The Gospel of Luke - Part 81
Worshiping the King — Luke 19:29-40

May 6, 2007
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

Review:

We are in Chapter 19 of Luke, where we are Confronted by The King. We are breaking this chapter into:

  A.   Welcoming The King
  B.   Working For The King
  C.   Worshiping The King

A. Welcoming the King was the story of Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus and addressed Jesus in terms that made it clear that he realized that Jesus was the Messiah. We need to have a heart that seeks Jesus like Zacchaeus.

B. Working for the King was the parable that Jesus told about the nobleman who gave three servants some money to invest, then went away to receive his kingship and then held them accountable for their use of the money when he returned. We need to remember that we will be held accountable to Jesus for how we used the gifts we have been given by God. Hiding those gifts in the sock drawer is not acceptable.

C.   Worshiping The King:

This morning we finish Luke Chapter 19 which starts the last week of the life of Jesus on earth.   An overview of the traditional/historical calendar of events for the last eight days of Jesus’ life looks this:

Saturday & Sunday - Jesus in Bethany
Sunday - triumphal entry by Jesus into Jerusalem
Monday - Jesus’ cleansing of the temple
Tuesday - confrontation with the Jewish religious leaders
Wednesday - Jesus teaching His followers
Thursday - preparation for the Passover
Friday - Jesus’ trial and crucifixion
Saturday - Jesus’ body in the tomb
Sunday - Jesus’ resurrection

People had a lot of wrong ideas about the Messiah (and thus about Jesus). They expected Him to be King of a political kingdom. So as Jesus approached Jerusalem, many people expected/hoped He would declare Himself Messiah and establish His earthly kingdom at this time. Look for all you can learn about Jesus from these verses. Notice how He openly declares His kingship and His authority. Also, notice the differences between what Jesus said and did and what people expected.

The first thing we see this morning is that after giving the crowd and the Disciples the parable about the nobleman and the minas, He headed for Jerusalem.

And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples... —Luke 19:28-29
As He leaves Jericho, Jesus makes His final journey to Jerusalem. Though His disciples don’t know it, they have only a week or so with Him before His crucifixion.  The trip from Jericho to Jerusalem was about 17 miles. It is also a 3,000 foot climb in elevation. As we discussed a week or two ago and as brought out in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan back on Luke 10, it could be a dangerous trip with robbers hiding along the steep and winding way.
...he went on ahead... —Luke 19:18
What does this phrase mean? Did Jesus leave His disciples behind and make the journey from Jericho to Bethany alone? The New Living Translation of this verse reads:
After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of His disciples. (NLT)
This seems to be a reasonable way to understand what was happening.

We can’t even imagine what this journey meant to Jesus. His earthly ministry was drawing to a close. Ahead of Him was the agony of the cross. It’s understandable certainly that Jesus would want time alone to think and to pray.

When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet... —Luke 19:29

Bethphage and Bethany were small towns, villages really, just outside of Jerusalem. Bethphage was located about a half mile outside of Jerusalem right on the Jericho road. Bethany is about two miles southeast of Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives is a ridge or series of hills on the eastern side of Jerusalem. At least some of these hills were covered with groves of olive trees. From the top of the Mount, Jesus could look down over the city of Jerusalem.

For some reason, Luke does not record anything about Jesus’ time in Bethany and Bethphage. All the other Gospels record Jesus’ time in Bethany sharing in a dinner at the home of Simon the leper. There He spends time with His disciples and other friends including Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, and Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary. Remember back in Luke 10 Jesus visited them and Martha complained because Mary was listening at the foot of Jesus and not helping cook the meal. Jesus indicated that what Mary was doing was the more important. Martha is the complaining type. We see it again when Jesus procrastinated before going to save Lazarus from death, by letting him die first. It was a much greater miracle to let him die and be buried and then resurrect him than to heal him before he died. But when Jesus finally got to Bethany, it was Martha that come out to meet him and chew him out for taking so long that Lazarus had died. It is clear that it is better to be a Mary than a Martha.

Matthew, Mark and John record that as He passed through Bethany He did visit with them and that Mary anointed Him with expensive oil and wiped His feet with her hair, which Jesus considered a pre burial anointment. Matthew and Mark do not name Mary, but John does.

So Jesus is entering Jerusalem.

When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 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. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘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, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And 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—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, saying, “Blessed is 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 to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” —Luke 19:29-40

As you read through this passage, what thoughts from these verses stand out to you?  Consider these thoughts from John MacArthur:

“Most people today [especially in America] have little first-hand knowledge of a genuine monarchy ... Until modern times the coronation of a monarch involved the display of great splendor and pageantry. The king or queen would be dressed in the most expensive robes and jewels and would be driven through his capital city in an ornate carriage drawn by stately horses. Accompanying him would be his courtiers and foreign dignitaries, and following that would be a large retinue of the nation’s finest soldiers. In many countries high-ranking religious leaders would also participate. At the climax of the events, the king would be presented with a scepter or would stand on a sacred stone or participate in some other ritual signifying the transfer of power and authority into his/her hands. Musicians would play and sing, and the crowds would break into spontaneous choruses of praise to their [new] sovereign. Every part of the ceremony was designed to highlight the majesty, glory, power and dignity of the king. At her coronation in 1838, Queen Victoria of England wore a crown encrusted with giant rubies and sapphires surrounding a 309-carat diamond. Her scepter was capped with an even larger diamond, cut from the Star of Africa and weighing 516.5 carats. [This passage in Luke] portrays the most significant coronation the world has yet seen, but it was a coronation in marked contrast to the kind just described. It was a true coronation of a true King. He was affirmed as King ... but there was no pomp, no splendor, and a nondescript sort of pageantry.” [MacArthur Commentary on Matthew]

I included this quote by MacArthur so that we could appreciate the humility of Jesus upon His entry into Jerusalem. He is declaring Himself as Messiah but certainly not in the world’s way, not in the way people might expect.

In verses 28-34, we see the care Jesus took to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. This was to fulfill a very important prophecy concerning the Messiah:

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. —Zechariah 9:9
Luke tells us:
And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. —Luke 19:36
The Gospel of John adds that the people cut palm branches to hold up and wave as Jesus entered:
The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” —John 12:12-13
Since this occurred on the Sunday before Jesus’ crucifixion, it is known and celebrated in churches as Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. Luke continues:
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. —Luke 19:37
This is more than just the Twelve; a “whole crowd [‘great number’, ‘multitude’] of disciples” were there to welcome Jesus. Jews from all of Israel and throughout the Roman empire were gathered to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem. (Some scholars estimate as many as two million Jews may have crammed into Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.) Many of Jesus’ followers from His three years of ministry in Galilee and Judea would have been there as well. The crowd was yelling:
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” —Luke 19:36
This is a quote from a psalm of praise to the Messiah.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD. —Psalm 118:26
The Pharisees understood the crowds were proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah which is why they tell Jesus to rebuke His disciples. But Jesus refuses to do so.
And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” —Luke 19:39-40
For the most part, throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus had discouraged people from drawing attention to Him or proclaiming Him to be the Messiah. But not now. Now Jesus openly affirms and defends those who proclaim Him as king.  So what applications should we consider from this passage?

(1)   Jesus’ example of humility:

Unlike the kings of Jesus’ day, Jesus did not enter Jerusalem in pomp and splendor but rather in poverty and humility. We need to be committed to following Jesus’ example, humbling ourselves just as He humbled Himself. Remember that Jesus told us in Luke 14:

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. —Luke 14:11
(2)   The disciples’ example of praise:
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. —Luke 19:37
Like the crowds who witnessed Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, we need to “joyfully praise God” for all the wonderful things the Lord has done. Do you set aside time just to praise Him, to express to Him appreciation for who He is and all that He has done for you?

(3) The need to choose:

Like the people in Jesus' time, we have to decide whether to accept or reject Jesus' claims. He claims to be the Messiah. He claims to be God. We have to choose what we are going to believe. What people must not do is pretend that Jesus never made these claims — that He was just a good man, a great teacher. You'll show by your obedience and submission to Him if you really believe He is who He claimed to be.

So Jesus is ready to enter Jerusalem. But it is a very emotional time. As Jesus neared Jerusalem, we see that He cared for people

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 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. 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 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.” —Luke 19:41-44
What stands out to you from this passage? What can we learn here?
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it. —Luke 19:41
It is one of just two times in the Gospels where we're told that Jesus wept (the other time is at Lazarus' tomb).
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.  And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. —John 11:32-35
Jesus wept over Jerusalem because He so deeply loved the very people who were going to crucify Him in just a few days. Think about how amazing this is. Jesus had every right to be angry with these people. After all He had done, they were going to reject Him and crucify Him. But Jesus wasn’t angry; He was heartbroken. He loves people, all people. He desires that everyone be saved. Unfortunately, most refuse the offer.

This passage is similar to something else Jesus said recorded earlier in Luke:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” —Luke 13:34-35
Or in Matthew:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” —Matthew 23:37-39
Jesus talks about what will happen to His beloved City:
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 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.” —Luke 19:43-44
According to the Holman Bible dictionary,
The prophetic words of Jesus spoken here were fulfilled within the lifetime of most of those who were then alive. “This Jerusalem in which Jesus walked was destroyed by the Roman general Titus in A.D. 70 after zealous Jews revolted against Rome. [An estimated 600,000 Jews were killed.] Not one stone of the Temple building remained standing on another , and widespread destruction engulfed the city”. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
So what should we learn from this passage? Have you ever wept out of compassion for those without Jesus? One of the great tragedies today is that Jesus' followers rarely seem to share His heart for the lost. Consider what Paul said in expressing his own heart for those without Jesus:
I am speaking the truth in Christ — I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit — that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. —Romans 9:1-3
Paul says:
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.—Romans 10:1
As Jesus enters Jerusalem, we will stop here for today.
__________

Next week — we will follow the trip into the city where He shows His kingship by clearing out the Temple.