Examining Truths in the Triumphal Entry

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with Him.  Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Him, objected, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’  He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.   ‘Leave her alone,’ Jesus replied. ‘It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of My burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.’  Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.  So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in Him.  The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem.  They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  ‘Blessed is the King of Israel!’  Let us pray!

Biblical examination of the “Triumphal Entry”

In Jerusalem the chief priests were making plans to kill Jesus and anyone who God was using to draw people to Christ. (John 12:10-11)  There are many truths worth grasping as we take time to take a Biblical examination of the “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem and the day just preceding Palm Sunday.  Those sad days brought sorrow upon Mary and those who loved the Lord Jesus Christ.  We see Lazarus enjoying fellowship with Christ after being raised from the dead.  We see Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet, growing in grace and knowledge of the Son of God as well as Martha serving, exercising her gift of hospitality.  This Biblical account gives us some essentials for the Body of Christ.  They are walking in victory over sin and death, worshiping and giving adoration to the Lord, and service to the King of kings.

I would propose to you that when Christians grasp the truth of Jesus Christ being King as well as Savior they want to live a life that says, “I care about Jesus’ Kingship in my life.”  The Holy Spirit wants you to understand that Jesus holds many places of authority such as Savior, Teacher, Great Shepherd, and Healer, however, our king less culture and democratic process down play the very important matter of Jesus as “Messiah,” “The Christ,” being “God’s Anointed.”    Just what are the steps to proclaiming Jesus Christ as the King to whom everyone  someday will bow their knee and every tongue will confess that He is the Lord?  (Philippians 2:9-10)   

Know Jesus as God’s Messiah

The first step to truly proclaiming a life that says “Hosanna!”  “Blessed is the King of Israel, blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord” is to know Jesus as God’s Messiah.   John 1:41 says, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ)…”

Andrew’s actions reflect a Holy Spirit illuminated heart about Jesus Christ being not only Savior, but God’s anointed faithful High Priest (Psalm 110:4), Prophet of God (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) and I purposely repeat, “Anointed King” (2 Samuel 7:12-13). These three officials in the Old Testament were always anointed with oil, a symbol of the Holy Spirit who perfectly anointed the Christ, the Messiah. (Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-33)  It is imperative that Christians understand that “Messiah” (Hebrew – masiyah) and “Christ” (Christos) mean “Anointed one.”

Anointed as “Priest,” Jesus intercedes for us.  Hebrews 7:21-25 says, “[Jesus] became a priest with an oath…”  [and] because He lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood… He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for [the saints of God].”  As anointed “Prophet” He leads in all truth.  John 14:6 says, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”  Matthew 22:16 says, “‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.’”   As anointed King He reigns over all to whom they will give an accounting.  Philippians 2:9-11 says “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus personally accepted this title “Messiah” and “Christ” at least three different times in the New Testament. (Matthew 16:17; Mark 14:61-62; John 4:26)   What is the work of the God’s “Messiah” the “Christ?”  We read of Jesus’ answer to that question in Luke 4:17.  Here,  Jesus makes His way to the place of worship, which was the custom of His life. (Luke 4:16)   In the Synagogue worship was not perfect, yet He went to the house of the Lord to worship with God’s people.

Starting at verse 17 and going through to verse 20 in the Book of Luke, The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, [Jesus] found the place where it is written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because [God] has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’  Then [Jesus] rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him, and He began by saying to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”

The Holy Spirit moved upon the apostle Paul to write about what Jesus purchased for all who would approach Him in repentance, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)  Humanity groans under the headings, “poverty,” “broken-hardheartedness,” “bondage” and “blindness.”  In a sense Jesus says, “He was anointed to set those in the bondage of sin free and give spiritual eye sight to those who were blinded to the light of the gospel.” The “Salvation” (soteria) that Paul is referring to here is deliverance from the bondage of sin and its penalty of death and eternal damnation.   God’s “Messiah” the “Christ” is the salvation of all men but only enjoyed by those who have Godly sorrow, people who are sorry because they have sinned against the Lord, not sorrowful over suffering the consequences of sin.

Jesus Christ, God’s anointed, purchased for Christians first, a once-for-all experience of salvation.  This free gift is initiated when a person bound by sin recognizes his standing with God, acknowledges the separation, then trusts in Christ as Savior and Lord.  This not only brings deliverance from sin but the assurance that Christians will not be separated from God’s presence now and in eternity.

In Luke we read of another time when Jesus received a personal anointing.  It was when Jesus was having dinner at a Pharisee’s house.  While having dinner an unnamed woman, deep in humiliation for her sins comes and wets His feet with her tears.  She wipes them with her hair, kisses His feet and pours perfume on them.  It is very possible she had become convicted of her past sins while Jesus taught somewhere and at this time she longed to be in His presence to show the Lord her affection.  Jesus said she loved much and He told Simon, “…her many sins have been forgiven… ” Jesus told the woman, “…your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:47) He also told her “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.” (Luke 7:50) As we read the Biblical account of the sinful woman anointing Jesus, we see a repentant sinner entirely devoting this task to the Lord’s honor owning Him to be the “Messiah,” “the Christ,” “the Anointed.”  Thus showing us  the truly repentant have a dear love for Christ and personally anoint Him as their Prophet, Priest and King.

Jesus Christ, God’s anointed, purchased for Christians secondly  a salvation that is a continued work of “Sanctification.”  A repentant sinner is placed in a new covenant of grace involving the process of being made holy.  The Apostle Paul writes about the results of this new covenant under the blood of Christ.  2 Corinthians 3:17-18 says, Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  This is an awesome passage of Scripture.  Paul had been talking about a veil being over the spiritual heart.  When the repentant sinner receives Jesus Christ into his heart and life by faith, that veil is taken away. Even as Christians the veil of sin can make its way back, but when sin is confessed Christians look upon the Lordship of Christ with great expectation of living a life of righteousness.  They are literally being transformed, changed by the power of the Holy Spirit who anointed Christ in His earthly ministry.  This salvation found in Christ enables the children of God to behold Him.

Dr. H.A. Ironside told the true story about an old Scot who lay suffering and actually heading into the shadows of physical death.  He had been told by a doctor who was a real friend that “his moments on this earth are but few.”  Another friend came by and said, “They tell me you will not be with us long.  I hope you get a glimpse of the Savior’s blessed face as you enter the shadows of physical death.” The physically dying man gathered his strength and said, “I will not be satisfied with just a glimpse, I want to behold the Christ of whom I have been being made like over these last forty years.”

Salvation found in Christ enables the child of God to enjoy a continual sanctification and causes them to behold Him.  “Beholding” (katoptrizo) means grasping the glory of the Lord as reflected in the Word of God.  This is in great contrast to those who want to hang onto their unbelief just as the Jews did in Paul’s day of preaching the Gospel.  He writes about them in 2 Corinthians 3:14-15, But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.  Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.”  The Holy Spirit writing through Paul sets the direction for having the veil of not understanding taken away.  Paul writes in verse 16, “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” The veil was certainly taken way from Mary’s heart.  She was able to behold Jesus Christ as she personally anointed Him in Bethany during a dinner that was given to honor Christ.  Our key text today says, Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12:3)

In our key text today there are character traits that are worthy of the attention of the child of God who wants to live a life that says, “I care about Jesus’ Kingship in my life.”  The character of Mary is worth grasping today. Mary’s love was extravagant.  She took the most precious thing she possessed and spent it on Christ.  Extravagant love has no nicely laid out cost.  It gives its all and the only regret is that there is not more to give.  It is sacrificial giving, just as God did for us when He gave His only Son and when Jesus gave His own life for us.

William Barclay shared the story of “The Gift of the Magi.”  This story is about Della and Jim, who were very poor, yet much in love.  Many of you have heard the story.  Della had long beautiful hair, Jim had a watch that at one time belonged to his father.  When Christmas time came around they both were short of funds.  Della sold her hair to buy a platinum fob for Jim’s watch.  Jim sold his watch to get a set of expensive combs with jeweled edges for Della’s hair.  The sacrifice of what was dear to them was only an expression of their love for each other.  Christians who express a life that says, “I am anointing Christ as King,” give extravagantly unto Him.

Mary’s love showed humility. She came to her Lord as a servant, meeting His need in humble servant-hood fashion.  Christians who anoint Christ as their King serve in a way that keeps Him on the throne of the heart, not in a way that exalts them. Mary’s love was expressed unashamedly.  Her expression of love brought rebuke from Judah Iscariot and placed her in danger of the chief priest.  The priest not only wanted to kill Jesus but Lazarus as well because people were going over to Christ and putting faith in Him. (John 12:10-11) Mary gave her own gift to the Lord.  She applied the gift with her own hands.  A love like hers does not spare charges and does not spare pain in honoring Jesus Christ.  Mary’s love was exercised by faith that Jesus was without a doubt God’s Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed who is Prophet, Priest and King.

The Holy Spirit’s prompting is to go and do likewise, anoint Christ King by expressing your love for Christ extravagantly, in humility and unashamedly. The Holy Spirit has another truth to grasp for the child of God who wants to personally anoint Christ as King.  Jesus said this about the anointing of Mary upon Him, …It was attended that she would save this perfume for the day of My burial.” (John 12:7)  Our Lord thought and talked openly about His death and burial.

The mighty hand of God is guiding the actions of Mary who so loved the Lord.  He moves her to anoint Christ ahead of time for He is about to go into Jerusalem and die for the sins of the world. Therefore, the child of God who personally anoints Christ as Mary did will take to heart what the Holy Spirit moved Paul to write in answering the question “Shall we continue in sin?”  He writes, In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11)  This ability only comes from the anointing of the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ, God’s anointed, purchased for Christians, thirdly, a salvation that ensures a place in the coming Kingdom of God.  2 Peter 3:13 says, But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”  There is going to be a day when there will be a new heaven and a new earth and there will be no more pain, crying or influence from anything evil, perfection forever.  The Holy Spirit’s prompting is to anoint Christ as King so you will have your name written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.”  The beloved John writes, “No longer will there be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him.”

Shout “Hosanna!” 

Understanding that Messiah and Christ mean God’s Anointed encourages repentant sinners and enables Christians to personally anoint Christ as King.  This births forth a natural response that shouts “Hosanna!”  John 12:13 says, They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’”    

There are three groups in the great crowd.  One, the Passover visitors from outside of Judea, (John 12:12,18); two, the local people who had witness or at least heard about the raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 12:19); and three, the religious leaders who were greatly concerned about what the world was doing with Jesus. (John 12:19) The crowd was singing a chant from Psalm 118:25-26 which was often connected with the Festivals of Tabernacles, at Dedications, and at the beginning of Passover.  This victory chant says, “O Lord save us; O Lord, grant us success.  Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord.”

The beloved John writes his Gospel years after the Triumphal Entry and he tells us something that must be understood so we do not make the same error as most of the crowd that was singing “Hosanna.”   This will help us keep “Hosanna” in it’s proper context so we can fully enjoy what Christ did for us during resurrection week.  John writes, “At first His disciples did not understand all this.  Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.” (John 12:16)  At the moment Christ was entering Jerusalem to go to the Cross, even His disciples failed to meditate upon was written about Him.

There is no doubt that most of  the people in the crowd who sang these words of victory were seeing Jesus for who He was, God’s Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, the Deliver, the One who was to come.  However, most forgot or misunderstood that Jesus was first to come as the “Suffering Servant,” “God’s Anointed” to die for the sins of the world.  This is why shouts of “Hosanna” turned to shouts of “Crucify Him” by the majority on Good Friday.  They had forgotten the Words of Isaiah who wrote, See, my servant will act wisely; He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.  Just as there were many who were appalled at Him–His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:13-14)

I believe through God’s absolute sovereignty He was speaking through the great crowd to proclaim a truth they could have heard then if they would have taken in the whole counsel of the Old Testament and a truth that those illuminated with the Holy Spirit will grasp today.  They were singing “Hosanna” which in Hebrew means “save us now we pray”   Those singing wanted to be saved from Roman oppression and God was speaking through them saying that the Christ was coming now to save them from their worst enemy, the sinful nature and the lies of the devil.  Jesus had come to save them from the penalty of sin and death. The way Christians enjoy Palm Sunday today is not to be focused on the time Christ will return on a white horse to conquer the kingdoms of this world and their armies, but by anointing Christ as their Prophet, Priest and King or rather Lord and Master.  Seeing Jesus as He is, the One who died upon the Cross for our sins so we can be saved NOW from the bondage’s of sin and spiritual death, for this is why He came in the first place.

Acts of obedience

Christians personally anoint Christ as King when they let Jesus set them free from the bondage’s of sin.  Christians honor His kingship by acts of obedience.  Romans 6:16-18 says,  “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”  Verse 22 says, “…the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the results is eternal life.” A contemporary commentator observed that every person obeys some person or something.  The whole of Scripture teaches that everyone is a bond-servant to someone or something.  It may be the flesh, the world or the devil. Hopefully you are a bond-servant to God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Your master is easily determined by what or who you are obedient to.

Dr. Jay Vernon McGee was serving as pastor in a church in Los Angeles.  Across the street from the church was a swanky club that was attended by some very rich men.  The people who belonged to that club spent thousands of dollars to be a part of that society and they usually owned chauffeur driven  Cadillac’s. One day Pastor McGee notice several cars in front of club with about fifteen chauffeurs standing around.  In a little while a very nice-looking wealthy young man came out of the club; he made a motion and spoke out.  One chauffeur responded, he went to the car and opened the door, then went and got in the drivers door and drove off.  As Pastor McGee watched, he discovered that it was easy to see that the other fourteen chauffeurs were not employed by the rich young man because they did not respond to his call.  The one who responded was obedient to his employer or master.

Christians who personally anoint Christ as king live a life that says, “I care about Jesus’ kingship in my life.”  It is through their obedience that they reveal just how much they love Him. Personally anointing Christ as King begins with understanding that Jesus is “Messiah,” “the Christ,” “God’s Anointed.”   Christians anoint Him by having Godly sorrow over sin, not responding to regret of the consequences of sin.  They anoint Him by loving Him extravagantly, unashamedly, and with humility. They live a life that says, “Hosanna,” O Lord save me now from any sin that would destroy our relationship and bring you to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:6)   Christians anoint Him as king by a life of obedience.  They know that who or what they obey reveals their master,  or in context to this message, King. Let us pray!!!!!