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Luke 19:28-48: Blessed is the King Print E-mail
Luke
Sunday, 06 October 2013

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Before we get to Good Friday, Luke continues to teach us more about the identity of our Savior.  We noted this emphasis at the beginning of the Gospel and in one sense it has continued to be a major theme of Luke’s book.  Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man (ch. 1-2).  He is human and He is divine.  Jesus is the Messiah.  He is the Promised One, the One the prophets wrote about so long ago.  And He is the King, the One who would set His people free and reign upon His eternal throne.  In our passage this morning, we see two more pictures that teach us about the identity of our Savior.  Let’s look at these together

The Humble King (v. 28-40)

The passage begins with Jesus preparing to enter Jerusalem.  Look at verses 28-34.  Before Jesus comes into the city, He sends two disciples ahead of Him to go and get a donkey.  He gives the specific instructions about where they will find the donkey and what to say to its owners.  When they go, they find the donkey just as Jesus has said and when they speak to the owners, they let them take their donkey.  It is an interesting episode.  Some think that Jesus had prearranged to get the donkey, which is possible.  Others think that the owners were followers of Jesus and knew that it was Him asking for it.  Either way, what we see is their complete willingness to let Jesus have their animal.  They recognize Him as Lord and they know that all they have belongs to Him.  Thus, they willingly let Him have their donkey.

Yet, why a donkey?  Why does Jesus send for a donkey?  Why not a horse?  I think Jesus chooses a donkey for a couple of reasons.  First, His coming into the city on the back of a donkey is a picture of His humility.  Conquering Kings usually come to town on something a bit more powerful.  They want their power and their might to be on display.  But Jesus chooses a donkey to display His humility.  He is the King, as we will see, but He is a humble King.  Second, Jesus chose a donkey to fulfill Zechariah 9:9, which says: 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.  Thus, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey would fulfill this prophecy, which is exactly what we see.  Look at verses 35-36.  Zechariah wrote of this day hundreds of years before it came to pass.  He spoke of the humble King to come.  And if you would have been outside the city of Jerusalem on that day, you would have caught a glimpse of that very King.

How do Jesus’ disciples respond to Jesus at this point?  We have already seen that they were throwing down their cloaks for Him to ride upon, which shows their reverence of Him.  But they go further than this.  Look at verses 37-38.  Luke tells us that the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice.  I love these pictures.  There are dark days ahead.  Jesus will face severe suffering and persecution.  But at this point, we get a small taste of who He is and what He deserves, namely worship with a loud voice!  And what were they saying?  ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’  They are worshipping Jesus as the Promised King.  They have seen His miracle and heard His teaching and they believe He is the Messiah, a belief that will be challenged in the days ahead.  On this day, they worship the King and rejoice in His coming.

But not everyone joins in the celebration.  Look at verse 39.  Some of the Pharisees did not agree with what the disciples were doing.  It is not right for Jesus to be worshipped in this way.  They tell Him to put a stop to it.  Now, to be clear, if Jesus is just a man or just a good teacher, then the Pharisees are exactly right.  No mere man deserves such praise.  But Jesus is not just a good teacher.  He is the King.  He is God in the flesh.  And He is worthy of our worship and praise.  Of course, Jesus knew who He was and He was not going to stop such proclamation on this day.  Look what He says to the Pharisees in verse 40.  As Jesus came into Jerusalem, He was going to receive praise.  Even if told the disciples to stop, the very creation would cry out.  Again, we see in this a picture of Jesus’ true identity.  He is the only One in all of creation worthy of praise.  His disciples now this and even the rocks know it.  Many will reject Him, just like the Pharisees did this day, but that does not change the face that He is worthy of all praise.  He is the humble King, riding on a donkey, bringing salvation to His people.  Blessed is the King!

The Weeping Lord (v. 41-48)

As Jesus gets a glimpse of the city, He has a surprising response.  Look at verse 41.  Amazing.  The King of Kings has come to Jerusalem.  He is the Promised One.  He is the Lord of Lords and the Sovereign Ruler over all.  Yet, when He sees Jerusalem, He weeps.  Why?  Why does Jesus weep over the city?  Look at verses 42-44.  Judgment is coming for Jerusalem.  The peace that can only come through repentance and faith in Jesus has been hidden from them.  They have willfully rejected the One who has come to set them free.  And they will soon face judgment.  The events that Jesus describes in these verses would come to pass in A.D. 70 when the Romans would destroy Jerusalem.  It would be a terrible judgment for all of those living in the city.  Yet, it points to an even greater Judgment, which will take place when Jesus comes back again.  All of those who reject Jesus will face that Judgment.  And even though it will be just and even though Jesus is sovereign over all of it, He still weeps on this day.  One of my commentator’s writes: “Never imagine that God is unmoved by the sufferings of lost sinners; he has shown us his compassion in Christ.” 1  Jesus is moved to tears by His compassion for the lost.

What about you?  Have you ever wept for the lost people around you?  As we begin praying for each other and holding each other accountable for sharing the gospel, I want us to ask the Lord to give us compassion like Christ.  If you have wept for a man in prayer, then you will take every opportunity you can to share the good news of Jesus with him.  We need to be like our Savior in this regard.  We need to pray for such compassion.

Jesus’ compassion does not mean that He is soft on sin.  The next couple of verses make this plain.  Look at verses 45-46.  Religious activities in the Temple had become big business.  Granted, there was a need for buying animals to sacrifice and for money to be exchanged, but people in the Temple were exploiting that need.  They were making money off of worship.  They were taking advantage of the situation to line their pockets with all the profit that they could.  Such exploitation angered Jesus.  The Temple was to be a place of prayer not a den of robbers.  It was to be a place were people could come and worship, not be taken advantage of.  Sometimes this passage is applied to mean that no money should be exchanged at Church.  Such an interpretation goes further than what I think is happening here.  Part of our worship is offering money to support the work of the Kingdom.  I don’t think that Jesus’ actions condemn a Church for attempting to raise money for things like helping the poor, adopting orphans, or going on mission.  No, we should be raising money for such ministries.  Rather, we should not be using the Church to raise money for ourselves.  We should not be exploiting people to line our own pockets, which is a regular practice of those who proclaim the health and wealth gospel.  Jesus’ actions here condemn anyone for using ministry to exploit others and become rich.

But Jesus did more in the Temple than just drive out those looking to make a buck.  Look at verses 47-48.  Every day leading up to His passion, Jesus was spending time teaching in the Temple.  He did not just kick out the bad, He replaced the bad with the best.  Instead of exploiting people and their needs, Jesus taught them the truth.  Of course, the religious leaders did not like this.  In fact, they hated it.  They could not stand what Jesus was doing.  Perhaps His actions were costing them money.  Perhaps they did not agree with what He was saying.  Maybe they were just jealous.  Either way, they were seeking to destroy him.  What was keeping them from doing it at this point?  Apparently popular opinion had become a problem for them.  The people could not get enough of Jesus’ teaching.  They were hanging on his words.  So His enemies would have to wait for a more opportune time, which would come.

Luke gives us the pictures of Jesus as our humble King and our weeping Lord in this passage.  And we see various responses to these pictures.  The disciples are rejoicing and praising Him as the King, while the Pharisees are rejecting His reign.  The people are hanging on His every word, while the religious leaders are looking for any opportunity they can find to kill Him.  Really it just comes down to two responses: belief or unbelief.  Either you believe that He is indeed the Promised King, come to deliver us through His death and resurrection, or you do not.

So then, what about you?  What do you believe about Jesus?  Do you believe that He really did come to Jerusalem to die on a cross for your sins?  Do you really believe that on the third day He rose victorious over the grave?  If not, why not?  Why not turn from your sins and trust in Him today?  If you do, then you will follow hard after our humble King and our weeping Lord.  You will be broken for the lost and do all that you can to see them come to faith.  You will be zealous for the Church and her pure worship.  And you will join in with the disciples in saying: Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed be the King!  Amen.

1 Philip Graham Ryken, Luke Vol. 2 REC (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2009), p. 342.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 October 2013 )

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