Sermon on Luke 19:28-40
Text: After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Music is a wonderful gift from God. There are few, if any moods, that there is not a music for. There are songs that we like to listen to when we are happy and different songs for when we are sad. There are songs that relax us and there are songs that get us excited. This is not to say that all of us have the same tastes in music. You have music that you like and I have the music that I like. When we study the pages of Scriptures, we also find music and singing mentioned many times. In Job it speaks about singing at the creation of the world, “while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” There was singing when the people of Israel were delivered from the hands of the Egyptians at the Red Sea. David wrote much of the Old Testament song book, which is really what the book of Psalms is. Angels sang at Jesus’ birth. This morning, as we study the well-known story of Palm Sunday, we want to look at the song that was sung by the crowd on that day. As we do so, we are encouraged to SING PRAISES TO OUR SAVIOR-KING. Sing Praises 1. As He Comes In Humility and Sing Praises 2. As He Comes To Bring Peace With God.
As Jesus approached Jerusalem on the Sunday before the Passover Feast, he sent two of his disciples with the instructions, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’” They found everything just as Jesus had told them, down to the owners asking what the disciples were doing. They brought the colt of the donkey back to Jesus, threw their cloaks upon it and put Jesus on the donkey. As they drew near the city of Jerusalem, the crowds began to put their cloaks on the road, like a red carpet treatment that government heads or movie stars might receive. The other gospels tell us that the people ran and cut down branches from the palm trees and placed them on the road, thus giving this Sunday its name: “Palm Sunday.” The crowds that were walking with Jesus met a crowd coming out of the city, all singing the praises of the King, who was coming to Jerusalem.
What odd contrasts that we see in this account. We see both the humbleness and the glory of this King. The Apostle Paul reminded us of this contrast in the Epistle Lesson that we read earlier. We hear again the words of Philippians 2:5-11, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Look at the contrasts in this account. We have the almighty King of creation riding upon a lowly beast of burden. He doesn’t come in riding on a war horse, but a humble donkey. He is not surrounded by a bodyguard or an army, but his disciples. No weapons of war, but palm branches hail his coming.
This reminds us of Jesus’ great love for us. He, the almighty Son of God, left his throne of glory and came to this earth in human flesh and blood. He did not come with all of his power, but in lowliness and humility. As Paul said, “[Jesus] made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Why did he do so? He did this so that he could be our Savior. God has demanded of all humanity that they keep his Law perfectly. There cannot be the slightest infraction.
Unfortunately, you and I cannot say that we have lived up to God’s perfect standards. To see this, all we need to do is take a look at the demands of God in the Law and measure our lives up to them. For example, God tells us that he is to be of the utmost importance to us. There is to be nothing or no one more precious to us. Have we always done this? Well, have you ever failed to stand up and say that something was wrong to a relative, because you didn’t want to get them angry and start something? If you have, what was more important to you? Your peace or God’s will? Have you ever found excuses as to why you can’t read God’s Word, or attend worship, or not paid as close attention as you should have? Yes, we can all come up with excuses, but aren’t we trying to excuse our sin? The list could go on and on. God does not look the other way when sin occurs. He said that sin had to be paid for. The penalty for these sins and all the rest in an eternity in hell. You and I could do nothing on our own to change this.
This is where the love of God showed itself. While we could not save ourselves, God saw to it that we were saved. The first part of this salvation was the fact that Jesus was sent to this earth as a human being. The reason this is significant is found in Galatians 4, “when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Jesus came to this earth, first of all, to live for us. He came to keep his Father’s Law in our place. Every step of the way Jesus followed his Father’s will. He took “the very nature of a servant.” We praise Jesus that he came in humility, so that he could be our Savior. As we see the events of Palm Sunday, we are reminded of Christ’s humility, as he came to be our Savior-King.
The crowds on that first Palm Sunday sang a hymn of praise. They sang, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” The first part of that song is from Psalm 118, which was a psalm that was often sung at the time of Passover. It reminded the people of the promise that God had made to King David of a descendant who would rule forever, namely the Messiah.
More than that, they sang that there would be “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” Doesn’t this song remind you of the angel’s song the night that Jesus was born? “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Both the crowds and the angels sang about peace. This was the Savior’s mission – to bring peace between God and mankind. The process started when Jesus humbled himself, and became a human being, being under the commands of the Law, but keeping them perfectly. It would reach its zenith in just a few days as Jesus willingly offered his life up as the ransom price for our sins. God had said that blood had to be shed for sins to be paid for. Yet, instead of exacting the payment from us, he took it from his Son. Jesus suffered the very torments of hell so that you and I would never have to. This was what was necessary for there to be peace in heaven, as the crowds sang on Palm Sunday. Jesus suffered and died, so that there would be peace between us and our God. As a result, there is glory in the highest. God’s plan of salvation was completed, when Jesus lived, died and then rose again. We glorify him for all that he has done for us, especially in seeing to it that our debt of sin was paid in full. Because of this work, the Father has exalted his Son. We praise our Savior-King for he has come to bring peace with our God.
When the Pharisees saw all that was happening, they were upset. They wanted this singing to be stopped. They said, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” To this Jesus replied, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” May we never give the stones the chance! Dear friends, when we see all that God has done for us, we want our entire lives to be ones that sing the praise of our Savior-King. Whatever we are doing: working at our jobs, doing our schoolwork, raising our families, washing our dishes, serving at church, singing in the choir, whatever it might be, we want our entire lives to praise our God for all that he has done for us. This week, as we again observe our Savior’s great love for us, our songs may take different moods, from the reminder of the blessings we receive in our Lord’s Supper, to the muted tones of Good Friday, to the joy and celebration of Easter, they all say the same thing. Thank you, Lord, for your great love for us. May all of our lives praise our Savior King, until we join the angelic choirs in heaven, singing his praises for all eternity. Amen.
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