Turn to Luke 19:28-44. This passage takes place on the Sunday before the Friday of Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus does things here that He does nowhere else prior to this point. So often in the gospel story, when someone comes to Jesus and says, “You’re the Messiah,” Jesus says, “Do not tell anyone this.” That doesn’t happen here. Here He is acclaimed as the Messiah, and He says, “That’s right. I am.” Why is that different here? Luke wants you to pay attention to that question. In this passage Luke is saying, “Behold, this is your King. This is what He’s coming to do.” He’s directing our attention to Jesus’ person and work.

There are three parts in the passage before us today that I want to give attention to. First of all, in verses 28-34 you’ll see Jesus ride into Jerusalem. Then in 35-40 you will see His disciples acknowledging him as the Messiah and King anointed by God. Finally, in verses 41-44, you’ll see Jesus weeping over unrepentant and spiritually blind Jerusalem. I want us to see something in each of these pictures within the story.

I. Jesus Rides into Jerusalem

First let’s begin in 28-34 where we see the ride of Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey. One thing that Luke wants us to get here is that Jesus is fulfilling Scripture. Once again, in the hours leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus tells the disciples about events that are going to happen in order to explain to them these events are not an accident. It’s all part of the Father's plan, and He knows is down to its minutest degree.

You see that in this passage. The disciples are told, “Go. Bring a colt to Me to ride into Jerusalem.” Then Jesus tells them, “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you taking that colt?’ you just tell them, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” Sure enough, they go into the village, and they find a colt just as He had described. They begin to untie it, and the owner says, “Where are you going with my colt?” and they say, “The Lord has need of it.” Apparently the owner’s response is, “OK, fine then.” Jesus foreknows down to the minutest detail what is going to unfold in Jerusalem.

But more than that, I want you to see something of Jesus’ humility in taking this role. There’s nothing humble necessary in riding the colt. Rabbis often did that. But notice how Jesus has to acquire this donkey. He has to borrow it. Think of how many of the early Christians who were poor or had been impoverished by persecution would have been encouraged by the fact that their Lord had to borrow the donkey that He rode into Jerusalem. Is that not a picture of the willingness to bear humiliation that our Lord Jesus had on our behalf?

So he knows everything. We see his humility. But the big thing that Luke and Jesus want you to see here is that He’s fulfilling Scripture. Zechariah 9:9 had hundreds of years before predicted that the Messiah, king of Israel, would come to her riding a donkey. Jesus is making a declaration here that He is fulfilling Scripture and that He is the Messiah. And that becomes clear in the next picture that Luke shows us.

II. Jesus’ Disciples Acknowledge Him as Messiah

Jesus is now on the donkey riding into Jerusalem, and the disciples are spreading their cloaks before Him and declaring Him that He is Messiah and King. This is very important for us to understand. Jesus is openly accepting the ascription that His disciples are giving to Him that He is the Messiah and King. Notice also in verse 37 that the crowd that is shouting, “Hosanna,” is not the general crowd in Jerusalem. It’s His disciples.

The Pharisees, who are amongst the crowd, rebuke Jesus. They say, “Teacher, you ought not let them say that about you because, if you let them say that about you, you’re claiming to be the Messiah, and that’s blasphemy.” But Jesus rebukes the rebuke of the Pharisees. He says, “If these disciples of mine didn’t acknowledge that I am the Messiah King, the very stones of the temple would have to cry out.” So now He publicly declares that He is Messiah.

Why is He doing this differently now? Something important is going to happen this week. He’s drawing attention to the fact that He’s the Messiah King, and He’s about to die. It’s essential for salvation that you understand that He is the Son of God, the Messiah  prophesied in the Old Testament and appointed by God to die in the place of His people, and that, if you don’t accept Him as Messiah, Lord, and King and do not trust in His death in your place, then you are not His disciple and cannot be saved. He’s drawing attention to his person and work because it’s absolutely central to the Christian faith.

III. Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem

Then you get to this surprising final scene. He gets to Jerusalem, and what would you expect a king to say to a city full of citizens who have rejected him? You might expect that king to be mad, but when Jesus looks up and sees Jerusalem in her culpable blindness, Luke tells us in verse 41, “He wept.” It’s a picture of Jesus’ compassion for the lost. It’s not a denial that judgment is going to come, because he himself describes the judgment to come in verses 43 and 44. But He does not delight in the death of the wicked. He delights when sinners turn from their wicked ways. He could have been angry, but He looks at Jerusalem and sees their blindness and unbelief and graphically sees the judgment that is to come, and He weeps.

Let me say one thing in passing about that. Jesus says in 43-44, “There’s going to be a day when you’re surrounded by your enemies. These stones of the Temple that you so admire, there’s not going to be one left on another.” What Jesus said here happened 40 years later. This is yet another of the kind testimonies of God in His word that He is telling us the truth. The sad thing is that the destruction of Jerusalem is the picture of an even greater judgment, the final judgment, when those who trust in Christ and those who don’t will all be brought before the Great White Judgment throne. Those who have accepted who Jesus is and what he has done will be invited into eternal blessing, but those who have rejected His person and work, the judgment of God will fall upon them.

In Jesus’ words of compassion here, we see set before you and me today this question: do we believe who He says He is? How we answer that question makes all the difference in our eternal destiny. That’s what Luke is telling you this for. He’s beckoning you to flee from the wrath to come, for, just as surely as it came to Jerusalem, it is coming to this earth.  The only place of refuge in that wrath to come is in the man who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, whose disciples said, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” He provides all the shelter that is necessary in the wrath to come.