Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

The Lowly King (Matthew 21:1-11)


Rev. Stu Sherard (Guest preacher)

I went back and looked. I preached on this particular pass eats four times over the years and each sermon has has emphasized a different aspect of the text. There's a lot here to chew on. It's a very rich text. So what I want to do is I want to read this entire text, versus one through eleven, but then I want to go back and sort of camp out for a while on verse five, and that's where Matthew quotes the Old Testament Prophet Zachariah, Chapter Nine, verse so this is God's word for us this morning, so let's pay heed to it now. When they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Beth fudge, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples saying to them, go into the village in front of you and immediately you will find a donkey tiede and a cult with her untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say the Lord needs them and he will send them at once. This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Prophet, saying say to the daughter of Zion, behold, your king is coming to you, humble and mounted on a donkey and on a Colt, the full of a beast of burden. The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the Colt and put on them their cloaks and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting Hosanna to the son of David, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest. And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying who is this, and the crowd said this is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee. Please pray with me, Lord. We we live in a context, for there are many voices that clamor for our attention, that demand our response, that claim that we owe our allegiance to them. Some are summer voices of our own lust and ambitions and pride and selfishness within some are the clamoring voices of the world all around us. Help US pleased by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit now to hear, above the din the cacophony of competing voices, the clear voice of our say savior saying to us this is the way walk in. It give us ears to hear what the Holy Spirit says today to his church in Jesus name. Amen, please be seated. You know, the most important I've ever lived was was that of Jesus Christ, and the most important part of that life arguably was the momentous week that ended it. The week began with Jesus Entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday today, and that week included, if you recall, his second cleansing of the temple. It included his final teaching, his arrest, his trial and crucifixion, and it ended with his resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday. Eight momentous days in all. You know this, this final week. It's so important that the gospels give a lot of space to it. Jesus lived thirty three years. His Public Ministry was for three years, but large portions of the Gospel accounts are given over to the events of this last eight days of his life. Matthew devotes one fourth to... Mark Uses one three of his Gospel look gives a fifth of his chapters to the events of this last week and most remarkable of all, one half of John's Gospel deals with us this last week of Jesus life. Taken together, there are eighty nine chapters in the four Gospels and twenty nine and one half of these, or one third, recount what happened between Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and His resurrection eight days. So this is an important week and I think we know that the reason it's important is that these are the climactic events not only of Jesus earthly life, these are the climactic events of all history. They were planned before the foundation of the world and, dear ones, are salvation from sin and from God's wrath to pin completely on them. So this week begins with what we call the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Now we've read this account in Matthew, but all the gospels record this event and I think the first significant thing they tell us about it is that Jesus arranged everything that was going to happen. You know, this wasn't just a case of some spontaneous outbursts of excitement on the part of the people. That was certainly part of it, that was there, but this was something the Lord carefully planned and he did that in order to make a statement. And look at the text. Matthew says that is Jesus and the disciples were approaching Beth foge and, which is an outlying district of Jerusalem. Jesus sent to the disciples on ahead of them to procure this donkey and a cold go into the village in front of you and immediately you will find a donkey, tide and a Colt with her untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say the Lord Needs Him and he will send them at once. Now, Mark and Luke tell us that someone did ask why the disciples were taking the Colt, but they released it when they learned that it was the Lord who needed it. So why did Jesus do this? Why did he arrange to enter Jerusalem in this particular way? You know he didn't. He certainly didn't need to ride into Jerusalem. Jesus was a walker. He'd already walked the entire distance from Galilee. In fact, this is the only occasion that I could find were we hear of Jesus doing anything but walking in his earthly life. Obviously he wanted to make a point, he wanted to make a statement of some kind. He wanted to take a symbolic action, if you will. You know, it's interesting if you go back and look, you'll see that the prophets often did this. You see, this was part and parcel of their repertoire, so to speak. You remember when Jeremiah was told to buy a clay jar and then he was to break it to symbolizing the breaking of the nation, or or when he he bought a field to symbolize God's commitment to bring...

...the people back to the land of Israel after their captivity. You know, or think of Homer, of Joseiah, I'm sorry, Joseah, who was told to marry Gomer, who would be unfaithful to him, to symbolize how Israel was being unfaithful to God himself. So well, I think Jesus is doing the same sort of thing here. Well, what was he trying to do? What kind of statement was he making by writing into the city as he did? Well, the meaning of what Jesus was arranging to do is found in matthews quote of Zachariah nine. Matthew tells us in verse four that all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Prophet the what did the Prophet say? It's in verse five say to the Daughters of Zion, behold, your king is coming to you, humble and mounted on a donkey and on a cult the full of a beast of burden. You know, if you were to go back and look at the context of this verse, we would see that it's taken from a section of Zachariah that prophesized what was going to happen to Israel in the future. And what it prophesizes is the coming of God's King, the coming of the Messiah, the coming of the anointed of God. And that's what Matthew is showing here. He shows Jesus is coming to his capital city as the rightful king of Israel. But there's a little there's a little hitch here. This was a different kind of king than many people expected. He wasn't a warlike monarch. He didn't come riding in on a big white charger to marshal the troops to action. He wouldn't like that he didn't do that. Rather, Jesus comes, verse five, says, Humbly and mounted on a donkey. You know, I found out in those days donkeys were a little bit more noble, and perhaps they are today. Back then kings did in fact often ride on donkeys. If you recall David, when David appointed Solomon as to be his successor as the King of Israel, he put him on his own personal mule. He took him to Gahan to be annointed by Zadok the priest and Nathan the Prophet. That sort of thing happened back then. So the donkey was not in and of itself a humble form of transportation, but a warrior would never go into battle on a donkey. So the donkey is significant. The donkey did symbolize that Jesus was coming in peace, not for war, that his reign would be peaceful. You know, when I think of all that, what came to mind was that great hymn lead on, Oh king of eternal which is going to be our closing him this morning, which makes this same point. For not with swords loud clashing, nor roll of stirring drum, but deeds of love and mercy. The heavenly kingdom comes. With deeds of love and mercy the heavenly kingdom comes. And that's the way Jesus came into Jerusalem at First Palm Sunday. Now I have to point this out. When Matthew Coach Zachariah, Chapter Nine, verse nine, here in Verse Five, he doesn't quote...

...him exactly. He leaves a couple of phrases out. The actual verse from Zachariah goes like this. Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion, Shout Aloud, oh 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, on the foal of a donkey? Rejoice. Let me read that again. Rejoice greatly, Old Daughter of Zion, shout aloud, old 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 fall of a donkey. You know it's it's true that whenever God would have his people especially glad or joyful, joyful or rejoicing or blessed, it's always in himself. So you see, when Zachariah writes, rejoice greatly. The reason were to do that is behold, your king is coming to you. In other words, our chief reason for rejoicing is the presence of King Jesus in our midst. It's always been that way, it always will be that way. You know, the shorter catechism, the Westminster shorter catechism, says that our chief end is to glorify this king and to enjoy him forever. So jackariah goes on. He shows why the Lord, our King, is such a source of joy. It's because he's righteous, he's just, he brings US salvation. You see, Jesus has completely worked out this difficult problem of how can God be righteous and just and yet save sinners? How can he do that? Well, God can do that because Jesus is righteous, he's just, he's sinless and these own personal character he's righteous and that he has borne the penalty of sin. He's been cleared from the sin which he voluntarily he took upon himself and, having endured this terrible ordeal of the cross, he satisfied God's wrath and he is saved and his people are saved with him, and we admire the righteousness which marks his reign. Were grateful for the salvation with which he brings to us, and so we cry out Hosanna to the son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest you know, and it's written of him, that this coming King is humble and gentle or, as I think the King James Version says, he is lowly. Would certainly can't be said of most kings and powerful people that you and I know today. You know his outward state, perfectly manifest the humility and the gentleness of his character. He appears to be what he really is. He conceals nothing from his chosen people. What you see is what you get. Now he rides in on a donkey and not some prancing white horse, which we've noted. That's what warriors chose for their triumphal entries, instead of court attendance and their fancy poofy robes. He was surrounded by common peasants and fishermen, children, the humblest of... and the youngest of the race shouted his praise. Branches of trees, cloaks of friends were spread all over the road. Now this was a spontaneous expression of love from friends. It's not the stage pageantry that you typically see with earthly kings. Now, this king is totally different from earthly kings that we know of. He's lonely, he's gentle, he's humble. Now that's what his entry into Jerusalem set on that first palm Sunday so many years ago. He came as a different kind of king, and that's what I want us to sort of explore and the time that's left to us this morning, I want us to look a bit more closely at the loneliness of this king who comes to us, and I want us to thank first, just for a few minutes, of how this lonliness is actually manifested in our Lord Jesus. What does it look like? How is it displayed in his life? What are the key aspects of this loneliness? Then I want us to think for just a moment of what that means for us today. What are some of the applications to us today? What are some of the lessons we can learn from the loneliness of our King? So how is this loneliness displayed in our or Jesus Christ? I've just picked out a few first I can't help but think of the loneliness of Christ and even undertaking my salvation. Why would he even consider rescuing a sinful man like me or you? You know, Man Without Sin, as God first made him, is certainly a noble creature. You know, the Bible says that he was made a little lower than the angels. But, dear ones, as a center, man is not noble. He's vile, he's base, vulgar, arrogant and dishonorable. He's worthy only to be destroyed, and in this state he can make no claims against God. Now, God would be perfectly within his rights to blot him completely out of existence. Yet this eternal God condescended, he bowed down from his high throne in heaven to redeem and sanctify the sons of men. You know, at best we're frail creatures, born yesterday, we die today. We're like green leaves in the forest for a while and then our autumn comes, we fade and the wind carries us away. And yet, for such frail and vile creatures, the Lord of Glory came to this sin plagued earth and saved his people. Now think of the loneliness and the humility of our Lord to do that, to come to earth and associate with people like that, and not only to do that, but to want to do that and even to delight in doing that. And you see, it's precisely here that he showed his loneliness. He came and actually assumed our nature. This is...

...wonderful. Here we have a free spirit voluntarily incasing himself in human clay, a pure spirit willingly becoming a partaker of flesh and blood. This is wonderful loneliness. The strong is encompassed with infirmity and weakness. The infinitely holy becomes a part art of a race of people who are notorious for their sin and their ungodliness. The infinite God unites himself with a human body. He's born into our infancy, he grows up into our youth, he works through our manhood, he accomplishes a life much like our own, dear ones. This is a miracle of loneliness. No, furthermore, our Lord manifested his true loneliness here on Earth by carrying out in full measure the part of a servant. Effasians to versus six through eight says that although Jesus was in the form of God. He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant. Being born in the likeness of man and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. He made himself of no reputation. He became a servant of servants. You know, Jesus could, he could truthfully say to his disciples, you call me master and Lord it and it's true, because I am. Yet he their master and Lord. What did he do? He washed their feet, giving them an example of how they were to serve each other after he was gone. Dear ones, it is a wonderful thing that the Lord of all should have become the servant. Let me just keep you thinking a moment longer about the Lord's lowliness by having you remember his lifelong poverty. You know, Jesus never directs his disciples to espouse poverty. Never did that unless it's for his sake. Only if riches were keeping someone from him, such as the rich young ruler, that he say, sell all and give it to the poor and come follow me. But it was important to his own personal work, that he should become poor that his people might be made rich, and this he cheerfully and dure. You know, think about it. He was born in a borrowed cradle, in a borrowed stable. He lived most of his life in borrowed houses, living upon the charity of his followers, and when he rested, it was often in a borrowed bed. The Fox's head holes, but he had no place to lay his head. He preached from a borrowed boat and when he died he was buried in a borrowed too. But the interesting thing about all that is that he never seemed uneasy about it. He never seemed uncomfortable in and around this poverty. It never bothered him in the least. In this poverty he magnified his loneliness and humility. And Look at the people he associated with. You know, at times I see more of his loneliness in them than in anyone else. You know, Jesus,...

...who was in all respects superior to everybody. He never played this superior person card once in his life. He never once put on airs, he was never arrogant. Now he sat next to a well and he talked to a woman. His disciples marveled at that. They couldn't believe that he would do that. That was something that rabbi is just didn't do. Back then, we read in scripture that hated tax colaries, tax collectors and centers gathered around him. He associated with prostitutes. He ate with these people. See, these were the dregs, these were the outcasts of society. Yet Jesus always had a kind word for them. His rule was he that comes to me. I will never cast out. He received little children. Nobody back then ever listen to children. But you recall when his disciples rebuked the people for bringing children to him. Jesus rebuked them and he said let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for two such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven. See, Jesus accepted little children as the pattern of the kind of people who would enter his kingdom, and he was completely at home with them. He liked being around kids. You know, I think it's absolutely true that proud men seldom care for children and, for that matter, children seldom care for proud men to but our lord and his true loneliness of heart, loved children and they loved him because he wouldn't proud and I would have you note the Lonliness of our Lord by his patient bearing up under accusations. You know it. Just consider all the false and foul things said about Jesus and he's lifetime. People said he was a Drunkard, he said he was a wine bibber. The charge must have grieved him, but he didn't get angry, he didn't threaten his accusers. They said he had a devil. He did answer that, but he confounded his accusers by my making them see the absurdity, if you will, of the charge. Because if the devil was in Jesus fighting against the devil, then the devil must have been divided against himself and his kingdom would soon come to an end. You know, towards the end of his life, Jesus enemies gathered up all these charges. You recall, they brought them the pilot, but Jesus never answered them. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth, like a lamb that has led to the slaughter and like a sheep that, before it Shears, is silent. So he opened not his mouth. In silence, he maintained his loneliness. And then, finally, I think as the crown of his loneliness, Jesus died. This king laid down his life for his people. And here's the thing. It wasn't some glorious death in battle. He didn't die amidst the tears of a grateful nation who mourned for him. Know, he died with criminals. He died at the Common Cross.

He died a MR crowd of doubters and scoffers, where felons cast contempt upon him as he hung between them. If you're the son of God, then come down from this cross you see the endurance. That kind of scorn is the utmost proof, I think, of a loneliness of spirit, a loneliness a gentleness, a humility which you and I humbly admire and feebly imitate but which we can never equal. So those are just, I think, some of the manifestations of loneliness of this king who comes to us today. Well, what are some of the things that we can learn from this loneliness of our Lord? What does it mean for us? How could we apply that to our lives today? Well, I think the first obvious lesson which we've all come to is that we are called to be lowly as Jesus is lowly. You know, some might say you. Well, I I try to be lowly, I try to be humble. I'd like to think that I'm a tender hearted and sensitive in my dealings with things and people, but I don't think it works that way. You know, you can't try to act lowly and humble. You have to be lowly and then, I think, will naturally act in a humble manner. You know, I shouldn't be, but I'm always amazed at how much pride there is in the most modest of people. Now, how we condemn pride, but don't we often believe that it would be nice if everybody was as humble as we are. You know, we boast that we absolutely detest boasting. We flatter ourselves that we hate flattery, but deep down we love the praise of men. We love it. Dear ones, we have to pray that God would make us slowly, would make us humble. See, if we become the lowliest of the lowly, it certainly won't be much of a stretch on our part. We'll only come down to the point which we should never have left in the first place. So I think that's one thing. That's the obvious lesson. That's the obliss obvious application. You know, I think we also need to learn to bear up under the false accusations and slander, dislike our Lord. Did you know how hard that is? For most of it it's this is so hard for me to do that. And now I hear that somebody has said something bad about me. And what do I do? I get on my high horse and I want to respond, to retaliate, to make it right, regardless of the cause. How dare that person to fame my character? He can't be allowed to do that. So what do I do? I far off a tweet, you know, studying the record straight. You know, I think a lot of Christians lose their balance when their misrepresented. The lamb starts to roar like a lion. And often what happens? Churches are torn apart, families ruined, just to avenge a hasty word. That certainly wasn't the spirit of our blessed master. Oh that the Lord would stamp out our pride, make us lowly and humble in heart, that we would submit to wrong rather than risk resistance. Let the Lord be our Avenger. Well, let me close with this. You know, Jesus says that we're to... lowly and humble and gentle. There should be nothing harsh or rude about the demeanor of a Christian. We should always be kind and courteous and consider it to others, just like our Lord was. But I don't always manifest those characteristics and I suspect that there are some out there that don't do it either. You know the Apostle Paul. He was writing from a prison cell in Rome and he ends a letter to his beloved church in Philippi by saying all the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household. Now most of us just pass right over that little postscript to this letter, but there's something very important here that speaks directly to what we've been talking about. You know, if you recall, Nero at that time was the emperor of Rome. He was the Caesar of Rome, and he was not a very pleasant person. I'm told he even killed his mother. Yet the Lord Jesus Christ could enable there to be Christians Evil and even in this evil man's house, this evil man's palace. Now just think for a moment how difficult it must have been to be a Christian in that place. Know their lives and liberty must have been in constant danger. They must have gotten out of bed every morning thinking that this might be their very last day on earth. And yet here's the amazing thing. Even in the midst of these trials and difficulties, these Christians did not forget to think about other people. They remembered their brothers and sisters in Philippi, even though they'd never seen those people, they never seen those people in the flesh. And so when they heard that the Great Apostle of the gentiles was riding to the Philippian Church, what did they do? They took care to send a kind message to them. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household. You know, there's something expressly beautiful in that little message. See, it gives a brief picture, if you will, of the ways and the manners of these early Christians. It shows me that there was nothing rough and hard and stern and harsh about their Christianity. No, they were a warm hearted, loving, genial, considerate, kind, sensitive people. They weren't entirely taken up with themselves and their own duties, their own crosses, their own conflicts and trials, they could and did think of others. You know, courtesy and consideration and gentleness and lowliness toward others. Those are Christian graces which I think don't receive enough attention today. Some Christians behave in such a way that one might think that they thought it a Christian duty to be rude. But a person who is led by this spirit ought to be more courteous and polite than others. He should have within him the roots of all true courtesy, humility and loneliness. Just like our Lord, he will be lowly in his own eyes, willing to count everyone better than himself and more worthy of honor, attention and respect. He will be ready to take the lowest place if that's necessary. He will not be always thinking of self, of self's ways, of self's desires, of...

...self's wishes. Rather, his great aim, like his master, will be to serve others. You know, I wish that more of Christian today thought more of adorning their doctrine and making their religion lovely, beautiful and attractive in the eyes of men by being more humble and gracious. You know, one of my fears from this sermon this morning is that some of you will think that I'm making way way too much out of this little, this lowly gentle humble demeanor thing, and it's just small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. But is it really small potatoes? You know, a demeanor of kindness, a readiness to sympathize with others, to weep with them that weep, rejoice with them that rejoice, a willingness to offer assistance even when it seems like unlikely to be appreciated, a kind message in time of trouble or a cot, a kind inquiry in time of sickness, and all of that may seem like small potatoes, but I want to suggest they're not as small as a lot of people think. You see, people don't forget those sorts of things. Actions like this tend to increase your influence. They help open a door of usefulness. They make people more willing to hear what you have to say for the cause of Christ. You See, when people see that you're truly lowly, gentle and humble and that you sincerely care for them, they're more open, I think, to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that. I firmly believe that so dar ones I come today to encourage you to pray earnestly for the grace to be lowly. We need to do that because none of us are like that by nature. By nature, you and I are out for ourselves, and this is the only way of triumph, this is the way of ultimate victory. It's not in strength and swords, but in weakness, in humility and lowliness. Nor think again of the words of that great hymn, for not with swords, loud clashing or roll of stirring drums, but deeds of love and mercy the heavenly kingdom comes. So enough said, and I leave the subject now to your calm consideration. Be Lowly like your king who comes to you. Well, indeed, would it be for the cause of Christ if all Christians walked in his steps as lowly, humble gentle servants? I I pray this morning that you would be so absorbed, so wrapt up in serving the Lord Jesus Christ, in his cause, that you would have absolutely no time, you would have no inclination for anything approximating to pride. May Christ absorb your life so much that you would walk in all lowliness and humility before him and others. Let's pray.

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