The Grace Hour | Luke 19:29-31

How do we know we are in the Grace Hour?

Before going there,

Today the world is celebrating the Palm Sunday. It is in remembrance of the day when Jesus went into Jerusalem the Sunday before his crucifixion. The Bible calls this ‘the triumphal entry’, and this event is mentioned in the synoptic gospels of Mathew, Mark, and Luke. This morning we are going to see some biblical truths from the triumphal entry of Jesus and also see how the Jews missed the one last chance given by Jesus to recognize their Messiah.
As Jesus was walking toward Jerusalem, He stops for a moment and sends 2 of his disciples into a nearby village to carry out a special errand.

Luke 19:29-31 

29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”


The 2 disciples must have wondered about what Jesus told them to do because none of the Gospels ever mention Christ riding on any animal to get from one place to another. Jesus must have walked hundreds of miles up and down the “Holy Land,” but there is no mention of Him ever riding, except in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. But now, Jesus gives this unusual command to go into the village to get a colt that had never been ridden, & to bring it to Him. It must have seemed strange, indeed.
If you really see. Jesus riding on a donkey was the fulfillment of what was told by Prophet Zechariah 500 years ago.

Zechariah 9:9 

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.


So, by riding on a donkey to Jerusalem, Jesus was proclaiming to the Jews that he was the King. Listen, by now the Jews have seen many powerful people coming to Jerusalem and they certainly must have seen how Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor enters Jerusalem. with a full complement of elite & battle-hardened Roman soldiers on horseback.

People certainly have seen Herod Antipas the ruler of Galilee enter Jerusalem with power with his bodyguards and security, Such power & pageantry the people have seen in Jerusalem and here comes Jesus riding on a donkey.

On the other hand, we know that in times of war, conquerors would ride in chariots or upon prancing stallions. But in times of peace, the king would ride a colt to symbolize that peace prevailed. Moreover, it was mentioned in the law. So, for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem upon a colt was a public declaration that He was the promised King, the Messiah! All the 3-1/2 years the Jews did not understand Jesus, so Jesus purposely rode on the donkey to demonstrate to them one last time that He was the Messiah. Trying to make them realize it is the hour of grace.
Therefore, in this grace hour, as Jesus was riding on the colt many things take place that day, from which we can derive some spiritual truths.


Mark 11:7-10 

7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”


The crowd shouted Hosanna and the word Hosanna literally means “Save, rescuer, savior.” “Saviour” so that’s what the crowd shouted. I wonder if Jesus thought, “That’s exactly what I’m here to do. How right you are, but do you really understand that I am your savior?”

1. JESUS’ MISSION IS TO SAVE.

Yes, It’s his Grace, that Jesus came to save mankind. Just a few days earlier he had made the statement:

 Luke 19:10 

The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.

Basically signifying the hour of grace.


So, when Jesus went to Jerusalem that day He knew He was going to face His crucifixion in the city of Jerusalem coming Friday for the salvation of the human race. So the decision to go into Jerusalem must have been one of the most difficult Jesus ever made, but Jesus with grace went boldly to face his death to save people And without knowing the details, the crowd was clearly articulating what Jesus came to do.

And this was the hour of Grace.


Application

For example, we sing many a time that Jesus as our savior, our Lord; but do we really know him as your savior? well, He is full of Grace and can save you today, He can change the condition of your heart today but do you have a personal relationship with this savior? Do you actually understand the Grace he gives? As you pass through life understand Jesus has the power to save us from any situation that you are in but the greatest gift he can give you today is eternal life and save us from condemnation in hell.


The Bible says that as Jesus was riding on the donkey people in the front and back shouted: “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Hossana is a significant word, however by Jesus’ time, it had become a common shout of Jewish people to God. Hosanna literally meant to save but to say Hosanna was to praise God. so basically People were praising God.

2. OUR MISSION IS TO PRAISE.

As Jesus rode into the town the people let loose with joyous and uninhibited praise, but it was sad that they never understood the meaning of their praise.
Luke records that as the people were praising God, the Pharisees rebuked the disciples. 

Luke 19:39-40 

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” (See what Jesus replied.) 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
God deserves praise. God is expecting us to praise Him and if we won’t do praise Him, the creation will.


Psalm 98:8 

Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy.


Isaiah 44:23 

Sing for joy, you heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests, and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

Part of our mission, if we’re followers of Jesus is to praise Jesus. To praise means to pay Jesus a compliment, to give God the credit due to his name, tell Him to thank you for something He’s done, and that’s what we’ve been called to do: 

1 Peter 2:9 

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.


Psalm 22:3

But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. 

God inhabits our praise! The word that’s used here means that when we praise God it “causes Him to sit down, remain, and dwell on it.” Do you ever feel that God has left you? It is not that God cannot dwell otherwise. When we praise God, He sits on the throne of our life. Do you ever feel that God is not in control of your situation? My question is, “Are you still praising Him? Is God sitting on your throne?
God inhabits the praises of His people. Understand God is already in control but when you praise Him, God exercises his power upon your situation.

a. Praise involves the outflow of expression.

Illustration

 I remember when I was young, I would go to different meetings with my mom and dad and we would never miss any meetings. we would be there on time. So, we may be at church or a cottage meeting or say any special meeting, my dad would be the loudest singer there. Well, what embarrassed me then was see, he is not a gifted singer or so also some in the congregation would be just staring at him. But my dad would not be bothered; he would just shout and sing to the Lord.

I also remember my wife’s grandfather who was 93 years old and wherever he went he used to be the loudest singer and worshipper. He never needed a mike but when he says one ‘Hallelujah’ the whole congregation could hear it. Children named him ‘Hallelujah grandfather.’ We were embarrassed then but because they praised God, they and their generation are blessed today.

Does our Praise match up to His Grace?


How is our praise today? I noticed in our churches, many of us wouldn’t even be part of the worship, be it in singing or dancing or praising out loud. Some just come and stand still, they do not want to involve in the worship. well, I am sure many of those people would say, “Well, I’m not a very good singer and If I sing loudly what others might say. This is actually how I am and am reserved, timid, shy.” That may be, but we cannot keep quiet in the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in our midst.


Worship should involve the outflow of expression. It involves making a joyful shout to the Lord, lifting up holy hands, clapping hands, speaking in tongues, being free to move, dance, being undignified in the presence of God. It is time we lose all inhibitions and praise God in the sanctuary. Acknowledge Jesus by worshipping him. 

Matthew 10:32-33

Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my father in heaven.
Another thing to be noted in the Triumphal entry passage is that as Jesus was riding on the colt people laid down their cloaks and palm branches and praised God. 

Mark 11:7-8

7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Laying down shows surrender.

b. Praise includes complete surrender.

The text says the people laid down their cloaks and branches from the fields before Jesus. A cloak is a loose outer garment worn over inner clothing. Palm branches were carried by the Jews for temporary shelters and also waved in festive celebrations. 

Nehemiah 8:14-15 

14 They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month 15 and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms, and shade trees, to make temporary shelters”—as it is written.


As people were worshipping probably their big cloaks and the palm branches in their hands prevented them to worship Him. The people surrendered everything that inhibited their praise and praised God using the palm branches. The key question is when you come to the presence of God in your homes and at church what is it that is inhibiting you to praise God that you need to surrender? Is it our sin, possessions, burdens, worries, or fear that is inhibiting our praise to Jesus? Let’s lay it all before Him today.


The Hour of Grace the Hour of Ride to the City

As we follow the text further, Jesus rides down toward the gate of the city, the crowds are growing, & there is a festive air, for it is Passover & pilgrims are gathering from far & near for this greatest of all Jewish holidays. Even before Jesus arrives, the news of Jesus has spread that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead.

You can imagine the excitement that prevails. “Have you heard the news? Lazarus died, & was buried in a tomb so long that his body was starting to decay. But this teacher from Nazareth called out, ‘Lazarus, come forth’ and Lazarus came forth alive.”
As Jesus was ready to enter the city, great crowds had collected on both sides of the road. They had cut palm branches & were shouting, “Hosanna to the King!” Excitement prevailed throughout the whole city! As Jesus looked over His waiting audience, he must have seen the mixture of expressions on their faces. Those who loved him were there.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were there. They were full of jealousy; they waited for Him to make a mistake. All there in Jerusalem loving faces, sinister faces, anxious apostles, crowds trampling almost one upon another when suddenly the whole procession stopped. It has become like a big traffic jam. One bus shuts down and all the other vehicles stop. I can just hear the people way back in the crowd that day saying, “What is going on? Why don’t you move?”

Jesus Wept


But the people who were close Jesus realized that it was He who had stopped the parade. Then they saw His body begin to shake. Maybe at first, they thought He was laughing. Laughter would seem to be natural for everybody else was laughing, & joy prevailed. But then they saw His face, there was no evidence of laughter. Rather, they saw sorrow and tears. Jesus was not laughing. He was crying.


The Scripture tells us that Jesus often reacted emotionally when He saw the poor and the hungry. But it only tells us of two times that Jesus cried. One time He cried at the grave of Lazarus. Mary and Martha were both weeping, Jesus wept with them. He wept for them. He entered into their grief with compassion and He identified with their sorrow & despair.


This was the 2nd occasion Jesus was crying. Why was Jesus crying now? He looked at the city of Jerusalem. He saw the mixture of faces & the masses of humanity crowding there & He realized the emptiness of their lives. They had not heard the message of peace. They missed the Messiah and did not understand the purpose of His coming. Now they have missed the one last chance for them to recognize their Messiah.


Luke 19:41-44 

41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Missing out the Point


The Jews missed the whole point of the message that God gave them through Jesus. They called him savior but did not know that Jesus was the true savior. Worshipped him but they never recognized Jesus’ mission. They waved palm branches to greet Jesus as king, but history says that is exactly what their great-grandparents had done when the Maccabees overthrew the Syrian oppressors & re-established worship in the temple. They thought that Jesus was a warlord. And did not realize it was the Hour of Grace. The keepers of the law were skeptical of Jesus’ actions never understood what was written about Jesus in the law.

This was one last time Jesus could prove to them that he was the Messiah but they still could not understand Jesus’ mission. Jesus knew the time for the Jews to recognize Jesus’ mission was running out and looking at the impending punishment, he was crying. History says that in AD 70 the temple was destroyed by the Romans.


As Jesus sits upon the donkey, He sees the towering Temple of God silhouetted against the sky. But beyond that in the years immediately ahead He sees the armies of Titus surrounding the Holy City. He sees Temple stones being taken down & the whole city leveled. He sees bodies in the streets and hundreds of thousands of people crying because they are starving to death while Titus waits for Jerusalem to surrender. All of that because they didn’t recognize the Messiah when He came! How different their lives could have been? How different the history of Israel could have been. Only if they had recognized the one who came into their midst, riding on a colt one last time?

CONCLUSION

Jesus looks at us even today as He is giving us multiple chances to redeem us back to him. Now is our grace hour and now is the time to turn to him.
A magazine published the research made on the people who survived the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

What is interesting is the stories of the survivors from the twin towers in New York. After interviewing over 300 survivors. The researchers came to the conclusion that that ones who survived were those who didn’t delay but ran for safety immediately. As the planes hit the building, therefore, those who delayed are the ones who perished. It occurred to me that the spiritual life is much the same.

Those who delay and put off a commitment to Jesus Christ often wait until it’s too late and the grace hour is over. If you have not accepted him now is the time to know Jesus as our Saviour. Now is the grace hour. Will you recognize Jesus as you Lord now before it is too late?