Clash of kingdoms
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ ”
They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked,
“What are you doing, untying that colt?”
They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.
When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.
Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
We reach today in Mark’s Gospel another of those great moments in the life of Jesus Christ –His entry in Jerusalem.
We have looked together on previous occasions at the
1. The beginning of the ministry of Jesus- As he emerged from the desert with His Father’s seal of approval to bring refreshment to that dry and spiritually thirsty land.
2. We have seen that Jesus began to reveal to those around Him who he was.
First with His ministry of power and authority over nature and the spiritual world.
3. Then we saw Him display His ability to bring God’s prophetic word to the people of the age.
4. Mark’s unfolding revelation of who Jesus is continues with Peter’s amazing confession of Jesus as the Christ the anointed Messiah of God.
5. God confirms this with the awesome transfiguration of Jesus that metamorphosis that revealed who Jesus really was – Fully God & Fully man.
6. We then saw Jesus confront the hypocrisy and sin of humanity with some straight talking teaching which left his friends and us with no doubt whatsoever about the dangers of sin.
The life of Jesus and His ministry are both coming to a climactic point and He is being drawn towards His destiny by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Lets read from Mark Chapter 11:1-11
2. Let’s get the bigger picture.
Now I want to put this story across in every detail so I have drawn together all the Gospel accounts so that we can understand all that went on.
Each writer describes the scene from a slightly different perspective- all support the story as Mark expresses it but some add some useful background-
So lets start at least a week back from these events in Mark Ch 11
It’s possibly about March in AD 29 just a week or so before Passover. Jesus and His friends are somewhere between Mount Tabor and Jericho.
Matthew 20-17 as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem death & resurrection predicted
Jesus predicts death going up to Jerusalem –fear in the followers 10 v32
Jesus predicts death luke 18 31
James & John ask for favour
V 29 As Jesus left Jericho
Came to Jericho mark names the blind man bartimeus
2 blind men
Zaccheus account in Jericho
He told them a parable – because they were near Jerusalem and thought the kingdom was going to appear at once- ten minas
21 They reach Bethpage on the mount of Olives
Go to the village & get donkey & colt
As they get to Bethany there is the Lazarus account
This leads directly to plot to kill Jesus by the Sanhedrin –wonderful prophetic message of caiphas one man must die for the nation.
followed by the anointing of Jesus by Mary- possible last straw for Judas
Large crowds involved and waiting for Jesus in Jerusalem- Is he coming
To fulfill Zech 9:9
Cloaks on and cloaks on ground very large crowd
Two factors to crowd- Bethany Lazarus had become a focus for Jesus disciples
Disciples asked to be quiet by Pharisees If they are quiet the stones will cry out.
Passover massive religious focus a way to assert national identity during occupation.
Crowd went ahead
Psalm118 passage- Hosanna all four cover all this
But John adds that it was only later that the disciples understood the significance of these events.
Whole city stirred who is this
Jesus weeps over the city
It was late so he looked around the temple precincts & left.to Bethany again.
Withered fig tree
Withered fig tree
Cleared the temple in all four accounts
3. A Restored Kingdom?
The aspirations of the people of Israel the disciples and of us are for a changed future we are not content with the status quo
We live in a godless age but our parents and their parents lived in a godless age
For the disciples of Jesus Christ this sense of longing for a change had become focused on one man and in one direction they believed that He could provide a different future. What made them believe that?
All that Mark has spoken of
His message of hope
His power over nature
His power of the supernatural
His identity as the son of God
As the Messiah
Most recent and relevant was the resurrection of Lazarus demonstrating the power Jesus exerted over Life & death.
As Jesus set His face like flint towards His destiny in Jerusalem, There was a huge swell of hope and expectation arising in the people- it was a massive investment of energy, expressing itself in what then happened.
What is the significance of when they were going to Jerusalem- Passover
What does Passover represent – The saving of Israel from Egypt
Please Oh please let there be a different future.
What was their hope?
That the messianic prophecy would be fulfilled that – That Jesus would call the people to rise up and throw off the yoke of oppression. And install Godly Rule – that there would be a Godly nation.
A revolution that would impose externally the rule of the law of Moses.
I have to ask you was that the agenda that Jesus had?
As he walked up those last few steps to the top of the Mount of Olives- As He reached the top His destiny laid out before him The city of Jerusalem the high point of Jewish worship of God. The Holy of Holies.
Whilst all around Him could hardly contain their excitement at the thought of a messianic overthrow.- what did Jesus do? He wept
Lk 19:41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it
Lk 19:42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
Lk 19:43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.
Lk 19:44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
The view of the future the view from the mount of olives
4. A different Kingdom a Different King.
Less than eighty years after Jesus spoke those words in Luke the city was burnt to the ground or buried under rubble. The temple destroyed by the armies of Rome.
Jesus had not come to offer a new national Nation under God.
But His entry into Jerusalem was a deliberate act that brought the kingdom of the world into direct conflict with the Kingdom of God.
Jesus chose to provoke a response by fulfilling prophecy
The Zech 9:9 passage
Zec 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zec 9:10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the war-horses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Jesus wanted then and wants now to confront the spiritual realm of darkness that holds men enslaved to sinful ambition.
Men like Pilate Yes
Men like Caiaphas yes
But also men like you or me
Ambition to see a great big Church full of people
Ambitions to see a country like ours pass laws that reflect the teaching of the Bible.
Tim what are you saying- surely that must be right. Is it? Well lets wait and see
When Jesus climbed on that Colt to fulfil that prophecy men laid down their coats on the ground and shouted Hosanna
Do you know what Hosanna means- It means Lord save us They were shouting a Psalm they knew so well
Ps 118:25 O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
Ps 118:26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.
Ps 118:27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
This was a song they might sing every year as they came to celebrate Passover It is known as one of the psalms of ascents. To be sung as they ascended up the hills of Judea to reach Jerusalem.
But now they had someone to focus their song on – a man to focus their dreams on. The Pharisees did not like it one bit
How could they demand that the people stop singing the songs of the festival
“If they stop the stones will sing”
Jesus had picked His moment. And was on course for confrontation with the forces set to destroy Him.
He had constantly told His friends for three years that His destiny was to suffer death – to be the suffering servant to be the lamb of God that takes awy the sin of the world.
But now at this moment those friends had again lost the plot. They were driven by ambitions that were not those of Jesus, They were buoyed along by a vision that was not given to them by God that was not of the kingdom of God.
5. The Gospel for the Each One Kingdom
We must avoid making exactly the same mistake.
In our desperate cry for a changed world we can so easily be carried along on a wave of enthusiasm, that we fail to see that this may not be the kings plan.
The Gospel is a Gospel of Individual changed lives. Born again people-
Each one of those people represents a part of the kingdom of God and the only way our world will change for the better is
- If there are more of those each one individual people giving their lives to Jesus for Him to bring His rule into their lives. And
- Each One of us within that Kingdom constantly seek to place more of our lives under His Kingdom rule.
I warned of the ambition of seeing a big Church lots of people. But if only few of those people are following Jesus as He would have them do then what value is that. Jesus is not first & foremost interested in Big Churches or small Churches, He is interested in Each one having changed lives.
I warned of the ambition of expecting to impose laws that are guided by biblical principle, when those who govern could not hope to abide by them any more than the citizens who live in that country can abide by them.
ASBOs fail because young people need Jesus
Families breakdown because they need Jesus
We need Jesus to ride into our city and rule our kingdom This kingdom
The ‘Each one’ kingdom of God.
Now that’s not easy to preach because If all I have to do is build an exciting place for people to come to and preach an exciting message that people will enjoy and pass laws that allow me to live a life just how like to that would be a lot easier.
But that is not the Kingdom we have been called to build.
It’s not easy for me to come up to each one of you and get involved in your messy life and encourage each one of you, but that is my job and its yours too.