Jesus fulfilled prophecy when he presented himself as the Kingly Messiah in Jerusalem – an event that should motivate us to respect God’s prophetic word and wholeheartedly worship and serve our King.
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King Jesus-Part 1
Embracing His Unexpected Majesty
Pastor Mike Fabarez
Well if you happen to remember any Shakespeare from your high school days perhaps you remember the line from Polonius the court adviser to the young Hamlet as he ventured out into the world, sitting there giving him some advice and he said this. He said to Hamlet, “This above all, to thine own self be true.” This above all, to thine own self be true. Now I hope that rings in your ears if you’re a Christian as bad advice. I hope you recognize that being bad advice. “To thine own self be true.”
It’s still popular, I still hear that phrase, in all of its modernized versions, all over the place, but I hope you’ve seen the absurd living-out of that kind of philosophy. I mean we’re surrounded with that “me first”, “submit to no one”, be your own man”, “you’re number one”, “you’re worth it”, all this focus on loyalty to your own self and your own desires. We see it everywhere and it’s not good. I saw one news story, for instance this week, about a gal, I think she’s not the only one who has done this, but this gal having her wedding, beautiful dress, she had a three-layered cake, she had a reception, she had flowers, she had a guest book, she had everything, except for a groom. No groom. No, I’m serious. She had a ceremony marrying herself. “I’m marrying myself.” She was interviewed in the article and was all, “Well, you know, it’s just about me. I just want to say that I’m complete in myself and it’s about me.” Loyalty to me. They asked her in the article, “Do you plan on ever getting married?” She said, “Well, I may get married.”
Well, she’s already married to herself but she may get married to some other person, but, you know, first things first. Right? “It’s about me.” Amazing. See, we see all of that and I hope we recognize what a destitute kind of philosophy this is.
Well, I hope you’ve heard enough good preaching and you’ve read enough of the Bible to recognize that you and I make lousy gods. We make lousy gods for each other, and we make lousy gods for ourselves. See God is really good at being God and you’re not. That’s the reality of it. You’re not good at it and you will never find any kind of rightness, appropriateness, what we would say in New Testament Greek, the Teleos, the appropriateness of how things ought to be, when I enthrone someone else as my god or enthrone myself as my own god. The only one rightly to be seen as God in my life is the God who has the qualifications to be God. God needs to be God. So important for us to see but when we open our Bibles we don’t get through but a few chapters to learn that human beings aren’t real good at letting God be God.
Matter of fact, in the third chapter of Genesis they get the test, a basic test. Here’s some rules, here’s what I’m telling you to do. I’m going to make the rules, you are going to follow the rules and they, by the third chapter, say, “I’ll be my own god, thank you very much. Let me just decide. If it’s good for me to look at, if it’s something I want or I desire, I’m going to look at your rules, I’m going to put my rules first, I’m going to be loyal to me, to my own self, I’ll be true.” See that, we see all over the Bible and it’s been hard ever since for human beings, fallen human beings, to recognize that God needs to be God. God needs to be at the center of what I live for. He is the one in charge. Matter of fact, there’s a Biblical word for that, that God often uses. Now, it’s analogous to another time, in another place, in another kind of government. But the word he uses for himself is the word “king”. I am King. As a matter of fact, if you have kings down there, and this is how we know it’s an analogy, you have kings on the earth, but I’m the King of all those kings. In other words, “I’m the Lord,” the Lord of all those lords. Now we don’t have lords and kings. You don’t use those words very often in our day. But he says, really when it comes down to it, I’m the King. I’m the one who fulfills that role. It’s not that he’s egotistic, not that he’s self-centered, it’s not that he’s some kind of bad person with some kind of character flaw that needs all the attention. No, it’s that he’s God. And when God is at the center, because he is the center, when the hub is in the middle of the wheel everything works the way it ought to. You and I will thrive when we realize God is God and start living that way.
That really is what we’re designed to do. And it’s the most fulfilling, the most satisfying, the proper way to live our lives to let God be God. And God has gone to great lengths to restore the relationship that was broken in the Garden by saying let’s get this thing right. As a matter of fact, he has gone to great lengths to make it as, let me put it this way, uncomplicated as possible. Because right now to think, OK, this God who I’m kind of separated from in the sense that I’m no longer walking in the Garden with fellowship with God, I’ve now got to envision this God, as it’s put First Timothy 6, who dwells in unapproachable light, how can I relate to him? He says, “No, listen, here’s the plan. I’m going to bring all of the kingly royalty, authority, dominion and power of the Godhead and I’m going to put it into this human package.” And the Father’s going to send his Son, it’s the doctrine of the Incarnation, and God, the fullness of deity, is going to dwell in bodily form. And you want to relate to the King, the King of all the people, then listen, relate to him because he is the King. I say the words “King of kings” and “Lord of lords” is used of God the Father. It’s also used of God the Son, he is the King of kings. He is the Lord of lords. He is in charge.
But again we fight this undercurrent in our own lives, as is the undercurrent rhetorically through the whole Bible, that we don’t do well with that. As a matter of fact, the last parable that Jesus told, the last time we were together studying Luke, was that parable that twice we have him say those words that people said, “We don’t want this person to rule over us. That’s how we like it.” Just like in the Old Testament in Judges, twice repeated, “There was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” That’s the way we like it and unfortunately it’s a wreck. It’s a destitute, vapid, corrupt kind of philosophy that leads to nothing but nonsense and absurdity. But God says, “Let’s get it right.” I hope I sit here today teaching the Word of God to people who at least recognize theoretically that is the way it ought to be. Well, Jesus now, with that parable lingering on the pages of Luke 19, we hit a major transition, even though it doesn’t come with a chapter transition in our Bibles, in the middle of Luke 19, this scene that you’re all familiar with. Take your Bibles and turn to Luke 19, I want you to look at this passage afresh. It’s one that you usually deal with in the spring, the week before Easter. It’s probably labeled in your Bibles, your English translations, the Triumphal Entry. It’s Jesus presenting himself, to put it in short, as the King.
This series that we’re going to start today starts all the teaching that we’re going to see Jesus give us between here and the events of the Passion with the cross, before he goes the cross, and we’re going to take ten weeks to go through this material into the first four verses of Chapter 21. And I’m calling the series King Jesus. King Jesus is presenting himself here in this inaugural passage to then play out all this instruction that relates to his royal dominion over our lives. But let’s start today with something you’re familiar with, this scene that we sometimes call Palm Sunday or the Triumphal Entry, when Jesus comes into Jerusalem. He’s just come through Jericho. Think back to where we’ve been, some ways away. He’s climbing the elevation on the Jericho road coming back to Jerusalem, up to Jerusalem. So it’s a lot of work, a lot of leg work, they’re traveling there, it’s taken a couple of days to get there. And now he’s coming up to the Mount of Olives, if you know the geography, maybe you’ve been to Israel and Jerusalem and when you get the Mount of Olives, you peek over the top of that as you come from the south side, from the Jericho side, and you see then the Temple Mount, which in our days is domed with that gilded dome of the Rock mosque.
But in their day, of course, it was Herod’s Temple, that rebuilt, refurbished temple from Zerubbabel’s and Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s day. Well Jesus is coming here after telling that parable about people who do not want him to reign over them and here’s how it picks up the story in verse 28. Look at it with me, Luke Chapter 19, we’ll study verses 28 through 40 today.
“And when he had said these things,” certainly Luke wants to tie these two things together, the sense that here is a story about leadership, about kingly reign, and now, listen, Jesus is going up, “he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. And when he drew near Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet…” So that’s the Mount of Olives, as we call it. “He sent two of the disciples, saying, ‘Go’, verse 30, ‘into the village in front of you, where you are entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” you shall say, “The Lord has need of it.”‘ So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, the owner said to them, ‘Why are you one untying the colt?’ Then they said, ‘The Lord has need of it.’ And they brought it to Jesus and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near, already on the way down the Mount of Olives,” you can see that slope down the Mount of Olives into the Kedron Valley, you’re going to go up now to the Temple Mount, the Eastern gate of the Temple Mount, “the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen.” Last we’d seen Bartimaeus, blind man be healed in Jericho, we saw the conversion of the outcast, the much maligned tax collector, Zacchaeus, who had to climb up in the tree. Remember that? And they were saying this, “Blessed is the…” here it is, capital “K”, “the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ And he answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent,'” these people weren’t saying these things, “‘the very stones would cry out.'”
Now, let’s figure this out. They’ve come many miles here from Jericho, they’re traveling on foot, they get to the very last part. There’s some villages there on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. One of them is Bethany, Bethphage. We don’t know where it is, historically, but somewhere near Bethany of course, but we certainly know where Bethany was historically. And he sends them in to find this colt. Why in the world do you need a colt? Why do you need this young donkey to ride in on? You’ve done just fine on foot. You’re almost there. Can’t you walk across the Kedron Valley? Well if you know your Bibles, you know this is all to fulfill Biblical prophecy. And I want to show you the very specific prophecy where this was given. Let’s spend a little bit of time in that prophetic statement. Let’s go back to Zachariah Chapter 9. So plug that into your phone, your iPad, or turn in your Gutenberg Bibles back to Zachariah Chapter 9. Now it’s easy to find, go to Matthew, you know where that is, turn left two books and you’ll be there. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, those are the last three books the Old Testament. Zechariah, middle of that book, Chapter 9. Let’s read this prophetic word. But first let me remind you what’s going on at this particular time. It’s about 80 years before the last book of the Bible. It’s 500 years before this scene with Christ. Before this, 200 years ago, you had the kingdom split in half. You had this irreparable split between the North and the South with Solomon’s son Rehoboam and Jeroboam went up north and we split the nation in half. Then you had the northern tribes in 721, you had them decimated by the Assyrians. I said that split was 200 years, that split was 400 years, and the fall of the North was 200 years before Zechariah wrote this, just to correct those numbers. 75 to 80 years before Zechariah wrote this, you had Jerusalem ransacked by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. 30 years before Zechariah wrote this, it’s about 25 or 30 years before this, you had some of the deportees, some of those prisoners, were allowed to come back under the Persians to settle in Jerusalem and start building the temple. Zerubbabel was the governor and you had the building of the temple there with Ezra, and then Nehemiah came back and started building the walls, you might remember. 10 years before he wrote this the temple was completed and if you know your Old Testament history it was nothing like Solomon’s Temple. They didn’t have the money, they didn’t have the resources, they didn’t have the craftsmanship, they kind of threw this together. And even the old men who had seen Solomon’s Temple, they wept because it was nothing but a shadow of its former glory. One of most important features about this particular text that you need to know, is that there was no king. I said Zerubbabel was the governor and they did allow some governors but the Persians who had all the money and the purse strings and really exercised control over this remote building project, though they allowed it and commissioned it and decreed it to happen, they didn’t allow a king there and the Israelites did not have a king. There was no king.
So, part of the hope that you might have, if you were an Israelite hauled off to Babylon and now being allowed to come back, is “Well, we need a leader, we need a king.” And if you knew your Bible back in those days you’d say many years ago God promised to David that he would have a great son who would sit on the throne and his kingdom would be established and God would bless him and he’d be the ultimate king of Israel. So, there was that anticipation of a king and yet there was none.
Well in the middle of that time, God, by the inspiration of his Spirit, the guidance and breathing out of his truth through his Spirit right through the pen or the quill of Zechariah in Chapter 9 verse 9, we’ll look at that one verse. Let’s spend a little bit of time here. When it says to those people who have been beaten, beaten down, they felt bad even about the building project they had just done, here was the word from God. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you.” OK, well, that is what we’re waiting for, we want that king to come. “Righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt,” on the foal, a young donkey, “on the foal of a donkey.” OK.
Now, you know that because you envision the scene on the Palm Sunday image that you have in your mind, the Triumphal Entry, but you need to understand that kings, not since David, you didn’t sit on a donkey, a young donkey in particular. It wasn’t regal to do that. It was a small animal, a beast of burden as they called it. It was not the kind of king you wanted riding in on a donkey. As a matter of fact, everyone, the kings of Israel and Judah, the 40 of them, refused to ride on donkeys because it was not regal enough. You rode on a horse. You’ve got access to horses back in the day, you could have a horse. David, though, did ride on a donkey, but it was something that, well, that was David, he was a shepherd boy, I mean he was just kind of transitioning into the kingdom. But once we had all that material blessing and all that thriving of our nation under Solomon, no one’s going to go back to riding donkeys again.
Well the picture is, yeah, you’re going to have a king and he’s described this way, “righteous and having salvation” but he’s also described as being humble, riding on a donkey.
Now, what kind of righteousness are we talking about, what kind of king are we talking about? The prophetic word, which is really what I want you to be impressed with. As a matter of fact, jot that down, number one, you and I, we ought to really Respect God’s Prophetic Word, because there are so many aspects to it that come true in this particular scene. And that is that Jesus presents himself, not as the kind of king you would expect but a kind of king that really grates against the cultural expectation, because everyone expected the king to come in, as the prophets had said, and rout out their enemies. The king was supposed to be one who was triumphant, he was a leader, he was a military adviser or a military campaigner, and he was one who was going to flex his muscles and win the battles and all of the foreign entities that had any entanglement in our politics, they were going to be expelled. Therefore, if I’m reading this in 500 B.C., I’m going to think I want the Persians out of this. I want to be an independent, sovereign nation. I need a king for Israel here just like David was the king over Israel so many years before.
If I read this in the New Testament time, then I’m saying, well if the king is yet to come and he’s going to come in the first century, I need him to vanquish the Romans. I need the Romans out of this. The Sanhedrin, the ultimate ruling class of all of the Jews, couldn’t even make a decision about the execution of someone unless they had guys like Pilot mingle their hands in it all. They had to defer to Herod and to Rome and to Caesar. That was ridiculous. “We need a king who is going to rule. We need a strong king on a white horse, perhaps, coming in and showing that he’s not going to be pushed around by anyone.” Well that’s not the scene we have here.
And the Bible says there is a king coming, and the king that’s going to come, he’s not the kind of king that you may think of. Matter of fact, let’s go all the way back in our minds, don’t turn from Zechariah, I just want you look at that Zechariah 9:9 passage and see that this is a king who is humble, which is a very strange thing to say. But jot this reference down going all the way back to Genesis Chapter 49. In Genesis Chapter 49 verses 10 and 11, you have a promise about the king who would come through the line of David, which was before David and all we had at that point was the son of Israel or Jacob and his name was Judah. So from the line of Judah we would have a king and it says this, that’s where the real legitimate power is going to come from. “The scepter,” here it is, “shall not depart from Judah.” It’ll always be the kingly line from God’s perspective. “Nor shall the ruler’s staff from between his feet.” In other words, he is going to have that leadership authority in the staff and in the scepter, those two things that the kings have “until tribute comes to him,” until everyone recognizes it and until you have “the obedience of the peoples,” till everyone realizes it. A lot like the promises that we saw later in the Old Testament, that his government is going to be extending as far as any government could to everyone. Right? The government is going to rest on his shoulders and “of the increase of his government there shall be no end.” He’s going to be the king of everything until the obedience of the peoples. Well there’s a prophetic, messianic statement right there. Next verse, “Binding his foal,” his baby donkey, “to the vine, his donkey’s colt to a choice vine, and he’s washed his garments in wine and his vestures,” his clothing, “in the blood of grapes.” So here’s the picture in the prophetic word all the way back to Joseph’s day. Right? What do you have? Here you have at the end of Genesis a picture of someone who’s a king, a ruling person with the staff and the scepter, and yet he’s not riding on a horse, he’s not riding on a camel in the days of Genesis. They don’t picture him that way, they picture him with a donkey. And he’s not tying it to the pillars of his mansion. He’s not tying it to the Cedars of Lebanon. He’s tying it to a vine, that seems like it would just snap off if you tied your donkey to a vine. Yes, but his young foal, his young colt, would be tied to that vine and then if you looked at the king he wouldn’t be dressed in wonderful regalia, he’d be dressed in a robe that was stained with like the blood of grapes, with the wine. He needs to go to a launderer and fix his clothing. It’s terrible. That’s an image you think is weird. What kind of king is that? That’s a humble king. Why do you need a humble king? We need a strong, majestic, powerful, military king. Well you do. You do need that. But before he comes in his regalia as a king, he’s going to come, not on a horse, he’s going to come on a donkey and he’s going to tie his donkey, not to a mansion or a palace because he won’t have one, but to a vine. Because that’s all he’s got.
Isaiah 53. The last time we’re together in Luke we looked at that passage in Isaiah 53. Same thing, we have a suffering servant. It was a really jarring prophecy to anticipate that the King of kings and Lord of lords would be this humble servant with a donkey, here despised by people, people turning their face from him and someone who was going to die as a sacrifice and yet this is exactly what we have. Even the image from Genesis, “stained with blood.”
Now run your mind forward to the end of the Bible. In Revelation Chapter 19 it says Christ is coming back. He’s coming back not on a donkey, not on a colt, not tying his horse to some vine, he’s going to come back with this gigantic army and they’re all riding horses and they’re all dressed in white except for the King of kings. Let me read it for you. Revelation 19:13. “He’s clothed in a robe that has been dipped in blood.” He’s robed and clothed in a… “And his name is called the Word of God. And he will have the armies of heaven and they’re arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, and they’re all following on white horses.” But he has still got his stained clothing on. You see, the coming of the King, which people did not understand, or I should say they did not want to understand, was that the King had to come in his first task and assignment, to fix the problem of our sins, to be a suffering servant, to be the sacrifice and solve our relational problem with God. And once he did then, we didn’t know how long the gap would be, he’s going to go receive his authority and kingdom and then he is going to come back and he’s going to ride on a white horse with all the memory of what he accomplished by the spilling of his own blood and he will come back not as a humble servant anymore but as a powerful, strong, reigning king on a white horse. Completely different image. Even John the Baptist didn’t understand that, did he? John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the Messiah. He was related to him, and he’d been preaching about him. He’d say, “I’m not even worthy to untie his sandals. I can’t even untie the thong of his sandals. I’m just a servant before the king. I’ve got to decrease. He’s got to increase.” But then, when all the stuff was happening to him, all the rejection, all the opposition when he got imprisoned. Remember that? By the rulers of Herod’s family, he’s thrown in that Transjordan prison and he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Hey, are you really the one or should we look for someone else.” John was doubting the messianic claims of Christ? And it’s funny, because what Jesus does is he sends back word about a passage in Isaiah and he says, “You know what? Tell John this. Tell him that the blind see and the lame walk. The eyes of the blind have been open, tell him all that, that good tidings and good news is preached to the people.” That was directly ripped out of Isaiah. Right next to that Isaiah passage is this: “The Lord will come and he will rule with a strong arm.” See, they didn’t understand that what has to happen first is the dealing of our sins. The expiation, the satisfaction, the completion of the problem of what I have in terms of my obstacle between my relationship with God. We’ve got to have some kind of payment for sin and Christ came to do that. That would cost him his blood. And that picture was from the very beginning. And yet he would be God. Listen to these songs that they sang. Psalm 24 verses 7 through 10. They would sing these kinds of songs about the coming of their king. Here’s what it said and it’s all poetic, I understand, it’s about the gates of the city of Jerusalem. “Lift up your heads O gates! Be lifted up, O ancient doors. The King of Glory may come in.” So we need the king to come in. And they always anticipated the ultimate King, the Messiah, was coming.
And I’m thinking, wow, King of Glory. That’s kind of a big title for the Messiah. Who is this King of Glory? I’m glad you asked because I need clarification. That almost sounds like a title you’d only give to God. Who’s going to come through the gates? Yahweh. Whenever you see the capitol “L”, capitol “O”, capitol “R”, capitol “D” in your Bibles, that cues us to that’s not the normal word for Lord, Adonai, that’s the Hebrew word, Yahweh. That’s his proper name. And in that passage it says, “Yahweh,” is his name, “strong and mighty, the Lord, Yahweh, mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates! Lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in. Who is this King of Glory? He’s Yahweh of hosts, he is the King of Glory.” The Bible has said from the very beginning that the coming of the King, just like in Malachi 3, when God shows up, it will not be some representative of God, it will be God himself. And I quote that because in Malachi 3 verse 1, it says that the forerunner, the messenger is going to come before the day of the Lord, before the coming of the Lord. But here’s how it’s put. “Behold I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.” There’s the picture. Christ is going to come to the Temple Mount. He’s going to present himself as King. He will be 100% King. But the strange thing about it is this is not his final coming. This is the first installment because he’s not coming like a conquering general, he’s coming like a humble servant with a donkey. And when a lot of people today, and I know a lot of liberal Christians like to say, “Well, you know that’s the way we should view Jesus.” That’s not the way you should view Jesus. He came to accomplish something in historic, theological purpose in a humble state with a donkey with almost his feet dragging on the ground as he’s coming into Jerusalem. He did not look like a conquering king and he’s not stuck in that state.
Read Revelation 1 some time. You just did in your Daily Bible Reading last month. And here comes Jesus completely glorified, a reigning King. The next time he arrives on the Temple Mount, when his feet touch the Mount of Olives, as the Bible says, he’s going to come as a conquering King with a white horse, he will not be a lowly servant, he will come back with all the authority of heaven and he will take his great power, as the book of Revelation says, and he will begin to reign. But his first coming, bringing salvation, humble, mounted on a donkey. This was such important imagery. It was such an important fulfillment of Scripture. It was so important that we get it, because we always think, as we often do, if God were God and he were going to send his representative, I’m going to make him my King. If this is deity, fullness, dwelling in bodily form, well then he should make everything right in my life. He should make the healthy, wealthy and wise, he should vanquish all my enemies. And here’s the thing, God said, “I’m not doing that in this coming. I’ve come to save you not from your enemies, not from your sickness, not from your poverty, I came to save you from your sins.” Now the Bible says he’s going to do both. But right now he’s in the phase of saving us from our sins. The announcement of the angel in Matthew Chapter 1, “You shall call his name Yeshua,” Jesus. That’s the Hellenized form of the word “Joshua” and that is “Yahweh saves”. Yahweh saves. He’s got the name “Yahweh saves” because “He will save,” here’s what the text says, “his people from their sickness.” No. “From their poverty.” No. “From their enemies.” No. “He will save his people from their sins.”
The world mocks us because we don’t have the realization of all the eschatological promises of the Bible. They mock us because we do not have all the eschatological promises of the Bible realized now and we don’t. Christianity is a futuristic religion. It is a religion that looks forward to the fulfillment, the consummation of the ages, and we’re not there yet. But this first coming was necessary. That God would show up, the fullness of deity and bodily form, to solve our sin problem. And he presents himself as the King to the people, but it’s a King to deal with first things first and the first thing we need to deal with is the reality of our sins. There so much we could say, we could go on all morning about the prophetic promises of God’s Word and, I guess, if I were to try to give you some simple application, maybe just prime the pump for your discussions in small groups, if we really respect the Word of God that from Genesis to Revelation is weaving this picture of God’s redemptive plan and how he’s going to accomplish the purpose of not only forgiving our sins through a payment on a cross but setting up a kingdom and realizing that in the end of time, then you need to do some things that relates to that book. If you really, really respect the Bible, if you have the prophetic Word of God on the highest shelf, so to speak, in your mind and heart, then you’re going to treat it in a particular way. Not with reverence like the Muslims do with the Koran, make sure it’s the highest book in their library and put it on the top shelf. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about you respecting and honoring the book by your time, your attention, your effort, your conversation, your discussion, your teaching, your appetite for learning it. Can someone look at your life and really say, “That person respects the prophetic Word of God”? And I use the word prophetic because there is no other book that does that. You know that? Maybe you haven’t read the Qur’an but maybe you should try and do that. You read things like that or you try and study Zoroastrianism or you study Buddhism or Hinduism, study those things and look at their holy books and try and find one single religious holy book that’s ever going to give you specific Bible-type prophecies that are specific, that tell us exactly what’s going to happen in the future, and that have been realized. We have a book written over 1500 years that gives us all kinds of specific prophecies, half of which have already come true. And all I’m telling you is that is a unique book. It’s got God’s fingerprints all over it and if it just sits there in your phone or on your iPad or on your desk and you do not give it the attention it deserves, I’m just challenging you to get with your small group and keep yourself accountable with some Christian friends who say this is the year I make my life all about knowing and studying that book. It’s God’s Word. And when you study it, you need to recognize, as Jesus said in John 5, you would realize it testifies of him.
Jesus said this in John 5, “I am not someone who gets my glory from people. It’s not a survey, it’s not like I’m the popular vote, I’m not the president of my junior high class, it’s not because people thought I was cool and keen that I’m in charge. The Father testifies of me. If you’ve read the Word, if it were abiding in you, you would know that it speaks of me and if it speaks of me, you would embrace me.” I mean let me just quote it specifically in John Chapter 5. He says, “You don’t have his Word abiding in you, because you don’t believe that I’m the one that he sent. You search the Scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life.” Well knowing the Bible does not mean you are going to be saved. You need to know “that it bears witness about me and yet you refuse to come to me so that you may have life.” The whole point of the Bible and being a Bible-centric Christian, which I hope every person in this room is resolved to do in this new year, it’s because you want to know Jesus Christ who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. You need to know him, you need to honor him, like these people did. If he said, “Go ahead of me and find a colt and tell the owner I need it.” You’d say, “OK, if there’s a need and God calls me to do it, I’m going to meet that need.”
Look at the text with me, verse 32 of Luke 19. “Those who were sent away found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owner said, ‘Why are you stealing my colt?’ ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ And they said, ‘Well, the Lord has need of it.’ And they brought it to Jesus.” And then they said, “Listen, you didn’t tell us to do this but we honor you so much, we respect you and esteem you so highly, here’s my coat. Let’s put this under your rear end so that you have some kind of makeshift saddle on this beast of burden.” I don’t know, that sacrificial, that sure shows some respect and honor and high view of Jesus, and then they put Jesus on it. “And as he rode along,” you want to talk about an extreme picture of submission and deference to Jesus, “they spread their cloaks on the road.” What? The dusty roads on the Mount of Olives haven’t changed a whole lot. Go there today. You’re not going to wear your best shoes, let alone put your jacket down for someone to walk over. There’s a young donkey who had never been ridden that’s going to clop, clop, clop over your jacket. What is that all about? Well it harkens back to the Old Testament times, there’s one scene of Jehu after he was anointed by Elisha and he was coming in and being inaugurated as the king. It says they laid down their cloaks and their garments so that he could walk on them like some kind of, you know, rolling out the red carpet. These guys were showing the fact that here is the ultimate person, the King, “Blessed,” it says in the next section, “is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” And they laid down their garments. Ultimate honor, ultimate respect, ultimate esteem.
Number two, jot this down if you would, these verses, versus 32 through 36. I’d like to be a lot like those disciples in that passage. I’d like to honor the King and then I’d like to add these three words. That would be enough of a point to say, hey, that’s what they’re doing. But let me add this to give you a little perspective, a little twist on this point. Of all people honor the King, God’s King. And you know it’s God’s King of ALL people. I want you to think about that this morning. Consider this, Jesus Christ is the King of all. Right? He’s the boss of all. We use this phrase king and you don’t have that experience and neither do I, interacting with kings. But we live in a monarchy, we have a King and that means he’s fully in charge. He is the dictator of the universe. Does that rub you the wrong way? As a reformer said, he’s the benevolent dictator. He is in charge. There’s no Supreme Court, there’s no jury, there’s no polling, there’s no voting. He is the ultimate one in charge. Now I want you to think of this. Everyone in Jerusalem who was there, everyone in Israel who was there, everyone in Asia who was in that region, everyone in the world, the King was being presented. He’s the king not of Israel, he’s the King of all the nations, he’s the King of everyone. And today we read this book, we see this story and we realize that Jesus presented himself as the King. King of who? King of all, every tongue, tribe and nation, King of everyone.
Now, we’re going to start next week looking at verses 41 and 42, which starts the section of Jesus lamenting over the city. Why? Because they weren’t embracing this King. I know this passage and all the pictures we’ve seen, all the drawings for Sunday school pamphlets, all the art from the Renaissance, it seems like everybody in Israel is celebrating the coming of Jesus, but that’s not true. Most people were rejecting him in Jerusalem. And yet this crowd, and there was a decent size crowd there, they were waving palm branches and laying down their cloaks, they were celebrating, but a lot of people, they weren’t. See, here’s the reality for us too. Matter of fact, you’ll see it before we’re out of this text, the Pharisees were saying, “Shut your disciples up, rebuke them.” You even had people in this scene who were saying, “Stop. That’s too much.” We live in a world full of people who do not recognize that Jesus Christ is the boss of them. Right? They don’t. And yet he is the boss of them. I want you to think of the most unlikely person to give you a round of applause for coming to church today, at your office, in your neighborhood, in your extended family. People who roll their eyes when you say, “Oh, I spent the morning a Compass Bible Church going to church.” And then dare to tell them you gave money to the church or you read your Bible instead have watching something on HBO. Tell those people that and the people you see rolling their eyes, in your mind, “Oh yeah, they think I’m nuts.”
Do you know that Jesus Christ, who rode in to Jerusalem on the triumphal entry, is the King of those people? He is the boss of those people. They don’t recognize it, but he is. Jesus Christ will be recognized by everyone as the boss one day. You know the passage in Philippians 2. “Though he exists in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God a thing to be hung on to, a thing to be grasped, but he emptied himself. He was found in the appearance of man even to the point of death on a cross.” I’m summarizing that section. And then it ends this way. “Therefore, God highly exalted him giving him the name.” Now, he’s accomplished his redemptive work in the first century. “A name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus,” future tense, “every knee will bow.” A lot of times you tell me, Pastor Mike, “every and all” it means “all without distinction, not all without exception.” Here’s a passage where it means “all without exception.” Every single kneecap, every patella ever made, every knee. How do we know that? Next phrase, “of those in heaven, those on earth and those under the earth.” Wait a minute. “God highly exalted him, gave him a name that’s above everything, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven,” the good guys, glorified, “of those on earth,” the people now trying to figure it out, “and those under the earth,” those who have rejected him, that picture of judgment.
Every knee should bow “and every tongue,” and he doesn’t have to repeat, he’s now speaking about every and all without exception, every single human being ever created, every tongue that ever, ever moved inside someone’s mouth, “should confess,” this is the reality, “that Jesus Christ is,” here’s an analogous, ancient term again, “Lord.” We haven’t called anybody Lord this week if it wasn’t in a prayer, I’m assuming. The boss, the one in charge, the one having all authority over them. And the Father stands up and applauds. “To the glory of God the Father.”
“God highly exalted him, given him a name which was above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, those in heaven, earth, under the earth and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” That skeptic who looks at you like you’re crazy, that non-Christian who wouldn’t have the time to talk about the Bible with you, the person you’ve shared the Gospel with who straight armed you, every single person, every atheist on YouTube, every single patella, every single tongue is going to recognize Jesus Christ as Lord.
I mean go back, if you would, even to Jesus’ parable about the rich man and Lazarus, you have everybody even in hell has really good theology. You really realize that. They get it. They figure this out. They’re not there going, “I don’t know if I approve. I need some apologetics.” They understand it. And they recognize, you know what, “I’m here because I deserve to be here. My only hope is that will be God be gracious to those who haven’t yet died.”
You need to recognize that every single person on this planet will recognize one day that they were not the king of themselves, their kids were not the king of their lives, their career was not the king of their lives, that there was one King, they may have ignored him their entire life, but there was one King. He was the King of all kings. He was the priority of all priorities. He was the person they should have given deference to and submitted to their entire lives. They don’t have a chance to do that now.
I often illustrate it the way I do and I can’t help it because David is such a good example of this. He was anointed as the king by Samuel, and he was someone, who is in God’s eyes, the ruling ruler of Israel and yet he was on the run as a fugitive. He was hiding out in the cave Adullam and with a bunch of malcontents. Do you remember the story? They’re trying to curl up in the dank corners of a cave to sleep at night. They were the future princes and mighty men of the king and yet you had Saul on the throne chasing him down with all his bluster and chest-beating as though he were in charge, but he wasn’t in charge. Well, he was in charge with everyone else. Matter of fact, if you were David and you met a citizen in Jerusalem they’d go, “Oh man, you better get out of here. The king’s gonna kill you.” And if David said, “Well, I am the king.” They’d say, “Well, you better get out of here anyway, the king’s going to kill you.” You understand right now all the people mocking our Christianity. Everyone else is sitting around saying, you know, “we’re nuts, we’re crazy, this is dumb. Why would you be so loyal to God?” Every single one of those, like all those loyalists to Saul, will one day be cast out of the kingdom, the Bible says. All those who say, “We do not want this man to rule over us.” That was last parable that Jesus told. And to be cast into their punishment and all those that were willing to put up with all the stuff we have to put up with, in this world and this culture, as a countercultural movement called the Church, to say, “We know Jesus is the King. We live by his rule. We understand who he is. He is the boss of me.” People who live like that will one day be given the center stage, from the corners of those dank caves, like the cave of Adullam and we swept up as the princes and princesses of the kingdom and God will honor his servants. We lived between that commitment of the Father that this is the King, the declaration that he is the Son of God, not only by the fulfillment of Scripture but by the resurrection of the dead, as Romans Chapter 1 verse 4 says. “He is the Son of God” and one day we will all be brought into the glory of the revealing of the sons of God because God will be enthroned, he will take his great power and begin to reign.
Honor God’s King. But he’s the King of all people. And if that helps you put up with us living in the gap, from him being declared King and beginning to reign, between him coming to save us and him coming to judge the lost, if you can recognize the difficulty that that may bring but realize that we’re serving the King and we are on the right side of history, even though that phrase is used against us all the time. And hopefully we can proudly honor God’s King, the King of all people. If he asks us to go get a colt, if he asks us to untie a colt, if he asks us to lay down our cloaks, we do it. Even if he doesn’t ask us, we go the extra mile.
Verse 37. “As he was drawing near already on the way down the Mount of Olives,” so sloping now down that steep hill, maybe some of you have walked the Palm Sunday road, as they call it, down the mountain. It hasn’t changed much, certainly the elevation hasn’t changed, down into the Kedron Valley, which you can’t go across now, there is a big highway there. And if you go up the eastern gate it’s all sealed up right now, the Turkish walls at least. In the ancient days you could enter there and if you saw that all playing out in your mind, you can see now the multitudes gathering as he gets down near the Garden of Gethsemane near the bottom of the Kedron valley. As you start to ascend up that small slope up from the Temple Mount, everyone’s rejoicing, they’re praising God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, Bartimaeus, Zacchaeus, several other things as well. Lazarus, by the way, they encountered in Bethany, which the other Gospel writers tell us, who rose from the dead earlier in his ministry. What were they saying? “Blessed is the King,” you’re the King “who comes in the name,” the authority “of the Lord! Peace in heaven.” Now earth is not rejoicing. It’s a split crowd on earth as we learn in verse 41. But heaven, they’re all standing and applauding. “And glory in the highest.” They’re praising God in the highest. Some of the Pharisees said shut them up. “Teacher, rebuke your disciples,” and “He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'”
Now if you look at verse 37, the call here that is implied for us, as we see the disciples doing, is to rejoice and praise God. We should do that, but I’m going to twist this around a little bit, not because it’s in this passage but because it’s all over the Bible, and that is that if Christ is the fullness of deity dwelling in bodily form, as Colossians says, then what we do, as I’ve already quoted in Philippians 2, if we honor the Son and worship the Son and praise the Son, we are honoring and praising and glorifying the Father.
So let me word it that way. Number three. You and I need to get in the habit of worshiping God’s…, he’s there by the way to soak his garments and blood, his generous and gracious Son. We Need To Worship God’s Generous Son. This brings glory to the Father.
That’s why our worship songs are about Christ. It’s why we are so hated by the Muslim community. It’s why we’re so maligned by the Jewish community. Why would you take Jesus, who’s just a rabbi, just a person and exalt him as God because he’s not. From the beginning of his life, he was presented to us as God. The Magi came, from Persia of all places, to bring their gifts and bow down before a baby Jesus and to do what? Here’s the word in the Bible, “worship him.” Even to this place where they’re saying shut him up, not because they’re against people worshipping God, but because they’re making him out to be this King, the Messiah, which if they knew their Bibles and I am assuming the Pharisees did, he would be God himself. Malachi Chapter 1. He was coming. The King came, it was God coming.
We need to realize our call to worship but before you yawn your way through the word worship, do you really know what that means? If you think that means changing your playlist and having more worship songs on it, that’s not what I’m talking about. This is not about singing a song, although you can worship God through a song, but that’s not what worship is. The Old Testament likes to use this phrase: “to ascribe” to ascribe.
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory that is due his name.” Ascribe to the Lord the glory that’s due his name. That means that I’m crediting God, ascribing to God, the glory, the greatness, the honor, the respect, the credit that is due his name. He deserves to have it. Because the Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift comes from him.” Because the Bible says, “He’s come to erase our sins from our account through his own death.” I could look at a million things and say he deserves credit for that, he deserves praise for that. That’s why I hope you bow your head before you eat lunch today and do what seems like just some kind of rote for a lot of people, but it should be heartfelt for you. I would not be eating a meal today were it not for the grace of God. I thank him, I praise him. And if I want to get real specific, the King that God has made so uncomplicated, I have the King of kings and Lord of lords in a personal bodily form. The second person of the Godhead who will rule eternity and right now I envision him in my mind and I give him thanks for everything that he generously gives and does in my life.
And you should be very specific about that as they were. They praised him for who he was and what he had done, the good works they had seen. I’m assuming he’s done a few good things for you besides just forgiving your sins, which is the biggest thing of all. Has he not? He’s done a few good things for you. And you ought to be grateful and you ought to worship him with sincere and heartfelt reverence, admiration, devotion, honor. If it includes a song, great. If it includes just a prayer, fantastic. But you ought to do it knowing that if you neglect it, you’ll neglect it to your own peril. I say that because that last line that everyone, I’m sure, wants me to comment on and that is Jesus says, “Hey, if these disciples didn’t get all excited about me right now, the stones would start getting excited about me.”
If they didn’t worship and praise, if they didn’t scream out with loud voices, “It’s great, here’s the King,” then the stones would cry out. Now I understand the hyperbole of this, just like the Old Testament, that dramatic, poetic way of talking about the trees of the field clapping their hands. Well, they don’t have hands and, you know, there’s no vocal cords in the rocks in your backyard. So we know this is not talking about an audible expression but what’s he saying? Creation itself, everything that is undistracted by the sin of rebellion recognizes the greatness of God and though they are subject to corruption, as Romans 8 says, there will be a liberation of all that. All of creation realizes this. And it’s as though he’s saying it’s like, you know, it would just be an explosion of worship if these guys didn’t do it. Why? Because it’s demanded, it’s expected.
I put it this way. If we neglect the praise and worship of Jesus Christ, we will do it at our own peril and the peril I’m talking about is the kind that’s mentioned in Malachi 1. And the peril is this and it’s implied in this, I suppose, but here it is. If you and I don’t get serious, let’s just speak as a church corporately, being people that live our lives as though Christ is the King, if we don’t worship him like he’s the King, if we don’t credit him for the things he does, if we don’t fill our church every day, which is every day at our church, of some kind of program, some kind of gathering, where we’re giving thanks to God, God will move on somewhere else to get it. Because he’s going to get it. And I say that in Malachi 1 because here are the priest bringing their sacrifices and they were bad. You remember that? They were bringing these lame sacrifices. They were bringing the Goodwill and Salvation Army bucket and saying, “Here you go God, we were gonna throw it out anyway.” The blind and lame animals they were bringing. And God says you don’t honor me. He says, “You know what, a son honors his father and a servant honors his master. I’m a father, where’s my honor? You’re not honoring me. If I’m a master where’s my respect? You don’t even respect me. You wouldn’t take these gifts and give them to your governor, not even the king, you wouldn’t even give them to a governor. And if you wouldn’t do that, why are you giving me this stuff? You obviously don’t honor me.” Now I say this is a backhanded threat and here’s why. Because twice in that passage he says this. Listen, verse 11 Malachi 1. After that big gigantic rebuke, “For from the rising of the sun,” way out east, “to its setting,” way out west, “my name will be great among the nations,” real people, “and in every place incense and pure offerings will be given to my name.” In other words, “I’m going to get it. People will recognize it somewhere in this planet. I’m going to make sure I’m going to get praise from the people who should rightly be giving me praise. I want to be God to somebody.” And all I’m telling you is, just like in the New Testament, when Jesus says to the church of Laodicea, “Hey, I’m on the outside knocking. You guys don’t even seem to be on fire for me here.” Right? “Cold? Hot? I don’t know. Lukewarm, not even interested? I can’t even come to my own worship service.” If that’s not a reflection of Malachi 1, I don’t know what is. Because in that same passage in Malachi 1 he says, “I wish someone would shut the gates of your worship services because you’re not even interested in hailing me and respecting me as the King of kings and Lord of lords.” Jesus says the same thing to his church in Laodicea. “I’m on the outside. Hey, you guys are ever interested in having the King here, I’d love to come, but you clearly don’t have that perspective.
You better worship the Son, the generous Son of God. And if we don’t, we do it at our own peril. I said he said that twice and Malachi 1, here’s the second time, verse 14, and it’s so appropriate to our passage. God says, “I am a great king. I’m a great king. And my name will be feared among the nations.” I hope you realize it is our responsibility. And it’s not as though we’ll be some subservient, pained individuals if we make God to be God in our lives and in our church, in our homes, in our workplace. As I said, we will thrive when we get the right thing in the center of our lives. When God is the God of my life, that’s the way it ought to be. It may be stormy on the outside, but as Paul said there’s something going on right on the inside, “a peace which surpasses all understanding.” Get God clearly in your mind and actions to be the King.
I know it’s easy for us to laugh at a woman, a physical trainer, who’s marrying herself. Taking pictures with herself, cutting a cake for herself, but you know as human beings who are related to that woman, we recognize in our fallenness, we struggle, even as Christians, do we not, made of the same fallen stuff that she is, we want to be heard, we want to be first, we want it to be about me, I want recognition. I want the same things and I have to fight those impulses of my fallen humanity. But I’m calling you, just like I have to call myself today, to fight those desires that wage war against my soul.
And to realize that in my sanctification, it’s not only good for God, it’s good for me to recognize that God is God. And while I’d like to crown myself in the words of that 167-year-old hymn that we just sang, we need to “Crown him with many crowns.” This is an ongoing, continual, he is King, he is King, crown him with many crowns. This is a great song written by a pastor over 150 years ago. “The lamb upon the throne.” There again is that mix of he’s not this powerful lion on the throne, he is a lion from the Tribe of Judah, but he’s a lamb. And that next line is so good. “Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own!”
As they said, “Peace in heaven.” It’s all right there. Everyone there, to the very last person, is hailing Jesus as the King. Unfortunately, a lot of stuff we’re singing doesn’t have that feel to it.
The next line, do you know the line in that hymn? “Awake, my soul” It’s like Psalm 103. If I don’t feel like it, I’m going to tell myself, “Awake, my soul and sing.” You want to get right to it? How about that lamb, “For him who died for thee.” My soul is only right with God because of his death on a cross. “And hail him as thy…” Do you know the next word? “Matchless King.”
I guess I just got to wonder is he your matchless, or is there a rival there? Is it your kids, is it your work, is it your health, is it your wife? What’s the real king? Hail him, hail him. Crown him “And hail him as thy matchless King.” Here’s a guy writing a hymn about his own soul, telling his soul, “Hey, you better hail him as thy matchless King,” because here’s the reality, it’ll be this way. Let’s resolve to do it, but it’ll be this way when you’re glorified “Through all eternity.
I know we live in a democracy of sorts. You probably live in some kind of workplace that tries to be democratized in some way. But if you’re a Christian, you are a legal citizen of a monarchy. Do you think that way? You have a king. You and I need to live and think and act as though you have a reigning monarch. And you live in a relationship with the greatest king, the most benevolent dictator who will ever be, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s crown him with many crowns throughout this week.
God, help us, please, to crown him with many crowns because he is the lamb upon the throne. As though he was slain, he’ll come back even in garments that are reminiscent, hearkening back to his death, stained with blood. And yet he’ll ride on a white horse, no longer there to provide the means of salvation for contrite sinners but coming back to say, “Time’s up.” He’ll come back with judgment. Time for rewarding the saints, as the book of Revelation says, and judging the lost. So God we want to get it right now. We do want to be on the right side of history and that means that really, not only do I repent of my sins and put my trust in Christ, but every day I try my very best, by the help of your Spirit, to make sure that he is enthroned as the King of my life. When my heart doesn’t feel like it let me say, “Awake my soul and sing of thee who died for me.” And let us hail him as our matchless, unrivaled King through all eternity.