As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 “Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]
“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus at the Temple
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[f]”
14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise’[g]?”
17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Jesus Curses a Fig Tree
18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
The Parable of the Two Sons
28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
The Parable of the Tenants
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’[h]?
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”[i]
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
Palm Sunday is a time of great celebration and a time of mixed feelings. Jesus parades into Jerusalem as a hero, as a king. A five days later He is killed with a sarcastic sign over His head: King of the Jews.
Jesus is lauded with the phrase Hosanna. O Save. Or a cry: “Save us!” And He is a Savior, God’s chosen Savior of mankind. And the people desire salvation, and most are not saved. The definitions matter. What does Jesus save from? What is He authorized to save? What is God’s will for the lives of the people there? And there is a disconnect. There may be in our lives too. We must learn to trust Jesus to save, and we must learn to trust to have saved what Jesus has come to save!
- Jesus Reveals His Identity
Messianic Secret: A general complaint about God not being more plain. If God became man, why did He not present Himself more plainly? Well, here Jesus does and it doesn’t work.
- As one who fulfills prophecy
A messianic parade: The people come out of the town when they hear the conqueror is coming and they lead him in in triumph in a parade. (This is the point of the Rapture and the dead in Christ rising first). It’s a metaphor.
Palm branches symbolize Jewish nationalism and victory
Zechariah 9:9; Psalms 118
The citation of Bible Prophecy: This is a common Biblical proof for Who Jesus is. Isaiah 53 and Psalms 22 (Read these and compare them to Jesus’ Crucifixion) are the most profound examples in my opinion, that and the prophet like Moses theme.
- As one who receives worship
The Jewish leaders have already decided about Jesus and this issue.
He does not act like a reigning Messiah, and they are correct. What is not correct is their definition of the nature of Messiah. Dr. Inch’s story about the Jewish man waiting for “both” Messiahs!
Since Jesus allows Himself to be viewed in this way, He is responsible to get folks to check themselves. But Jesus is not interested in checking Himself at all. In fact, Jesus is interested in doing God’s work of salvation!
- As one who is above all creation
Luke 19: 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Even the rocks will cry out. This is going to happen!
Jesus saves all that is lost in the fall. All of creation groans waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8
the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
God is a hard and fast reality of life. Your faith does not make Him real. He is the most real thing that there is!! And what God wills to do no one can keep Him from doing. He decides what salvation will be.
First, Jesus reveals His identity, next He reveals His authority! He reveals His right to rule, to decide issues.
Because of Jesus’ identity, He has unique authority to save!
- Jesus Reveals His Unique Authority
- Authority to manage the temple v.12-17
- Jesus “cleanses” the temple. (This is a rebuke of the current leadership.)
- The temple will change and change forever. (It will be destroyed.)
- But even if it were not, what purpose would it serve? All of the sacrifices MUST STOP!!! They can no longer be good in any sense! The divisions in the temple between God and priest, between priest and men, between men and women, between Jew and Gentile are obliterated!
- The true temple of God is the people of God. Review Paul’s statement from Ephesians 2 as it is reflected in the temple.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
- Authority to manage the Jews
- Jesus curses the fig tree
The fig tree is representative of Israel.
Hosea 9: 10 “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert;
when I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.
But when they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.
- Jesus is challenged by and challenges the religious leaders. (We must choose sides in life at times. ALWAYS CHOOSE JESUS!!!)
The John the Baptist question reveals who the religious leaders serve. This is why Jesus asks the question. This also indicates a danger that we all face relative to how we manage ourselves corporately. We can serve people or we can serve God. And for leadership this is a real battle, because when people are happy with you your circumstances are easier.
- Authority to include and exclude v.23-28
Questions are flying back and forth here.
John 17: 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Who judges whom? This is why I must believe in Biblical authority. I require an authority to manage my personal authority. I must submit to real authority. And with regards to salvation, God has the right to do whatever He chooses. He has this right because of Who He is. I have the opportunity to submit to God and experience the life that He has for me. Circumstantially this will be a mixed bag. We live in a sinful world. But we also live in God’s world with good blessings from Him. We need not sacrifice His good gifts to pessimism, nor should we expect for God to make every circumstance a happy one. Instead, we need to find God Himself in our circumstances. And He will give us life. Just like these folks here who welcome Jesus. But their expectations of what God is supposed to do for them cause them to reject what God is actually going to do for them. They bring judgment on themselves.
So, because of Jesus’ unique identity and authority to save, we must submit to what He has revealed to be salvation!!!
III. Submit to Jesus’ Authority v.28-46
- Parable of the sons v.28-32
Go and work in my vineyards: One says no and then goes. One says yes and then does not go.
Our words vs. Our actions
Your faith is between you and God. This frees you from people, which is good, but it confronts you with the reality of God which means you cannot hide.
- Parable of the tenants v.33-41
It is possible that those who claim to be looking out for God’s best interests can completely reject what it is that God wants.
The Jewish people do it here.
The church in the Middle Ages was a mess.
The church during the Reformation was messy.
And even today, much of Christendom is this way.
I submit to you that things get messy because people put their desires in front of God’s. This is a hard word when you are suffering, but God in NO SMALL REWARD!!! He says knowing Him is eternal life and therefore, our suffering leads us to know Him. So be it.
- Embrace the Son! V.42-46
We are called to be about Jesus’ plans and purposes for our lives. This means that our personal comfort or financial gain or personal reputation before people are not His number one goal. Jesus is not coming to be that kind of Savior. Instead He offers us the abundant life of God that makes circumstantial pleasure secondary to His presence, power and purposes. Hosanna!!