Looking forward Jesus knew precisely who He was. He knew He was the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament Scriptures. The record is clear. Jesus prepared Himself for the kind of entrance into Jerusalem as described by Zechariah. Prophets had declared that the Messiah would come. He would be different from any other king. He would be humble, a servant, making His entry on an unridden donkey colt. Moving forward, never looking back. Jesus willingly forced the issue. He deliberately provoked the kind of response He got in Jerusalem on that day, which was entirely opposite to His past desire for people to remain quiet. His whole style of life and ministry was one of shying away from publicity. He avoided large crowds when He could. He refused to take the dominant power-oriented stance of other Jewish leaders. But on this day, He put on the symbols of the Old Testament prophetic utterances. He declared in no uncertain terms, by his manner and obedience to God the Father, “I am the King.” He even chose the day according to the prophecy given by Gabriel to Daniel. The exposure was great. There was only one problem: He chose His day not so much to gain the adulation of the crowd, which He knew was fickle, but to reveal the issue of His whole reason for being here on earth. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem was designed to seal His doom. It was the catalytic agent which would stir the anger and arouse the jealousy of the religious establishment to a frenzy, setting the stage for this significant event in all of human history. Embodied in His presence that day, and today, is a transparent honesty which defies so much of worldly leadership. Only hours after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He wept, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37). He felt their rejection, yet:- He readily healed broken bodies as the blind and lame freely approached Him the days after His triumphal entry, which so quickly turned into the day of His crucifixion. He didn’t behave in a superior manner. The simple people, people with broken bodies and shattered dreams, people with bruised spirits, people who hurt in the soul where you can really feel hurt, these He took to Himself. He did it then; He does it now. That’s the kind of Lord He is! He wants to transform us all through the regenerating power of His Holy Spirit. He wants to touch our lives and make us whole, where our body, soul and spirit fit together in an eternal complement. Isaiah described Him in these words: He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:3-7) Jesus now awaits with a sounding note of judgment. He is a King who has compassion, but this compassion is not an endeavour to buy our favour. He is not going to give away everything that would deny His own righteousness. He tells us what we need instead of what we want. He tells us that the wages of sin is death. He tells us that someday we will stand before God, accountable for all that we have done in this life. He warns of judgment. He warns of eternal hell, total alienation and separation from Himself. The King who enters Jerusalem on a donkey, walks by foot to the hillside of Olivet. From that vantage point, overlooking the city He loves and for which He wept, He does not to give a campaign speech as any earthly leader would do. Instead, He tells it like it is, predicting domestic breakdown, economic catastrophe, wars, rumours of war, earthquakes, famine, and all of the horrible desolation which humanity will bring upon each other. That’s the kind of King He is. He tells you and me what we need to hear, not just what we want to hear. He tells us that we can’t succeed ultimately in our own strength and warns us to come to Him now, while we can.
Your King is coming, is the message; both then and now! His sacrificial approach demands a response. Either we are with Him or we are not. There is no neutral ground! Today we sing our hosannas, which literally mean “Save now!” Do we mean this? Are we serious? Have we gathered here because it’s a nice thing to do? Or are we here because we really believe what He has achieved for us. Your King is returning!  Waiting to return to us at the appointed time. He is ready to receive those who have responded to His call. He wants to know whether or not He truly is our King, our Saviour. Will we dare to doubt what is written about His return , or will we welcome Him with open arms when He comes to gather us; those who are loyal and faithful to the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords — our King and our Lord.