April 14, 2019

Rev. Mark F. Bartels



Old Testament Lesson; Zechariah 9:9-10

Epistle Lesson; Philippians 2:5-11                             

Sermon Text; Luke 19:28-40


Our text on this Palm Sunday is taken from Luke, chapter nineteen, verses twenty eight through forty.  This is in our King's name.


After Jesus had said these things, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  As He came near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples ahead, saying, “Go to the village ahead of you  When you enter it, 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 will say this:  'The Lord needs it.'”

Those who were sent ahead went and found things just as He had told them.  As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

They said “The Lord needs it.”

Then they brought the colt to Jesus.  They threw their robes on the colt and set Jesus on it.  As He went along, people spread their robes on the road.  As He was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God joyfully, with a loud voice, for all the miracles they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

He replied, “I tell you, if these people would be silent, the stones would cry out.”


These are your words, Heavenly Father.  Lead us in the way of truth.  Your Word is truth.



I am going to take you to one day before Palm Sunday.  I can only imagine there was electricity in the air, in the city of Jerusalem.   Jerusalem, which was normally forty thousand people in population, had swelled to over several hundred thousand people, who had all migrated there for the annual celebration of The Passover.  So, it was teaming with people.  They were all ready to celebrate, starting on Sunday.  The Passover Festival would go for a whole week.  This is when they remember that two thousand years earlier, the Lord had delivered The Children of Israel from captivity to the Egyptians.  So, there was electricity in the air, as they were about ready to celebrate this great festival.

In addition to that, the people, many of the common people, were beginning to wonder, because they knew some of The Old Testament prophecies.  They knew The Old Testament prophesied that a great King would come.  This great King would be greater than King David.  This King was known as The Messiah. 

However, they had this mistaken interpretation of scripture that this King would come, and He would free them from whatever earthly captors they had.  Now, they had been overtaken by the Romans.  The Romans were this pagan country that had taken, in essence, The Children of Israel into captivity.  And, The Children of Israel, many of the people who were there that Saturday evening, were probably beginning to wonder, “Is Jesus the King who is going to finally free us from the Romans?”

In fact, you can almost imagine, maybe, conversations that were quietly happening in homes, in Jerusalem, or just outside of Jerusalem, that evening.  Maybe the buzz went something like this:  “I wonder if Jesus, I wonder if He is that promised Messiah King?  After all, He is a descendent of King David.  And, The Bible says the Messiah would be a descendent of King David.”  

“I wonder if He is the One who is going to help us overthrow the Romans?  Maybe it is going to be this week!  There is a Roman garrison here, and Jerusalem is filled with hundreds of thousands of us.  We could overtake them!”

Can you imagine the conversations?  Maybe somebody was saying, “He has such charisma.  Five thousand men followed Him out into the wilderness, let alone women and children.  There was a crowd of probably fifteen, twenty thousand people who followed Him out into the wilderness that one day!  Another time there were four thousand men, with women and children.  Probably counting women and children it was twelve, sixteen thousand people.  I mean, this Guy has charisma.  Maybe He is the One who will finally be able to get the crowd to rise up against the Romans.”

“He is a Man of God.  He speaks with authority.  He teaches the Word of God.  He could lead us, in the name of the Lord, to defeat these enemies, the Romans.  Maybe He is the King we have been waiting for.”
“Not only that, He has supernatural power.  We have seen Him heal the sick, give sight to the blind.  Why He has even raised people from the dead!  Could you imagine if He were to use His supernatural power, those miracles, to help us defeat the Romans.  Maybe He is the One.”
There was electricity in the air that maybe Jesus was the King who would finally help them overthrow the Romans.

By the same token, there were probably other households in Jerusalem that Saturday Sabbath evening that were very fearful about that happening.  That would be the Pharisees. 

The Romans ruled this way.  They would give the local people the ability to rule themselves, as long as they did it well.  The Romans had basically given the Pharisees, the ruling class, the ability to rule over the people.  The Pharisees were saying, “What if the people try to make Jesus King?  Then, what is going to happen?  Then, the Romans are going to come in, crush us, and they are going to take the rule of the people away from us, Pharisees.  We don't want Jesus to become King.”

Given all of that, what happened on Palm Sunday, Jesus had every intention of riding in to Jerusalem, and claiming His Kingdom, every intention of riding in to Jerusalem and claiming His Kingdom.  In fact, what Jesus did, in essence it was like opening up your Bibles to five hundred years earlier, to the book of Zechariah.  It was like Jesus 'tore a page out of the Bible' from Zechariah, chapter nine.  He now is going to live it out in front of all of the people in Jerusalem that day.  It is going from being a prophecy to being fulfilled that day.  Here was the prophecy, in the book of Zechariah. 

“Behold, your King comes to you

righteous and humble and lowly,

riding on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

And so Jesus, now in order to play that out in front of all of the people, told His disciples (and you can see here how He is the King of all things.  He knows not just every person, but He knows every animal in the universe), He told two of His disciples, “Go to the city of Jerusalem, and you will find a colt tied there.” 

He knew exactly where every donkey was.  It has never been ridden before, and He knew that donkey had never been ridden before.  He knows everything.  He is the King of everything. 

Animals that had not been ridden before were able to be used for sacred purposes. 

He even knew what the owner of that donkey would say.  He would ask, “Why are you untying it?” 

He told them to say, 'The Lord needs it', and he will let it go. 

That is exactly what happened. 

So, they bring the donkey to Jesus.  The King gets on the donkey, and He begins to ride into Jerusalem. 

The people 'tear out a different page of scripture', which takes us back a thousand years earlier, to Psalm 118.  Psalm 118 describes what would happen when King David, great King David, would go into the city of Jerusalem, after he had defeated his enemies.  The people would gather, and they would shout praises, praises to God for the king.  They would wave their palm branches.  They would follow the king through the city of Jerusalem.  They would follow him all of the way up to the altar of sacrifice, where he was going to give a sacrifice to the Lord. 

Little did the people know that day, as they waved their palm branches before the King, (Jesus), He was on his way to offer the ultimate sacrifice, and fulfill Psalm 118.  The people even cried out the very words from Psalm 118. 

“Blessed is He, the King

who comes in the name of the Lord!”  

They were proclaiming Jesus “King”.  They didn't understand what kind of King He was, yet.  I want you to listen to the words they said after that.  This takes us to verse 38. 

“Blessed is the King,

who comes in the name of the Lord!” 

That is from Psalm 118, proclaiming Him King.  Then they say,

“Peace in Heaven,

and glory in the highest!”  

Does that sound familiar to you? 

“Peace in Heaven,

and glory in the highest!”  

Thirty three years earlier, when Jesus was born, what did the angels say?  Almost this exact same thing, but with a little, different twist.  They also said,

“Glory to God in the highest,

peace ON EARTH,

and good will toward men.”

Jesus came to bring peace.  He was born into this world, to bring peace to this world by His death on the cross, and payment for sin.  And now, as He approaches the cross, what does the crowd say? 

“Glory to God in the highest

and peace

(not on earth, but)

in heaven.” 

Jesus came as the King of Peace, to bring peace between us and God, peace in God's heart, as God's heart now is about to be calmed over His wrath over our sin.

The people shouted the praises to Jesus, but they didn't understand what was about to happen in just five days.  The Pharisees who were there, were very troubled over the fact that these people were praising Jesus, and in essence calling Him the King.  They were terrified over what the Romans might do, if they found out about this, and heard this.  So, what do they say to Jesus?  They said, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”  In other words, “Jesus you are a fool.  Don't you see what you are about to cause?  Don't you see that the Romans are going to come in, and crush us, if you try to act like their king?”  They tell Him to be quiet, and tell the people to be quiet. 

To which Jesus replies, “If I tell them to be quiet, even the stones will shout out.” 

What was Jesus saying?  Think about this.  The Pharisees wanted to stop Him, but Jesus was saying, “I am unstoppable.  This is unstoppable.  What is about to happen is unstoppable.  I am about to become King.  I am about to be put on my 'throne'.  I am about to establish a Kingdom that will have no end.  You cannot stop it.”  The very fact that the Pharisees then tried to stop it, only put into action the very things that would put Jesus on His 'throne', and give Him His Kingdom, His eternal Kingdom, this Kingdom of peace. 

What happened?  In just five days the Pharisees, who were terrified that Jesus would try to establish His earthly Kingdom, would take Him before Pontius Pilate. 

To anybody who is troubled over sin, because my worst enemy, my worst enemy is my own sin, (I am going to be very blunt), my sin could condemn me in Hell for eternity.  That is a terrifying thought.  TERRIFYING!  If you really stop, and think about it, we can't defeat our own sin.  That is why Jesus came. 

He is the King,

and He is the only One who can defeat that enemy.

As the Pharisees took Jesus before Pilate, what was the accusation?  “He claims to be a king.” 

They gave Him a scepter.  It was a humble scepter.  A humble scepter in the sense that they took it then, and beat Him on the head with it.  But, that is our King.  That is my King.  That is the King of sinners.  That is the King who came to have my sins laid on Him. 

By His wounds we are healed.

He defeats our enemies. 

They came, accused Him of being a king, and then they crowned Him.  They put a crown on Him.  That crown was a crown of thorns, and He began to bleed.  That is my King.  That is my King!  He is your King. 

He is the King by whose wounds we are healed. 

Our sins are paid for.

Then, they took King Jesus, and they nailed Him to His 'throne'.  They put Him on His 'throne'.  Little did they realize they were putting Him on His 'throne' from which He would rule in grace.  This is the humble King who made Himself low, taking our sins, nailed to His 'throne'.  And there, there, the punishment that brought us peace was laid on Him. 

By His wounds we are healed.

Then, the King began to make pronouncements from His 'throne'.  What was the first pronouncement the King made from His 'throne'?  The first pronouncement He made from His 'throne' was:

“Father, forgive them

for they know not what the do.”

Ah, there is the King of peace.  Remember what the people had said five days earlier?  “Peace in Heaven.” 

Now, Jesus cries out to His Father, “forgive them...”  “Father, in your heart, in your heart, because I am paying for their sins, be at peace with them, and forgive them.”

The King now reigns in grace.

What are the next words that come from His 'throne', as He is there on the cross, His 'throne'?  They are nothing but words of grace, and they have to do with establishing an eternal Kingdom that will have no end. 

The thief on the cross, who was a bad man, an evil man, a wicked man, and had lived a sinful life, was nailed to a cross.  He was so bad that he was mocking, and making fun of Jesus.  But, at the last minute he comes to repentance, and sees Jesus as his only help of salvation.  What does he say to Jesus?  He cries out to Jesus,

“Lord remember me when you...


...come into your Kingdom.”  

He understood the King was on His 'throne', and He was making pronouncements from His 'throne'. 

What did Jesus say to that man? 

“Truly, truly, I say to you,

today you will be with me in Paradise.” 

That man was about to inherit an eternal Kingdom that would have no end.  All simply by faith in Jesus, as his Savior. 

Jesus had come to establish this absolute Kingdom of grace, mercy, and peace.  That's our King.  He is our humble King. 

This is a King who would face our worst enemies. 

        -Sin, which He totally defeated on the cross. 

        -Death, death could not hold Him. 

        -The grave could not keep Him. 

That is our King. 

This is the thing that just makes you drop to your knees, drop to your knees. 

-This King didn't come to establish a kingdom over all of Rome, with all of its authority, all of its power, all of its might, some great earthly kingdom. 

-He did not come to establish a kingdom over The United States of America, with all of its wealth, power, and might. 

-He didn't come to establish a kingdom over all of the world, a political kingdom, where He would rule all people, politically in this world. 

        -Jesus came to establish a Kingdom in the tiny-ist, most undeserving, most wretched spot in the world.  Do you know where it is?  Right here, in my heart.  Wow!  That is where He wants to establish His Kingdom.  In this sinful heart, this heart that was born opposed to God, and an enemy of God. 

The Bible says,

“Every inclination of man's heart is evil,

even from its youth.” 

That is where Jesus wants to establish His Kingdom.  What a merciful, merciful God.  We become a part of that Kingdom simply by faith in Jesus.  And so, the Holy Spirit has created in your heart faith to believe in Jesus, and He is your King.  He is our humble King who rules us by grace.

One of the memories in my life, that I know I am going to take to my grave, as probably one of the most fond memories I will ever, ever have in my life, takes me back to when our boys were young boys.  Every evening we would have devotion.  It would be Sherri, Matt, Jon, and me.  So, here is this little Kingdom of little believers in Christ's Kingdom. We would sit around in one of their bedrooms, and read out of The Bible for a little bit, and then we would say a prayer.  And we would sing a hymn.  Often the hymn verse we would sing was On My Heart Imprint Thine Image.

On my heart imprint thine image.

Blessed Jesus, King of Grace.

That life's riches, cares, and pleasures

have no power Thee to efface.

This the superscription be.

Jesus crucified for me.

Is my life, my hope's foundation,

and my glory, and salvation.

That humble little Kingdom, that little family, who Jesus rules by grace, called upon Jesus to be their King. 

How does Jesus rule in a family?  How can you rule in a family of sinners?  He does it by grace.  Every day He forgives our sins.  Every day He watches over us, guides us, and keeps us.

Ultimately, He does it by enabling us to live as His children.  Philippians, which was our Epistle Lesson for today, talks about this.  It says,

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,

but in humility, in humility consider others better than yourself.  Each of you should not only look to your own interest,

but also to the interest of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”  

In the home, at work, we as members of Christ's Kingdom, our humble King, strive to serve Him, by humbly, humbly, putting others above ourselves, and serving them for the sake of Christ.



Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.