Saturday, March 16, 2024

The Road to the Cross The Triumphal Entry ~ Bethphage ~

We are beginning a new series entitled The Road to the Cross. We will be following some of the encounters Jesus had on His way to Calvary. Jesus is on His last trip to Jerusalem. It is there that Jesus would eventually be crucified. He began His journey to Jerusalem from Galilee. It continued all the way down the eastern side of the Jordan River into the region of Perea. Jesus passed through Jericho where He encountered Zacchaeus and ate in his home.

Afterwards, He continues on the road to Jerusalem. Jericho was about 18 miles from Jerusalem, give or take. As Jesus approached Jerusalem, He made a pit stop in the city of Bethphage. Bethphage was a small town on the Mount of Olives. Let’s begin reading in Luke chapter 19.

Luke 19:28-38

28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up toJerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ” 32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
 Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

 Passage Review:

• Jesus sends His disciples ahead to prepare for His arrival in Jerusalem.

• He sends them to Bethphage to retrieve a donkey’s colt that belongs to someone else

Matthew 21:1 - “Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives...”

• Jesus says that if the owners ask why they are taking their donkey, they are to tell them that the Lord was in need of it.

• Once his disciples arrive with the colt, Jesus climbs on it and rides into Jerusalem.

• As He arrives, people began laying their clothes on the road to pay homage to Jesus as their king.

The idea of Jesus riding into the city of Jerusalem was a common one in that day. Typically, a victorious king would enter a city, not on a donkey but on a horse. He would have citizens from his kingdom singing his praises as well as soldiers from his army marching ahead. It was supposed to be a big spectacle to ensure every person knew who this incoming king was.

However, that was not the case with Jesus. Although He is the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords, although it was through Him that all things were created and all things are sustained, He did not need to put it on display. Instead, He came in on a young donkey with a relatively small crowd of people singing His praises. It was a much different display. If you were used to grand entrances in this day, you would not have been impressed. However, the strength of His kingdom was not in a public demonstration but in the essence of who He was.

There were no tricks, no gimmicks, no public parade, none of that. None of that was necessary. Instead, the only presentation that was needed was Jesus Himself.

We don’t need to dress Jesus up for others. We don’t have to try to make Him look better. We don’t need to try and impress people. All we have to do is give them Jesus. That’s it.

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was still a big deal. His ushering into the City of David was a fulfillment of prophecy found in the book of Zechariah.

Zechariah 9:9

Jesus’ grand entry into Jerusalem was a big deal because it was a prophetic announcement of who He would become for the whole world. There are a few threads that we see:

- His disciples and the crowds welcomed Him and sang His praises.

- He did not stop them from praising Him but received it.

- People laid their cloaks down to pay Him homage as their king.

- King Saul, King David, King Solomon, they were all types and shadows of the true King of Israel, Jesus the Christ, who had come to establish a new kingdom.

 “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.”

 • Jesus as a mighty king

• Jesus as the long awaited Messiah

- He is celebrated as the Messiah

- He was declaring that He was the Messiah they had waited so long for

• Jesus as being misunderstood

- The crowds were not celebrating Jesus as their king and messiah because He would save them from their sin.

- They celebrated Jesus because they heralded Him as the chosen messiah who would lead a revolt against the Roman Empire to deliver them from their oppression.

- They would eventually realize that He was not coming to do what they thought He had come to do.

- Eventually, those praises that were heaped on Jesus would quickly turn to chants of “crucify Him” in just a few days.

- God had a plan, and He was going to ensure it came to pass regardless of what everyone else thought, said, or did. Society was not going to define who Jesus was or what He had been called to do. That had already been established because truth is absolute. And there was nothing anyone could say or do about it.

- Culture could not determine who Jesus was then, and it cannot determine who Jesus is today. Culture today paints Jesus out to be

• Cool with all walks of life

• Accepting of faith in all religions

 • More human than God

- Let us not fall into the trap of allowing the devil to change what we believe to be true. Instead, let us uphold the true Jesus as a banner.

- Jesus came to the earth to die on the cross to pay for the penalty of our sins. He resurrected from the grave and is sitting at the right hand of God, waiting to come back to redeem His people.

- If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, then you will be saved.

Moving forward, what a beautiful moment that was. Can you imagine being there? Seeing Jesus riding in on a donkey, knowing what you know now? How incredible that would have been.

However, while this moment is all about Jesus, there is still one person in this story that really sticks out to me. That person is the owner of the donkey. Jesus knew that there was a young donkey waiting for Him that had yet to be ridden. However, that donkey belonged to someone.

The owner of that donkey knew that it had yet to be ridden, but didn’t know that it had been requested by Jesus Himself. Therefore, Jesus tells His disciples that when they are loosing the colt from its holding place, to inform the owners that “The Lord” was in need of it.

Now just imagine, someone else comes onto your property and begins to unrope the donkey that belongs to you and gets ready to take it away. We would all be a bit suspicious! However, what happens next is amazing.

His disciples tell the owner what Jesus told them to say, that the Lord was in need of their donkey. The very next words are that the disciples brought that donkey to Jesus. Did you catch that? What is amazing is that there is no indication that the owner of that donkey was opposed to it being used for the Lord’s purposes.

It was on the back of this donkey that Jesus would be ushered into Jerusalem as the savior of the world and the king of our hearts; which would all be solidified later that week.

Why? Because the Lord was in need of that donkey, and the owners said yes.

The Lord is in need of you today. He is in need of your life, in need of your finances, in need of your children, in need of your talents, your abilities, in need of your service; He is in need of you.

Through you, your life, your children, your talents, etc, Jesus will be glorified and lifted up and He will draw all men to Himself.

John 12:32 - “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

All you have to do is say, YES.

We all have an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of God’s plan. All we have to do is say yes.

The Lord is in need of you today. Will you say yes?

You may say:

- I am not good enough

- What I have is not good enough - I have made too many mistakes - I don’t have what it takes

- Etc.

Jesus was in need of a donkey. A donkey was something that was rejected by God Himself. He would not allow the offering of a donkey. If they wanted to, they could replace it with a lamb and in doing so, redeem it for personal use. If not, then they were to break it’s neck.

Exodus 13:13

“But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck.”

However, Jesus found use of this donkey. He Himself redeemed that which was rejected in God eyes.

Whatever we have, it may not be much in our possession, but it is redeemed and is of use in the hands of God.


1. Allow Jesus to be King of your life

2. Don’t allow culture to define who Jesus is in your life

 3. The Lord is in need of you