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Revelation of Our King

Palm Sunday Sermon - Luke 19:28-39


Preached by Tyler Vela
At Trinity Presbyterian Church
In
Hinsdale, IL

Unlike most of the events of Jesus‟ life on earth which are depicted in two or three of the
gospel accounts, very few events are depicted in all four gospels. Only events like the
feeding of the 5000, the crucifixion, and the resurrection are treated in Matthew, Mark,
Luke, and John. But today we are looking at one incident in the life of Jesus that the
gospel writers thought was so pivotal that all of them included it. It was necessary for the
movement of each of their gospels. Today in the Ecclesiastical calendar, we celebrate the
Triumphal Entry. This was that day when Jesus, the true King of Israel, was ushered into
Jerusalem with shouts of praise and joy.

So what makes this event so important? Why did all four gospel writers include this
episode as vital to their portrayal of his life and death?

Because it is a pivotal moment in the life of our Messiah – our Redeemer King

But before we turn to our passage, let us turn to our God in prayer.

PRAY.

I want to begin by first telling you not about the king, but about the people in the crowd.
You see, they weren‟t all there for the same reasons.

They had different hopes for this Jesus, this Messiah, their King.

Those who want to see or experience another miracle – to see this Houdini of the Holy
Land perform another magic trick.

They had seen or heard about the exorcisms – demons cast out one, two, or a thousand at
a time. And they had heard him teach with an authority that no other preacher had ever
claimed. They had seen the healings – the blind gaining sight, the cripples walking, a
mutilated hand returned to be good as new.

In fact, just a of couple days earlier Jesus had performed the most pronounced miracle of
his career. He had raised Lazarus from the dead! Now we know from the Scriptures that
Jesus had raised more than just Lazarus from the dead. But the others had been private,
behind closed doors, invitation only so to speak. But when Jesus raised Lazarus from the
dead, all of the paparazzi were there. Everyone saw it! Lazarus came out of the tomb, still
embalmed and wrapped in grave clothes. They could smell the stink of death upon him!
We know from John‟s passage that those who had seen Jesus call Lazarus out from the
tomb were going throughout Jerusalem, shouting aloud what Jesus had done! He did it!
He did it! He raised someone from the dead! I saw it! And John tells us that on account of
the testimony of these people, the crowds came out to inaugurate their king.

But this is not the first time that the Jews had seen a miracle and tried to set Jesus up as
their King. We remember in John 6 where Jesus fed of the 5000, that the Jews actually
tried to make Jesus king by force. But Jesus rebuked them. He saw their hearts were
selfish and he said that it was not his time to assume the throne.

WHAT?! How could it not be time for the king to be king? Because Jesus wasn‟t that
kind of a king…

“Give us a miracle! They were like Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar who sang Prove to
me that you’re no fool, walk across my swimming pool!”

They wanted a sign! – They were like the Pharisees who asked Jesus to prove his identity
by working a miracle. But Jesus said that none will be given but the sign of Jonah, the
sign of Jesus dying and descending into the belly of the earth for three days.

Then there were those who wanted to overthrow Rome. In 63 BC The Roman General
Pompeii conquered Israel and put the Jews back under oppression, they were no longer in
exile, but they still were not free.

We know that sometime near 6-4 BC the puppet King Herod finished the Temple
restoration and the people must have thought, “Surely we will be delivered soon! We
have out temple back! We can finally worship God in splendor!” But soon after, King
Herod the Builder would become King Herod the Killer! When he was told that the
messiah was born, the one who would be hailed the true king of Israel, he slaughter of the
new born sons in all of Israel to protect his rule! And Israel sunk back into despair.

In about AD 10 Zaduk the Pharisee leads a rebellion against Rome that was WILDLY
unsuccessful. About 2000 men are captured and crucified. But they were not simply hung
up at Golgotha or some out of the way place. They were hung along major roadways
surrounding Jerusalem. If we were to place these crosses along the 20 Miles on 290 from
here to Chicago – that would be one crucifix every 52 feet! It was a constant reminder of
what Rome did to rebels!

One historian estimated that there were one average 5 – 10 rebellions every year during
the last decade of Jesus life. And here they were on the edge of another riot!

This was the busiest time in the life of Israel! MILLIONS of Jews descended on
Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover.
They knew the prophecies!

From Bethlehem Nazarene Poor are fed


Blind See Deaf hear Mute speak
and the dead are raised…

That he would be from the tribe of Judah, and specifically in the Line of David.
In fact, in 1 Kings 1 when David was establishing Solomon as the successor to his
throne, he had Solomon ride into Jerusalem… on a donkey.

So NOW is the time! Now Jesus is riding into to Jerusalem! Now their king is here!!!

“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 foul of a donkey.”

So they threw down their coats and waived Palm branches – this was a common OT way
to dignify a King.

And they shouted aloud from Psalm 118, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of
the Lord.” For those of you with Jewish friends, you may know that this Psalm is still
read at some of the Jewish feasts even to today as a greeting to those in attendance.

Except instead of it being used as the greeting for those who were attending the Feast of
Passover, who are still awaiting the Messiah… it is applied to the Messiah himself! Jesus
is the blessed one… the ONE who comes in the name of the Lord.

They cried out “Hosanna” – In Hebrew it is a plea, - hoshi-anah - it means “Save us


now!” And it is exactly what he planned to do… but he had a much greater salvation in
mind than simple freedom from Rome.

“Give us freedom! Prove to me that you’re divine, drive out these Roman swine!

We know what this is like... we all recently watched the inauguration of President Obama
where millions of people descended on Washington D.C. Now love him or leave him, the
excitement surrounding the election of Obama was tangible!

People wanted change. People wanted justice. People wanted stability.

And I‟m not here to say whether or not Obama was the right choice, but my point is that
this crowd and the excitement in Jerusalem should not be so hard for us to imagine.

And it seemed so clear! Jesus was their king! If his followers didn‟t say it, then even the
stones that were used to build the city itself would have cried out “This is your King!!! “

But something went wrong…


Jesus didn‟t come carrying a sword… Jesus allowed himself to be arrested…

In can imagine his followers saying, “What is going on…? Did he give up…? Is he
abandoning us back to Rome…?”

And the shouts of “Hosanna!” slowly faded into the distance…


Then he makes no defense at his trial… he completely submits to the will of Rome.

And we hear a new rumbling….

“crucify…Crucify…CRUCIFY HIM! We have no king by Caesar! Crucify him!”


Jesus was ushered into to Jerusalem as its King… but stumbled out of it viewed as a
criminal. Consigned to death on the cross…

They even hung the sign over his head in three languages… “King of the Jews…” “King
of the Jews…” “King of the Jews…” and they thought, what a joke.

We expect this from the Pharisees, and from the Romans… to them Jesus, if he really
was a king was threat. He would take away the ability of the Pharisees to exploit those
who came to the temple to worship and to line their own pockets. He would change their
comfortable way of life. And the Romans didn‟t want a new upstart to try and lead
another rebellion. So they were squashing a possible threat to the kingdom.

But what about his own followers… What happened? How could his people so
misunderstand what his purpose in coming to earth was? They read the same scriptures
we do! Even his disciples didn‟t understand it at the time. It was only after the
resurrection that the apostle John says, “that they remembered that these things had been
written about him and had been done to him.”

Why?

It is because he didn‟t act like a king; at least not any other king. He was poor and
humble, the son of a carpenter. He came from an obscure region in the nation. He
associated with sinners and the lowly of society.
What kind of king does that?

He performed the tasks of the lowest servants; he washed the feet of his disciples. He is
the rejected father who waits by the fence to see the instant his runaway son returns. He is
the spurned lover who goes and spends all he has to buy his bride back from prostitution.
What kind of king does that?

He is the king who allows us to call him by his first name and to approach him as sons.
He is the king who I sin against, and yet steps down off the throne, takes off his crown,
and takes my punishment upon himself!
What kind of king does that?

Our king does. Our king does that! This why we throw our crowns at his feet. That is all
our crowns are good for.

But this is not a license for self-righteousness. How can we think that we are better than
our unbelieving family? Or neighbors? Or co-workers? Or friends? The gospel is not
God‟s stamp of approval for us to become the very religious hypocrites that Jesus
rebuked during his time on earth! The difference between those of us with the hope of
heaven and those without is not the goodness of our works… but the goodness of our
God and King!

Yet we can still ask: “How do we as believers, on the other side of the resurrection, make
sure that we don‟t come to another false understanding of our king?”

Do we see him as a Genie in a lamp there only to bless us when we call on him? Is he a
senile, old, grey bearded grandfather who is entirely permissive of what we do as long as
we try to be good and show up for church on Christmas and Easter? Are we looking for a
political overthrow of our enemies, to re-establish Christendom? Do we just want bread
for our bellies or freedom from our foes?

The best way to guard against a skewed belief is to study the true one. And thankfully for
us there is an entire book of the Bible devoted to telling us what our king is like.
Yet sadly we rarely read it. We are often so intimidated by its language, its imagery, and
its style that we are willing to overlook its content.

But we have the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Penned by the Apostle John,
Revelation was intended to comfort a church suffering under Roman occupancy and
oppression..

I will not give you detailed interpretation on the symbols in the book or promote a certain
millennial scheme. I wont have time to tell you what the locusts are, what the seven
trumpet judgments represent, who the Beast and the False prophet are.

What I am going to tell you is that this is a book about our King. Our Bibles title the book
simply Revelation, but John calls it the Revelation OF JESUS CHRIST! It is not a road
map to the Armageddon or a compass to help you navigate through the newspaper
headlines concerning the middle eastern conflict. It is a beautiful and awe-inspiring
treatment on our glorious king, Jesus Christ.

The first description of the Church is found in 1:5-6 and says that Christ freed us from
our sins by his blood to make us a KINGDOM… We are not a just a community of
believers, we are not just a family of faith, we are a Kingdom… and this means that we
have a king… and John goes on to tell us in the next 22 chapters exactly what is our king
and his kingdom are like.
With what little time I have, I have distilled the major themes concerning Christ in the
book of Revelation down to three. There are so many more and I encourage you to be
brave and delve into this book on your own and ask yourself what God is revealing about
Christ in this book.

We have all been told over and over again that Revelation is the only book that comes
with a blessing. But we often miss what the blessing actually says. It is not simply for
having checked off the box for reading it. The blessing is for the one who stands and
reads the book aloud to the congregation and for the congregation who hears and who
KEEPS what is contained with in it.

But if the book is only about the future; if it is only about God‟s wrath on the worldly
system and if the church is not even involved because it has been raptured before any of
what is described occurs, then there is nothing for us to keep. But on the other hand, if the
book is about our king and our right response to his reign over us and his sovereignty
over all of creation, then there is something for us to keep. There is a message for us to
internalize, and cling to, and to feed our hope.

But I only have time to give you three major ways that Christ, our king is depicted in
Revelation. Three different ways that the Apostle John describes the king that we serve.

First, John tells us that we serve a GLORIOUS, VICTORIOUS king.


Revelation 1 describes the Glorious appearance of Christ

 Voice like a trumpet and like the roar of many waters


 Clothed in majesty – IN A LONG WHITE ROBE
 Hair as white as snow - pure
 Eyes like a flame of fire, they pierce the soul
 Feet were like burnished bronze
 Double edged sword coming out of his mouth – the truth and judgment of his Word
 Face shining like the sun in full strength – John lived in the middle east, he knew
what the sun in full strength was like.
 First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End – Christ is
Eternal. He was before the foundations of the world and he will be forevermore!
 And when John see this glorious sight, he falls down at Jesus‟ feet as though dead.

But there is a great irony our passage. In fact, the use of contrasts is a normal literary
tool in Revelation.
o John hears the 144000 sealed from the Tribes of Israel and turns to see a
countless multitude of believers from every nation
o He hears the Lion of the tribe of Judah and turns to see the Lamb
o The Beast seems to be dead but is actually still alive.
o The people of God seem to be on the verge of defeat but have never been
closer to salvation.
And now…

Jesus is pictured as glorious and eternal because he submitted himself to the cross and
overcame death itself.

In V18 Jesus said, “I died, and behold, I am alive forever more!” He is glorious in chapter
1 but the most common way of referring to Christ in the book is not so majestic… He is
the lamb who was slain… a meek, flawless being who took on the wrath of God on man‟s
behalf.

Jesus was the required sacrifice. This is why the donkey had to be unridden. According to
Levitical law, if an animal was to be used in a ceremonial service, it had to be
unblemished – it could never have been used for common labor.

Jesus knew that his trip to Jerusalem was for a sacred service. He was making a sin
offering to God on behalf of the his people. The donkey that carried in this sacrificial
lamb had to be unblemished.

Yet the crucifixion, as we know, did not defeat Christ!

Christ was victorious over death!


Christ was victorious over the grave!
Christ was victorious over sin and satan!
And Christ will be victorious over the whole world!

And we as believers are citizens of his kingdom. His kingdom is victorious and so we are
victorious. We will not suffer eternal death because Christ defeated it on our behalf!

Not only do we serve a victorious king, but,

We serve an all powerful, all knowing, SOVEREIGN king!

Christ knew the mule and its colt would be in that city.
Christ knew what the disciples would need to say to be able to obtain the colt.
He knew the reactions of the crowd.
o The accolades and the accusations! He knew the cheers he would receive
on that first day, and the jeers he would receive on the last.
He chose when to enter. He knew that he would die that week.
o He chose to enter during the week that the Passover was celebrated. Passover
was the celebration in memory of when God commanded the Israelites who
were in captivity in Egypt, to slaughter a lamb and smear its blood upon the
doorposts of their homes. And when God passed through Egypt that night,
killing the first born sons of Egypt to show that the Lord was the only true
God, the Jews would be passed over, because of the blood on their doorposts.
The lamb that they killed was to a substitute for them. The lamb was slain so
that they would not be.
o So its not by accident that Jesus, THE Lamb that was slain, chose to enter into
Jerusalem during a festival rich with significance.
o He was throwing down the gauntlet before the Sanhedrin and the Roman
governor, saying “Arrest me! Now is my time to die!”
And we see in the book of Revelation the awesome control over history which our king
has.

o Trials and tribulations of his people


o Environment and Natural Disasters: commonly shown to be a result of his
judgments and wrath against the world and the bring salvation to his people.
o Who is involved in what wars and the outcomes of every battle
o Judgment of the nations
o Death – over when, where, and how they pass from this earth
o Eternal destiny of every single human being

In fact one major theme of the book is “the one who sits upon the throne.” Over and over
again God is referred to as “The one who sits upon the throne.” We are constantly
shown that the throne is not empty. No matter how much we want to live like there is
no authority over us, that there is no governing king over the universe, there is and He is
not aloof… HE IS NOT UNINVOLVED… he is not impersonal… he is sovereignly
ruling all of creation from the courts of heaven.

And Revelation affirms to us that those whom he elected before the foundations of the
world to believe in Jesus Christ will reign with him.

So our king is Victorious! Our king is Sovereign, and finally…

Our King is COMING BACK!

Jesus begin his triumphal entry by descending down from the Mount of Olives and one
day he will again stand upon the Mount of Olives!

He came the first time on a Mule – Not only did this mule have religious significance, but
in ancient times a mule was a sign of peace. A king who was coming on a diplomatic
mission would ride a mule. A king coming on a military mission, would ride a horse.

You see, Jesus was not coming in order to over throw the reign of the Romans but rather
to overthrow the reign of sin and Satan. He came to offer peace to the world through his
blood. He came from a position of power, from the courtrooms of heaven where God
rules and reigns, to offer peace to us. In our sin, we are in constant rebellion against God!
But Jesus, the mightier of the combatants, was offering us peace.

But revelation tells us that when he comes again, he will not be on a mule, but on a great
white horse. A stallion of war. He is coming back as a great warrior king!

 His name will be Faithful and True


 On his head will be many diadems – many crowns – You see, Jesus is not only
king of the Jews, but the rightful king of every tribe, every people, every nation,
and every tongue- and all will bow low before him.
 No longer will his robe white, but it will dipped in blood – But this is not the
blood of his enemies as some would say. This is his blood that identifies that he is
Lamb who had been slain, the Redeemer king. The one who laid down his own
life to save the lives of his people.
 Followed by the armies of heaven
 From his mouth will come the sharp, double-edged sword which he will use to
strike down the nations that opposed him.
 And he will carry an iron scepter… he will rule the world with true and steadfast
justice. He will dish-out both salvation and judgment!

All those times when we wonder how something so awful could happen and why God
would allow this illness, or that death, will be stilled. God will wipe away every tear from
our eyes. God will make all things right. The Lion will lie down with the Lamb.

The Bible‟s picture of the final day, the day of the Lord is both glorious and terrifying.
The book of Revelation, as the turn of phrase goes, is meant to comfort the afflicted, and
afflict the comfortable.

For those of us who have put our faith and hope in Jesus Christ, the message of
Revelation about this day will be comforting. That will be the day when God sets all
things right. When there will be no more pain or suffering. When we will no longer
struggle with sin and evil. When we will enter into the fully realized Kingdom of our God
where we will be in a constant state of adoration, joy, peace, wholeness, and blessedness,
and he will rule over us in peace, and kindness, and majesty.

But for those of us who reject the reign of Christ now, who still yell out with the crowd
“Crucify him! We have no king!” this day is the beginning of an eternity of judgment.
This is the day that Revelation describes as the day of the wrath of God and of the Lamb.
On that day, all the kings and the mighty men of the world will climb into caves and onto
cliffs and call out to the stones to fall upon them because they are afraid to stand in the
presence of God and be judged!

Those of us who say that Jesus is meek and will accept us into his kingdom regardless of
whether or not we believed sorely miss the message of Revelation, and indeed of all the
scriptures. Yes Jesus is meek. Of course Jesus is loving and forgiving and longs for all to
believe. But there will come a day when he no longer comes on the back of a mule, or as
the lamb who was slain, but as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The rider on the white war
horse. If this is you, if you still spurn your rightful king, who suffered and died in your
place to make you right with God, who spent all he had, even his very life to buy you
back from prostitution; who waits by the fence to see the instant that you return to him,
do not leave today without humbling yourself before the throne of Christ. He died on the
cross, taking our punishment upon himself, so that those who believed would be saved.
I know that this seems absurd to some of you. That it seems like if God loved us he
would just accept us as we are. That he wouldn‟t need to have sacrifice or to have Jesus
die on the cross in some kind of cosmic child abuse to appease him. But at the same time,
when you hear of a child being killed, a friend being assaulted, the rich sponging off the
suffering of the poor, or the attempts at genocide of entire people groups, we naturally
long for justice. We know deep down that it‟s not right. That this is not how it is
supposed to be. And how many of you, though you want God to pat you on the back for
being good and accept you as you are, would be appalled at a God who told Hitler, or
Dahmer, or that neighbor who assaulted your friend, or even the department store
manager who wouldn‟t give you that refund that one time, that he would just ignore what
they had done. We naturally want justice.

You see, a God who doesn‟t care about our sin is not a loving God, he is an unjust one.
How many of you let your children get away with murder? How many of you never
discipline your children for lying? That God is a God of our own making that we use to
shield ourselves from the responsibility of our evil action. We all want justice when it
comes to “them,” but we fear it when we know it falls on us. But God, the true God is
just but also is LOVE. He is not just loving, but is the standard for love itself. God
demands payment for evil but who also who pays the price himself… so that we would
not have to…Rather than letting us all bear the weight of our iniquities, he bore them for
us… now that is a loving God. That is a God worthy of our worship.

The first triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem was for the crucifixion. To die as the
sacrifice for our sins and pay the price that was due to us. To obtain forgiveness for his
people.

The second, will be for consummation, to set all things right; to judge the living and the
dead, to separate the wheat from the chaff, the righteous from the unrighteous, the elect,
from the reprobate; to renew all of creation and to usher in an eternal kingdom of peace
for the glory of God.

As we remember the triumphal entry of Christ some 2000 years ago, when he began his
final march toward his crucifixion, let us not forget that our king achieved the victory for
us that we could never achieve on our own.

That our king is sovereign over all of human history. We can praise God and give him
glory and honor for everything in our lives, not only when we know he has blessed us,
but also when things are going horribly wrong, when we don‟t know why we have such
pain and suffering and persecution, because we know that in his perfect timing, all things
will be made right.

That when we sing “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” it is Jesus alone
who is worthy to come into his city, to enter into his temple, and to receive the praises of
God‟s people.
And let us never forget that our king is coming back and when he comes, those of us who
believe will be brought in to his eternal kingdom. We sing „Hosanna to Christ‟ because
he saved us from our sins by his blood, to make us his kingdom.

The apostle John ends the book of Revelation with these words:

“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come
Lord Jesus!” Let us pray.