The Last Week
As we all know tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and I would like to speak from Matthew 21 into the beginning of Chapter 26 about Jesus’ last week.
Palm Sunday represents Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem a week before His resurrection, which the Prophet Zechariah prophesied ~500 years before the event:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9
Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, while people celebrating His arrival by laying down their cloaks and small branches of trees in front of Him on the road as He rode in. The people sang Psalms 118:26,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.”
With the Prophet Isaiah proclaiming, in chapter 62,
The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes, See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’” Isaiah 62:11
Jesus rode in on a donkey which was considered an animal of peace in the eastern traditions, which symbolized His entry as the Prince of Peace. And with the throwing down of the garment and palm branches to cover his path, was done only to those who were thought worthy of the highest honor. In the Greco-Roman culture of the Roman Empire, which strongly influenced Christian tradition, the palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory.
Revelation 7:9 states, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
So there was much significance to Jesus riding into Jerusalem that day. Salvation was to come, but not as those people from that day would think. Just as in the days before the Kings of Israel, the people wanted a physical king to rule over them to be like the other peoples around them. A physical great king to save them. But God wanted their hearts. He wanted to be the Great I Am again to save His people from themselves. Jesus was not to be their physical King who reigned on the earth for a time.
The Old Testament makes it very clear that Jesus the Messiah who was born to die.
God sent Him from heaven for this purpose. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was to be born, become a man and in obedience to His Heavenly Father’s will; die on a cross to take away the sin of the world. He was to bring creation back into a right relationship with God as sons and daughters. (Galatians 4:4-5).
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
God’s plan to restore the relationship between He and man that was lost due to man’s fall in the Garden of Eden.
When you look at the events leading to Jesus resurrection from the day of His Triumphal Entry, it makes me wonder what people had to be thinking, especially the scholars of the Word. Those people who knew the Word of God of that day. Men who knew the Words spoken by the Prophets about a coming Messiah, the seed of David who would save the people from their sins.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, He wept. He wept because He knew what faced the people. What faced them because of their unbelief.
Luke 19:41-44 “ And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Today, He must look over the earth and have the same feelings. Look at the turmoil on the earth from every end. People dying without hope of a savior, condemned by their own unbelief, or the unbelief of generations before them who raised their fists toward God in rebellion, and ended up cursing the generations to follow. Whole civilizations have been lost by a generation that rebelled against the true God.
I believe Jesus because He knew His death would be soon, had already prepared what His steps would be for that week. And one of His first acts was to clear the Temple. Driving out all who bought and sold, turning over the money changer’s tables with righteous indignation.
He called the Temple, a House of Prayer. Establishing it again as a place to see God, a place to again expose heaven to those who gathered there. He then healed all that came into the Temple. He established the purpose of the Church, to be a place of healing and not a business. That the church was holy, and a place of sanctuary, a place to be made whole, a place to find God. During those days, the Temple was just a gathering place with no spirit, a place where men went through the motions of their religion. The people praised Jesus there, Hosanna to the Son of David. Doing what the church would do during its age, after its establishment and what the people would do for eternity.
Matthew says that Jesus leaves for Bethany and passes the fig tree with no fruit and He again instills faith into His Disciples by saying in:
Matthew 21:21-22, “And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Jesus was again establishing His authority over all the earth before His Disciples. Authority that He received from God the father. Authority that nothing was impossible for Him, and he was passing that authority to His followers.
All the while, men, so called teachers of tradition and the law, were speaking against Him and that authority. Surprisingly, men of tradition and the law today, are still speaking against His Word. The Pharisees of Jesus day said they wanted to do the will of God, but constantly disobeyed because of man’s traditions and teachings they created, well aware of the truth, but refusing to follow it. The same happens today.
Jesus wanted the people to be free of themselves. Because when you totally lay your lives down to the Word of God, you are free. Because the only real decision you have to make is if you will do what God leads you to do. There was grace in the law, but the Pharisees threw out that grace, and trapped the people in a law that they could never fulfill, so the people rejected the law, and in the end, rejected God.
Jesus was to fulfill the law, but break the chains of the law over the people. Freedom in grace is knowing that you are forgiven of your sinful nature and you don’t have to follow some regiment created by man as a path in an attempt to find God. If the Pharisees knew God, they would have tossed their traditions to have freedom that the law was really there to give.
You may say there was no freedom in the law given, but God laid out a path that man could follow that would lead them to a path to be resurrected.
Do you not think that Moses was free? How about Daniel my favorite prophet? They knew God because of their relationship with Him. They were not bound in any way. They were free. They knew God, so operating within the law that wasn’t a burden. They also knew that the Messiah would come, and come for them.
Today, man has returned to traditions and the law even in this time of grace that Christ has given us through His death and resurrection, and they live bound from the promises that Jesus gave us to be free in and enjoy His presence. Those who live by the law, know of Jesus, but don’t know Him. They have not experienced the life giving power of His presence that He wants to give us to be alive in us. So we live a life free in Him. Have peace in Him, and healing.
Soon we are coming into the end of the church age, and Jesus is again speaking to us just as he did near the end of His life on this Earth. He is warning us again through the ageless Word of God. He is calling out the Church leaders first, and telling us that we should not be doing things to please men. He is calling the Church leaders to not only believe in His Word, He is calling us to humble ourselves before Him.
Matthew 23:11-13, “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.”
This is being played out today.
After Jesus blasting the religious leaders in Matthew 23, He goes to the Mount of Olives (and actually sits in the place where the prophet Zechariah had predicted where the Messiah would stand when He came to establish His kingdom), I found that interesting. Anyway, Jesus speaks to His Disciples about the “End of Days”. Primarily because His Disciples asked Him about the signs of His coming, His return because of Jesus’ comments on the fall of Jerusalem.
Jesus told them about many things; many signs of the last days, but Jesus wanted them to be concerned not about when, but about them being ready for it. Jesus did not want them to slack. Men are good at slacking off. Men have been doing it for over 2000 years since His resurrection.
But today, with us being on the threshold of these End Times Words of Jesus, these words are coming to pass possibly in our lifetime, we need to listen. Jesus’ voice speaks clearly today as it did back then. Jesus did speak to His Disciples about the ten virgins in Matthew 25 that they should be ready which screams to this generation, but I believe that the Parable of the Talents in Chapter 25 speaks out loud to the church today.
There is such urgency today in the Awakened Church, the church that sees the times to be prepared for His coming. The church is being awakened to operate like it did in the days of Jesus. Here in the United States alone we are planting more than 4000 new churches a year, and church planting on foreign lands is accelerating. Why? Because Jesus is pushing His church into the last great end times harvest.
We already know the Words of the old great prophets that the Holy Spirit is going to be poured out. And that pouring is not going to be some little feeling we get when we think the Spirit has moved a bit in a service. It will be an outpouring of such torrential power that those who are awake in Christ will be consumed into a deep repentance of sin, a deep reliance and trust in God the Father, and move in the power of the Spiritual Gifts that the World has never seen since Pentecost, and it is coming.
When you look at the World today, Jesus’ Words in Mathew 24 are coming alive.
Matthew 24:5-8, “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “
The church must prepare because of these birth pains. Jesus is preparing for a harvest by a glorious church. A church without spot or wrinkle. A church that knows the times and is prepared for it. A church of supernatural power, and I believe with all of these church plants, Jesus is readying His Church to be filled.
Yes, there will be a great falling away, we are seeing it now, but a great coming to is going to happen, and those who come will be strong in their faith, overcomers, believers, those who will leave a legacy of the power of God to the following generations if there are following generations.
Looking back to the Parable of the Talents, I thought of my talents, what I could do with my mind, what I could do physically, and the power of the Spirit within me.
Yes, this parable implies that, but when Jesus was referencing this parable, it should have brought the Disciples to review their time spent with Jesus, what He did to bring the Kingdom of God into this earth, and really what they did during that time. Jesus sent them out and they did what Jesus did. Healed the sick, cast out demons, and set the captives free.
Jesus was preparing His future church to be ready on many fronts because He knew He was leaving to go to the Father. The Disciples were with Jesus for ~ 3 years, but from all accounts, they weren’t totally with it. When Jesus said one of you will betray me, they were all looking at each other wondering if it was them. They knew their hearts. It wasn’t totally there. We saw that when Jesus was betrayed. They ran. Peter denying Jesus three times.
But I believe that Jesus knew that when they received the Holy Spirit that He was sending, His Disciples would be fully engaged in all that He taught them.
We have the Holy Spirit, and it is time that we are fully engaged with Him.
Jesus over 2000 years ago called His church to be an overcoming light in a dark world. And as He rode that donkey into Jerusalem knowing what was in front of Him. Knowing that He would die like no other man would die before or after Him. Knowing that He would have to endure only what the Son of God could endure for all mankind from the past to the future, He would do it, but with an understanding, that we His Church would be free to exist in a life that few others had experienced, that we could bring the supernatural power of heaven to this earth, and continue what He did in His 3.5 years before God took Him.
We are to be the Glorious Church, the church of love, with supernatural power, reconciling man back to God the Father because of our love for Jesus. Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem because He loved His Father, and He loved us. What less can we do, but to return the favor with our lives.
Love the Father, you love the Son, and when you know that love, you can love your neighbor. When you love your neighbor, they see your love of the Father, and they will come to love Him too. The church growth model shown in Acts 2.
Jesus wants His love to pour out over this city. He wants to fill us, the church first, then He wants to pour out that love in a great awakening. The awakening has been prophesied not only in Kenosha, and Madison, WI, but Kansas City, MO, Vina, Alabama, and even in London, England. It is coming, but are we ready as Jesus said in Matthew 24:44, and we must also be engaged with the Holy Spirit. Jesus may have come in peace riding on donkey, being lowly, and a man of sorrows for what He partake in to set us free, but now He sits on a throne in Heaven, and he waits for us His church to walk in His Glory, and establish His kingdom here and set people free.