The following message was preached today at our church during the morning service. My hope and prayer is that you will be blessed by the eternal word of God as you read and meditate on this important subject.
Foundational Scripture: John 12:12-19 (ESV)
The Triumphal Entry
12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”
The triumphal entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem was recorded by all four gospel writers and is found additionally in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11 and Luke 19:28-40. It would be good for you to spend some time in reading each account, as each writer has a different perspective, and you can gain valuable information by reading all accounts.
Though it was not always the case, at this particular feast a great number of people gave Christ respect he so richly deserved. In reality, this feast was about the Son of God who would take away the sin of the whole world according to John 1:29. Jesus would shortly make his appearance at this most important Jewish feast. Church, Jesus deserves all the praise and adoration we can give; he is worthy of all our praise. Will you offer up your praises today?
Let’s take a closer look at the scenes presented during the feast. let me ask a few questions as we see the scriptures come alive before our eyes.
1. Who paid him respect? The word of God declares the answer to this question in verse 12 – a large crowd. This is the same crowd who had gathered for the Passover feast. They came not only to Jesus, but also to see Lazarus after Jesus raised him from the dead. What’s interesting here is the fact the Pharisees wanted to kill Lazarus so people would not follow after Jesus. Isn’t that something? Religion wants to kill you, but Christ wants to give you life.
It was those who traveled from the country side who came to give Jesus honor, not necessarily those who lived in the city. One commentator said “The nearer the temple of the Lord, the further from the Lord of the temple.” It’s often those people who are further away from God who accept him more readily than those who have religious spirits. It’s sad but true.
- Perhaps they knew him from some other place.
- Perhaps they had heard about him from a neighbor or relative.
- Perhaps they had a friend who was healed by him.
Whatever the case may be, the people knew Jesus was coming to the feast.
They were not ashamed to seek Jesus, even though they knew the religious rulers were intent on doing away with the Son of God. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Let us never be ashamed to associate with Jesus or his people. We should be thankful for the privilege of carrying the name of Jesus as we live our lives before the world today.
It was the common people who went out to meet Jesus, not the rulers or great men of the city. Some would have called that large crowd a mob, but I believe it was a group of people intent on seeing the Savior.
2. What was the occasion? Preparations were being made for the Passover to be held in Jerusalem. The Passover celebrated God’s remarkable deliverance of the Jewish people from their slavery in Egypt. God brought them out of that vast country with strong and mighty hand. It was God’s law for the Jewish people to celebrate the Passover annually from the time he brought them out as a perpetual observance.
John 11 gives us insight regarding the feast and who would attend. Look at verses 55 and 56: “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for  Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?””
This is important: the people standing in the temple asked if Jesus would come to the feast and then they actually heard he would be there. No one who seeks after God does so in vain. Look at the following scriptures:
- Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
- Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
- Acts 17:27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
- Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
When the people found out Christ was coming to the feast, they prepared themselves to offer him proper praise and recognition. How much more should the Christians stir themselves to do the same? When is the last time you actually made preparations in your heart to praise and give honor the God? Remember the story of the ten virgins? Read Matthew 25:1-12 and you will see the importance of being prepared.
3. How did they praise him? It is certain the large crowd didn’t have the keys to the city or any other device worthy of giving to one of such high honor. The scriptures don’t depict a crowd of great means or status. They weren’t able to acquire the town’s marching band or red carpet reserved for people of high office. We don’t see a picture of the crowd possessing proper instruments for use in welcoming heavenly royalty into their great city.
What they did have was something seen in great abundance – palm leaves. The word of God tells us the people cut down palm leaves and strew them in the path of their King as he rode into town on a donkey’s colt. Don’t try to get someone else’s talent or gifting; use what you have to glorify God with, and he will be pleased with your effort.
The people had palm leaves in their hands. They didn’t buy them at a local store; they labored to cut them down. We don’t know how many trees were cut in order to have a sufficient supply, but we do know there must have been many leaves. Palm leaves have meant victory and triumph for a long time.
- By his death Christ would conquer death, hell and the grave. He would triumph over principalities and powers by his great power. If anyone symbolized victory and triumph, Jesus did.
- Palms were used in the feast of tabernacles. Leviticus 23:40 and Nehemiah 8:15.
Secondly, they cried with a loud voice just as the great multitude did in Revelation 7:
A Great Multitude from Every Nation
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
It is fitting for all of us to shout with a loud voice before the King of kings and Lord of lords. The King is coming. What will you do about it? Will you be part of the large crowd who seeks Christ, or will you be someone so full of religious pride you think everything is all right?
Will you worship him today?