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Going to Jerusalem


MATTHEW 21:1-11  24 MARCH 2024


Three of the four Gospels tell us about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19. John briefly mentions Jesus coming to Jerusalem in chapter 12, but his account is not as detailed as in the other Gospels.


READ Matthew 21:1-11

When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus 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 her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the daughter of Zion,‘Behold your King is coming to you,Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David;Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;Hosanna in the highest!” When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The day we call Palm Sunday, which we celebrate today, was originally called “Lamb Selection Day.” That was the day when Jewish families chose the lamb that they would use to celebrate Passover

READ Exodus 12:1-13

Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

The lamb chosen must be perfect—without blemish. We must understand that it was not the lamb that saved the Israelites; it was the blood of the Lamb that saved them.

This day, which we call Palm Sunday, was important for them. It was the day they selected their Lamb for Passover, and it was to remember their salvation from Pharaoh.

And Palm Sunday is important to us for much the same reason.

It was the day that our Lamb was chosen for us by God, and the Lamb’s blood will be the means of our salvation from our sins.

You know, the Bible is truth, instruction, and a lot of other things to all people. Sometimes, people look at the Old Testament and the New Testament as totally separate, unrelated writings.

But this passage in Matthew 21 is not new material.

Look at Jesus’ words in verses 2 and 3 again: “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them, and immediately he will send them.”

It is very bold of Jesus to command his disciples to do what, in most people's eyes, seems to be stealing.

But, as I said, Jesus’ words here are not new material.

We find the same words in the Prophet Zechariah’s writing in Zechariah 9:9:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation; Humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

You can see here how the message in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament.

So now Jesus has the donkey to ride on into Jerusalem as prophesied long before He was physically on the earth.

Verses 7 and 8 describe other people in the crowd laying their coats on the donkey, and Jesus sitting upon coats. They also laid their coats on the road.

Then we read that people in the crowd were cutting branches off the trees and laying the branches on the road.

These acts – laying their coats on the donkey and on the road, along with laying the branches on the road – were their way of saying to Christ and to the world that they were accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord.

I want us to look at a place in Scripture where you would not expect to find any reference to the events of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Look at Leviticus. You say Leviticus? That’s the book of the Law.

But remember what I said a few minutes ago? All we read in the New Testament is not new material.

Leviticus 23:40: “Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.”

Read also 41-44.

You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’” So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the Lord.

Back to Matthew 21 – verse 9: “The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest”

Hosanna, in Hebrew, means “save, we pray.” Originally, it was used as a cry for help, and this is the cry of the people at Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.



We can be sure, though, that everyone in the crowd that day was not convinced that Jesus was the King, the Savior sent from God to save humankind from sin and damnation.

Others in the crowd were asking, “Who is this?” Those who knew who He was told others, "This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

That day, The believing crowd called on Jesus, saying, “Save us and deliver us.”

They were looking for someone to drive out the hated Romans and to bring freedom to them in their current situation of oppression from Roman rule.

What was so confusing to those who were unbelievers in the crowd was that Jesus was being proclaimed as King, as Savior, as a Conquering Warrior.

But in the eyes of those unbelievers,  a Conquering King would never ride into the city on a donkey.

He would enter the city riding a massive white stallion, banners flying, the band playing Hail to the King!

None of that was seen in Jerusalem as Jesus rode in on a borrowed donkey.

He didn’t save them from the Romans as they had expected Him to do.

Instead, He saved those who believed and obeyed His teaching from our sinful nature. He gave us victory. Not physical victory. But victory in the spiritual realm.

What He gave us is life over death for all who believe and obey.

He was the deliverer – the Savior.

He brought freedom to the world.

He is the Great Redeemer!

He gave us His plan of salvation.

And though man has distorted the way of salvation throughout the centuries since Jesus walked the earth, His plan is still the only one that saves us.

  • Romans 10:17 – “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.”

  • Hebrews 11:6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

  • Acts 2:38 – “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

  • Romans 10:8-10 –“The Word is hear you , in your mouth and in your heart – that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your hear that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

  • Mark 16:16 – “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who has disbelieved will be condemned.”

All of that brings us into a saved condition with our Lord.

Jesus didn’t leave us with a smorgasbord of conditions from which we could pick and choose the ones we liked and reject the others.

His Word is clear. The conditions He has laid out in His Word must all be accepted and acted upon in order for us to attain His gift of salvation.

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