Knowing the Times
We all have calendars and agendas, we write dates in our calendar to remind ourselves of events we want to attend; things we don’t want to forget; we set up the alarm clocks so we can remember to get up at certain time to start doing those things we include in our agenda for that day. Today is Palm Sunday according to our calendar, we remember the time when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Most people may know this when they hear the phrase “Palm Sunday.” This event is known in the Bible as the triumphant entry.
What was this about? What was it time for? The four gospel writers speak about this, but we will look at the account in Luke 19:28-44
The four gospel writers agree that Jesus knew it was time.
– He sent his disciples to get the donkey, a colt that no one had ever ridden.
– Jesus knew it was time to fulfill the prophecy. A prophecy that stated how the messiah would make his entrance into the city. Matthew and John (Matt.21:4-5//John 12:15) quote the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. ESV
The disciples went and found the donkey just as Jesus told them. They untied it and brought it to Jesus. Jesus was fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy in their very eyes. People would identify the Messiah as one proclaimed as king riding on a donkey. “Your king comes to you righteous and having salvation.” This was the first time in Jesus’ ministry that he allowed the crowd to hail him as king. Jesus is showing the crowd that he was the expected Messiah.
The crowd (the disciples)
– They knew it was time to celebrate the arrival of their king.
The Bible tells us that the people were throwing their coats or garments on the floor, others picked up palm branches and placed them on the road as Jesus riding on the donkey proceeded to Jerusalem.
– The crowd knew that salvation has arrived, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:25-26)
– They knew the time to be freed from Roman rule had come. The salvation they expected was political; their idea of the messiah was political, national. They failed to see the Messiah as bringing salvation for the whole world. They didn’t view the messiah as a man or sorrow, as a suffering servant. (Isa.53)
It didn’t take the crowd long to see that Jesus wasn’t going to do what they wanted; they soon realized, Jesus wasn’t going to be the political leader they all expected. This is why it didn’t take long for the crowds to change their shouting to “Away with him, crucify him” He is a phony. Their political dreams and expectation kept them blind to God’s ultimate plan unfolding in their presence.
The religious leaders didn’t think it was time yet.
– The religious people were in the crowd, but they didn’t think the time of the Messiah had come yet. They told Jesus to rebuke the disciples in proclaiming him as the expected king. (v.39) “Teacher, rebuke your disciples”, they should not be saying that. For the Pharisees, that chant should be saved only for the true messiah of Israel and they did not consider Jesus to be the one.
Jesus’ reply to them. “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (v.40)
A weeping King! (v.41-44)
Jesus saw the city and his heart broke over it. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. This wasn’t just shedding tears. The word here is stronger, it implies, weeping aloud, audible grief.
Why did Jesus cry for Jerusalem?
Because the people failed to recognize the time when their prince of peace came.
“If you knew this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes.” (v.42) Jesus prophesied the destruction of the city, which took place in 70 AD; it happened just as Jesus predicted it.
Why did this happen to Jerusalem? V.44
Because they didn’t recognize the time when God visited them. They failed to know the time when God visited them.
It breaks God’s heart when his people fail to recognize his time, God’s timetable in the world, even in our own lives.
We can relate to the crowd, sometimes we are blinded by our celebrations and joyful gathering and fail to realize God’s plan in bringing people to himself. God’s timetable is that everyone would come to a knowledge of him and be saved.
Sometimes we are like the Pharisees, we think the time is not yet. But they failed to see God in their midst because their time was not calibrated to God’s time.
Jesus visited the city and it failed to recognize him as their true king. Jesus held the city responsible for not knowing the time God visited them. Jesus is going to hold the world responsible for not knowing him. Jesus will come back to this earth one day, will you be ready to welcome the King of kings. Don’t get so busy with your life, that you neglect God’s timetable in the world. The clock is ticking.