Jack Graham - King Jesus
The story of the Bible is the greatest story ever told. And in the nineteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, nineteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke we see Jesus entering into Jerusalem; His final trip to the Holy City, to the great city of our God. And something very unusual takes place. We read about it beginning in verse 28:
And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going to Jerusalem. And 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. And 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, the owner said to them, "Why are you untying this 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. And as he was drawing near-already on the way down the Mount of Olives-the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice... And they were saying "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" (They were shouting His name! They were praising Him) "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Jesus, the Son of God! They were singing it!) And some of the Pharisees (This is the religious establishment who already hated Jesus and were plotting His death) said, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples." (Teacher, tell them to stand down! To shut up!) And He answered, "I tell you, if they were silent, the very stones would cry out!"
This is one of these great acclamations, admissions, by Jesus Himself of His deity. That He is to be worshiped as King. Now a different kind of King. Not a Roman warrior king but a Redeemer-Savior King. Not a conqueror on a white stallion. One day, according to Revelation 19 King Jesus is coming again, and He'll be riding a white stallion, a Conquering King! But this day, not on a white horse, but on a lowly donkey! Now Jesus predicted this and foresaw all of this, of course. One of the great and most important attributes of God is that God would know everything, that God knows all, God is not blind to see our needs, that God is not unknowing of our hurts! That God knows everything! There are no accidents with God! And you see this attribute, this characteristic of God, of course, showing up in Jesus because Jesus is God. That is why He gives in detail a prophecy concerning Himself and this colt.
The prophecy was given in Zachariah chapter 9 and verse 9. Right back into the prophets of the Old Testament, and here's what Zechariah 9:9 says: "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". And so Jesus told His disciples, "You're going to find this donkey". Detail, the donkey will have never been ridden. Detail, the donkey is tied up. Detail, they may ask you, "Why are you untying this donkey"? And when they do, you tell them, "The Lord has need of it".
You see how Jesus is taking control of this entire situation. Here's what we all need to remember about the cross and the passion week of our Lord: None of this happens by accident or chance! None of the events that take place in the final week of our Lord's life, or any other part of His life, for that matter, took place by chance, but rather by providence; by the plan of God. Because this is why He came! He is a different kind of a King! His deity is obvious, but His humility; His royalty is evident; He is a King; and yet, His humility, riding on a donkey!
Now as Jesus passed by this throng is shouting and praising and worshipping, and Jesus is due, and deserves and demands our true worship. But something very strange happened to this crowd, because in this crowd there were some who weren't real followers of Jesus; they were just sort of fans of Jesus. Jesus was a celebrity, and so they're applauding Him, they're cheering Him. But interesting enough, many who were in the crowd that day cheering Him, a few days later would be jeering Him and demanding His blood! Can you imagine that? The same crowd that is singing "Hosanna, save us", the same group that's saying "Hail Him"! would say nail Him to the cross! How can that be? You know, things haven't changed that much after 2000 years, really, because Jesus still has fans who shout about Him and sing about Him and talk about Him when it's easy... But what about when it's time for the cross and you have to stand alone? Are you going to be one who takes up the cross or who throws down the cross at Jesus?
You see, I'm telling you there are a lot of people today like this crowd, they've just got superficial religion. There are a lot of people who say "Jesus" who don't know Jesus! There are many people in church and in student groups who don't have a personal relationship with Christ! You know something of Him but you don't know the power of God in your life! Well, I want to really challenge everyone of you, not just to cheer when the time is right and when the party's on and the parade is flowing and people all around you are cheering, excited, but that you will take up the cross of Christ and with courage... I see so many great qualities of Jesus riding in as King. I see His courage, I see His humility, I see His faithfulness to the plan of God! I want to be like that! The worship of Jesus! Let it be true! Let it be real! Not just in times like this when the parade is on, when the power is flowing, but when it's dark and difficult and people are mocking you for your faith and shouting you down and Satan is tempting you to give up, that you will keep worshipping Him because Jesus is King and He deserves, desires, and demands our worship.
The next scene switches very quickly to something very different. Not the worship of the King Jesus, but the weeping of the King. Look at verses 41 and following. See what happens next. Remember, we're walking with Jesus, the final steps in His last week. So what happens? "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.'" The weeping of the King. Jesus is a Man of joy! People love being around Jesus! He was winsome, He was welcoming. He wasn't a pale, sanctimonious recluse, aloof! But He engaged people, people of all kinds, people of all different backgrounds.
We've seen that throughout Luke. He especially... You know, sinners were... great sinners were comfortable around Jesus! Why? Because of His love! He loved people! He looked beyond their sin and saw the potential and the possibility of lives changed. Little children loved to crawl up in the lap of Jesus because of His, no doubt, His beautiful smile, His sun-kissed face! He said, even on the darkest night of His life at the Passover Supper with His disciples, "My joy I give to you"! Imagine that! Joy in the face of such hatred and pain and suffering, yet He said, "My joy I give to you". Jesus, a Man of joy! Never forget that! But Jesus here weeps. There are three occasions in the Bible we're told about the tears of Jesus. One is when He wept at the tomb of His dear friend Lazarus in Bethany. And the word that is describing His tears there is John 11:35 "Jesus wept".
That's the one many of you memorizes, you know, John 11:35, isn't it? Ha, when somebody said memorize a verse. "I got one! 'Jesus wept.'" And the word wept there means just He quietly cried. Tears welled up in His eyes. Later in the week Jesus would go to the Garden of Gethsemane and there He would pour out sweat, blood and tears in anticipation of the cross and of drinking the cup of condemnation for the sins of the world. With bitter anguish and agony He wept. Here is the third time that Jesus weeps, and the word that is chosen by the Spirit of God to describe His weeping is a word which means to sob. Not quietly tearing up, but openly and copiously crying, His great chest heaving, His heart breaking! He was just so overwhelm by what He saw! And what did He see? The great city of Jerusalem and the people who are already beginning to reject Him. The superficial religion, they were so far from God, the phoniness, the fakery, the hypocrisy. He wept over all of that. He looked forward in just a few years.
History tells us in AD70, thirty or forty years passed the death of Christ, just as Jesus told us here in this passage as He wept, about the destruction of Jerusalem. The Roman Emperor Titus rolled in with his forces. Six hundred thousand Jewish people were slaughtered, murdered. Josephus, the historian of that day tells us that the streets were running full of blood. Thousands of others were taken captive. Jews were scattered to the face of the earth and did not really gather back in Jerusalem until 1948 when they became a nation again. It was total disintegration and devastation! And Jesus wept over the judgment that was coming to people that He loved. The great heart of God... Here we see the great heart of God breaking for the world. What causes God to be broken and to cry out should break our hearts as well. I'm asking God to give me more tears, tears for our nation, tears for our people, for our family! God, give us tears, the tears of Jesus for our friends, our family members who don't know Him, because they're facing a certain judgment without Him. Opportunity's passing.
Many of you listening to me today from Freedom, you're young and you think you've got a lot of years to follow Christ. Maybe, maybe not. I do know this: the best time for you to give your life to Jesus is while you're young. Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth". Most people come to faith in Jesus Christ when they're young with a lifetime to live. 2 Corinthians 6:2 "Today is the day of salvation". You have an opportunity! You have amazing opportunity today! The judgment has been delayed! 2 Peter 3:9 "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance". This is why Jesus weeps! And so should we for those around us who are rejecting Him, refusing Him. God weeps. His heart is breaking, and so should ours. Have you ever had your heart broken? I mean, really broken. You know what that feels like. Magnify that by eternity... infinity in the heart of God. The Bible says in Psalm 126, verse 5: "Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy". Friend, see His tears for you! Look at His tears for you!
The King is worshipped, the King is weeping. There's one final scene I want you to see. The wrath of the King. The worship of the King, the weeping of the King, but notice the wrath of the King, verse 45... You see it there? "And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, 'It is written, "My house shall be called a house of prayer", but you have made it a den of robbers.'" Let me tell you what's going here. The Temple at that time, the religious establishment had taken over and it was defiled. It was... they were profaning the Temple, and the primary way in which they were profaning the holy place of God was abusing the people, in particular the outsiders, the Gentile world.
And here's how they were doing it. A kind of religious Mafioso was in charge. Caiaphas, the High Priest was in command, and they had a business they were operating in essence, in the foyer, the courtyard of the Temple which was known as the Court of the Gentiles, the outsiders... the people who were non Jews. The bible had commanded that the Temple include a place for non Jews as well as Jews. And so here they are in the outward court of the Gentiles, and they're changing money. And why were they changing money? Because people carried Roman coins. And so when you came as a Jew to purchase your animal for the sacrifice then you had to exchange your money... your Roman coin which was seen as defiled and dirty money, and so on, into Jewish shekels. And so they were up-charging them! (sounds like a pretty good deal, huh!) So they're making money on the backs of the people.
And not only that, they were raising their own animals to be offered in the sacrifice so if you brought your own animal... a bird if you were a poor person or a lamb, and someone would examine... and they were all in on the deal... Someone would look at it and say, "Ah, no, there's a little something wrong here with the ear. There's a fleck here. Not acceptable". And so you bought at an exorbitant price one of the Temple animals. And when Jesus saw this thing going on, He was outraged! Now I know this flies in the face of what a lot of people think about Jesus meek and mild. Now Jesus was meek and He was mild, but meekness does not mean weakness. Meekness means strength under control and Jesus was a man's Man. Jesus was the God-Man! Jesus was a mighty Man! He was a strong and powerful Man! And this is one of the times that we see it in the Bible. Jesus, according to Matthew's account of what happened in the Temple that day... This was the second time, by the way, He cleansed the Temple. He did it at the outset of His ministry and there at the close of His ministry. The Scripture tells us that He took a whip and drove out these money changers! He overturned tables!
Now overturning a table is a violent act, wouldn't you say? I mean, you're at lunch one day at school; somebody really gets mad and goes flipping tables! That's pretty violent. That will get you expelled probably, right? I've seen a few tables flipped. I've seen a few coaches flip some tables at halftime, all right, just to make a point! But Jesus is angry. Not angry about the wrong things; He's angry about the right things; He's angry for the holiness of God. He's angry about the abuse of the people! He's angry that Gentiles... How could Gentiles get to the Temple if they're selling stuff out there, they can't even get there! Did you know... Listen up, we're bringing this message home... the Bible tells us that we as Christians are temple of the Holy Spirit? In fact, let me show you a couple of verses. Two of my favorites... You ought to write these down and mark them and memorize them.
First Corinthians 6:19 and 20: "What, do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body". We are purchased by His blood; we are possessed by His Spirit. Look around you. Put your hands on your chest right now and say "I am the temple of God". If you're a believer, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God lives in you. The church house is not the temple of God; this is a building. In the Old Testament God had a building. God had a temple for His people. But now in Christ God has a people, you and me, for His temple. He lives in us! And therefore like the Temple that is set aside to be holy unto God, a sanctuary for Him, our lives, our bodies are to be sanctuaries, a house of prayer.
He said, "My house is to be a house of prayer, and you have made it a den of robbers". What we put on our body, what we put in our body must honor God because we're not our own. And sometimes if we get carnal and start accepting habits... the things that we're doing that are unclean and unwholesome and dishonoring to God, Jesus will come in and clean house. Clean the temple. He may take the whip and discipline us. When I was a little boy I got more than one or two spankings. And my dad always said, "I'm doing this for your own good because I love you". Well, he must have loved me a whole lot because he did it good. I don't know if it was for my own good, but he did it really good! Why? Not... Because fathers and mothers who love their children correct their children even if that means chastisement.
And why does God discipline His children? Not because He hates us; because He loves us! Look, He loves you as you are, but He loves you too much to leave you as you are! Your life is to be a living sanctuary of God. What do they do in the Temple? Worship God. It is to be a house of prayer. Let our lives flow with prayer! It was a house of praise where God would be worshipped! Let our lives continually worship God! It's a place of power. We read in the Scriptures later-we won't turn to it, but it's in the Scripture how people came. Jesus stayed in the Temple after He cleaned it up. He stayed in the Temple and He taught and He healed people. Lives were changed... a place of power! The power of God was moving in that temple once took over, once Jesus commandeered it. And when Jesus takes over... when He's King in your life, He'll clean things up.
If there's anything in our lives that dishonor Him, that do not please Him, let Him clean house! Let Him cleanse your temple, that you would be a holy and pure sacrifice unto Him because the greatest motivation of living for Jesus is what? Not fear, but the love of Christ, because you are so in love with Jesus! You want to honor Him, you want to please Him, you want to glorify Him! Jesus was angry about sin and He spoke up, and so should we! We should speak the truth in love. When we see something that is wrong sometimes it means turning the tables and standing up for what is right. Has Jesus ever turned the tables over in your life? Just turned your life upside down to get rid of some of the things in your life that don't honor Him, that don't please Him and is only hurting you. Just turned upside down your life and it's just bedlam right now? He did that for you and He went to the cross and He died for your sins that you could be saved, forgiven and to live a brand new life that honors and pleases Him.