Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord;
[e]Hosanna in the highest!”

10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

12 And Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those who were selling and buying on the temple grounds, and He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He *said to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.”

14 And those who were blind and those who limped came to Him in the temple area, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple area, “[f]Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant, 16 and they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus *said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘From the mouths of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” 17 And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

18 Now in the early morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves alone; and He *said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.

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