I’m preparing to teach during our AWANA program this evening at church and we are going to study the topic of praising the Lord in our daily lives. Our passage of study is Luke 19.
The context of Luke 19 helps us understand why Jesus wept over Jerusalem during the festive time. The Triumphal entry marks what we call Holy Week today in the Christian calendar. It was a time of praise and worship, Palm Sunday, and yet, during the height of the festivities, Jesus wept. Why? Luke 19 explains why.
- Verses 1-10 – Zaccheus’ Salvation reveals the fact that once we experience salvation, we are transformed from people who use others for our own personal gain to people who live to serve those around us. An encounter with Jesus makes all the difference.
- Verses 11-27 – The parable of the talents reveals the importance of using the gift of time in the service of the Lord.
- Verses 28-35 – Jesus acquires a donkey to ride into Jerusalem. This is important because it reveals that King Jesus is coming to offer peace to the people.
I. Praise and Worship
Jesus is a conquering King who comes to make peace with the people. He offers peace with God and peace with each other.
35 They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. (Luke 19)
This is why it was so important to Jesus to ride in on a donkey. It fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. It was also a symbol of peace.
36 As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road.
37 As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, (Luke 19)
The disciples were leading the chant of praise to the Lord. The crowds joined in with them. Some laid out their coats as a sign of respect. Others did not have a coat to lay out so they broke off palm branches and laid those on the path as a sign of respect. Here is some of what they were chanting and singing:
38 shouting: “BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19)
This verse is actually a quote from the Old Testament. It is a Messianic Prophecy. in essence, the disciples, along with the crowds were proclaiming King Jesus to be God. The quote was from Psalm 118:26. It was written about 1,000 years before the birth of Christ. The disciples were genuine in their praise because not only did they say the right words but, they backed those words up with actions. They lived to serve the Lord by serving the people around them. That was not the case for the majority of the people there. Most of them were praising Jesus on this day and they were going to turn on Him later that week, crying out for His crucifixion. This attitude is seen in the Pharisees’ response to the Triumphal Entry.
II. Lack of faith
The Pharisees were familiar with the Old Testament. They knew all of the Messianic prophecies. They quickly realized that the disciples were proclaiming Jesus to be God. Here is their response:
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” (Luke 19)
The Pharisees wanted Jesus to deny the fact that He was God. He would not do it. The Pharisees could not bring themselves to praise God or to proclaim Jesus as God. Jesus responds beautifully:
40 But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” (Luke 19)
Jesus affirmed the fact that He is the Messiah, that He is God. The disciples knew it. The disciples believed it. The Pharisees refused to believe, as they always did. The crowds are the ones who broke Jesus’ heart. They were saying the right things. They were praising God. They were proclaiming that Jesus is God yet, they did not believe it. They were not in it till the end. They were not ready to dedicate their lives to serving Him by serving the people around them. Jesus was not impressed with empty words. He is still not impressed with our empty words.
III. Jesus’ response
This is the second time that we see Jesus have the response to people’s lack of faith. When Lazarus was resurrected from the dead, Jesus wept because of the fact that the people did not believe in Him, even though they knew the right things to say.
41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it,
42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.
43 “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side,
44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19)
Jesus came to offer peace but, the people did not want it. They did not believe and instead of receiving peace, death and destruction were coming their way.
Jesus is still the conquering King who offers peace today. One day He is going to return to this earth riding a white horse. That means that He is returning to make war with the ungodly. You do not want to be His enemy on that day. Make peace with King Jesus today by accepting Him as Lord and Savior. Bow your knee to His will in your life and experience the peace that He has to offer.