When Jesus visited Jerusalem on that day, it was the first day of Passover Week. Great numbers of Jews had traveled from all over the Roman Empire to celebrate this annual Jewish festival. A great crowd greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem responding to him with chanting, throwing their cloaks on the ground before him and waving of palm branches. They greeted him in a manner befitting a king, but before the week was out, the crowd would curse him as a criminal.
Jesus called his visit to Jerusalem that day a “visitation.” In the Greek, it has the sense of a formal visit or inspection by a dignitary. In English, the word “visitation” has the same meaning. On Palm Sunday we remember the visitation of the Son of God to Jerusalem.
In the gospel according to Luke, Jesus expressed His desire that the people of Jerusalem would have recognized His visitation to them as the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. We can recognize Christ’s visitation to us.
Below is an automated transcript of this messageThanks for listening to the podcast from Gary Combs and the preaching team at Wilson Community Church in Wilson, North Carolina. Check us out on the Web at wccnc.org for more and now here’s the sermon.
All right, good morning, church. Happy Palm Sunday! This is the day that begins the week that throughout the centuries, Christians have called Passion Week. Perhaps you remember the Mel Gibson movie from some years ago. The Passion of the Christ. The word passion in this sense means suffering. It comes from the Latin word Paseo, which means suffering. And so this is the week that begins on Palm Sunday, which we often call the triumphal entry and ends with the cross and ends with his death, burial and then the following Sunday, his resurrection. And so let’s remember those days this week.
It would be a great pattern to follow this week for believers to do a devotional journey with Jesus because we have a pretty clear chronology of this coming week from the Four Gospels. In fact, as you look at the Scripture, there are really only two weeks in the entire Bible that gets so focused on the daily chronology. The first is the week of creation in the Book of Genesis that tells you what happens on each day and then in the Gospels, the week called Passion Week. And so there are a lot of similarities that you might consider reviewing, as you think through that.
So today is Palm Sunday, the triumphal entry. What’s tomorrow? Clearing the temple. Cleansing the temple Tuesday, teaching in the temple on Wednesday, resting or anointed in Bethany. That’s where Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary live. Jesus loved to stay there in Bethany with them on Thursday. Last Supper and Betrayal in the Garden Friday. The Trial, Crucifixion and Death of Jesus on Saturday in the Tomb and the next Sunday is Resurrection Sunday, an empty tomb. Amen. And so that’s a great way to go on a journey this week and look those appropriate scriptures up and just meditate and think about what Jesus has done for us.
Now, when Jesus visited Jerusalem on this day two thousand years ago, there was a great crowd there, and the reason was that it was the season of Passover when Jews all over the Roman Empire would travel into this great week long festival called Passover, and so there were so many Jews there already. Then the other thing that had created a real buzz in Jerusalem was that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. Not long before that Lazarus had been dead and in the tomb for four days when Jesus said Lazarus come forth. And so that word had gotten out and it was a buzz all throughout Jerusalem. People were wondering this Jesus was that raised Lazarus from the grave? And so that also just magnified the number of people that responded to him coming into that city so that we see from all four gospels tell the account of his triumphal entry. Now the book of John is the only one that mentions that it’s palm leaves. Matthew and Mark mentions that it was leafy plants that they cut. Luke doesn’t even mention that part.
It’s kind of like if we went to a basketball game or we watch the basketball games during March Madness, all of us would kind of remember the final score. But we might notice different plays that we focused more on because that would be the part we remembered. The four Gospels were kind of like that. They all look at the same story and they tell the same story and they give you the same score. But they might pull out different details. So for Palm Sunday, the only disciple that mentions that there were palms were was John.
We will be looking at book of Luke today. Now the word that we’re going to pull out from Luke is where Jesus says that the reason he was coming in that day was he was making a visitation. He’d been to Jerusalem many times before, but this was a significant entry, and it’s the only time I can find in all of Scripture when he rode in on a mount; he usually walked. But he comes in on the colt of a donkey. We’re going to dial that in today.
I want you to think about that word “visitation” for a second because it is in the Greek and in the English as well. It has the idea of a formal visit of a dignitary for an inspection, such as the president of the United States making a visitation to Wilson or something like that. So Jesus is fully aware of what he’s doing here, and he uses that word “visitation.” We’re going to dial that in just a minute.
Here’s the thing I want to ask you. Jesus was concerned that they recognize who he was that he was visiting. He was concerned about that. He really wanted them to recognize him. Here’s the question. Have you recognized Christ’s visitation in your life? That’s going to be the key question. I’m going to ask you at the end of this message. Have you recognized Christ’s visitation in your life, because here’s the thing . Yes, he visited Jerusalem two thousand years ago, but the Spirit of Christ is present this morning. He is in this room and he will visit you this morning.
In the book of Revelation, chapter three, verse twenty. Jesus speaking, hesays, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” I like what the King James version says “and sup with him.” I feel like Jesus was a Southerner, don’t you? How about supper with you; supper is less formal, right? I’m going to sit at the supper table with you and what’s our part? We need to open the door. He’s knocking. The spirit of Christ is here. He’s making visitation. Now the question is, will you recognize the knock?
That’s what we’re going to be talking about today as we look at the Book of Luke, because in the Book of Luke Jesus, as he enters Jerusalem, he desires that the people of Israel would recognize him and recognize his visitation, that he’s the coming Messiah long prophesied. I believe today that Jesus still wants people to recognize him for who he is and place their faith in him as the Christ.
As we look at the text today, I think we will see three ways that we can recognize Jesus and his visitation. Are you ready? Get your seat belts on. Let’s dig in to the Scripture. We will be in Luke’s Gospel today, chapter nineteen, starting at verse twenty eight. “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, he sent two of the disciples, 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.” 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!” 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.” 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.” This is God’s word. Amen.
We’re looking for three ways that we might recognize the visitation of Christ. Here’s the first: (1) Trust the testimony of his word. Trust the testimony of his word. Notice a few things we’re going to drill down on. First of all, versus twenty eight through thirty five. That part of the passage, twenty eight to thirty five, describes how Jesus got his ride. It seems an unusual detail to spend so much time on. But you’ll see why, as we study it. John’s gospel doesn’t mention this part. But Matthew, Mark and Luke all of those which are often referred to as the synoptic Gospels, which means seen together. They have a lot in common. They all three report how he rode in on the colt of a donkey. Luke doesn’t mention that it’s a donkey, but the other two, Matthew Mark, do so. It’s the colt of a donkey. There’s a lot of detail here. Why so much detail?
I think a lot of it has to do, first of all, with Christ’s speaking and how, when you do what he says, what he says will happen. Notice a few things. First of all, in verse twenty eight, he says, “And when he had said these things.” He’s already been speaking earlier in chapter nineteen, and so where has he been? Well, he’d been down in Jericho and he’s headed up to Jerusalem, and he had stopped by and visited a little short man who had climbed up in a sycamore tree. You all know the song, right? Ready? One, two, three… Zacchaeus was a wee little man… That’s where he had been and he had said to Zacchaeus, who had been a tax collector. The tax collector Zacchaeus said, “I’m going to give back four fold everything I’d stolen.” And Jesus says, “This day, to this son of Abraham, salvation has come into his house.” This has happened. Jesus has said this. He taught the parable of the ten minas there.
Luke wrote a very orderly account. And so he tells you what just happened and that here’s what’s getting ready to happen. Jesus has said these things, and now he’s going to say some new instructions, and what he’s going to do is he’s going to tell his two disciples, “Go get me a donkey to ride in on.” This is significant, okay? We’re going to see why in just a seconds, a few more details.
The reason I like to go into these details is because I want you to understand something about the Bible. The Bible is not a made up story. It’s not mythology. It’s about real people in real places and real happenings. This stuff really happened.
Now, we love maps, right? Let’s see a map for a second. So it says that he went up to Jerusalem. Well, let me tell you how far up he went. He climbed an elevation of three thousand feet. That’s a lot of up; a twenty-three mile journey from Jericho. Earlier in Chapter nineteen, he is walking the whole way and stopped off and said hello to Zacchaeus. And they’re traveling, uh, twenty three miles up to Mount Zion, too. Jerusalem is eight hundred fifty three feet below sea level. That’s Jericho. Jericho is eight hundred fifty three, eight hundred fifty three feet below sea level . It’s going down the rift that goes all the way down to the Dead Sea, which is the lowest place on planet earth below sea level, the Dead Sea. So he’s climbing up Jericho and from Jericho up to Jerusalem. See how the Scriptures so detailed about that. Look what it says, “And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.” Every little detail in the Bible really matters. Why? Because it’s about real people in real places and real happenings, right? So that’s why we dig in. We look at maps. We can verify the fact that these things are, and coincide with, the geography.
Then it says that as they pass through, as they approached the Mount of Olives, they passed through these two little towns Bethphage and Bethany. The word Bethphage in Hebrew means “House of Figs.” Bethphage means “House of Figs.” They were coming up past Bethany. Bethany is the place about two and a half three miles walking distance from Jerusalem. That’s where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived and was a favorite place for Jesus favorite to go; it’s so convenient to Jerusalem. As they’re coming up, Jericho’s way over here.. He sends two disciples on ahead, probably to Bethphage. It doesn’t say which town it was, but because they list Bethphage first I think probably it is Bethphage. Plus, it fits the description of the geography.
So he’s tells these two disciples, “You go ahead and get me a colt.” Why would the disciples Matthew, Mark and Luke think this was so important how Jesus got his ride? Why put that in the Bible? Well, we’re about to find out a few details.
First of all, it has sort of a miraculous kind of feel to it. Don’t you agree? You two disciples are going to go ahead, and when you get into that town, you’re going to see the colt of a donkey tied. You’re going to see it as you enter. And when you see it, untie it and bring it to me. Oh, and by the way, if someone asks why you’re doing it, why you’re taking somebody’s donkey without asking, right? You’re going to get put in a room in prison for this? That’s what I’d be thinking. But they are to say, “The Lord has need of it.” Would that work for you? If, the Lord told you to go get his donkey; go down to the rental place and pick up his car, get the keys, go out there and start it up to get it ready. If they ask, just say, “The Lord has need of it,” and just pull it on out of the parking lot. Well, that’s what they did with the donkey. And it happened just as he said. That is what the Scripture says; look at it.
As they were untying the colt in verse thirty three, its owner said, “Why are you untying it?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought it to Jesus. So this is This is the passage. There was an earlier verse. I’m meant to read verse thirty two. “So those who were sent away and found it just as he told them.” Just as he had told them. See, God’s word, the word of Christ is true. It happened just as he said.
I have a question for you right here. If somebody comes up to you and says, “we need your house, the Lord has need of your house. We’re starting some new small groups and we need some new locations.” What are you going to say? Are you going to say ”I don’t see the Lord?” But you look like you might be one of his disciples. How do you know the Lord has need of my house? Well, the Lord told me to tell you the Lord has need. Man, how you are going to respond to that? The Lord needs your car and here’s why. I will make it a lot easier on you. Just go ahead and give him all that you are and all that you have. And then when he asks for it, it’s no big deal. Okay, Lord, it’s your house anyway. It’s your car anyway, It’s your stuff. It’s especially helpful when your car breaks down; you can say, “Lord, your car’s broken.” Then you don’t get all anxious about things, right? Just give it to the Lord.
“The Lord has need of it” is what we see here. Now these two disciples find the colt. I’m going to finally ask the question I’ve been hinting at why this is in the Bible. Matthew tells us why. Matthew’s gospel tells us why. Three of the four Gospels have included this; he says, “This took place.” This is why it’s here; to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet to the daughter of Zion, “Behold your king is coming to you humble and mounted on a donkey on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden. See, Matthew takes great care to let you know that Jesus is the fullfiller of all the Old Testament prophecies. He’s quoting Zachariah, chapter nine, verse nine, written nearly five hundred years before Christ came. Here’s what it says in Zechariah, “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.” This is very precise language. This is why it’s included. It’s because God’s word is true and you can trust *** that if Jesus sent you to a town, you can find what he said would be there. You can say what he told you to say and it will happen. When the Old Testament says, “This is how you will know it’s the Christ,” it happened and so you can trust it.
Now there’s a detail here; it’s a peculiar detail, and it’s impractical concerning most of humanity. Jesus asked for a colt of a donkey. Note now, Luke doesn’t mention this. You’re going, “I don’t see where it says donkey.” Will the other Gospels say donkey? That’s how we know that, right? Luke just says colt. But Matthew and Mark say it’s a donkey colt, right? So does Zachariah. That’s the fulfillment.
So they go to this colt. But Luke makes this detail in verse thirty, “on which no one has ever yet set.” So Jesus says, “Go get me a ride that no one’s ever riden.” Now look, a lot of you are city people. You are. I would have been,too except I spent summers on my grandfather’s farm. You don’t ride something the first time that’s never been ridden into the big city. The minute you try to set on its back, it starts bucking. Jesus wants a ride that no one’s ever ridden. And it does not buck. Why is that? He is the Lord.
Now, look, this is not the first donkey that recognized the Lord, right? Balaam’s donkey recognized the Lord before Balaam did. And this donkey recognized the Lord before anyone else did. So when when he brought that donkey to the Lord, that colt that no one had ever yet ridden on it did not buck against the Lord because that is the creator. And that little donkey knew it. That’s a little detail there. As we contemplated on that this past week, the men I study with to preach at our two local locations asked the question, “What else is there?” Let’s just kind of chew on that; let’s contemplate on a donkey that no one had ever sat on before. We found this from Dr Nolan. In his commentary on Luke. He said, “It befits his royal dignity that he should not have to share with previous users.” I like that. Then we started thinking about it more. We started thinking he entered the the city of Jerusalem on a never ridden colt that was borrowed. One of the other gospels mentions the fact that they returned it to the owner later. Jesus entered Jerusalem on an unridden, borrowed donkey, and he exited Jerusalem in an unused, borrowed, tomb. It was the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Just some meditation on that little detail.
You can trust the testimony of God’s word. It says in Ephesians, “In him, you also trusted after you heard the word of truth the gospel of your salvation and whom also having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” You can have life change when you trust the word of God. In fact, Romans says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Professor of mathematics, Peter Stoner, assigned six hundred of his math students a probability problem, he said. Take these eight prophesies from the Old Testament and compute the probability that one man, any man in history, could fulfill all eight. And so they worked the problem and they applied what Dr Stoner had taught them about the the mathematic and the science of probability, and they found that the number was astronomical. It was ten to the twenty first power of probability that any one man could fulfill eight of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Now Stoner, in his book “Science Speaks,” wanted to help the lay person understand what ten to the twenty first power might look like, he said. “Imagine this, that we blanket the entire earth with silver dollars, one hundred twenty feet deep. Number two, We mark one of the silver dollars and bury it somewhere without telling anyone where and then number three. We turn someone lose to look for it while blindfolded. That might come close to understanding ten to the twenty first power. In other words, it’s impossible unless it’s true.
You can trust the testimony of his word. Do you trust it? There are more than eight. In fact, in the Old Testament, we can count over three hundred prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, and Jesus has fulfilled every one. You can trust it.
Here’s number two. Here’s the second way that we can recognize the visitation of Christ. (2) Believe the testimony of his people. You trust his word. The testimony was word, and then you can believe the testimony of his people. Just earlier, we had Chris Koufopoulos give his testimony. We are trying to challenge more and more members of our church to learn to write their testimony out and then be ready to give it. To be willing to talk about how Jesus saved them. We have a process in our church that we call Life on Life Discipleship. If you’re interested in knowing more about that, check it on the back of your connection card that’s connected to your bulletin and we will try to get in contact with you to let you know how you can learn more. But in our Life on Life Discipleship process, we teach people how to write their testimony and how to give their testimony. And so Chris is one of these people. So, Chris, thank you for giving your testimony today. That’s one of the ways that we hear about Jesus is through the testimony of his disciples.
Let’s look at thirty six to forty and see how the disciples testify of Jesus. First of all, notice that they spread their cloaks. Verse thirty six, they spread their cloaks, they put him, they put him on the donkey so Jesus would have a soft ride on this unridden colt of a donkey, and then they spread the cloaks before him.
If the president comes and lands on Air Force One, we will roll out the red carpet so he doesn’t have to put his feet down on the pavement and scuff his shoes. If the bride comes down the aisle at her wedding, we roll out the white cloth for her so that she can walk on something special.
This is a leftover effect of how royalty was always treated and so that when a new king in Jerusalem was recognized, we can go back to the Old Testament and see that they would put cloaks on the steps for him to step down on. This is recognition for the Jews that he’s the king. They put their cloaks out; now that’s all that Luke mentions.
Luke mentions the spreading of cloaks. He doesn’t mention the cutting of leafy branches or the palms. Matthew and Mark list or mention the cutting of leafy branches. John is the only one who says they’re palm branches. Taken together, we have the whole story. This is the best way to read a story like this, to read all four gospels and it it fleshes out. It’s like four people were standing at different places looking at this happening, and it gives you a better story. So they’re spreading their cloaks and they’re waving palm branches like our children did earlier. And so this is what’s happening. So all of it has meaning.
John describes, as I mentioned earlier, why so many people showed up because verse thirty seven said it was a multitude. A bunch of people showed up, John says. The crowd that had been with him when he called called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continue to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they’d heard he had done this sign. So that’s what created the buzz that created the crowd. So you already had a crowd because of Passover. But then why did they come out of the city and meet him up there on the Mount of Olives? It was the story of Lazarus that got them moving. I mean it had spread like wildfire. And so they knew that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead after he’d been in the tomb for four days. And they were moved to see this one; who who did this? You’re the guy who raised Lazarus from the dead. And so this was a big deal. And what do they say? Here comes their testimony in verse thirty seven. We see what they say as he was drawing near. He’s on his way down now from the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is a higher elevation than the Temple Mount when you’re right at the apex on top of the Mount of Olives. You go down into the Kidron valley and then you have to climb back up to get to the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem. But he’s going down now, and so as he’s drawing near , they’re already on the way down. See all of this matches the geography.
I don’t know how many of you have been there. Robin and I spent a month in Israel a few years ago. We went back and took about twenty couples from our church a couple years ago. And so those of you that have been, you are probably visualizing what this looks like right now because it’s so accurate to what you find there even today.
Jesus is going down and there is a whole multitude of his disciples. So you see, there’s these different responses. There’s the response to the donkey. Don’t miss it. He was tame with his Lord. He allowed him to ride. Then there’s the multitude of his disciples and they’re saying in verse thirty eight, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.” This is what they’re shouting. Then we will see how the Pharisees respond in just a minute. But let’s just pause there first .
Luke wrote primarily to a Greek audience. Each of the Gospels has a goal for what recipient they’re aiming at, and they have a purpose of how they arrange those stories. The Holy Spirit is the author and the men wrote it down, according to their study. And Luke was not an eyewitness. He surveyed and interviewed eye witnesses and made an orderly account. According to chapter one. He tells how he made his account. And so Luke, who is a physician by trade and a educated man, his gospel opens up with classical Greek. The first four verses are in this advanced, very, highbrow classical Greek. There are two other books like that. The Book of Acts, which Luke wrote and also the first four verses of the Book of Hebrews, which I’m an advocate for believing he was the author of Hebrews as well.
So there are only twelve classical verses in the whole New Testament of classical Greek. Luke had first four acts . The first four Hebrews, the first four verses. Here’s Luke, and when he gets to something that would be called a Hebrewism or an Aramaic phrase like Hosanna. He’s not going to say it because why? Because he’s writing to a Greek audience who don’t speak Hebrew. Matthew 21:9, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew is writing to a Jewish audience. And so he says, “Ho zanna,” which in Hebrew means “God save us.” And then it says, “Blessed is the son of David.” Well, who’s the son of David? The Greek person says, “I don’t know who David is. What’s this?” Well, they know that means he’s the king and the one who comes to the son of David comes is the king.
So what is Luke writing? “Blessed is the king.” He puts it in a language that the Greeks would completely understand. “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” He has a Greek interpretation for his Greek audience. He takes out the the Aramaic language and he puts it in Greek. Is that making sense? It’s so clear what the holy spirit is doing here.
There’s more than one gospel. There’s four gospels. Why? Because we needed it. It’s the most important story in the whole Bible, and so we get four angles; we get four ways of thinking about the story. It’s very important. And so all four gospels tell this story of his triumphal entry. Now, let’s not miss this. This is not new language. This “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” language. How did they all know to say the same thing? Was it where they had memorized Psalm one hundredeighteen when they were little kids and every year at Passover they always listened? They always cut palm branches, and they always said this. It’s not new, but the difference is they used to look up and say it because they’re looking for the Messiah and he hasn’t come yet. But this year, this time they look at Jesus, riding the colt, in the fulfillment of Zachariah nine nine and they look at him and they say the words from Psalm one hundred eighteen, verse twenty six and twenty seven, which reads like this, “26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God,and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!” This is not new. But what is new is that they’re aiming it at a fulfillment.
Before it had been a desire, a prayer to God. Now they’re going, “That’s him. That’s him.” Do you understand how they knew what to say? They believe the testimony of the word and now they’re testifying with their own. They had seen his works, his miraculous works.
Look at verse thirty seven, “The whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen.” They knew Lazarus was dead. A lot of them went to that funeral; then they saw him raising from the grave. And so this is what’s going on.
But then, in verse thirty nine, we see that there’s a mixed multitude. Just as there was a mixed multitude that came out of Egypt. There’s a mixed multitude that’s greeting Jesus as it comes into Jerusalem. And among them are these Pharisees. They say to him, “Rabbi. Teacher, rebuke your disciples,” because they rightly know what’s going on. The multitude is saying the messianic greeting to him like he’s the Messiah. Don’t you realize you’re accepting this by your very silence and letting them do it? What Jesus says is one of my favorite verses. Luke is the only one of the four Gospels that has this part. It kind of sounds like what John the Baptist said back during his ministry when he tells the people, “You need to repent and be baptized.” And they said, “We’re sons of Abraham because God could make these stones in the sons of Abraham.” Go back and read John the Baptist saying that.
Jesus tells the Pharisees, “If I tell them to be silent, the stones will cry out.” Why? Because creation already recognized him. If he says be still the raging storm and the sea will be still. If he tells the disciples to get him a little colt of a donkey that’s never been ridden, it bows to the knee at King Jesus because he’s the Lord of Creation.
The Book of Romans, chapter eight. Paul says, “the creation itself groans as it awaits his return, for its renewal.” If creation can groan, if creation can praise on his arrival, he said “the stones will cry out if I don’t let them cry out to me.” This is new.
We know back when he fed the five thousand and they wanted to make him king. He had a sense that they were going to make him king. He slipped away into the mountains and wouldn’t allow it to happen. But on this day, it was time. The fullness of time had come and he made a formal visitation. I don’t think he ever rode a mount discounting a boat, he rode in boats. We know that I don’t have any record of him ever riding a donkey or any other mount except this precise time. Every other place he walks. But this time he makes a big deal about getting something to ride into the city to fulfill Zechariah. Also he is willingly accepting I am the Messiah.
So John writes this in his first epistle, “we proclaimed you, the one who existed from the beginning. When we have heard and seeing we saw him with our own eyes. We touched him with our own hands. He’s the word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the father then he was revealed to us. We proclaimed to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship sit with us. And our fellowship was with the father with his son, Jesus Christ.” John said that we were eye witnesses, we were up close, we touched him , we heard him and He is the son of God. He’s given eyewitness testimony.
We heard Chris Koufopoulos earlier; he gave us an eyewitness testimony of what Christ has done to him and how He has changed him. It’s not about religion. He talked about being brought up religious. He rejected that; he rebelled against religion. We always do because religion says, “I can earn this; I’m trying to be good enough.” It’s not about religion. It’s about a relationship with a person called Jesus. So we have the testimony of his word, and we have the testimony of his people.
And then finally, (3) We have the testimony of the spirit. The testimony of his spirit, in verses forty one through forty four. The sermon often stops withe the stones crying out statement. We often stop there, but we’ve chosen to continue because he is still approaching the gates. And we don’t want to miss what Jesus says here when he draws near the city. He is coming down the Mount of Olives. The people, the multitude met him there, and he’s going all the way down to the Valley of Kidron. Now he’s climbing up Mount Zion right here. He’s coming up towards the eastern gate.
Let me show you a photo I took a few years ago. I’m right here. I’m standing on the Mount of Olives right here, and I’m not quite to the top. I had started going down a little way, but I’m standing here in what’s in the modern day. It’s a Jewish graveyard, and then you can see it goes down, down, down into the Kidron Valley. In fact, if you follow the Kidron Valley, you get down here to Gehenna, which would have been at the at the edge of the dung gate where they would carry their trash down here, to the valley of Hinnom. But this is the Kidron valley. So you go down the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is actually higher than the Temple Mount. Then you have to walk up to the eastern Gate. You could see the Eastern gate is bricked up. It’s sealed. The Muslims seem to be under the delusion that you can prevent Jesus returning by closing up the gate. But that’s the gate he went in on Palm Sunday. He went in the Golden Gate, the Eastern gate into Jerusalem, riding the colt of a donkey .
Can you picture it? He’s going up, with the sound of the crowd still in his ears, “Hosanna, Hosanna, son of David.” Tears start welling up in his eyes. Can you see it? Tears start streaming down his face because he knows what he’s about to accomplish, what he came for, and as he approaches Jerusalem, he begins to weep over Jerusalem. This is the second place he does it. There’s an earlier place where he was looking at Jerusalem, he says, “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How I would have gathered you like a hen gathers her chicks.” Now he speaks to Jerusalem again, and he says this in verse forty one, he wept, saying, “Would that you even you had known on this day the things that make for peace?” Would that you, even you, even you, even you, even you would have recognized it was me coming to you. He’s weeping about it. Then you hear the crowd, “Hosanna!” He’s crying because he knows what’s coming.
He sees what’s about to happen to this city. He sees it as it was but then sees it into the future. Because in this same passage, we have him fulfilling the Old Testament Zachariah, but we also have him foretelling what’s going to happen in seventy, eighty, thirty seven years later, just thirty seven. These same people are still alive to see that this comes to pass whenever the General Titus, who later became Caesar of Rome, comes to Jerusalem because the Jewish people had rebelled and he comes and he builds a barricade around Jerusalem. And thousands of people were starved and killed. A sense for the days will come when your enemies, speaking of the Romans, will set up a barricade around, surround you and hem you in and tear you down to the ground. Tear you down to the ground Jerusalem, you, Jerusalem and your children . In other words, your inhabitants with you. He’s prophesying; I wish you would have recognized me. I was bringing peace. I was bringing Shalom and you didn’t recognize me. You heard the prophets of old. You heard the testimony of my disciples who saw me raise the dead. You saw me feed the hungry. You saw me heal the sick. You’ve got the spirit of God right now wooing you and you didn’t recognize me. This is what’s gonna come your way as a result and I wish I could save you from this. But now you are determined.
He concludes, “and they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” I told you we’d come back to that. They did not recognize their true king. Some of you may be saying what? He’s never visited me. Yes, he has. And if he hasn’t, which I find highly unlikely, he’s doing it now. Well, why do you say that? I don’t. How do you know Gary? Because he’s here and his spirit, the spirit of Christ is here.
But Jesus must go so another may come, a counselor when that could be with you always. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. It’s the spirit of God, the spirit of Christ. He’s here. He walks among the lamp stands, it says in the Book of Revelation. The lamp stands are the churches. He’s here right now and he’s knocking, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” It’s his spirit. He’s visiting you now. Will you open the door?
The children earlier in our service came in waving palm branches. But would you raise a different banner? A white flag of surrender? Come on, come on. . I believe in the testimony of the word of God. I believe in the testimony of the people of God and I sense his spirit now, asking me to open my life up.
How do I know what that feels like? It will be unique to you We all have our own unique personalities. You will know. Look, remember when you felt like you were in love and you went and asked your Mama, “how do you know when you’re in love?” She says, “Oh, honey, you will know.” You wonder how was that helpful. Then you fall in love and you know.
When you fell in love the first time did you go to the doctor and ask him if he could take some of your blood to see if you test positive for love? Could you check and see if there is any love in my blood? No one has ever tried to find empirical evidence of love because it stands outside of science. It cannot be tested in the laboratory. But you will know. You will know if the spirit of Christ is visiting you now. He’s knocking and you sense his heart for you. And you’re crying with him, but you won’t let him in. Why won’t you let him in?
Here we are, two thousand years after he entered Jerusalem and he wept over Jerusalem because his own people wouldn’t recognize him. Would you recognize him? You have the word. You have the testimony of his people. You have his spirit wooing you even now.
First John says, “this is he who came by water and blood.” Jesus Christ not only by water but by water and blood. It is the spirit who bears witness because the spirit is truth. The spirit bears witness. And this is the testimony that God has given us eternal life and this life is in his son. He who has the son has life. He who does not have the son of God does not have life .
Hebrews, ten, says the spirit bears witness to us. Romans eight sixteen, the spirit himself bears witness with our spirit. You will know; you will know if you say yes because he will give you assurance. You will know. Will you respond to the testimony of Christ Spirit? Will you respond to the testimony of his people? Will you respond to the testimony of the word when you say yes to Jesus today?
John says in revelation nineteen that Jesus won’t be coming back on a donkey. Instead, he says, “I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse And he who sat on it was called faithful and true and his name is the word of God. And on his thigh was written the name King of Kings and Lord of Lords And he came and there was a two edged sword who came out of his mouth. And he brought judgment upon those who did not believe and behind him on white horses were the saints who had gone before. And there was a great multitude with him. And so we see he has come and he is coming again.”
Let’s pray. First of all, I pray for that person that’s here today and Jesus has been knocking at their heart’s door. Jesus, you’re such a gentleman. You just knock. You don’t force your way in. It is our part is to say yes, to wave the white flag and shout surrender. That’s our part. You’ve done all the work. You’ve done everything. But yet you’re so gentle to us. You’re so good to us, even weeping over us. Would you pray right now with me? Dear Lord Jesus, right in your seat say these words, Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I believe you died on the cross for my sin and that you were raised from the grave and that you live today. I invite you to come and live in me. Forgive me of my sin and make me the person you want me to be. I want to be a child of God. And I want you to be my lord and savior. If you’re praying that prayer right now believing in your heart, know this that Jesus died to save you and he rose again to make you a child of God. So, my friend, welcome to the Kingdom. If you’re here this morning and you’ve done that, you have the Lord as your saviour and your king, would you confess right now your desire to be a witness for him? Many times we are silent when we should speak. Many times we’re not a good witness. We repent, Lord. Right now, we asked that you would bless these invite cards that we have in our seats as we invite people to come to our Easter services, as we invite people that we love, as we write their names on these cards that we areputting down front for people that are far from God. We ask you to use us that we might be a testimony to you. In Jesus name. Amen.