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How to Make an Entrance

This article is adapted from a sermon preached by Adam Brock entitled How to Make an Entrance.

There seem to be two types of people in the world. There are those who say, “We need to leave now! We’re going to be late if we don’t get moving! In fact, we should have left 10 minutes ago!”

And then there are those who say, “We’ve got plenty of time! The worst thing we could do would be to accidentally show up early!”

And these people end up marrying each other! This is me and my wife. Over the years we’ve had great discussions about when the appropriate time to show up at an event is and when exactly we should leave the house. Early on, we decided that the very best plan for us was to always travel separately to church on Sunday. It’s what’s best for her, for me, for our marriage. It works!

My wife has the ability to make it sound better than I often think is the case when it comes to being late. She’s been known to say things like: “I’m not late, I’m just making an entrance!” I’ve learned to just roll with it.
 
Our text comes from Luke 19. We’re going to start in verse 28 and look at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

28 After Jesus had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As He approached Bethpage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, He sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “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. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as He had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As He went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
Luke 19:28-36

A lot is happening here that we don’t want to miss. We’re calling this section “preparation” because we see Jesus entering Jerusalem in the exact way it was prepared for Him to do. John the Baptist, who we will read more about next week, was the forerunner, the one sent ahead of Jesus to “prepare the path for the coming of the Lord.”
 
I want you to see this: Everything Jesus did was prepared. The way He lived was intentional. His life was filled with purpose and filled with mission. What we just read was not some thrown-together plan. He tells his guys exactly what to go do and it goes exactly as He said. Jesus is not living life haphazardly. He’s walking in the purpose and mission that is the overflow of His identity. He’s the Messiah. The Savior. So, Him coming in exactly this way was a part of the messianic promise and prophecy of Him coming to seek and save.

For those of us who follow Jesus, this means we too are called to live on mission. To live an intentional life filled with purpose! The Christian life was never meant to be lazy, never purposeless, never self-indulgent. Rather, this life is a call to join in the mission of Christ!
 
  • Are you looking for purpose?
  • Are you looking for mission?
  • Are you looking for meaning?

All of that is found within Jesus. I believe God has a prepared path for you that involves using you for His glory! Now often we get hung up on the details of that path. I don’t know the particulars of his plan for you, but I do know this: If you follow Jesus then you’ve been called to make disciples! To live a life worthy of the gospel and to grow in your understanding and obedience to God!

There is a lot here. Hear this: To follow Jesus we must be prepared to live an intentional life, in the same way He did. Is your life marked by mission? Do you wake up each day and remind yourself, “Today has purpose!” We are called to labor in the field.

And this truth is supported by the whole context of this chapter. Remember the story of Zacchaeus? In the same chapter as this moment, verse 10, it says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” This is a mission statement! This is not something passive! No, this is rescue language! And then, that story is followed by verses 11-27, which include the parable of the 10 servants. You really should go read it, but the overall theme is that this is a parable about working for the Lord.

We are called into purpose! I know for some of you today, you’d say that’s exactly what your life is missing, purpose! Mission!

We don’t work for our salvation, but our salvation does put us to work!

Before we leave this section there is one more thing to point out. He rides on a donkey. What’s that about. Well, here’s what Zechariah 9:9 says, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Now we may see a donkey as a lowly animal but to the Jews, it was a beast fit for a king. So that means this is a kingly statement by Jesus, but even more than that it is a direct fulfillment of a messianic prophecy.

Predictive prophecy is one of the strongest and most compelling reasons we have for why you should trust the Bible. For far too long we’ve allowed enemies of the Word of God to throw around arguments against the scriptures like, It’s not trustworthy, or it’s not reliable. And although those claims that you hear are often wrapped in scientific language, making them seem valid, the truth is those claims are incorrect. Plain and simple.

I’m going to share with you three reasons for trusting the Word of God that I think are extremely compelling, credible, and powerful. This is not an exhaustive list but it’s a great place to start.

  • Predictive prophecy. Nothing else comes even remotely close to comparing to the Bible as to the amount of recorded prophecy given and fulfilled. The Bible is full of prophecy. And that makes a difference. And the more you study the more you’ll see how Jesus walked a path that was prepared for Him centuries before He even arrived on the scene. I find that to be compelling.
  • The consistency of the message of the Bible is extremely compelling. Considering that it was written over a 1,400/1,600-year period, by authors of radically different educational and cultural backgrounds, from multiple regions, composed of various literary genres, and is written in three separate languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek). Yet, even with all of this, the 66 books that make up the Bible put forth one unified message!
  • Changed lives. Along with prophecy and consistency, a third compelling reason for trusting the Bible is lives changed. When the Bible is taken seriously, people are transformed. And that is hard to argue with.

These things, and more, all combine to give us a Bible that is trustworthy, reliable, and worth building our lives upon.

Luke 19:37-40 — celebration.

37 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: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40 “I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

This is awesome! This is a celebration! Again, we find an important Old Testament reference as their cry of praise is built around Psalm 118:26.

In a lot of ways, this is a wonderful and glorious moment. Finally, Jesus’ glory was openly recognized. He was more than the baby of Nazareth or the Galilean rabbi. He was more than a miracle worker. He was a royal figure entering the royal city down the royal road. He came as God’s chosen king.

Now look back at the text. What a rebuttal we see here given to the Pharisees who are just bothered by the whole scene. Jesus says, If they don’t cry out then the rocks will start to sing!

Have you thought about that? The rocks will cry, what does he mean by this?

It makes me think about my “youth group” days. These were very formative days and I’m thankful for them. We would sing this song called, Ain’t No Rock. Have you heard of it?

Well, I would actually lead this song for my youth group, because I led worship back in those days, and we would sing this song. It goes, Ain’t no rock gonna cry in my place, as long as I’m alive I’ll glorify His holy name!

It’s an interesting thought, that creation itself recognizes the glory of God and how much more should our lives be filled with praise.

We have in Jesus something worth singing about! Something worth praising God for! And if you have a hard time gathering for worship, then I question whether you fully understand the gospel.

Look back at the text: What’s the theme of the celebration in verse 38? Peace! Doesn’t that sound like Christmas? We sing because the world does not offer nor cannot provide peace, but because of Jesus, we have access to peace!

Do you know where to find peace? In Jesus. Ephesians 2:14 tells us, “He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14 ESV). We will not have peace with God, peace with men, or peace with ourselves until Jesus Christ becomes our peace. When Christ comes to us, He comes to give us this peace.

Sinners though we are, rebels though we have been, though far from the will of God we have strayed, He comes to bring us back to God that we might have peace with our creator.

He not only brings us peace with God but reconciles us with one another. So, the New Testament church becomes a community of peace. The church is a community bound together by a common identity, in Christ. Despite our differences, because of Christ, we can stand in unity.

And that is worth celebrating. That’s the reason we sing! Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, peace is now possible for us.

Luke 19:41-44 — Lamentation

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it 42 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. 43 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. 44 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.

In the middle of this great celebration, we also see lamentation. We see lament grip the heart of Christ. It says He was weeping.

Greek scholars like to point out that the word for weep here means: to weep or wail, with emphasis upon the noise accompanying the weeping. Meaning this was an audible and noticeable cry from our Lord. He was bothered deeply, and those around Him took notice. Is that significant? Well, I point it out to say, it’s time for the people of God to be serious about serious things and for us to be passionate about important things and broken for people. He wept. When was the last time you wept over sin?

Some people tend to mellow out as they get older. Maybe that is a good thing in certain categories, but in matters of faith, people, let’s be passionate! Let’s not grow cold.

So, what was he weeping over?

Superficial religion

As He is traveling this crowd forms and they are saying “Hail Him” but many will be in the same crowd that later in the week will cry out “Nail Him!”

Jesus knows the hearts of men. He knows what was going to happen. And it broke His heart. Despite riding in as a king, he knew the week would not end in a crown, but on a cross.
Here in the Lake Area, there are people who, just like these folks, will raise their voices to say “Blessed is the Lord” on Sunday, but then they live in a way that denies Him. It’s not enough to just say you love Jesus if on Monday you live a life that lacks integrity, is filled with profanities and is marked by infidelities. That type of superficial religiosity is repulsive to God.

And it breaks the heart of Jesus because it reveals that all they have is a superficial religion and no relationship with Christ. And religion doesn’t save. We cannot earn our salvation.

Listen to how Mark writes about it in Mark 7. “He replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written, ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men” (Mark 7:6-7 NIV). Jesus looked at the city of Jerusalem and He saw people whose worship was in vain. It was empty and meaningless, and it crushed Him.

May it not be so with Trinity. It’s easy to just talk about it and agree, but we are surrounded by a society that is filled with superficial religion. And I certainly don’t mean to be a grinch, but I’ve got to tell you that it bothers me how every Christmas we see songs to Jesus, and polite little nods toward faith from society, and yet, so many people sing without worshiping. They celebrate the holiday and miss the gift! It’s at this time of year when we see so many get so close, and yet it doesn’t make a real impact in their life because it is all superficial. And that ought to grieve us!

Spiritual blindness

in verse 42, Jesus says, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.”

Spiritual blindness is a real problem. Jesus wept because He knew they were missing it.

Do you know what spiritual blindness looks like? According to Dean Inserra, in his book The Unsaved Christian, it looks like people who are often moralistic, conservative, dutiful, and even patriotic. But when it is all boiled down the reason they call themselves Christian has nothing to do with Christ.

What saves us is the finished work of Christ. My belief and trust in the sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of Jesus to cover ALL my sin. That’s the essence of saving faith. If Christ is not a part of your Christianity, then you’re not a Christian. Let this be a wake-up call to us. This ought to break our hearts.

I remember the first time that I was broken over spiritual blindness. I remember the first time I shed a tear for another person’s spiritual condition. It was my senior year of high school. And I was at a summer event called “Boys State.” It was in Austin, Texas where I was talking with this one guy, who was from a bigger city, about his life. He was telling us about lacrosse, me being from the woods of East Texas asked, “People really play that? Isn’t that the one with the stick and the ball?”

But he told us about what his family was like, and he added that they were Jewish. And then he added one causal statement: “We’re Jewish but the kind that doesn’t believe in Jesus.” And in that moment, it hit me. It was as if the Spirit smacked me in the face and said, “He thinks he’s close but he’s blind!”

I was overcome with the emotion and tears began to well up in my eyes. So much so that he stopped what he was saying and said, “Are you OK?” And I was embarrassed by it and walked off.

Here’s the problem with that story. I gave my life to Jesus when I was 9 years old. And here I was as an 18-year-old teenager, nine years later, and it was the first time I had been moved by the spiritual condition of another. Nine years!

If you’ve recently come to faith in Christ and you don’t shed a tear for the condition of the lost for nine years, you’ve got a problem. And it broke me! And I asked the Lord to forgive me, and I began to pray that God would use me to help people see clearly and step out of spiritual blindness into saving faith.

If it bothers Christ, it ought to bother us!

Coming judgment

The text tells us that another reason Jesus wept was for the judgment that was coming.
We know this to be true from history. When he looked around, He saw the terrible judgment that was coming to the nation, the city, and the temple. In AD 70, the Romans would come and, after a siege of 143 days, kill some 600,000 Jews, take thousands more captive, then destroy the temple and the city.

And the scripture says it was because “you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (v. 44). That ought to make us weep. The reality is, there are people in your life for whom judgment is coming. Let’s call it like it is: Sin leads to death. We live in a world that tries to rationalize sin, and in doing so whitewash it of its consequences. Sin leads to death. And to die apart from Christ is to condemn yourself to eternal punishment. Moreso, to try to live now apart from Christ is to walk in perpetual hopelessness. We must be broken over for the things Jesus was broken over.

That is how you make an entrance.

Let’s quickly consider how we ought to apply this all to our lives.

First, we saw the preparation where Jesus walked the intentional path that was prepared for Him. We too must live on purpose!

Now, I don’t expect to get a ton of emails that say, when you said “live on purpose” it changed my whole world! However, if you will wake up each day and walk in the mission of Christ it will change your life. Every day, remind yourself that we have a mission.

When we think about the celebration section I hope that it will help you to worship with abandon and passion! Both in the room when we’ve gathered but also in the world everywhere we might scatter! We should live a life that is so enamored and thankful for what Christ has done that we overflow with praise!

And we ought to weep over brokenness!

How can we press into the heart of God and not also experience the tears of God? We live in a broken world, and we’re born in a state of brokenness. And the plan to reach a world that is lost and hurting is His church. We’ve been gifted the gospel, the good news; now we must take it to the world!

Maybe what you need to do today is weep. Some of the most precious prayers I shared with people have been prayers that were bathed in tears!

I’ve seen God’s people broken for sin! But when was the last time our whole church wept over sin and brokenness? I’m praying God would break us!

If you are ready to surrender to God or want to know more, reach out to us by emailing communications@tbclc.org or calling 337-480-1555.

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