This being Holy Week, I am being led to take a journey with Jesus, following His steps, watching His actions, and listening to His words. We are going to retrace the steps of Jesus and look at 8 pivotal moments in that week, actually 8 days, that is the Game Changer for the people then and for us today. Let’s start at the beginning of that last week, what we call Palm Sunday. Let’s read from Matthew 21:1-11 (NLT)
1 As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”
4 This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said, 5 “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.’” 6 the two disciples did as Jesus commanded. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it. 8 Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!”
10 The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked. 11 And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
This is a Confrontation of Kingdoms. Jesus is engaging in this war because Satan is aggressively seeking to steal, kill and destroy the image of God that lives in me, you and everyone. Satan wants to steal our peace so that we will live in fear. He wants to kill our joy so that we will live in misery. Satan wants to destroy our hope so that we miss life now and eternal life.
This war is coming down to 1 final decisive battle. All other battles after this one will ultimately be futile. This is the one that decides the future—OUR future. Everything hinges on this battle, and Jesus fires the opening salvo. Let’s look, I mean really look at this Last Week. As clear as the Mission of Jesus has been, it is even clearer now—the focus of Jesus is laser sharp.
Jesus brings into focus the real battle and the real confrontation—between The Kingdom Of God and The Kingdom of Hell. With every Kingdom there is a King. Remember this: There Can Only Be 1 King In And Over Your Life. You may think you are your own King and that no one can rule over your life.
We live our day-to-day life submitting to the loving rule of God—OR—we submit to the destructive rule of Satan. The King We Are Committed To Will Be Heard In Our Words, Encouraged By Our Attitudes, And Seen In Our Actions. God will not allow you to dabble between the two Kings. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24—“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.”
Two Kingdoms battling for ultimate authority and power. And in the middle of it all is us. This ride into Jerusalem is The Announcement that THE King has arrived. It’s the battle of Kingdoms and here is what it is all about:
1. It’s the Battle of God Versus Satan
This life is much more that what we see, experience and believe. It’s not all about the physical stuff—it’s even bigger than the church stuff. Life is a spiritual confrontation between 2 opposing kingdoms and our enemy isn’t another human being—he is spiritual and that’s where the battle lies. And every day you make the choice in your minds with your decisions, words and actions which King you are fighting for and which King you are fighting against. As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, God goes to war against Satan.
2. It’s the Battle of Hope Versus Despair
Without Jesus there is no hope. Satan leaves us a bread trail of crumbs, promising that we can have the life our hearts long for. Every little morsel drives us deeper and deeper into his trap. He wets our appetite thinking the prize is just around the next bend. But whichever bread crumbs he leaves for us the result is always the same. Satan’s promises always lead to despair. At the end of the trail, the very thing we look for simply isn’t there. God understands this and knows that without His intervention this is where we end up: the dark place of despair. As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, hope goes to war with despair. There is more in this Kingdom battle. It’s the battle of
3. It’s the Battle of Love Versus Selfishness
Love As Defined By God Is To Offer Anything And Everything So That Another Person Will Have Their Moment To See The Heart That God Has For Them, The Heart Of Love.
The opposite of that kind of love is selfishness, putting self first. Jesus faced those temptations in the wilderness. He wouldn’t give in to selfishness then and He is not about to now! When we act selfishly, we put our wants and needs above others. As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, He shows that when we love like God loves us and give up claims to our own life, then Satan’s kingdom takes a loss.
Jesus knows that if He does this entrance into Jerusalem, it will lead to His betrayal, denial, suffering and finally dying on that Cross. Why would He do such a thing knowing the outcome? Because. Because Jesus Is Aggressively Waging The War To Win Our Hearts, Minds, Lives And Souls. That’s right. Jesus endures what he endures, suffers what he suffers, and loses all that He has, for you and me. Not because we are that good, but because HE is that gracious and loving.
For any of us and all of us, the price for our sins had to be paid if we are ever going to be restored to the right Kingdom. But we could not pay, cannot pay, will not pay that price. Jesus takes on our sinfulness to show us just how much HE loves us. And God, our Father, allows this to happen. Jesus had to be punished for us so that we can be restored to the Right Kingdom. We are sinners, confused, hurtful, and hurting all at the same time. Is God really serious about wanting to restore you to the life you are created for? Look no further than the Cross, where we see God punishing Jesus.
And remember, love God with all your heart. Love others the way God loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!