Jesus Is… – Matthew 21:1-11 – Pastor Josh
Jesus is the countercultural savior we all need. Jesus was countercultural because the people in Jerusalem in His day had many hopes and expectations of a savior, but Jesus doesn’t fit those hopes and expectations. He is countercultural, paradigm shifting, and turns our world upside down.
(1) Though Jesus is a king, He is humble. Mt. 21:1-5. Jesus had all the right in the world to enter Jerusalem on a strong and mighty horse wearing the finest of clothes and jewelry but instead He presents Himself in such a way that is humble and lowly.
Jesus is fulfilling this prophecy from the Old Testament prophet Zechariah. This prophecy is lining up the Messiah to arrive to His people on a simple beast of burden. All that means is donkeys were used for labor, for carrying things around, for travel, for farming. Since Jesus would be declaring Himself a king in the midst of Jerusalem during the Passover arguably the busiest time of the year in Jerusalem, He knew exactly what He was doing by fulfilling this prophecy as He presented Himself to the people of Jerusalem in such a way that reveals His humility, His approachability, and His heart. Jesus could have come in on a horse like kings and emperors did after returning from victory in battle. Instead, He chose to humble Himself by choosing such lowly animals as donkeys.
Though Jesus is a king, He is humble. And because He is humble, He leads us to be humble with one another and the world around us.
How else does the way Jesus makes Himself known shift our worldview to become more like Him?
(2) Though Jesus is humble, He is praiseworthy. Mt. 21:6-9. While Jesus downplayed Himself, He still deserves all of the accolades and glory and more. He deserves our full support and praise.
Just as a reminder, we're here just outside of Jerusalem watching Jesus give directions to His disciples to pick up the donkeys for Him.
Almost as a response to what the disciples have already done for Him, the crowds begin to spread their cloaks on the road before Jesus along with cut palm tree branches as He enters Jerusalem.
The crowds laying down their cloaks before Jesus represent their recognizing of Him as a king and their submission to Him. In 2 Kings when Elisha pronounced Jehu to be king, his fellow officers laid down their cloaks in celebration! In this way, the crowds recognized Jesus as a king.
The palm branches then are actually a symbol of Jewish nationalism and victory. During the time of the early centuries before Christ, between the old and New Testament, the Maccabees are known to have raised up palm branches in victory once they retook Jerusalem and the temple after it had been desecrated by Antiochus. Even their coins at the time had palm branches on them symbolizing nationalism, generally for Jews and for Romans.
Then in verse nine it says that the crowds went before Jesus and were following Him and shouting, “Hosanna to the son of David!” Hosanna coming from the Jewish word for “O save” which brought about a connection to the psalms that were traditionally sung as the crowds entered into Jerusalem every year for the Passover Festival. Thus, bringing about even more thoughts and ideations of Jesus being the Messiah and connecting their messianic hopes to Him.
Even if the crowds didn’t fully realize who Jesus was, just as we don’t fully, He still deserves our praise and to live in response to Him.
How else does the way Jesus makes Himself known shift our worldview? The third and final point is this…
(3) Though Jesus is praiseworthy, He is perplexing. Mt. 21:10-11. Just as we saw the crowd's mixed reaction to Jesus, not only they, but we too, get lost truly understanding His identity, purpose and character.
Even as Jesus continued walking into the city and all the hubbub surrounding Him, there are still those wondering who He is. Looking at the city being stirred up - this is the idea of being shaken and wondering about Jesus’ identity.
People everywhere recognize that Jesus was an amazing historical figure. Reading of His life and ministry, I’d say most people would agree He was a good guy. But who is Jesus to YOU?
In light of the Old Testament, it makes sense that Jesus is who He says He is: the Messiah King of Israel. And if Jesus is the Messiah King of Israel, that means He’s also the Savior King of our lives. Jesus is God in human flesh, the crucified and risen Savior for you and for me! He is the only one who can rescue us from our brokenness and is the only one we have ever really needed. So, will we choose to abandon Him or cling to Him?
Please use this link to the Holy Week Day by Day Outline: https://tinyurl.com/554sjpvs
This is Amazing Grace, All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, Hosanna, Cannons, Doxology.