Sermon Overview & Prayer: "Mounted on a Donkey"

Matthew 21:1-11 SERMON PRAYER POINTS
Palm Sunday

These written prayers, are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.

Matthew 21:6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

PRAYER: Father, in Jesus name, help me to read this and the other passages related to Holy Week, slowly and attentively. Open my eyes and heart to see this week as the culmination of all the Scripture that preceded it, and as the foundation for all that follows in Scripture, in the Lord’s return, and into eternity.

Holy Spirit, grant to me a clearer glimpse of the wonder that the pre-existent creator of heaven and earth...that the returning king of all kings, ruler of heaven and earth...journeyed humbly to the most glorious of all victories – the cross – on a lowly donkey...and did so for me!

But in verses 4-5 Matthew does inform us that securing this donkey took place in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 “This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.

PRAYER: Lord, may the messages of this passage, missed by the participants – humility, character, and mission – remind me that everything you do, and everything I experience, has purpose...even if I miss it in the moment.

Matthew paints a picture of this messianic fervor great that involved crowds going before him...

Leon Morris – ...they had heard his teaching and they had seen him do miracles. As a result they had hoped that he would proclaim himself King, and they were prepared to follow him if he did. Now they thought he was going to fulfill their hopes, and they were ecstatic at the prospect.

PRAYER: Lord God, I confess that I often have expectations and preconceived notions and demands of what should be, and of how things should be done. I do thank you for your Word that instructs me in righteousness and justice. But please help me to humbly, and with faith, embrace the truth that you are working all things after the counsel of your will, for your glory and my good. And in so doing keep me from complaining and from unbelief. May the wonder of a ruler upon a donkey, and a Messiah upon a cross, lead me to humble trust and peaceful faithfulness..

He enters the city looking on the crowds with compassion and Luke informs us that later he would “weep” over the city as he sorrowfully contemplated their impending rejection of him. He knew that many who cried Hosanna, in just a few days would raise their voices again, shouting, “Crucify Him!”

PRAYER: Lord, “ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers”. Give me pause when I am tempted to judge these recorded as celebrating your triumphal entry, and then applauding your trial.

Knowing that it was for these, and me, that you journeyed to the cross, brings to me to my knees in amazement, gratitude, and worship. May my heart and voice, especially this week, proclaim thanksgiving, praise, and worship!

So who is this and what did the crowds miss? By the grace of God what must we not miss?

They missed the donkey! He does not enter the city as a conquering king but a humble Messiah who will bring peace with God through his death on the cross to all who trust in Him for salvation and treasure Him above all. He enters Jerusalem not in order to triumph militarily but instead to be lifted up on a cross in humiliation and shame triumphing over sin, death, wrath and Satan. The triumphal entry was actually a death march as he makes his way to the cross for sinners like you and me. Oh, how he loves you and me!

PRAYER: Father, as I read these passages in the Gospel accounts, help me to do so slowly, in order to avoid the haste and loss of over-familiarity. Help me to take in the details of each scene, each day, each conversation. I ask that the Holy Spirit will deepen my awareness that each verse is part of a powerful display of your love for me, and of the price paid by my Lord Jesus Christ for the expression, and and my experience, of that love!

OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
The earliest church struggled with fear as they faced suffering and death prior to Christ’s promised return, confused by many different end times predictions. Paul corrected and informed the Thessalonians of a biblical eschatology in light of the gospel of Jesus to assure them that God’s purposes will prevail, motivating them to live faithfully in the meantime. Eschatology is rooted and centered on Jesus and His gospel, and apart from this doctrine, disillusionment will prevail. It gloriously points to perfect fellowship with God and final justice. This is good news for those in Christ, but dreadful judgement for the unbeliever who hasn’t received Jesus' sacrifice in their place. Finally, even in the face of suffering and death, a Christ-centered eschatology provides the church with hope and motivation for our daily lives until that day when Jesus returns!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Has your soul grown tired from bad news? How was this sermon refreshing or strengthening to you?
  2. As Jeff pointed out, your attitude toward Christ’s return is a gauge of your present spiritual condition. What is your attitude toward the return of Christ and what is competing for your affections?
  3. What does it look like for you to keep sober or awake as you seek to glorify God with Christ's imminent return?
  4. How does knowing that your future is certain (verse 5:4) affect you today as it pertains to relationships, time, beliefs, work, or marriage?
  5. In verses 4:18 and 5:11, Paul tells us to encourage one another in light of Christ’s return. How can you use a proper understanding of eschatology to encourage and/or pray for those in your community group?