They Called Him King
THEY CALLED HIM KING
For some time now in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus has been headed to Jerusalem…the place where a cross is waiting for Him.
- And here in these verses Jesus arrives.
- And His arrival in Jerusalem is unusual and different from most.
- But not only is it unusual and different, it is enlightening.
Enlightening in the sense that what takes place reveals a great truth about Jesus.
- But not only does what take place reveal a great truth about Jesus…it also reveals a great truth about people…about many who call themselves Christian.
- Perhaps even some of us.
Hopefully, as we learn these great truths, we will have the courage to be honest with ourselves…and to make the changes we need to make.
In this passage Jesus comes to Jerusalem and as He approaches Jerusalem, He sends two of His disciples to a nearby village…and He tells them that they would find a donkey tied there and a colt would be with the donkey…they were to get the animals and bring them to Jesus. .
- And if questioned they were to say that “the Lord has need of the animals.”
So the disciples go as Christ told them too….and they find the animals.
- And they bring the animals to Jesus and the disciples put their garments on them, and Mark says in Mark 11 that Jesus sits on the colt.
- And now I want you to pay special attention to what happens next.
Jesus is on this colt and the passage says that “Most of the multitude spread their garments in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees, and spreading them in the road. 9 And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after were crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”
And John tell us that the multitude of disciples who had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the tomb, “Began to bear witness” of Him.
- And John indicates that not only did a large crowd come with Jesus and follow Him, but a large crowd came out from Jerusalem as well.
And in vs. 10 Matthew says that when Jesus entered Jerusalem the whole city was stirred up saying, “Who is this?”
- And John says that the Pharisees were frustrated saying, “The world has gone after Him”
- And then in Mark 11 and in verse 11 it says that Jesus “entered into the temple; and after looking all around, He departed for Bethany with the twelve.”
- What a grand entrance!
- All these people crying out…and following and leading Him…we cannot imagine what it must have been like
But here is the puzzling part of this; if you have paid much attention to what has been happening in the life of Christ up to this time, it is almost shocking that He would enter Jerusalem this way.
- You see, at the time this all takes place His enemies had already decided to kill him.
- Over in John’s gospel, in chapter 11 you read about the raising of Lazarus.
- And the miracle that Jesus did there caused such a stir among the people that the chief priests and the Pharisees decided that something had to be done with Jesus and so they decide to kill him.
- So Jesus has a price on His head when He comes to Jerusalem, and He knows it.
- And you might think that He would stay away from Jerusalem…or if He was going to come to the city that He would at least slip in through a dark alley at night, unnoticed.
But obviously from this passage, that is not how He comes.
- He comes in a daring public way.
But even if there were no threat, for Him to enter this way is kind of strange because in Mark’s gospel Jesus has been kind of secretive.
- Every time people want to get all excited about Him and celebrate who He is, He has stopped
- Now, suddenly, not only does He not stop the celebration, He is the one who initiates it.
Why? Why, when He has tried so hard to this point to try and not raise attention to Himself.
- Why does He come into the city this way?
Look with me at vs. 4 and look what it says. It says:
Now this took place that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled…”
Jesus came into Jerusalem the way He did to fulfill prophecy.
- The prophet Zechariah in chapter 9:9, some 520 years before spoke of this.
- So when Jesus does this He fulfills prophecy.
And look what the prophet says in verse 5:
“Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
When Jesus did this. . .when He came into Jerusalem this way. . .when He came riding on that donkey… He was making a public proclamation.
- He was publicly declaring Himself to be King…but not just any King.
- He was declaring Himself to be the King that God, through the prophets, said would come.
You see, this is not just a public entrance, this is a regal entrance.
- A colt never rode…and people shouting “Hosanna in the highest”…that all said “King.”
- Jesus is saying, “This is who I am. The King that the prophets said would come. That is me. That is who I am.”
And that is what the people called Him.
- In Luke 19: 38 the people were saying, “Blessed is the King…”
- In John 12: 13 the people cry out, “Hosanna! Blessed even is the King of Israel.”
- In Mark 11: 10 the people recognize Him as the coming “kingdom of David.
- And in Matthew 21: 9 they refer to Him as the “Son of David” a term used to refer to the Messiah.
- The people called Him “King”…the “King” God said would come.
Now, they had a little different understanding of what their King was going to do.
- They thought he would restore Israel to national prominence and drive the Romans out.
- They didn’t understand what kind of King He was.
- But in spite of their misunderstanding…when they saw Jesus on that donkey…they thought of the prophets words and they thought, “KING! “
And His enemies understood too.
- Do you remember when the Jews stood before Pilate making accusation against Jesus and they said, “This man is making himself out to be a king.”
- They had a warrant for that charge.
- That is exactly how Jesus entered the city.
- That is exactly what Jesus was proclaiming.
- Jesus came in like a king and He did so to proclaim that He was king.
And it was a proclamation that would not be stopped.
- Turn with me over to Luke 19 and verse 38. Look at what the people say.
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
The people say: “He is King!”
- And the Pharisees don’t like it. Look at vs. 39.
- They tell Jesus to “rebuke His disciples” for what is being said.
- And look what Jesus says in verse 40.
- He answers the Pharisees and he says: “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
When Jesus comes into Jerusalem this way, He is declaring a truth that demands to be heard.
- If they would have silenced the people dumb nature itself would have shouted out in
- He is KING and the world needs to hear He is KING.
Brethren, when Jesus entered Jerusalem that day He was proclaiming Himself to be King to all of Jerusalem.
- Not a self-appointed King…but one spoken of by the prophets and appointed by God.
- He is God’s anointed…He is the one that God says is worthy of all praise and honor.
- He is the one that God says is sovereign ruler…Lord of Lords…ruler of the kings of the
earth whose throne has been established forever and ever.
- Let me tell you, as far as wealth and military might was concerned, there were some powerful kings that existed when Jesus entered into Jerusalem.
- And there have been some powerful kings who have existed since then.
- And a year ago this past November, we elected one of the most powerful leaders in all the world.
And every one of them, whether they understand it or not. . .is subject to this King.
- Their reign will last for only a few years and then they will be gone.
- But His throne has been established forever.
- As powerful as they are they are powerless compared to Him.
- Jesus is King of Kings.
And all of this was done that day to make that proclamation to those people… and to all of us today.
- And the question is: Do we believe that?
- “Is He really your King?”
- Is He your King of Kings?
And we say, “Sure, He is King?”
- But is He really?
- Or are we like the people in this story?
- You see, this story has a pretty sobering side to it.
Look at this here in Luke 19; Jesus comes riding on the colt and in verse 36 the people say, “Blessed is the King.”
- In Matt, the people were saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
- In Mark and John it is the same; “Hosanna!” Hosanna in the highest,”
The people are praising Him…and shouting “honor” to him.
- And they are shouting, “Blessed is the king.”
But look at verse 41 of Luke 19. As Jesus approaches the city…He weeps!
- Of all the things.
- All these people shouting and praising Him…it is a grand and glorious event. . .and Jesus
Why? Well, look what He says: vs 41: And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, 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.
- “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, 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 “
They called Him “King!”
- They laid their garments out in front of Him…they cut tree branches and placed them before
- They shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is the King.”
But here Jesus says that not only will their city be destroyed,. but many of them will be too!
- Why? Why does He say this? Why will they be destroyed?
Because the people “did not recognize who it was that had come to them.”
- “What do you mean, they did not recognize Him . . . they called Him King! “
Sure, they called Him “King.”
- But talk is cheap.
- They called Him “King” but they never really crowned Him as their personal king at all.
- It is one thing to call Him “King”….it is another thing to live it.
In Mark 11 and in verse 11…the passage says that Jesus, after entering Jerusalem, went to the temple and looked around.
- A lot of people when they came to Jerusalem would go to the temple.
- As tourists, they had heard about it all of their lives and they wanted to see what it looked
- But when Jesus goes, He does not go as a tourist touring the sacred precincts for the first time.
- He goes as “King” on an official visit.
- He goes to the very place where there should be the presence of God.. .and where He should
find His loyal subjects.
- But He doesn’t find that when He arrives.
- Look what He finds; vs. 45 of Luke 19.
And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a robbers’ den.”
He finds ambition, and greed, and lust, and betrayal from the very people who earlier called Him “KING.”
- Oh, they said it…they called Him “King”…but they didn’t live it.
There is one more passage that really drives the point home. Mark 15: 1-15.
And early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes, and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away, and delivered Him up to Pilate. 2 And Pilate questioned Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And answering He said to him, “It is as you say.” 3 And the chief priests began to accuse Him harshly. 4 And Pilate was questioning Him again, saying, “Do You make no answer? See how many charges they bring against You!” 5 But Jesus made no further answer; so that Pilate was amazed. 6 Now at the feast he used to release for them any one prisoner whom they requested. 7 And the man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 And the multitude went up and began asking him to do as he had been accustomed to do for them. 9 And Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he was aware that the chief priests had delivered Him up because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the multitude to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead. 12 And answering again, Pilate was saying to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they shouted back, “Crucify Him!” 14 But Pilate was saying to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 And wishing to satisfy the multitude, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.
What happened to all those people who just a few days before stood by the road and shouted,
“Hosanna to the King?”
A lot of people sing “Hosanna and call Him King.”
- A lot of people call Him Lord.
- But the actual coronation of Jesus as their personal king never happens.
What does it mean to sincerely make Him King?
- Well Jesus tells us. Look at Luke 6: 46. “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
If He is king this is what you do. It is that simple.
- “You listen to Him.”
- But you not only listen to Him…you do what He says.
- Not just part of what He says…not just the chosen bits and pieces you like.
- Not what someone else says.
- When you do that.. .when you pick out the pieces of what He says that you like and reject the
other…you make your self Lord.
- “I don’t think it is necessary to be baptized.”
- “When Jesus says that husbands are to love their wives.. .He’s not talking to me.”
- “When Jesus says that I am supposed to love my brothers and sisters…well, He doesn’t
mean all of them.”
- When we pick and choose…He is no longer Lord…we are.
If He is King…If He is Lord…then you listen to Him…and you do what He says…regardless.
- These people called Him “King…Hosanna to the King.”
- But that is as far as it went.
Today, many do the same thing.
What about you? What about me? What about us? What about us as a congregation who calls ourselves disciples?
- Is He really our King…or do we just say it? Are we just going through the motions? Paying lip service to Christ will gain us nothing.
Let’s close with Jesus’ words found in Matthew 7:21
- “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but
he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
- “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name,
and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
It is a dangerous thing to simply call Him “King”…and not live it.
- IF that is what you have been doing….for the sake of your salvation…repent.
And if you call Him King…and you haven’t obeyed Him…If you haven’t done what He commands by being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins…then that is all you are doing…you are simply calling Him King.
- If He is really King…prove it by obeying His will for you.
- Talk is cheap…actions say it all.
- Won’t you make Him king today.. .and come…
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023