Luke 19:28-40

Everyone loves a parade, don’t they? Whether it’s the Macy’s Parade on
Thanksgiving Day, that helps kick off the Christmas-buying season; the
Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, which celebrates the start of a new
year; or the Fourth of July parade in your own hometown, which
commemorates the founding of the nation. Did you notice that each
parade has some meaning or purpose behind it – some event or
significance that it celebrates?

That day when Jesus entered the holy city of Jerusalem – the day we now
know as Palm Sunday – was a parade unlike any other. And for every
participant the day had a different meaning. The truth is, whenever
Jesus arrives at our door, He calls us to decide what He will mean in
our lives.

When Jesus Arrives, It Will Cost Something

The forgotten persons in this story are the owners of the donkey –
perhaps a husband and wife, or a father and son. Jesus sent two
disciples ahead into the small village of Bethpage or Bethany, to
obtain a young donkey (or “colt”). Had the use of the donkey been
prearranged? That’s possible. It’s also possible that when the
disciples said the Lord needed the donkey, the owners knew exactly who
Jesus was and willingly allowed them to take their animal; remember
that right there in Bethany only days before, Jesus had called Lazarus
from the tomb. It’s not too much to think that in the aftermath of such
a miraculous event, the owners of this donkey were willing to grant any
request the Lord might make. So they willingly parted with their
property so that Jesus could use it.

Is there something in your life Jesus might wish to use? Are you
willing to willingly hand it over to Him? Is He calling you to yield
your financial resources? Does Jesus want to use a particular talent or
gift in your life? Is Jesus asking you to make a significant change
that is going to impact every part of your life? Whatever the cost, are
you willing to respond to Him?

When Jesus Arrives, It Will Call for a Response

So Jesus, riding on the young donkey, begins his ride into Jerusalem,
passing near the Mount of Olives. Even as He rode, Jesus was acting out
a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. There’s a crowd there,
consisting of many different kinds of people, and each had their own
response to Jesus.

The disciples were praising Him. Verse 36 tells us that people lay
their cloaks along the road as a sign of homage and respect. As He
approached they shouted praises to him as the “king who comes in the
name of the Lord.”

Some had expectations of Him. Luke doesn’t include it, but the gospel
of John tells us that some of the people were waving palm branches and
throwing them on the path in front of Jesus. There was a special,
political meaning to such an act in that context. The palm branch was a
symbol of the Maccabean reign over Israel. Two centuries earlier, Judas
Maccabees led a Jewish revolt that overthrew the Syrian occupiers and
claimed freedom for the Jewish people; the palm branch appeared on
Maccabean coins and was a symbol of that period for many Jewish people,
who now looked for a new warrior-king to overthrow the Roman occupiers
and again free the land.

Still others criticized Him. The Pharisees heard the shouts of joy,
perhaps recognized the political overtones of the palm branches, and
called on Jesus to rebuke the crowd. Where others saw joy and
deliverance, the Pharisees saw a threat to their own position.

What about you? How will you respond to the arrival of Jesus? Will you
try to fit Him into your own agenda? Will you reject Him as a threat to
your own interest? Or will you receive Him with praise?

Sermon brief provided by: Michael Duduit,
Editor, Preaching.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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