Who Is This Man? A Palm Sunday Message

Photo by Cody Board on Unsplash

Matthew 21:1-11 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

When Jesus came into Jerusalem, the city itself asked the question:

Who is this?

The Multitude Wanted A Physical Savior

Word Study: There was a very great multitude that went in front of this Man riding on a colt, the foal of an ass. The multitude, the Greek ὄχλος óchlos, [pronounced okh’los], means “a crowd, a throng, a huge number of people”. Multitude is a favorite word of Matthew the Tax Collector. Matthew uses this word forty times to describe the people that followed Jesus. As Jesus …

Matthew 4:23-25 … went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

Multitudes followed Jesus because He cared for and healed the sick and broken. Jesus cast out demons, and healed everything from mental illness to deadly diseases. There were so many people following Jesus for relief of their suffering that when He taught …

Matthew 5:1 … seeing the multitudes, Jesus went up into a mountain, and sat down …

so that He could teach the people. Who is this Jesus? To the multitudes, Jesus is a miracle worker, a medicine man. Jesus even went beyond this. When Jesus was in Capernaum, the place where He met and called Matthew to follow Him,

Matthew 9:18 … came a certain ruler, and worshiped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

As Jesus headed to the unnamed Ruler’s home, a woman in the crowd, “diseased with an issue of blood for twelve years” (Matthew 9:20) saw Jesus. Thinking to herself, she said:

Matthew 9:21 … If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole

Touching Jesus – just the hem of His garment – caused her to be healed immediately! Jesus told her,

Matthew 9:22 … Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith has made thee whole!

Who is this man who can heal without a thought? But He is more, more than just a Healer. When He reaches the Ruler’s home, the mourners are crying over this twelve year old girl who has died. This Man said:

Matthew 9:24-25 … Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 {Jesus responded, and}He went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

Who is this Man Who not only heals, but raises the dead? The crowds around Jesus grow larger and larger every day. Then it comes time when the Jew must go to Jerusalem, to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. What a special time Passover is! It commemorates the time that God saved Israel from Egypt. The lamb without spot or blemish was to be taken into the home, and killed. It’s blood was placed on the home of the believers, and it’s meat roasted and eaten. The Jews called this Feast Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. God told Israel,

Exodus 12:13 (NIV) The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

The blood of the lamb would make atonement – a covering from the wrath of God – on the home that it was on. Israel left Egypt because of the Passover. Every year Israel was to celebrate the Passover. “In the generations to come, You Israel shall celebrate the Passover. It will be a lasting ordinance.” (Exodus 12:14).

Multitudes are following Jesus – and Jesus is heading into Jerusalem. Why is Jesus going to Jerusalem? Because the Passover must be celebrated. But this Passover will be different from the other Passovers that Israel celebrated. Why? Because of this Man.

This Man Is The Fulfillment Of God’s Promises

Who is this Man, this Jesus? We see a glimpse of Who He is in our text. He needs to go to Jerusalem, to celebrate the Passover at the Temple. We read:

Matthew 21:1-11 And when {Jesus and His disciples}drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage{the “House of Unripe Figs”, eastward of Jerusalem}, unto the mount of Olives {a mountain range east of Jerusalem}, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is special this time. He must enter Jerusalem on a colt the foal of an ass. Jesus was going to ride into Jerusalem on “a colt of a donkey that no one had ever ridden before” (Mark 11:1-3). Why is this important. Because over 540 years ago the Prophet Zechariah foresaw the coming of this Man to Jerusalem. Zechariah wrote:

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

When the King of Kings – the prophesied Messiah – came into Jerusalem, He would ride upon a donkey (a jackass), a colt the foal of a jackass. Jesus rode this young donkey into Jerusalem that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Zechariah. This Man is the fulfillment of Prophecy. When Adam sinned, and brought sin and death into the world by his disobedience:

Romans 5:12 … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

God made a prophecy to Satan, the evil serpent who led Adam into sin. The Lord promised that old devil:

Genesis 3:15 …. I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This was God’s first promise that a Messiah – a Redeemer would come and destroy the works of the devil. God was not going to abandon His creation, but He would save it. From the day that that promise was given, mankind waited for the Savior. God prophesied that the Messiah …

would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy (Luke 2:4-6)

would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)

Jesus was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:22-23)

would come from Abraham’s line (Genesis 12:3)

Jesus came from Abraham’s lineage (Matthew 1:1)

would come from the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10)

Jesus came from the line of Judah (Hebrews 7:14)

would inherit King David’s throne (Isaiah 9:7)

Jesus is the inheritor of King David’s throne (Luke 1:32-33)

would be called “Immanuel, God with us” (Isaiah 7:14)

Jesus is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23)

would have a Herald go before Him (Isaiah 40:3-5)

Jesus had John the Baptist go before Him (Luke 3:3-6)

There were at least 44 prophesies made in the Old Testament about the coming of the Messiah. These prophesies were all fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was prophesied Messiah would be a Nazarene (Isaiah 11:1), would bring light to Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2), would speak in parables (Psalm 78:2-4; Isaiah 6:9-10). I could go on and on. Throughout Matthew’s Gospel the phrase:

That it might be fulfilled

is repeated ten times. This Man, this Jesus, is the One Whom God promised would come. He is God the Son. Jesus is a Prophet, but much more than a Prophet. He is God with us, God incarnate, God in human form. Demons were afraid of Jesus!

Mark 3:11 … unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.

The multitudes, seeing the miracles that Jesus did,

Matthew 21:9 … the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Who was Jesus to these multitudes? Jesus is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. The multitudes saw Jesus as a present King over Israel, Someone who would cast down Rome as Moses cast down Egypt. They cried out as they laid their outer garments and palm leaves before Jesus:

Hosanna in the highest

Word Study: “Hosanna” is what the multitudes are crying out. “Hosanna” is actually three Hebrew words yāšaʿ nā’ ‘ānnā’, which is a short prayer that means “save us now, I beseech Thee, O Lord” (contracted from Psalm 118:25-26). What the crowd is chanting is: Save us now, we beseech Thee, Oh Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!

The multitudes see Jesus as a temporal King Who will rescue Israel from Rome.

Herod saw Jesus as such a King – and for this reason had all the children two years old and younger killed in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18). This, too was a fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 2:17-18; Jeremiah 31:15). This was not the first time the people would cry out to Jesus to make Him King. In John 6:15 the people tried to make Jesus King – but He refused their efforts.

The people do not need another King. The people need the Messiah, the Savior. The people need the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36). Jesus is not riding into Jerusalem on a white horse as a conquering King. He is riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, a young donkey. Jesus is coming not to overthrow Rome, but to overthrow Satan and his forces of evil. Jesus is coming to Jerusalem as the fulfillment of every prophecy ever made concerning our deliverance.

Who is this Man, Jerusalem asks. The multitude said:

Matthew 21:11 … This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Yes, Jesus is a Prophet – but He is more than a Prophet. He is the Lord God incarnate. He is the Savior, the Lamb. Yet Jesus is NOT the Prophet of Nazareth. His hometown does not believe Jesus is the Messiah. They mock Him, saying:

Mark 6:2-3 (ESV) “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

The multitude wants Jesus to be their new King, one who will overthrow Rome. And Jerusalem, the Capital City that the King should rule from, does not know Who Jesus is.

Jesus is the Messiah. He is coming to Jerusalem one last time to be sacrificed for our sins. He is coming, not to the Temple to have His blood shed, but to Jerusalem to be executed on a Hill called Calvary.

In just a few days, the multitude that praised Jesus and demanded He be King, would turn and demand His crucifixion. The same crowd that now cheers will in a few days jeer, and mock as Jesus hangs dying for our sins.

Who Is This Man Who Disrupts The Temple?

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry our Lord entered the area of the Temple. In the Courtyard of the Gentiles Jesus found a marketplace. Jesus found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” (John 2:14-17). Some 3 ½ years have passed, and Jesus is entering Jerusalem for the last time. Has Israel learned their lesson?

No, for what does Jesus discover?

Matthew 21:12-14 Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

Jesus did not come to be a temporary fix to our problems. Jesus Christ came to save whosoever will, and through that salvation to change our hearts to become children of God. Jesus told us:

Matthew 15:17-20 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

As humans, we need more than a better form of leader. We need to be saved from ourselves. We need a new heart. Jesus can give us new hearts.

Just as Jesus had the blind and the lame come to him in the temple; and He healed them, Jesus alone has the power to heal us. We are all born with a heart problem. Jesus, as the Author of the New Covenant, came to fix our hearts (that is, if we would come to Him in faith). The Prophet Jeremiah spoke to Israel in one of their worst times in human history. Israel had wandered far away from God, just as Israel was far away from God while Jesus walked this earth. God spoke through Jeremiah, saying:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (ESV) “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

God promised that He would come to Israel with a New Covenant, a Covenant that came with a heart transplant. It is this Holy Week that Jesus will institute what we call “The Lord’s Table” at the end of the Feast of the Passover, just before Jesus goes to the Cross. We will celebrate that Lord’s Table next Sunday, on Easter morning. Jesus told His disciples:

Luke 22:20 (ESV) … This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

1 Corinthians 11:25 (ESV) … “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem because the Old Covenant, the Covenant of animal sacrifices, of festivals & feasts, and of circumcision, these things do not change the heart. The Bible says that these things called “The Law” served but one purpose. The Apostle said:

Galatians 3:24-25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The Law of Sacrifices & Rites was but a shadow of what would come in Jesus Christ. The Law could not work on our hearts. But through Jesus, His sacrifice on Calvary made payment for our sins. The Scripture says:

Hebrews 10:10 … we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Jesus had to chase the marketplace out of the Court of the Gentiles at the beginning of His ministry because The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). You can make a Law, force people to obey it, but if their heart is unsaved by God, they will sneak around and do it all over again. This is what humans do. Jesus Christ came to replace the Mosaic Law by a Higher Law, a New Covenant. And those who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior are also recipients of the Holy Spirit, Who works a mystery in the life of the believer. It is because of Jesus that the Spirit comes, but it is because of the Spirit that we are born again, indwelt, changed daily, and made the workmanship of God.

Religion is not enough. You need a relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son.

The money changers and sellers had to be cast out of the Temple twice. The heart is not changed by the Law. This same crowd that is praising Jesus will, in just a few short days, be demanding:

Let Him be crucified!”

Pilate, the Roman Governor, will attempt to release Jesus from crucifixion. He will ask the crowd to allow Jesus to depart, and Barabbas – a known murderer – to be put to death. The crowd will cry out:

Let Him be crucified!”

Pilate asks, “Why? What evil has He done? I find no fault in this Jesus”. Yet the crowd will demand all the more,

Let Him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:20-23)

What evil had Jesus done? He went against the status quo. He called evil, evil. Jesus reached out to sinners, seeking to bring their souls to God. Only God can save. Only God can change the heart. The Scripture says:

Psalm 3:8 Salvation belongeth unto the Lord …

Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.

It is Jesus Who will save. It is Jesus Who can change the heart. Will you not come to Him while you can? The Physician Luke tells us something else that happened when Jesus came into Jerusalem. We read:

Luke 19:41-45 And when he was come near, {Jesus} beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. 45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought

Before Jesus went into the Temple to cast out the money changers for the second time, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem. Why? Because He knows that the people for whom He came, they will reject Him. As a result, Jerusalem – and Israel – will be destroyed by Roman forces a few years later.

No nation can long stand with wickedness in its heart. No people can survive who reject the love of God and the love of neighbor. Israel will not listen.

Will you listen? Will you hear Jesus calling you to His side? Oh, dear Lord, that you would save our nation, save our communities. I beg you, give yourselves over to Jesus this very day. Jesus can, and will fix you. To God be the glory! Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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