Written and preached by David P. Nolte

MATTHEW 21:1-10

Crucifixion day was coming! The Jews were about to celebrate Passover. It was the Sunday prior to His Passion. Jesus knew that His death had been determined by the rulers, but He knew that in reality His death had been determined by God the Father. He was prepared. He was not afraid. In a great public demonstration of His lowly humility and his kingly regality, Jesus entered Jerusalem amid the shouts, the hallelujahs and hosannas of the expectant multitude. They were jubilant. They thought deliverance was at hand - and it was, but not in the way they imagined. Consider that crowd today. Think about their actions and attitudes. And then let me ask you, "Are you in that crowd? Do you join them in their glad exultation? What is there that is significant about that event?
    1. This was an act of reverence. Earthly kings may have ridden in on a red carpet; Jesus rode in on the garments of those who adored Him. They gave their best to honor Him. Matthew Henry rightly notes: "Those that take Christ for their King, must lay their all under his feet."
    2. What will you lay down for Jesus? Let's ask ourselves some poignant, pointed questions:
      1. "Will I lay down my possessions for Jesus?" If I do, I must conclude, "I used to think that my money was my own, but it's His. I used to think my car was my own, but it's His. I used to think my house was my own, but it's His. I used to think my musical instruments were my own, but they are His. I used to think my computer was my own, but it is His!" So, nothing I have is mine alone, but it is His.
      2. Then ask, "Will I lay down my will for Jesus?" If so, I must realize, "Lord, not my plans, but Yours! Not my way but Yours! Not my agenda, but Yours! Not my pleasure, but Yours! Not my will but Yours be done!" Not what I have determined, but what He wants.
      3. And again, "Will I lay down my sex life for Jesus?" Those who so decied must rid themselves of lustful thinking, pornography, and visits to illicit web sites. They must determine no sexual relationships outside marriage. No violation of God's moral standards. Not living by the flesh and passions, but by His Spirit.
      4. Ask, "Will I lay down my talents and abilities for Jesus?" If you do, then remember, your music is for Him, not for your glory. Your art is for Him, not for personal enjoyment. Your skill as a carpenter, or mechanic, or teacher, or counselor, or driver, or whatever is not about you, it is about Him! Not for my glory or benefit, but for Him.
      5. And, "Will I lay down my time for Jesus?" Those who do, realize that Sunday is His day - not a day for shopping or outings or sleeping in. Then we realize that we must take time daily to be in His Word, at His Throne in prayer, and in His activities serving and working and doing to benefit man and the Kingdom. Time, not to squander, but to use wisely for Him.
      6. Finally, "Will I lay down my attitudes for Jesus?" That will mean no more jealousy, or envy, or hate, or grudge bearing, or pride, or self-centeredness, or negative nit-picking or complaining. Not to be governed by the old nature, but by the new.
    3. All that you claim as your own, all over which you exercise any control, all that has any control over you needs to be laid at His feet - for only then do those things become sacrifices and offerings, and only then do we rightfully honor Him as King.
    4. The crowd gave their garments. Not tuxedos or formals, but plain and possibly worn out tunics. But they gave what they had. I have this little aluminum disk. It is a punch out from an electrical box. But it is so meaningful to me. Just before moving to Colorado, my grandson, Tommy, gave it to me. He said, "Here, Papa. I want you to have this!" I carry it in my pocket, inscribed with, "From Tommy, DATE." Nothing valuable - except to me. What you give has value to Him though it might not to anyone else.

The crowd cast their garments at Jesus' feet - are you in that crowd?

    1. They shouted, "Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!"
      1. "Hosanna" signifies, "Save now, we beseech You!" It was a cry for help as well as a recognition of His ability to save.
      2. "Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!" signifies "to celebrate with praises, to speak well of someone, and to wish God's blessing upon them."
    2. They were moved with joy at His coming! While the religious leaders seethed with malice, jealousy and hatred, the common people praised Him. While the religious leaders plotted His death, the peasants rejoiced in His life.
    3. It isn't the volume, or the place, or the length, or the excitement that makes our praise acceptable.
      1. It is our sincerity: do we really mean it when we sing our praise songs? Do we really mean it when we go into "ecstasies of rapture" when we worship? Does it come from head or heart? Does it reflect ritual or reality? Is it show or is it sincere? God wants His worshipers to worship in spirit and truth.
      2. It is our consistency: do we maintain a spirit of adoration and praise when we leave this place? Or do we tend to fall back into the cynicism and secularism of our milieu?
      3. It is our humility: do we really come lowly before Him? Do we recognize our unworthiness and His worth?
    4. A young man came home late one Friday afternoon and was greeted by his two children. They laughed and bounced with more than the usual amount of excitement.  "Daddy, Daddy, " the three-year-old started to say, "There's a   "  Whumpf!  The five-year-old stuffed his palm vigorously across the three-year-old's mouth.  The three-year-old wrenched free, eyes still sparkling. "Daddy, Mommy and Jason and me have got a   "  Whumpf!  The hand closed across the mouth again, followed by these firm words from the five-year-old.  "Sarah, if you don't keep quiet, Daddy's going to know there's a surprise party inside for him!"  After a moment of awesome silence, the five-year-old flushed.  Dad artfully pretended not to have heard a word. He hugged both children and, laughing together, all three raced into the house.  The young children could hardly contain themselves with the excitement of the moment. They knew something exciting was going to happen and they could not hold it inside.  When the people in Jesus day saw him riding into Jerusalem that day, they knew that something exciting was happening.  They knew that Jesus was riding as the Messiah would, and they thought they knew what that meant.  And they could not contain themselves with the excitement of the moment.

The crowd shouted out His praises - are you in that crowd?

    1. They knew He was the Son of David - the descendant prophesied to occupy the Throne of Israel. They knew He was a prophet - a spokesman from God to man.
    2. May we also declare Him. He is Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. He is Lord and Christ. He is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world! He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the Bright and Morning Star. He is the Word of Life. He is the Advocate with the Father, He is Jesus Christ The Righteous. He is the Dayspring from on high. He is the great I Am. He is the Son of God. He is the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and the only way to the Father. He is Lord and Savior. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Light of the world. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is The Almighty.
    3. The world thinks He is a myth or a mere man or a martyr or a prophet or a liar or a lunatic. But those who know Him, know that He is Jesus, the Son of God, the Lord.
    4. A court case that was lost because of the silence of an attorney. The distinguished lawyer Samuel Hoar was representing the defendant. When it was time to present his case, he told the jurors that the facts favoring his client were so evident that he would not insult their intelligence by arguing them. The jury retired to deliberate and returned in a few minutes with a verdict of guilty. Samuel Hoar was astonished! "How," he asked, "could you have reached such a verdict?" The foreman replied, "We all agreed that if anything could be said for a case, you would say it. But since you didn't present any evidence, we decided to rule against you." Silence had lost the case. How often the opportunity to speak a word of testimony for Christ is lost because we remain silent. Those who need to hear the gospel may conclude that salvation is not important enough to talk about.

The crowd declared Who He was - are you in that crowd? Will you this morning lay down your life to Him? Will you let your life shout His praises? And will you declare, by public confession of your faith, Who He is? Do you confess Him as Savior? Then trust Him. Do you confess Him as Lord? Then obey Him. What does Jesus expect of those who would follow Him? To believe that He is the Son of God. To repent of known sin. To confess Him before witnesses. To be baptized by immersion. And to live a life committed and steadfast for Him and His church. Today the crowd has little to do with or say for Jesus. Are you in that crowd? Or are you in the crowd that cast their garments at His feet, and publicly praised Him, and declared Who He was? It's time to decide. Which crowd will it be?

Lawyer story from unknown source.  Surprise party from a sermon by Tim Zingale on the internet

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