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Matthew 21:1-19

Receive the King of Glory

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • April 02, 2023

Today we celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Jesus had an appointment with history. God had been leading up to this event from the very beginning. God’s Son, whom He sent to seek and save that which was lost, had come to fulfill that purpose by entering Jerusalem on the very day appointed by His Father.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Receive the King of Glory
Matthew 21:1-17
April 1-2, 2023                                                        

            Today we celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Jesus had an appointment with history. God had been leading up to this event from the very beginning. God’s Son, whom He sent to seek and save that which was lost, had come to fulfill that purpose by entering Jerusalem on the very day appointed by His Father.

Jesus had been teaching, healing the sick and preparing His disciples to go to Jerusalem. Many times Jesus told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem where He would suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, that He would be crucified, and that He would be raised up on the third day. This was His appointment with history. But this was not what they wanted to hear; this was not what they expected to hear.

            Peter even got into trouble with the Lord over this. Peter had different ideas, He wanted Jesus to confront the Roman legions and usher in the kingdom that would bring peace to the world. When he heard Jesus say that He would suffer and be crucified, Peter thought he should rebuke the Lord saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But Peter was the one who was rebuked, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Jesus said, “You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

            In other words, His course had been set by God. Jesus’s entry into the city of Jerusalem that day and the events that followed during that week were ordained and set by God before the foundation of the world. He came to set captives free from the bondage and condemnation of sin. God so loved the world that He sent His Son that everyone who believes in Him would have eternal life!

            From the earliest chapters of Genesis God was pointing toward Jesus whose blood would be shed as a covering for our sins as well.

            Throughout the entire Old Testament God was pointing toward this very day that we are studying here in Matthew 21. Over and over, chapter by chapter, prophecy by prophecy, it’s all there to see and understand.

Isaiah 61:1, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year the Lord…

Isaiah 53:5, He was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by his scourging we are healed…

            But the Jews missed it; they didn’t recognize the signs of the times that were right before their eyes. “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”

Illus – When Matthew and I were in Israel we had the privilege of having sabbath dinner at the home of a Jewish rabbi and his family. We had an opportunity to talk about why he rejected Jesus as the Messiah…

God had sent His Son, but they would not receive their king. Their king lived among them; the blind received sight, the deaf could hear, the lame could walk. He even raised Lazarus from the dead! These were the signs of the times and they missed it. Their eyes were blind, and their hearts were hard.

            But don’t miss it! Each one must decide for himself.  Let earth receive her King! Behold, the King of Glory! The Jews are still waiting for their Messiah, but there can be no one else that fulfills the scriptures. Daniel the prophet gave the exact number of years from “the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince.” No one can fulfill that prophecy except the one who already fulfilled it.

The purposes of God will be accomplished; as promised, Jesus entered Jerusalem on the exact day appointed by God. Nothing can stop Him, nothing can hinder Him. Today, the Eastern Gate into Jerusalem, also called the Mercy Gate, has been sealed by ancient Muslim leaders hoping to stop the Messiah from fulfilling the prophecy of His return. They even placed a Muslim grave in front of the Eastern Gate, believing that a holy man would not come through the place of the dead.

But nothing can stop Him, and nothing can hinder Him. Jesus had an appointment with history, and everyone will have an appointment with Him. Everyone will have a ‘come to Jesus meeting,’ the question is when.

I. Rejoice and be Glad in Him

  • This historic event has everything to do with the fulfilling of prophecy. We are seeing prophecy being fulfilled today. Is there any question that we are watching history unfold before our very eyes?
  • In the same way that the Jews had the writings of the Old Testament to reveal the day their king would enter Jerusalem, we have those same scriptures, as well as the New Testament to help us discern the events of the latter days.
  • God’s Word is given in advance, so we can prepare our lives and make our hearts ready and respond with faith rather than fear. 

A. Be encouraged; God’s hand is moving

  • They came to Bethphage, a town on the east side of the Mount of Olives whose name means, “house of figs.” Interesting; there’s meaning to that as well.
  • Then you see the hand of God moving even in the details of preparing the colt of the donkey on which Jesus will ride.
  • God gave His Word so that when we see the signs, we would recognize the time is drawing near and we would make our lives ready.

App – Today, we are now seeing many signs of the times Jesus gave the disciples. We should not respond in fear; rather, we should be encouraged in knowing that God’s hand is moving.

  • When you see prophecies fulfilled, they come with significance of meaning.
  • Zechariah prophesied that their king would come to them, gentle, and mounted on the colt of a donkey, a beast of burden. You see the significance of His humility and His heart to carry our burdens.

Matthew 11:29-30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 12:20-21, “A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. And in His name the Gentiles will hope.”

  • One of the most important prophecies is found in Daniel 9 where God gives an amazing degree of detail in the signs for them to discern.

Daniel 9:24-26, Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.  So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be 7 weeks and 62 weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat even in times of distress.  Then after the 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.

B. Now is a time to declare your allegiance

  • There was a multitude of people coming with Jesus into Jerusalem that day and many were crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
  • The Jewish leaders knew the crowd was hailing Jesus as the Messiah and demanded that Jesus rebuke the crowd for saying such things, but He would not.

Luke 19:39-40, Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, even the stones will cry out!”

  • In other words, this was not the time to be silent; this was the time to declare allegiance; to decide whose side they were on.

Illus – When Israel first entered the land God had promised them, their leader, Joshua, was by Jericho and saw a man standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. Joshua approached him and said, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He responded, “No; rather I now come as captain of the armies of the Lord.”

  • Jesus said, “If you’re not for Me, you’re against Me.” There are some today who are holding back their heart. They may be curious, they’ve heard interesting things, but they are still holding back their heart.
  • In other words, they are neither hot nor cold, but as we see in scripture, that’s a dangerous place to remain.

Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

  • When God calls, that’s the time to answer.

Illus – If someone doesn’t respond when you call their name, they are sending you a message. It’s like when someone knocks on the door and you ignore them.

Luke 13:34-35, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not have it. Behold, your house is left to you desolate.”

II. Our King is a Champion

  • After Jesus came into Jerusalem, He entered the Temple and saw that it had become a den of robbers.
  • He immediately overturned the tables of the money changers and those selling doves.
  • They were standing in the way of people wanting to worship and honor God.

A. Some things must be overturned

  • There is great personal application for our lives because the scripture says that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is also a picture of what God would do with those things that stand in the way of a relationship to God in our lives.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body.”

Hebrews 12:9-11, Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His Holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Illus – My wife and I received a letter once from one of our children thanking us for the discipline we gave. It was fulfillment of prophecy, “Someday you’ll thank me for this,” I used to say.

  • God wants our agreement, not our resistance. When God wins your heart, you see from His perspective. That changes everything.
  • Are there things in your life God wants overturned or cast out? When you agree with God, you want those things out of your life as well.

B. Some things must be healed

  • The very next verse says that the blind and the lame came to Him and He healed them.
  • Both cleansing the temple and healing their wounds was exactly what they needed.

Ezekiel 34:15 -16, “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God. “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick;”

  • God does both of those things for all of us. He’ll overturn what needs to be overturned and heal what needs to be healed.

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 expects fruit in our lives

  • In the morning as He was returning to the city, He came upon a fig tree that had leaves, but no fruit, and He rebuked the tree.
  • There are several places in scripture where God compared Israel to figs.

Hosea 9:10, “I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season.”

  • What kind of fruit does God want to see in our lives? God wants us to turn to Him with our whole heart and to walk by faith, trusting Him with our lives.

Illus – God wants to do a beautiful work in your life and when God sees that which is of His Spirit, that which is beautiful and glorious bearing fruit in your life, He is well pleased!

  • The disciples were focused on the fact that the fig tree withered, but Jesus pointed them to the importance of living by faith.

Habakkuk 2:4, “Behold, the righteous will live by his faith.”

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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