2014 6-15 ‘The Untriumphal Entry’ Part 2 Luke 19 41-48

LUKE 19:41-48

I. Introduction
Notice this morning’s sermon title: What does a made-up word like “untriumphal” have to do with the first “Palm Sunday,” the day Jesus entered Jerusalem to shouts of joy and acco-lades befitting the One who had come to save His people? Wasn’t Jesus’ entry a triumph? The multitudes who were there and witnessed it acted as if the Lord’s presence in Jerusalem were a triumph. There’s no doubt about that. And, for the last two thousand years, most of the church has referred to it as the triumphal entry. So who am I to change it?

Well, the fact is that I’m not trying to change the terminology at all. I’m simply trying to help us focus on that day and on that event from a perspective that is different than the one we normally use. I’m hoping that we can see it – not through the eyes of those who were there, or even through the eyes of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who reported on it when they wrote the gospels – but I’m hoping we can see it through the eyes of Jesus Himself. If we can do that, I think the use of the word “untriumphal” will make a lot more sense.

Now to be sure, when Jesus entered Jerusalem that day it was certainly triumphant in one respect. He was making public His claim to be the Jewish Messiah, the Holy One of God, the Christ, the Savior who had been prophesied as far back as Genesis 3:15. The OT is filled with hundreds of prophecies about the coming Messiah. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem that day was the exact fulfillment of one of those prophecies.
Zechariah 9:9
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusa-lem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salva-tion, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

So there was rejoicing in Jerusalem. And Jesus accepted their praise. Why would He not? He was openly declaring to the people that He was their King and the Messiah for whom they had been waiting. But Jesus wasn’t being welcomed and praised because of who He was. He was being welcomed and praised because of who the multitudes wanted Him to be. They did not welcome Jesus as Lord and Savior of their souls. Rather they welcomed Him as the One who would lead them in a revolt against Rome.

Only a few days later, once it had become clear that Jesus had no intention of leading their revolution, they turned on Him with a vengeance. “Hosanna, Hosanna” quickly became “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” So while Jesus’ did in fact make a triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday, He did not make a triumphal entry into the hearts of the people. And that’s what He cared about. Luke 19:10 tells us that “…the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” But there was precious little saving going on the day Jesus entered Jerusalem.
He was about to be rejected, and there was no triumph in that. If there was I believe Jesus’ response to all the cheering, shouting, and “Hosannas” would have been far different. If there was any triumph I believe Jesus would have enjoyed the day and maybe even shouted for joy Himself. But as we’ll see in today’s text, the Lord’s response is not at all like what you might expect it to be in light of such a warm welcome and enthusiastic reception. On the contrary, He responds with a warning, a prophecy of pending doom, and a strong rebuke.

II. Review
We’re told that Jesus began His final journey to Jerusalem all the way back in Luke 9:51. “And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension (death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven), that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem.” Everywhere Jesus had gone and everything He had done pointed to this day, this Palm Sunday.

It was three days earlier that Jesus had been in Jericho where He spent the night at the home of Zaccheus. On that Friday morning He had left Jericho to begin the final leg of His jour-ney up to Jerusalem. When He reached the village of Bethany – high on the Mount of Olives – He had stopped to spend the rest of that day and that night with His friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus – the same Lazarus whom Jesus had earlier raised from the dead. It was there that Mary poured the costly perfume over Jesus’ head and anointed His feet with it. This act was symbolic of the Lord’s imminent death and burial.

On Saturday, the Sabbath, Jesus and His disciples remained in Bethany. Last week, in Luke 19:28-40, we saw the things that led up to Jesus’ going into Jerusalem, the event that is so often referred to as the “triumphal entry.” In fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 Jesus sat upon a young colt, rode it down the Mount of Olives from Bethany, and as He approached the city, the multitudes began cheering and shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” This show of support and praise for Jesus angered the religious leaders who demanded that He quiet the crowds. But He did not do so. In v. 40 Jesus responded, “I tell, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

III. Text
And so we come to that Sunday morning and in today’s text.
*Luke 19:41-48 (Please stand with me in honor of reading God’s Word.)
41 And when He approached, 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 shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side,
44 and 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.”
45 And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were selling,
46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers’ den.”
47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him,
48 and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging upon His words.

Jesus’ so-called triumphal entry would be concluded at the cross where He died for our sins. True triumph will be seen at the Second Coming. On that day there will be no conclusion; there will only be eternity future.
Zechariah 14:4a; 8:3a
4a And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of
Jerusalem on the east…
8:3a Thus says the LORD, “I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.”

On that day there will be no cross; there will only be a throne.
Isaiah 24:23b
23b For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders.

On that day there will be no question as to who Jesus really is; the whole world will know and there will be no doubt.
Zechariah 14:9
14:9 And the LORD will be King over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name will be the only one.

But all of that is yet future. None of it was intended for the first Palm Sunday. The contrasts are stark. For example, there is a great contrast between the reception Jesus is receiving as He draws near to the city and His reaction to it.
*Luke 19:41-42
41 And when He approached, 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.”

Jesus had come to a place on the Mount of Olives where all of Jerusalem and the temple mount were spread out before His gaze. It’s impossible for us to comprehend the emotions He must have felt. With His physical eyes Jesus could see what the Psalmist had described.
Psalm 48:1-2
1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, His holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the city of the great King.

Why does Jesus weep as He approaches Jerusalem? He knows what lies ahead for the city, for the nation, and for all people who will reject Him. He sees the city with His physical eyes, but He sees the future with His spiritual eyes. And what He sees is the destruction and death that are only forty years in the future. So the Son of Man is overwhelmed with the reality of it and He breaks down and weeps. The word translated “wept” in v. 41 is “klaiō.” It does not describe a tear or two trickling down the Lord’s cheek. It’s the strongest word for weeping in the Greek language, carrying with it the idea of loud wailing and sobbing.

A triumphal entry? Where is the triumph when the Lord Jesus Himself is overcome with anguish and sorrow at what He knows is the sin and hypocrisy of the people? Why would He be joyful when He knows that their hatred and rejection of Him is about to be revealed?

Look at Luke 19:42. Jesus laments, “If you had known…the things which make for peace!” Time and time again Jesus had offered them peace, but not peace with Rome, nor peace with any other enemy for that matter. Neither had Jesus been offering them political or social peace, or peace with their neighbors. From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus had been offering the people the one peace that they did need – peace with God.

But the sad irony was that peace with God was the one peace that the multitudes thought they already had. After all, they were Jews, God’s chosen people. They had their religion, they had their laws, they had their traditions, and they had their own self-righteousness. They assumed that they had earned their place in heaven. They didn’t need the peace this Galilean, the Jesus of Nazareth, was peddling.

But they did! They were in desperate need of peace with God. They needed to humble themselves and repent. They needed to trust Christ and put their faith in Him. Only then would the peace of God and the kingdom the people sought be theirs. But they were blinded by their own pride and stubborn unbelief.

Why do so many reject Christ today? They use the same excuses, don’t they? They have own their religions, their own laws, their own traditions, and their own self-righteousness. So they don’t think they need Jesus’ offer of peace with God. And because of their stubborn refusal and unbelief, the result will be certain destruction and death. (back to the text)

Now notice the last part of v. 42. These words are not addressed to believers. Nonetheless, they should get our attention. Speaking to the unbelief of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Jesus says, “But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” What is “they”? It is “the things which make for peace” with God in v. 41.

By rejecting Jesus and His gospel, peace with God is impossible. Judgment is inevitable because of the peoples’ own spiritual blindness, a blindness that is self-imposed.
It isn’t as if the people haven’t heard about the “things which make for peace” with God. The people have heard, but they don’t know about them because they don’t want to know about them. They’ve hardened their hearts against them and against Jesus. So now, in v. 42, when He says, “But now they have been hidden from your eyes,” He is reiterating a truth that most people – even many professing Christians – simply do not want to hear.

Scripture teaches that the truth unbelievers do not want to hear, will eventually become the truth unbelievers cannot have. Or stated another way, if someone chooses to be blind to God’s truth, the day will come when they will be unable to see His truth. In God’s judgment for deliberate unbelief, He will see to it that such a one will never be able to believe. Chosen blindness will have become judicial blindness. Both the OT and NT speak to this.
Isaiah 44:18
18 They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend.

John 12:40
40 “He has blinded their eyes, and He hardened their heart; lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and be converted, and I heal them.”

When does God do this with an individual? We have no idea. But there is a line over which unbelief cannot go and expect to return. Once an unbeliever crosses that line, God hardens his or her heart so completely that it becomes impossible for them to believe. It should be obvious that no true Christian has ever crossed that line, but I can’t help but wonder how close to it I may have come before God’s grace stepped in and saved me.

How close to that line do you think you might have come? I wonder if that’s something that might be revealed to us in glory. This might be a good time to thank God for saving you before you crossed that line. I’m reminded of a chorus we often sing here at LBC…

“Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul, Thank you, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me Thy great salvation so rich and free.”

But God’s truth had been hidden from the eyes of most of those in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, and as a result, instead of repentance there is hardening, instead of truth there is apostasy, and instead of faith and trust there is a divine proclamation of coming destruction and death. Certainly there are some believers in the crowds, but just like today, they are few and far between.
*Luke 19:43-44
43 “For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side,
44 and 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.”
This is not the first time Jesus has pronounced judgment and coming doom on Jerusalem.
*Matthew 23:37-38
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
38 “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” (back to Luke 19)

As you consider vv. 43-44 remember that Luke wrote his gospel in 60 A.D. He would have had no idea when Jesus’ prophecies about the destruction of Jerusalem would take place. In v. 43 it says that a “bank” will be put up around the entire city. If you think of the bank or embankment as a manned barricade, you’ll have a clearer picture of it. The Romans did this in the spring of 70 A.D., ten years after Luke wrote of it, and forty years after Jesus prophe-sied it. Thus the inhabitants of the city could not escape, and food and supplies could not enter. The siege lasted for five months.

At the end of that time the Jews were starving and weak and unable to offer much resistance. Only then did the Roman legions, led by Titus Vespasian, break into the city and begin the systematic slaughter that Jesus prophesies in v. 44. The historian Flavius Josephus recorded what the Romans did. Here’s just one short excerpt from his account…
“The famine increased, and the misery of the weaker was aggravated by seeing the stronger obtaining food. All natural affection was extinguished, husbands and wives, parents and children snatching the last morsel from each other. Many wretched men were caught by the Romans prowling in the ravines by night to pick up food and these were scourged, tortured, and crucified. This was done to terrify the rest, and it went on till there was not wood enough for crosses.”

The Roman soldiers showed no mercy. They roamed through the city slaughtering men, women, the elderly, the children and even the babies. Only the strongest of the young men were spared to be used for the Romans’ entertainment as gladiators. When the killing was over, 1,100,000 people had been brutally murdered, and 97,000 prisoners had been taken.

Then Titus burned all that could be destroyed by fire and tore down all that could not. He ordered the entire city to be razed to the ground. The idea was that future visitors to the spot would not even know that there had been a populated city. Virtually everything except the western wall – what we know today as the Wailing Wall – was brought down.

In Luke 19:40, in response to the religious leaders’ demanding that He quiet His followers, Jesus had said, “I tell you, if these (people) become silent, the stones will cry out!” In the year 70 A.D. this prophecy was fulfilled with chilling and terrible reality. The people were silent all right; they were dead. And the stones of the temple, torn down and strewn about, virtually screamed out in witness of the judgment that Jesus had prophesied and had now come upon the city and its inhabitants.
In the last part of v. 44 Jesus plainly states why this happened… “because (they) did not recognize the time of (their) visitation.” Jesus had come to bless Israel with the good news of salvation, the gospel, but most Jews did not recognize Him. And because they did not recognize Him, neither did they receive Him.
*John 1:10-11
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

But the destruction of 70 A.D. had its roots even before Jesus came. Do you remember what He said in Matthew 23:37? “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! Time and again God’s OT prophets were rejected and murdered. Jesus speaks of God’s response to that in a parable about a vineyard. Each time the owner of the vineyard sent one of his slaves (prophets) to get some of the produce, the renters killed them. What do you think the owner would do?
*Mark 12:6-9
6 “He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
7 “But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’
8 “And they took him, and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
9 “What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others.”

Who are the others? We, the Church of Jesus Christ, are the others. This is the church age, a.k.a. the times of the Gentiles. And this age will continue until Jesus comes for His church at the Rapture. Then this world, the world that has refused to receive Jesus, will go through the Tribulation to be judged as Jerusalem was judged. Only then will Christ appear at the Second Coming. Only then will Israel repent and receive Him.

Today Israel’s collective heart remains hard, but it will not remain so forever. The Jews are still God’s chosen people, and God will save them at the Second Coming.
*Romans 11:25-27 (Paul speaking)
25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (until the church is complete);
26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, (from Isaiah) “The Deliv-erer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob (Israel).”
27 “And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

But in the meantime, that is, for the last two thousand years, the history of the Jews has been one of great suffering because of their rejection of their Messiah .
They have gone through disaster after disaster, catastrophe after catastrophe, and here, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, they are facing yet another. And just as prophesied, the whole world – even the United States of America – is, to our shame, turning against them. Certainly, Jesus’ return is imminent.
Zechariah 12:3, 10
3 “And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusa-lem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look upon Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

Even though Israel failed to recognize Jesus at His first visitation two thousand years ago, it is clear that they will not fail to do so at the time of His second visitation. (back to Luke 19)
*Luke 19:45-46
45 And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were selling,
46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers’ den.”

On the next day (Monday) Jesus returns to the temple and, just as He cleansed it at the beginning of His ministry, so now He does so again here near the end of His ministry. Since this was the season of Passover the moneychangers and those selling animals to be sacrificed must have been doing a booming business. Naturally, this could only go on because the religious leaders allowed it to go on. And the fact that the people were being cheated doesn’t really bother the religious leaders because they were getting a cut of the profits.

How were the people being cheated? Even if they had their own animal to sacrifice, the priests may decide it was somehow “not clean enough,” or, in some other way, “imperfect.” The remedy would be to buy a “better” one from the merchants selling in the temple. That animal was sure to be “approved.”

So the temple that God intended to be a house of worship and prayer, had been transformed into, to quote the KJV, “…a den of thieves.” You can guess Jesus’ reaction to seeing that.
*Luke 19:47-48
47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him,
48 and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging upon His words.

In these last two verses Luke tells us that, for the next few days at least, Jesus would return the temple to its intended and holy use. He would teach there!
And as much as the religious leaders hated Him, and as much as they plotted against Him, He was, for the next few days at least, virtually untouchable. After all, the masses of people were still “on His side,” because they still thought Jesus was there to lead a revolt against Rome.

IV. Conclusion
This morning we’ve had a glimpse of Israel and their reaction to their Messiah on the first Palm Sunday. In the coming weeks we’ll get a good hard look at what they’ll do to God’s own Son. But their reaction to Jesus, their rejection of Him, and their successful efforts to kill Him were a longtime coming. Their national history of rejecting God and His prophets led up to it. So we say to ourselves, “Shame on them, but the disasters and the catastrophes that came upon them were no more than what they deserved, now were they?”

But if we say that, and walk away, we miss the point. It isn’t just Israel’s history. Rejection of Jesus Christ is no less disastrous and catastrophic for you and me as it was for them.

Look, when you hear the gospel, you’re being visited by Jesus. Please don’t do what Israel did and fail to “…recognize the time of your visitation.”

Recognize Jesus for who He is, repent of your sins, ask Him to forgive you for them, trust Him and Him alone, and receive Him as your Lord and Savior. When you do that, you will be able to rejoice and praise God. Your joy and praise won’t be like that which took place in Jerusalem two thousand years ago. It will be infinitely better, because Jesus will have made a truly triumphal entry into your heart.

~ Pray ~