An Emotional Parade

by Duane Maust
Luke 19: 28-44
Palm Sunday
April 1, 2007

We have a story of an emotional parade here today. I suppose most of you have been to many parades in your lives. I saw an emotional parade just Friday. This parade went from Meridian, through Enterprise, and on to Quitman. This parade was to honor the young man that died in Iraq. There were many emotions for the people along the route. Some were thankful that their son came home safe. Some were there because they lost a son. On TV I saw many tears along the parade path.

The parade in the story today was quite different. Jesus was in the parade, he was the one feeling grief.

What do you think Jesus was feeling when he asked the two disciples to go on ahead and get the colt?

I think he knew what this next week would hold. He knew the cross was coming. He knew what Judas was going to do to Him.

Read Luke 19: 30-31.

The Barclay Commentary suggests that this plan for the donkey or colt was carefully planned. It was no sudden, impulsive action. Jesus did not leave things to the last minute. Barclay suggests that Jesus had arrangements made with the owners ahead. The password was “the Lord needs it.”

I always thought that the owner just knew that it was the right thing to do. The Holy Spirit could have just let the owner know that is the right thing to do.

However it happened, Jesus has his colt. Here we have Jesus coming into the city of Jerusalem. This may have been the hardest trip into town for Jesus. He made the decision to come and not to go hide.

Why did Jesus ride a donkey and not a horse? The donkey in Palestine was not a lowly animal that it is in this country. It was noble. Only in war did kings ride on a horse. So Jesus was coming as a king of love and King of peace as he rode into town. He was not coming as a conquering military hero who the mob was really expecting.

Well, here we have Jesus coming on this donkey. I picture Jesus just coming into Jerusalem. He is on the Mount of Olives overview. He has this view of the city below. The emotions of what he saw got to him. Jesus wept over the city as he looked. He was feeling the heaviness that was ahead of him the coming week. He was feeling the sin of the world.

It was like coming into Meridian on 145 from the south. You can see the city down below. Up by Skyline Drive, you can see down over the city. We know what sin there is in this city. We should pray it. Pray for God’s love to wrap his arms around this city.

I served on the Grand jury several years ago. There is plenty of sin around here. We had over 300 cases to handle that one-week. It opened my eyes. It gave me heavy feeling for our community.

But this is still not a good illustration. Because Jesus knew he was going to die for their wrongs. Not just for the sin of the city, but sin of the world. He died for the sins of Meridian.

Jesus had this crowd yelling. People surrounded him. As Jesus rides down toward the city, the crowd is growing. There is celebration in the air. The Passover and pilgrims are gathering from all over for the greatest of all the Jewish holidays.

The people have just heard that Jesus can bring people back to life. Can you imagine how that excitement spread through the country?

“Have you head the news? Lazarus died and was buried in a tomb so long that his body was starting to decay. But this teacher from Nazareth called, ‘Lazarus, come forth,’ and Lazarus came forth. My cousin saw him. They took off his grave clothes and he walked away. He is living. Surely he is the Son of God. This is Jesus.”

These things that Jesus had been doing the last several years has gotten a lot of attention. Today Jesus is in the center of it. People are going crazy over him.

Jesus knew what kind of people were in the crowd. There were people there that really loved and worshipped God. There were people that were there just to trap him and accuse Jesus of doing wrong. Some of these people were the Sadducees and Pharisees. They were the keepers of the law, the spiritual leaders. But Jesus had gained so much popularity that they felt threatened. So full of jealousy, they watched him.

The Romans were there, fearing revolt and watching for any sign of rebellion against Rome. They were ready and waiting to crush any uprising. They were the controlling government.

I wonder what Peter was doing. Do you think he may have been walking along this day with his chest expanded? Do you think he had a big head on that day? He was probably enjoying the cheers of the crowd. Maybe he was thinking about how good it was to leave the boat and fishnets and be with Jesus.

Maybe Thomas was a little uneasy with this attention. He may have been wondering what was going to happen next.

Maybe Andrew was overwhelmed by it all. He was used to bringing people to Jesus one by one, or in small groups. Look at this mess today.

This crowd involved all kinds of people. Where would you have fit into that crowd that day?

Here we have all these emotions. Jesus has the heaviest heart of the day. He sees the mixture of faces and the masses of humanity crowding around him. He realizes that many of them do not understand what he is trying to tell them. They do not know the message of peace. They do not understand the purpose he came for.

Read Luke 19: 41-44.

These people in the parade today, did they really get what Jesus was trying to tell them? The people that day had eyes, but they didn’t see. They had ears, but didn’t hear. Many of them missed the whole point of the message that God had given them.

Many of the people were missing what Jesus was tell them in Matthew on the Sermon on the Mount. He was saying, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. If someone hits you on the cheek, turn your other cheek to him. If someone wants your coat, give him your shirt as well. If they ask you to carry a pack for a mile, go carry it two miles.”

What we you talking about? That sounds backwards.

That all sounded good, but what did it really mean in their hearts?

They were having trouble seeing all this. This story is professed in the Old Testament.

Read Zechariah 9:9.

Did they really see Jesus as Messiah? Did they realize Jesus as King?

This happened just as it was told it was going to. Jesus prepared to enter Jerusalem as the Messiah, but not as the Messiah many of the people that day expected. They wanted a strong military man who would restore their nation. He came as the Prince of peace for all people.

Let us realize what we are celebrating in this parade here on this Palm Sunday. Jesus is giving himself for us. He is giving himself for the world.

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