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Who is God

Part 8: Where the road goes down

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

Today we are finishing up our series, this is Part 8 of "Who is God" as we consider our Lord, King, and Savior Jesus Christ. The message is entitled "Where the Road Goes Down" and we will be reading from Luke’s Gospel at chapter 19, verses 28-44.

I assume you have all been to a wedding… and you know how everybody’s just sort of hanging out. Then all of a sudden, the groom comes in… there’s the processional… he’s got his guys with him, and in they walk. And you know, there is this building anticipation, it’s about time...

This morning we’re going to investigate just such a time in Luke 19:28–44 where we see Jesus Christ coming for His bride and His kingdom. Where the road goes down we will see Him revealed as Lord, King, and Savior. So we pick up the story in Luke chapter 19, at verse 28…

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.'"

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?"

They replied, "The Lord needs it."

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"

"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.

Now the situation is this, historically, this was the season of Passover. Many years prior, God’s people were slaves in Egypt, and they cried out for God to deliver them. He heard their cries and judged their enemies delivering his people in an act of Passover. And that is where a sacrificial lamb was chosen by the people of God, the animal was then killed, it died in their place, its blood was to cover them so that God wouldn’t judge them or kill them. God did pass over those who sacrificed a lamb and He freed His people from bondage to the Egyptians.

And so they celebrated Passover every year from that year forward until it was finally culminated at the cross of Jesus. All of this symbolism, of a lamb without spot or blemish, was pointing to Jesus who would ultimately come as the "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). Christ, "our Passover Lamb has been slain" the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 5:7. Christ died in our place… he shed his blood though he was perfect, blameless, and without sin… He died for us so that the wrath of God, the penalty for sin, eternal condemnation… would literally pass over us.

And so this is the season of Passover. And all that they had been eagerly anticipating is about to be fulfilled in the murder of Jesus. And so Jesus is making his way with the crowds for this big holiday celebration in Jerusalem. As he was passing along the Mount of Olives, the temple came into sight, and Jesus knew it was time to begin the processional. Again, think of this like a prince riding into town so that he might take his bride.

And so how will the prince be transported? On a donkey. On a young colt. This was a very humble way to travel for a prince. I mean, think about it.

But Jesus tells his disciples, "Go get me that little donkey" and they do. So they go and start untying this man’s colt and he’s like "Hey, what are you all doing?" And they tell him, "The Lord needs it." So the picture here is that this man backs off… you know he’s got his hands up…. "Well, if the Lord needs it go ahead. Who am I to get in the way of the Lord?"

1. Seeing Jesus as Lord.

So who is Jesus? Jesus is Lord. This is important, because there are many titles for Jesus in the Bible. He’s rabbi, good teacher, he’s Lord, he’s King, he’s Prince, and he’s a friend. There are all these images and titles for Jesus. And some of us pick one we like… we only see Jesus that way… and we ignore all the others.

So for some of you, Jesus is friend and a teacher, but he’s not Lord, he’s not God. But let me assure you, he is, he’s all of that. The shortest statement of what we believe as Christians is simply that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is above everyone and everything, there is no one equal to him, there is no created person, or thing alongside of him or above him. Jesus here in verse 31 is saying, "Yes, I’m the Sovereign Lord." He is establishing himself in authority over everyone and everything that has ever lived or will live upon the earth. This is a massive statement.

So they say, "The Lord needs it." And you and I, like the owner of this colt, need to be this way with all of our possessions. "Lord Jesus, you need my car? Take it. You need me to feed the poor? It’s your refrigerator. Lord Jesus, you want to use my home for small groups? Feel free to have it." The owner has this open-handed attitude. He says, "Well, if the Lord needs it, he can have it." And this was a valued possession. This was no little thing!

And so the disciples bring this animal to Jesus. But you know the full meaning of this can be lost on us because we think that Jesus was just being humble. However Jesus was making a very important public statement by his action. This was an occasion where he says it, "I’m the Lord," and he shows it. Now, most of us wouldn’t recognize that. We think donkey and we go right to "Shrek." You know what does this have to do with anything?

But for those who were there… for those who were waiting… think like a bride. Not as a bride individually, but collectively and corporately like a bride, as the church.

There had been a prophecy given hundreds of years prior through a man named Zechariah. And God had promised through him, "You’ll know that your prince has come. You’ll know that your Lord is at hand when you see something." And so they were waiting.

And here’s exactly what Zechariah 9:9 said. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

So this isn’t a story line from "Shrek," this is prophecy given hundreds of years prior, "Your King is coming. He’s humble, he’s righteous, he’s coming to save you. And you’ll know it’s him when he rides into Jerusalem on a young donkey." And the people had been waiting for hundreds of years.

Think of a woman who God had told her, "You’re going to be married, but wait for your husband." So days, weeks, months, and years pass and she wonders, "Is he ever coming?" But God had revealed to her some specific details. "He’ll come like this. You’ll know this is he." And then one day… she wasn’t expecting it… she’d sort of lost hope… and there he is. He approaches her and in that moment she realizes, "This is the day where the promise of God has come true." It’s amazing. And no one thought it would happen like this.

2. Recognizing our King.

Second thing we learn is that Jesus Christ is King. And we need to recognize him as our King. At this point Jesus had ministered all over the region, now he’s approaching the great city of Jerusalem, and now he’s presenting himself as the fulfillment of prophecy, as God among us, as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

And so the people are giving Jesus proverbial red-carpet treatment. They are laying out branches and throwing their cloaks on the ground. By their actions they’re saying, "Jesus, you’re worth anything and everything."

And so Jesus rides in like a regal prince, heading to his palace, the temple. And he is doing so humbly, riding this donkey, and they would’ve remembered the days of King David. The king they loved so much… the great King who was a foreshadowing of Jesus... So here comes Jesus, a humble King who’s even greater than David, and he is a descendant of David and he fulfills the promises that, through David, would come an even greater King with an even greater kingdom. And here he is, its Jesus Christ!

Some people rejoice and they worship and they’re glad and they celebrate! Right? You can read it in verse 37, they "began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen" saying, and they quote here from Psalm 118:26, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Luke 19:37-38)

People are celebrating and shouting. They see Jesus and they sing that psalm, but they’ve added one thing to it. They add one word to it, "King," because he is the King of kings. And see, Jesus at this point, he is riding into Jerusalem to conquer sin, death, and hell. He’s going to conquer all of our enemies. He’s going to war against all that is against us. He is going to defeat our enemies, so that he might deliver his people. And so they’re rejoicing. They’re doing so loudly and gladly.

And the reason they’re celebrating is because of this line: "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest." Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and no one has glorified God, reflected the goodness, the perfection, the love, the justice, and the mercy of God, like Jesus Christ. He is the image of the invisible God. And as He said, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).

So here God the Son is being worshiped because no life glorifies God the Father like the life of God the Son, Jesus Christ. He perfectly mirrors… reveals exactly who the Father is… and what his love and character is like. So the people are rejoicing because they understand there is peace in heaven.

3. Worshiping our Savior!

And let me just say this: We are each conceived and born by nature and choice, sinners and enemies of God. We don’t live as we ought to live. We don’t speak as we ought to speak. We are sinners by nature and choice.

But in this man, Jesus Christ, read verse 38 again… there is "Peace in heaven." Jesus has come to die in our place for our sins, to rise victorious in our place as our Savior. And as a result, through this man Jesus Christ, through faith in him and forgiveness from him, there is "peace in heaven".

And so the people rejoiced. They’re worshiping their Savior. And I think this is the part we could grow in. You see, all of us are worshipers… we’ll go to a stadium or an arena or a field and someone will do something amazing. And we cheer and we jump out of our seats and we get really excited and we clap and shout their praises. We’ll put their face on our t-shirt, or their name on the back. And we’re all excited. Unless you live in San Francisco… then you don’t have a lot to cheer about. But other people… those of us here on the East Coast… we get to do this when our teams win.

And yet we hear about Jesus, we come to church, and it’s not so great… we’re not quite as exuberant right? But Jesus says, "Well, I could tell them to stop, but if I do, then the stones will cry out." Jesus says, "If I tell my followers… if I tell my fans to "keep quiet… the stones will cry out." You see because all of Creation was made by Jesus… All of Creation exists to glorify Jesus... And if the people won’t praise God, then its going to get to the point where its like some crazy musical, where the trees and rocks jump in. It’s gonna be like the craziest kid’s movie ever, right? And you get a hint of this in Romans 8 where it says that creation has been "subject to frustration" because of sin, and that it longs for liberation… it longs for deliverance in the coming of Jesus so that it might be free to glorify the Creator God of the Bible. Yes, Creation longs to be "brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Romans 8:19-21).

So Jesus is saying, "I’m to be worshiped and the people aren’t wrong. Even if you Pharisees silence them, the stones will cry out." Because God has visited His Creation… today we’ve seen Jesus… The Bible says, here’s Jesus, you’re a sinner, Jesus died for you, He is alive, he forgives you, he loves you. He’s a King. And he wants you to be part of his kingdom…

You see Jesus loves you like a groom loves his bride. He wants you to be part of a wedding. And today, there’s this window of opportunity that God gives each of us, to take the hand of Jesus, and to respond, saying, "I’ll walk with you. I won’t close my eyes. I receive you as my Savior. I’ll turn from sin and trust you. I’ll receive the forgiveness of sin and everlasting life."

And so if you’re here, this is good news. The good news is this, that it’s not too late for you. If you haven’t come to Christ, it’s not too late. You’re still alive. There could be rejoicing today. And I encourage you to rejoice with us. I encourage you to love, to serve, and trust Jesus as Lord, King, and Savior. It’s not too late.

You see in Jesus we see the full revelation of who God is and today we join this crowd of worshipers where the road goes down. Today Jesus has ridden into our lives, as he rode into Jerusalem humbly, lovingly, and graciously; yet so magnificently and kingly, because our King is alive. Our King has conquered Satan, sin, death, hell… Our King has taken the throne… Our King is seated upon a throne... Our King is wearing a crown... Our King is coming again to judge the living and the dead... Our King has put an end to sickness and suffering and injustice and poverty and evil and death.

So today we confess that our God is alive. We confess that he died and rose. We confess that He is our great King, our Lord, and our Savior. And that he is worthy of praise and we were created to do just that. As we go out this week let worship Him. I urge you, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, as your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2).

Let’s reflect upon these words in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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