25th May 2023
Read (Matthew 21v1-11)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
It is said that when Joe Biden visited Northern Ireland it cost £7000 per minute in security costs alone. Can you imagine? The bill for one hour of President Biden's time was almost half a million pounds. That seems extraordinary but perhaps it is merely the price one must pay to be visited by such an important figure. The cost for Christ's visit to Jerusalem did not come close to Biden's total but needless to say Jesus paid a greater price that cannot be measured in silver or gold.
The Lord's week long journey to the cross began with His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. He sent two of His disciples into the village of Bethphage to retrieve a donkey and a colt (v2). If anyone challenged the disciples they were to say "The Lord needs them" (v3). The disciples did as they were commanded (v6) and soon Jesus was riding into the city (v7). As the Lord entered Jerusalem the crowd spread their cloaks upon the road and others cut branches from the trees and laid them on the road as well (v8). These actions showed that the crowd were greeting Jesus like a King. Just as Jehu's servants laid their cloaks before him (2 Kings 9v13) so the inhabitants of Jerusalem rolled out a carpet of cloaks and branches for King Jesus.
Additionally they called out to Christ using the words of Psalm 118v25-26 shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (v9). Hosanna means "save us" or "rescue us" and so the people were calling on Jesus the Son of David to bring salvation. They pronounced a blessing upon Him and again cried out for salvation. As Jesus entered Jerusalem it was clear that the people were confident that Jesus was not only a prophet from Nazareth (v11) but also the Messiah King.
What the people could not have expected was the manner of Christ's kingship. He wouldn't enter Jerusalem as an all conquering hero, armed to the teeth and immediately destroying any Roman who stood in His way. Instead Jesus came riding humbly upon a donkey.
The Lord's entry into Jerusalem took place this way in order to fulfil what was written in Zechariah 9v9 which states "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
President Biden arrived in Northern Ireland on Air Force One with endless security and fanfare. Jesus entered Jerusalem humbly on a donkey. I'm not trying to score cheap points at the expense of Joe Biden, I merely make the point that the Lord's ways are not the ways of the world.
Jesus came not to destroy the Romans and reestablish David's throne in Jerusalem - He came as God's righteous servant who would bring salvation by His death on the cross. The Lord's visit to Jerusalem cost nowhere near the amount of the President's visit to Northern Ireland but nevertheless Christ's impact on human history is unsurpassed by any other figure or event since the beginning of time. If your cry is "Hosanna! Save me!" then Jesus is the only one who can answer. So my friends rejoice greatly and shout aloud because righteous Jesus has come, riding a donkey and bringing salvation for all who will believe. Thanks be to God.
Q55 What is forbidden in the third commandment? The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known.