Date: 9 Oct 2022
Speaker: Ps Daniel Tan
Sermon Text: Luke 19:28-44
Last month the world said goodbye to a long reigning Queen who served her people with distinction. In one of her last duties as the Monarch, the late Queen Elizabeth granted Liz Truss as the Prime Minister, the go-ahead to form the government.
The late Queen served over 70 years, its anyone guess at this moment if Liz Truss will be able to touch 70 months.
Now when Liz Truss was announced as the PM, we know it was done with much fanfare. There were people cheering, loud upbeat music playing, lots of hands in the air and flags waved.
In her first speech, the new PM ended by promising “ I am confident that together we can: Ride out the storm, We can rebuild our economy, And we can become the modern brilliant Britain that I know we can be. This is our vital mission to ensure opportunity and prosperity for all people and future generations. I am determined to deliver.”
The celebrative mood of a nation’s new leader and the upbeat promises proclaimed are typical of today’s modern and democratic societies. I think we are quite familiar with it.
Another type of coming to power that is not so familiar for us in Singapore would be that of a coup.
On 30 Sept 2022, it was announced that a military coup had taken place in Burkina Faso, a nation in West Africa. The interim President was removed by a Captain Ibrahim Traore.
Military might had to be imposed and key government facilities forcefully sized. I think the past interim President was forced to agree to resign and then it seems allowed to go into exile in a neighbouring country.
In today’s passage, we have the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. He rides in with shouts of proclamation – blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.
What expectations would the first audience have? Would they be any different from that of the UK and Burkina Faso?
In last week’s sermon, we have been prepared for this irony of contrast between what God had intended and what the nation of Israel expected on the arrival of the Messiah.
Lk 18:31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
The disciples didn’t understand these things because their frame of reference was incorrect.
Today, we are brought afresh to reconsider, who is this Jesus. Is He the Conqueror that we desire or the King that we require. The Deliverer we want or the Redeemer we need?
I’ve entitled the sermon, Meekness and Majesty, to remind us of the contrasting understanding of who Jesus is. Jesus is King but He is the Servant King. Jesus is savior and yet at the same time, our Passover lamb.
Prince of Peace (v28-40)
In today’s passage we see the 3rd pivotal point in Jesus’ ministry with regards to his geographical location.
First pivot was when Jesus started his ministry. It was in the region of Galilee. And in chapter 4, one of the first stops was Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown.
Lk 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country.
The 2nd geographical pivot was after his rejection in a Samaritan village in chapter 9. Thereafter Jesus set his sights towards Jerusalem. So Jesus was travelling south from the regions of Galilee towards Judea where Jerusalem is.
Lk 9:51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
This 3rd geographical pivot has Jesus and his disciples right at the doorstep of Jerusalem. Our passage today begins at Bethpage and Bethany. These are the towns just at the slope before you ascend to Jerusalem.
Lk 19:28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet,
Remember, Luke was writing to a Gentile nobleman named Theophilus. And his intention was to write an orderly account so that Theophilus may have certainty concerning the things he has been taught.
So Luke at the start begins by informing Theophilus of the angles announcement to Mary:
Lk 1:32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And follows up with the angels’ announcement to the shepherds:
Lk 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
These now have come to pass in the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, the religious and political centre of the nation.
But Jesus is not going to be the type of King that the people envisage.
And Luke has highlighted this by putting the parable of the revengeful king right before the triumphal entry. Ps Luwin touched on this at the of his sermon last Sunday.
In the parable, the nobleman goes far away to receive a kingdom. In contrast Jesus instead comes right near to his people.
In the parable, the nobleman is described as a severe man, taking what he did not deposit and reaping what he did not sow. Jesus instead has been healing and feeding the multitudes.
In the parable, the nobleman orders that his enemies are brought before him to be slaughtered. Jesus instead is entering Jerusalem to be the Passover Lamb.
Luke is painting that Jesus is opposite to this nobleman. So, we have to ask then, who then is this Jesus whom Luke is describing? I submit, Luke shows us, Jesus is our Prince of Peace.
And for our consideration, may I offer 3 facets of Jesus being our Prince of Peace.
1. Intentionally Sacrificial
Lk 19:30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’ ” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.”
In v30, Jesus tells his disciples to go into the village and find a colt. He also tells them how to answer the owner about it. So in v32 to 34, they discover it as Jesus has predicted.
Now some may say Jesus had all this already pre-arranged, but I think by the phase “they found it just as he had told them” this gives the impression that it was prophetic.
To add to this realization that Jesus knows the future, he has already predicted that when he gets to Jerusalem he will be delivered over to the Gentiles, will be mocked, spit upon, flogged and then be killed.
But Jesus throughout his ministry prior to Jerusalem has also shown tremendous power – Luke has recorded that Jesus has calmed a storm, delivered people from demon-possession, brought back from the dead a 12 year old girl, healed lepers and gave sight to the blind.
Jesus knows the future and has the power to change destiny. What would superheroes typically do?
I’m sure it is nothing like what Jesus our Prince of Peace did. He instead was intentionally sacrificial. He didn’t use his divine powers to get out of the dilemma.
Instead, He came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Jesus our Prince of Peace, knowingly and willingly sacrifice Himself for us.
Next week we will celebrate Holy Communion. This realization should encourage us to have the attitude of gratitude and be in the spirit of thanksgiving as we prepare to receive the elements.
2. Divinely humble
Lk 19:35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
The fact that Jesus commandeered the young donkey, the fact that the disciples threw their cloaks on the animal and spread them on the road, signified the acknowledgment of royalty. This act has been done previously and recorded for us in 2 Kings 9 when Jehu was anointed King of Israel.
But more than just being royal, 2 things recorded helps Luke to portray that Jesus is divinely royal.
Firstly, the fact that he wrote a colt into Jerusalem.
Zec 9:9 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.
Jesus is directly fulfilling the prophesy found in Zechariah. And this is a prophesy that the Lord of Host, God himself will appear and will save His people.
And this image of Jesus riding on a donkey says the Prince of Peace is divinely humble. It is not a war horse that he rides. He is again unlike that of the revengeful nobleman in the beginning of Luke 19.
Here is meekness and majesty.
Secondly, the multitudes of disciples say “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest”.
Ps 118:26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Their proclamation is quoting from Psalm 118. And it is a messianic Psalm, speaking of God’s anointed deliverer.
May I share a flavor of the Psalm to help us further appreciate what the disciples are exclaiming:
Ps 118 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! .…7 The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man….14 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation…. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
So, when the disciples say ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord’. All that is said in Psalm 118 is assumed as the context.
Significantly v22 will be quoted subsequently in Luke 20. Jesus who was rejected has become the Head of the church, the ruler of God’s people.
So, Jesus our Prince of Peace is the divine Messiah who comes humbling on a donkey. And v8 says, He brings peace in heaven.
This is interesting for the angels told the shepherds ‘Peace on earth among those with whom he is pleased’. Now the disciples shout ‘peace in heaven and glory in the highest’.
Jesus brings peace both in heaven and on earth. Peace between God and Man. And he does that by humbling himself to die on the cross for your sin and mine.
And what does Jesus teach with regards to the example of humble service, about being living sacrifices?
John 13 records for us the humble act of service that Jesus did before he went to the cross. He washed his disciples feet. There he said,
Jn13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
As we contemplate Jesus the Prince of Peace who is divinely humble, may we by the power of the Holy Spirit walk in His footsteps and humbly serve one another.
3. Selflessly Sovereign
Lk 19:39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
As Ps Luwin repeated last week, the Pharisees epitomize morality. Remember the bell curve analogy. Of course, we all want to also be on the top half of it. I think, the Pharisees might be in the top 10% of the bell curve.
They were the religious elite. They knew the Old Testament through and through.
And they abided as closely to their understanding of it.
Yet, as Jesus entered Jerusalem under the very public proclamation as Messiah, the Pharisees saw it totally different.
As Luke has shown, they only saw Jesus as the carpenter from Nazareth. He was not the Lord’s Messiah. And so, Jesus has already warned in Luke 12, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy.
They, who should have known better, have rejected Jesus the Son of God.
Earlier when Peter confessed in Luke 9 that Jesus is the Christ of God, Luke records that Jesus strictly commanded the disciples not to tell anyone. But now it was the appointed time for Jesus to be publicly proclaimed as Messiah.
And I pray that for those of us who have followed all the sermons from Luke 9 up to this point, we would have appreciated all the evidence that Luke has compiled to affirm this public declaration of the disciples.
By saying that nothing can stop this proclamation, that even nature will speak out if the disciples are silenced, Jesus is saying, I am King, I am Sovereign. I have complete authority over all of creation.
And this reminds us of John’s accusation:
Lk 3:7 He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.
It is thus humanity’s privilege to acknowledge who Jesus is.
But whether we do or not, Jesus is still sovereign, he is still creator.
And amazingly, the creator became the creation.
In riding into Jerusalem, our Sovereign and majestic Lord wrote the words of Philippians 2,
Phil 2:7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
The stone can cry out. Jesus does not need our praise, but He has graciously opened our spiritual eyes to see Him.
Would we reject Him like the Pharisees or would we today, embrace wholeheartedly the privilege to praise Him for being our Prince of Peace?
A Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief (v41-44)
Lk 19: 41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
The rejection by the Pharisees leads into the final portion of today’s text.
It surely is an anti-climax for Jesus to weep as he enters the city, not after all that has been happening as he rides in, surrounded by the praises of his disciples.
Unlike the revengeful nobleman who seeks to slaughter all his enemies, Jesus weeps for the inhabitants of Jerusalem who will be rejecting him.
Jesus the Prince of Peace is here yet they have rejected Him. Isaiah 53 describes the Suffering Servant as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
Jesus shows us He is indeed Isaiah’s Suffering Servant.
The Apostle Peter will give us insights as to why Jesus weeps -
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
This morning, do we too as children of God, share in His grief when people reject Jesus? Are our hearts pained, is our hearts filled with sorrow when others do not accept Jesus as Saviour?
I think we might feel some sorrow for friends and relatives who reject Jesus, but remember Jerusalem will persecute and crucify Jesus. Yet Jesus weeps over their rejection.
Now would we do the same? When we are persecuted for Christ sake, would we also grieve over our persecutors rejection of Jesus?
Think of our neighbouring countries where pastors have been kidnapped, where their crosses on the rooftops have been torn down, where sticks and stones have been thrown at church buildings.
If we were in those situations, would we grieve like Jesus? Would we weep over their rejection of the Prince of Peace? Or would we more likely be James and John and request for fire and brimstone to rain down upon them?
Our passage ends with another prophesy by Jesus. Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed.
This was filled in April 70 AD. According to Josephus, a Jewish historian, three days before Passover, the Roman army started besieging Jerusalem. Following a brutal five-month siege, the Romans destroyed the city and the Second Jewish Temple.
Josephus estimated that over a million people perished in the siege.
Scripture tells us, Jesus the Prince of Peace has come and has given Himself to purchase salvation with His blood at Calvary.
We now live in the age of grace. The delay of Jesus’ 2nd coming is the opportune time for us to witness for Him so as to bring many into His kingdom.
When Jesus comes again, Rev 19 gives us a different picture.
Rev 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus weeps because when people reject Him now as the Prince of Peace they will have to face God’s judgement when He comes again. May we likewise weep with Jesus for the lost today.
Jesus, the charming and political-type leader can actually be found in some churches today.
They preach a powerful life-changing Jesus whose children cannot undergo persecution, who are given a miracle pill for drugs and alcohol addiction and who will always be healed from every sickness. In addition, Jesus’ true desire is to give us career promotions, investment tips, cushy retirements and invigorating health.
This Jesus delivers everything that mankind wants. He is useful and very practical.
There are also others who see Jesus as the one who will conquer every sphere. Who has the power to dominate and be triumphant in the here and now.
I think this was the Jesus the crowd wanted in Luke 19.
But Scripture gives us instead Jesus who is Meekness and Majesty. And as the Prince of Peace, Luke has shown that Jesus is – Intentionally Sacrificial, Divinely Humble and Selflessly Sovereign.
And as a man of sorrow, He weeps for those who reject Him.
This morning, let us consider again. Who is this Jesus. Is He the Conqueror that we desire or the King that we require. The Deliverer we want or the Redeemer we need?
Our closing hymn exhorts us to give Him all honour and glory. Why, because we know what kind of King He is. Jesus is our Gracious Redeemer and Merciful King, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. Let us give Jesus all glory, laud, and honor for who He truly is.