Cornerstone EPC Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734 March 25, 2018
“Hosanna in the Highest”
Jesus, by the time of today’s text, has been discharging His public ministry for the better part of three years—and He has travelled long (Luke 9:51-19:27) to get to Jerusalem. Now He arrives—and that to great fanfare. Jesus arrives in Jerusalem to receive worship, to issue final teaching, and to complete His atoning work on the Cross. Let us, too, note His arrival today. Let us this day, with the throng that day, shout His praises. Let us, unlike that throng, however, praise Him better informed than they. May the Lord bless us with understanding of and conformity unto His Word as we hear it read once again today in this place.
(HERE READ THE TEXT)
Note in this passage, which narrates what we call traditionally Jesus’ triumphal entry, that Jesus shows Himself the Sovereign Lord over all. Let’s see four verifications of this truth. First, Jesus shows Himself the Sovereign Lord in His command of His disciples. Simply stated, He tells them what to do.
Jesus, with His disciples, arrived immediately from Jericho unto a place very near Bethphage and Bethany—a pair of villages less than two miles east of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley. As they neared the villages, Jesus issued instructions: Bring a colt, a certain one never saddled and never ridden, from the village in front of you. Say that the Lord needs it if anyone asks. We need of no hemming, hawing, or hesitation. The two disciples sent to obtain the colt do all that He commands—and that without delay, challenge, or excuse. Jesus is Lord, and we see the proof in His disciples’ unquestioning obedience.
Second, Jesus shows Himself the Sovereign Lord in His precise foreknowledge and foreordination of future events. Not only does Jesus foreknow what will happen, but He also foreordains it. He knows a colt will be in a certain place, and He knows some will challenge His disciples for loosing it. He even foreordains the same. Furthermore, Jesus inclines the wills of those challenging His disciples, in order that they permit the release of the colt. More than this, Jesus even inclines the colt to be docile under Him. None but the perfect, all-Sovereign Lord of the Ages could effect this—and He did.
Third, Jesus shows Himself the Sovereign Lord in His mode of entrance into Jerusalem: on a colt. This mode of entrance serves two purposes. It fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah, which he wrote over five hundred years before this day, “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” (Zechariah 9:9). It also, as alluded in Zechariah’s prophecy, declares Jesus humble, peaceful reign over all things—and especially over those who receive Him as Lord and Savior by faith.
Fourth, Jesus shows Himself the Sovereign Lord in His acceptance of worship. Jesus’ disciples, to do Him homage, put their cloaks on the colt’s back, and He sits thereon. Others spread leafy branches along His way to pay Him tribute. Note that as Jesus nears Jerusalem, seated on a colt, the multitude shouts His praise. They cry things like, “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord,” and, “Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our father David.” They also cry, “Hosanna in the highest.” The word hosanna originally meant, “Save, O Lord,” but in Jesus’ day it served as a general expression of praise. The throng offered this praise in the highest, which will bear two meaning. Either they mean praise in the worlds above (that is, in Heaven), or—more likely, in my view—praise to the Most High. I wonder if they realize—but I suspect they do not—that the Most High Himself is on the colt?
Alas, the multitude misconstrues the nature of Jesus’ messianic reign. They expect a this-worldly, political-only solution. They expect their Messiah to vanquish their political oppressors—their hated Roman overlords. They also hope that their Messiah will punish their religious oppressors—the Jewish religious elite, such as the Sadducees and Pharisees—to boot. This is the sort of Messiah they hope to get. Yet Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world—and it is of much wider scope than their view of the world. Because the throng misunderstands Jesus’ Kingship, they are easily led from crying, “Hosanna,” on Sunday to crying, “Crucify,” on Friday.
Let us, God’s redeemed in Christ, not miss His perfect sovereignty over all things. Though events in your life and events in our world appear to suggest otherwise, our God is fully sovereign over all—and He is fully in control of you, your circumstances, and your happy providential destiny in Him. Let us not miss His absolute Lordship over us. He has full control over our beings and over our outcomes, though—as we see—this resolves most happily for us. Let us also not miss His assured past, present, and final victory over every foe. The hymn writer of old penned, “Though oft the wrong seems, oh, so strong, God is the ruler yet.” As we say often, and truly, here: God won, wins, and evermore shall win. Because God hath purchased us at the blood-price of His dear son, His victory is ours also. Yes, we must note Good Friday this week—but rejoice: Easter, Resurrection morn, comes next Sunday.