Palm Sunday Matthew 21:1-11 Theme: Who is this King? (Son of David & Lord) By Zach VonDeylen
Praise be to our Lord and God, who has sent his Son to our rescue on this Holy, Palm Sunday. Before we look to the words of Matthew and hear again how our Savior marched into Jerusalem to fight a battle on our behalf, let’s look at the Psalm for this Sunday. The Psalm for Palm Sunday every year is Psalm 24, it is a very familiar Psalm to us. Here are a few of the verses:
Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory.
As we listen to the words of this Psalm and watch as Jesus charges through the gates of Jerusalem, we say “Amen! He is the LORD strong and mighty in battle! Our King of glory!” But on closer inspection it doesn’t quite seem that way does it? This is our King? A mere man riding on a simple donkey? This is our King? Strong and mighty in battle? This is our King? One who just five days later would die a humiliating and brutal death on a cross? The wonderful news is that it IS our King. This is the LORD Almighty, the King of glory come down from heaven above to earth to save both you and me. We recognize it today, and the crowds recognized it then too. As our King enters Jerusalem we praise God with those crowds and say, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
You know, the Apostle Matthew more than all the other Apostles identifies Jesus as the Son of David. By my count, Luke mentions it 5 times, Mark mentions it 3 times, John doesn’t mention it at all, (not even during his Palm Sunday account!), while Matthew mentions it 10 times! His book begins by saying, “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.” In chapter 1:20, he mentions the earthly father of Jesus as, “Joseph, son of David.” In chapters 9, 12, and 20 people cry out to him for help saying, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!” And now here in Matthew 21 we make it to the climax, the final time that Jesus is called Son of David in Matthew, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Who is this King? This king is a descendent of the greatest King of Israel, David. In 2 Samuel 7, God promised that he would give David a descendent after him and establish his throne and his kingdom forever. When Matthew and the crowds call Jesus the Son of David they are declaring, “This man, Jesus, is the one God promised David he would send to establish his kingdom forever! This King is God’s promised Messiah!”
Who is this King? This king is a descendent of a man, David. King David, a man who, just like every other person, dealt with the infirmities and struggles that sin causes in our lives. King David struggled with lust. His son King Solomon struggled with worshipping God alone. Solomon’s son and his descendants after him almost unilaterally abandoned God altogether. You and I struggle with our sin as well. There is not one person who does not struggle with sin and the devastating effects that it has on our world. Except one: the man, the Son of David, Jesus. Jesus said in John 16, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus overcame the world. He overcame death. He overcame sin itself. He was tempted just as you and I are, but he was never overcome by it. In fact, he marched into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to declare victory over sin and all its allies.
Who is this King? He is the special messenger who comes in the name of the Lord! The Lord of the universe is so amazing, so powerful, so filled with his glory that on our own we could not possibly come to know him, let alone understand him. But Jesus is the one who comes in the name of the Lord to make known the name of the Lord. Jesus made God the Father known through his life. Jesus said in John 14, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
How desperately we need to know God! We were made to know and have a relationship with God but that was all ruined when Adam sinned. One sin brought guilt on all people. Adam’s sin brought guilt on your head, and it brought guilt on my head. That one sin destroyed any possibility for us to know God, unless someone revealed him to us. God loves you and me so much that he sent someone in his name to reveal himself to us, Jesus. And that messenger is so much more than just a man.
Who is that King? He is the Lord himself come to save us. You see if Jesus was only a man, his perfect life wouldn’t be enough to save us. Psalm 49 tells us that no mere mortal can redeem another person, “No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them so that they should live on forever and not see decay.” If Jesus was only the Son of David, even his perfect life and death wouldn’t be enough. But Jesus is not just the Son of David, he is also the Son of God and God himself! If Jesus is God in the flesh than surely he can save us! The Psalmist goes on to say in Psalm 49, “But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself.” That King is not just the Son of David, he is the Son of God come down from heaven to redeem you and me from death and to save us from an eternity of separation from our God.
Who is that King? He is man and he is God. He proved as much when he told his disciples where to find that donkey on Palm Sunday and how its owner would react to them taking it. In fact, the crowds on Palm Sunday recognized as much when they said, “Hosanna.” This is a Hebrew word that comes from Psalm 118 and means, “please, save us!” When they proclaimed Jesus with these words they were singing him a song of praise. Words, which in the Psalm, are directed to the Lord, “LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” As they proclaimed Jesus with these words they confessed with their lips, that that lowly man on a donkey, that Son of David, was none other than the Lord of Lords and the creator of the world.
Not only that, but he is the one who came to save us! Hosanna, Son of David! Hosanna, he who comes in the name of the Lord! Save us! Save us! Hosanna! Jesus came here on a mission from his Father to save us. Jesus never wavered or flinched from his mission. In his love he marched straight into Jerusalem to face down sin, death, and the devil. And he conquered all, for you.
As we continue to struggle with our sin, as we continue to struggle in these uncertain times, let us always look to the name of Jesus and shout in loud voices with the crowd on Palm Sunday, “Hosanna!” Our Savior, the God-Man Jesus, has certainly saved us from our sin. By his perfect life, innocent death, and resurrection your guilt is washed away forever, he remembers your sin no more, and a life forever with God is assured for you.
Always remember that our Savior, who has saved us from the most dreadful force in this world: death, can certainly bring us through our current struggles as well. So as we celebrate this Palm Sunday from our homes, let us sing hosannas all the more as we pray to our God for deliverance in these uncertain times and praise him for his wonderful saving grace. Hosanna, Jesus! And let us sing as Psalm 118 says, You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Amen.