“Pride comes before a fall” the Bible tells us, and still we are prone call future events into being, as if they already existed. Last week, President Obama told Russia’s leader Monday that he would have more flexibility after the November election to deal with the contentious issue of missile defense. “This is my last election,” Obama is heard telling outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “After my election, I have more flexibility.” That article can be found here. This statement is not being used to sway anyone’s vote; it is just about human nature of presuming certainty upon the future.
Before the Titanic, made its voyage across the Atlantic, it was reported that a White Star official made the statement, “Even God could not sink this ship.” Horrifically, this presumption proved to be false, as the Titanic broke apart and over 1,500 people died.
We simply do not know the future exhaustively. In our humanity, we often make predictions about tomorrow, but no one human being knows exactly what tomorrow holds. That knowledge is reserved for God alone.
And this is exactly what got Jesus killed.
37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that 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!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:37-40)
Sunday (April 1, 2012) marked the annual celebration of Palm Sunday for Christians around the world, and the above text describes Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem five days before His crucifixion. In the passage, Jesus comes riding into town on a donkey’s colt to much fanfare–people waving palm branches, exalting Jesus as King of Israel, and glorifying God because of Him.
In fact, the John 12 account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem states the following:
13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” (John 12:13-15)
Verse 15 is a direct quote of Zechariah 9:9, written some 500 years before Jesus was even born!
The Pharisees (teachers of the Law) should have recognized this scene and the fulfillment of this prophecy, but they refused. Jesus was not the Messiah they wanted or expected. He was wholly different. Consequently, they told Jesus to make His disciples to be quiet. Jesus refused. In fact, He told them that it would be impossible to stop the worship of Him. He said that if He tried to silence them, the very rocks themselves would cry out.
In essence, Jesus was telling the religious leaders of the day, “God WILL have His praise.” God created the world to worship Him, to proclaim His glory, and if we cease to do it, the very inanimate creation would begin to sing!
The Pharisees would have heard this as Jesus saying to them, I can’t stop this praise. I AM GOD! I AM THE SON OF GOD! I AM THE ONE REFERRED TO IN ZECHARIAH 9:9. I AM THE LONG-AWAITED MESSIAH!!
Jesus was not being presumptuous about the future in the same way as we are. He was saying to them I AM THE GOD OF THE PAST, OF THE PRESENT, AND OF THE FUTURE!! Jesus was being very PRECISE to the Pharisees about who He was.
For Jesus to not accept the worship of these people would be to deny the very nature of who God is. God created us to worship Him, and Jesus accepted worship because for Him to not accept worship would be to deny that He is who He is, and God cannot lie about His very nature. He wasn’t being proud; He was being precise. For good or bad, Jesus told the Pharisees who exactly He was/is to clarify for them & for us who God is.
And this explanation got Him killed.
Some people may say that Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem at this time should not be considered “triumphant” b/c He is about to be betrayed, mocked, beaten, & murdered. Yet, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was triumphant because His victory was assured:
“…an angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife… She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)
He will swallow up death forever; and the Sovereign Lord will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8)
Jesus’ entire life and ministry was predicated upon His death and His resurrection. Jesus was triumphant even before He died because He knew that He would be raised from the dead. That is why His Entry could be considered triumphal.
Some of you may be thinking, “well ‘duh’ Bo, we’ve got that Jesus is God; we’ve got that He knows the future… My question to you is then since He is God & since He knows the future, then can’t He be trusted with your finances? Can’t He be trusted to provide for your needs? Can’t He be trusted to be enough for you? Can’t He be trusted when He says, “He who comes to me, I will in no way cast him out.”
You’re so afraid that you’re not going to make it to heaven. You’ve asked Jesus to save you & to forgive you of your sins, but you have such a magnified view of your sin & such a low view of God’s grace. 1 John 1:9 states “if we confess our sins, He is faithful & just to forgive us of our sins and will cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”
You may say, “You don’t know the regrets and sins of my past. You don’t know the very sins I have committed this morning–these sins that I keep falling back in to time and time again.
No, but I do know that God’s word says, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful & just to forgive us of our sins and will cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”
If we don’t hide ourselves from God but will bring ourselves to God, He will forgive & cleanse.
When you’re in a difficult place in your marriage or at work, and you feel like running away to greener pastures, will you trust Jesus enough to stay where you are knowing that He knows your future & is working everything for your good?
If this God will have His praise, if it is a certainty, why do you resist Him? Why do you question His love?
Believer REST in HIM. Find your security in Him. Hide yourself underneath the shadow of His wings. Allow Him to fight your battles for you.
Unbeliever SURRENDER to HIM while you still have breath. Seek Him while you still have time. Bow your knee to Him today! You will find Him to be gracious, kind, infinitely patient, and joyful in your life!