Apr 14, 2019 | Lee Becknell

Love That Makes Things Right

* Text: Matthew 21:1-17. 

* Title.  “Love that makes things right.”

John and his friend George went golfing together one Saturday morning as they had for 24 years. They were fanatics about their golf game.

Later that day, John returned home completely exhausted and plopped down in his easy chair.

His wife was quite concerned since he was more exhausted than usual after his Saturday golf game.

She asked him "What's wrong, bad game?"

"No, hon, I had the best game in years!

As a matter of fact, I started out the first three holes at 4 under par, including a hole-in-two on the 3rd."

"So why are you so worn out?" she asked. "Well, George had a heart attack and died on the 4th hole."

"What!? Are you so exhausted from trying to save him?"

"No, honey, it was quick and there was nothing anyone could’ve done.

BUT AFTER THAT, IT WAS JUST HIT THE BALL, DRAG GEORGE, HIT THE BALL, DRAG GEORGE..."

Matthew 21:15, “But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant.”

* I have always wondered why they could never change and follow Jesus. The just keep doing what they have always done!

* Theme:  Jesus was seeking to turn the Temple into what it should have been for all people, a house of prayer and worship. He loves us so much and He wants what is best for us.  What a beautiful picture of love.  Instead of worrying about His approaching trial and death, He takes time to heal the sick and be with children.  This Holy week would you remember the love of Jesus that makes all things right?”

* Bethphage, “house of figs”, it was near Bethany. On the road to Jerusalem.

* It is Palm Sunday, 33 A.D. in the holy city, Jerusalem. It's the beginning of the Passover Festival in Jerusalem. It was one of the three feasts in Jerusalem each year which every Jewish male over 20 years of age was required to attend. 

* Pilgrims were jamming the city it's estimated that between 2 and 2.5 million Jewish pilgrims had travelled to Jerusalem to commemorate the great deliverance of Israel from Egypt, when the Passover Lambs were sacrificed as a ransom to save the first-born of Israel from the fate of the first-born of Egypt. 

* On this Passover about 200,000 to 250,000 lambs would be sacrificed in commemoration of that first Passover, but there was one Lamb, the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world, who was on His way to Jerusalem to participate in His own sacrifice, a sacrifice that would change the world, and eternity, and has changed many of our lives this morning.

* It was His love for us that kept him on that road to Jerusalem.  This morning I would like to ask you the following questions.

1. Do you love Jesus enough to obey His commands?

Matthew 21:1-6, “Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 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, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.” 

* In the passage we are studying this morning, we are introduced to a unique word only used only three times in the New Testament. The word means to press someone into service.  This word derives from the verb to press someone into service.

* In this case it refers to the donkey and her colt.

* The first occurrence of this word is found in Matthew 5:41.

Matthew 5:41, “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”  Roman law to carry the gear of soldiers or merchants.

Matthew 27:32, “32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.

Matthew 21:3, “If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”

* Beloved in these verses we see that the disciples who are not named obeyed Jesus and did exactly what He requested.  We also see the owner of the colt also obeyed Jesus by lending his property to Jesus to use as He determined.

2. Do you love the Lord’s House the way Jesus does?

Matthew 21:10-13, “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.” 12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

* What Jesus did in the temple gives us a picture into the heart of God. Your house of worship should never become cluttered with things that keep people from experiencing God.  

* You can become so busy doing church that you miss the reason for church.  The powerful message of Jesus gets pushed aside. 

* People can lose focus.  Worship is not a spectator sport. It's something you actively participate in.

* Mark 11:16, “And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.”

* The temple had become a short cut for people to pass through the city.  Imagine this people carrying things through the temple to businesses and homes.  

* Jesus had been stirred with indignation at the villainies practiced in the Temple, while the chief priests and the Scribes were stirred with indignation at the wonderful things which He did. 

* In their eyes He was turning the Temple into a Hospital for the poor and taking over the Temple. Really?  Such goings on could not be allowed in a holy place. At least, they felt, what they had been doing had had a religious purpose. What Jesus was doing was not even religious at all. Indeed, in their minds it was almost anti-religious. 

* But they were also angry because the children, spurred on by the miracles that were being performed, were crying out that He was the Son of David, and He was doing nothing about it. It appeared to them little short of blasphemy. Why did He not stop it?

3. Do you love the people Jesus loves?

Matthew 21:14-17, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” 17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.”

* Beloved, we need to learn how to think like Jesus.  I love this passage.  The spiritual Elite were complaining about the poor and sick in their temple, they were complaining about what the children were saying.  

* Jesus doesn’t even address these complaints.  He doesn’t tell them that He is the son of David and that He was born in Bethlehem.  Nor does he correct them and point out that Scripture is being fulfilled.

* Instead he quotes scripture to explain the things that were being shouted that day.

1. Psalm 8:1-2, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory about the heavens. 2“Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”

2. Psalm 118:25-27, “Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  We bless you from the house of the Lord.”

* ‘Hosanna’ means ‘save now’. ‘Hosanna in the Highest’ was an expression of praise to the Most High.

* ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ was a regular greeting to pilgrims, but possibly here gaining deeper significance from the fact that Jesus was a recognized prophet. They did not, however take the final step of realizing His claim to Messiahship (23.39). They thus spoke truer than they knew.

* Beloved, I don’t know about you but I believe I would have been right in the middle of the children, blind and lame.  That’s not a party I would have missed.

* Do you see the groups of people that are important to Jesus?  They have not changed.  He still loves them.  Do you?

* The saddest part of the passage is found in verse 17, “And leaving them…”

* That Jesus would leave them.  Oh God may you never leave me!

* Years ago a steamer was wrecked on Lake Pontchartrain, on which were a father, mother, and their six children. The father was a stalwart man and a good swimmer, and resolved to get them all safely to land or perish in the attempt. He told his children not to be afraid, that he would come for them. He then jumped overboard, and his wife after him. Taking her by the hand, he drew her along through the breakers and landed her safely on shore. Then he plunged into the mad waves, and went back to the ship for his children. One by one he brought them to shore. Only one remained upon the vessel. The devoted father did not have the strength to stand up when the last was brought in. Friends and others saved from the wrecked ship urged him against further exposure of his life. He said, "Jimmie's aboard, and I promised to come for him." Then he floated back to the ship, and just as it was about to go down, he called to Jimmie to jump into the water. He had strength only to seize his boy, to fold his arms about him, and press him to his chest, and, thus enfolded, they sank together, to rise no more. Such is the love of a father.  Jesus our precious savior said these words: "As the Father hath loved me, even so have I loved you."

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