Compass Point Church Podcasts

The Triumphal Road to Discipleship - Luke 19:37-40 & Luke 9:51-56

March 28, 2021 Neil Olcott
Compass Point Church Podcasts
The Triumphal Road to Discipleship - Luke 19:37-40 & Luke 9:51-56
Compass Point Church Podcasts
The Triumphal Road to Discipleship - Luke 19:37-40 & Luke 9:51-56
Mar 28, 2021
Neil Olcott

This sermon looks at how everyone failed to understand Jesus' destination on the day they celebrated His arrival in Jerusalem.  It also will look at how we today, can do the same, if we aren't careful to follow Him correctly.

Show Notes Transcript

This sermon looks at how everyone failed to understand Jesus' destination on the day they celebrated His arrival in Jerusalem.  It also will look at how we today, can do the same, if we aren't careful to follow Him correctly.

The Triumphal Road to Discipleship

Luke 19:37-40 & Luke 9:51-56

Palm Sunday


INTRO: Back in February Pat and I were returning from a week in Florida.  We have made the trip from DC here to Dillsburg many times.  When we travel we often will listen to an audio book to help pass the time.  This year we were coming up from Richmond and into DC and listening to our book and traveling along.  We had stopped for a rest stop and I hadn’t turned back on the GPS as I was confident I knew the way around the beltway and over on 270 and up 15.  


Unfortunately, that was a mistake.  I was so absorbed in the story on the book that I didn’t realize I had missed an exit and was heading north onto 83 toward York.  Needless to say, and sad to admit, by the time I figured it out we were 30 minutes out of our way and had to back track into DC to get on the correct road.  We were traveling in the basic right direction, but we were certainly heading to the wrong destination.  


The disciples in our Scriptures today were in a similar situation.  They had been traveling along with their guide named Jesus and they were pretty confident they were on the right road following Him. However, circumstances and events happened that made them lose track of where their journey with Jesus was really going. They had developed a convoluted idea of where their destination was going to be. 


Today we will be looking at the Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem as He came to the end of His long road toward His earthly purpose and final work for us all on his earth, the cross. 



Luke 19:37-40 

I.      We Are All On A Journey Toward Some Destination.(37-38)

 As he was drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! 

A.           People often end at the wrong destination.

The Disciples: We can’t be certain what was running through the minds of the disciples that day. Maybe they were seeing all the adoration and praise of their rabbi and were simply overjoyed that Jesus and they were finally getting the publicity and the acclaim they deserved!  No more sleeping out under the stars most nights living in poverty. Finally, they were receiving the praise and adoration they deserved!


Or, perhaps with that, they were aware of the fulfillment of prophecy? 

Zechariah 9:9-10 (NIV)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.10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken.
 He will proclaim peace to the nations.  His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River[
a] to the ends of the earth.


Jesus fulfilled prophecy perfectly.  The long-awaited Messiah had come, the king of Israel, and not just of Israel but of all the nations. Jerusalem would be his capital city. From here he would rule the world in peace and righteousness. 

But, how would he do it? Would he whip up the enthusiastic crowds and storm the Roman praetorium—a people's revolution? Or would he call down fire from heaven to consume the enemies of God?  However, He was going to do it, it was going to be amazing and soon!


The Problem was, as we shall see, is that the disciples and those there that day were veering off the road Jesus was on in their thinking.  They heading toward a wrong destination!


The Pharisees – The passage says the Pharisees wanted the people to stop! 39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

We must recognize that they were the protectors of all things religious and political in Jerusalem.  It was their responsibility to protect the people against false prophets and religions that corrupted their status quo and to watch over and protect the people from political disaster with their occupying government. 

So, they had a double reason for wanting this kind of welcome silenced. On the one hand, this Jesus was a threat to their authority, and they envied his popularity. On the other hand, they feared a Roman backlash to all this seditious talk of another king.

John 11:48- 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”


Jesus responds to their call for a rebuke, 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

 In other words, “no, not going to happen! The hour had come. He could not silence the truth any longer. 


So, both the Pharisees and the disciples had a wrong idea of what was happening that day.  They were both partially right and mostly wrong. 

Yes, the truth was, from the Pharisee’s perspective, that Jesus was going to cause an enormous problem and upheaval for the Pharisees and all religious elitists of that day and all days to come.  He was going to be the downfall of many oppressive political powers from that point forward.  His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was a foreshadow of what was to come for the rest of eternity. 

And from the Disciples perspective, Jesus was going to be king.  But, on this day, in Jerusalem, it was only a foreshadow of a much bigger triumphal entry.


B.     The Triumphal Entry was just a precursor. 

This was a foreshadow of the true destination. The disciples that day wanted Jesus as the king of Israel, now.  However, the kingdom he is inaugurating to bring peace to all the nations and spread from sea to sea was still a long way off into the future.  

 The book of Revelation pictures the final fulfillment of Palm Sunday in the age to come like this:

 Revelation 7:9-10 (NIV) After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

The entry into Jerusalem with waving palms was a thumbnail or meme of the eternal Palm Sunday to come. That is why Jesus insisted it couldn’t be rebuked or stopped. If the disciples hadn't said it, the rocks would have.


The disciples didn’t understand that Jesus’ road had to pass through the CROSS to get to the true final destination. Full redemption of all of creation!

What they didn’t realize and what many people today also fail to recognize is that there had to be the cross. That is what the disciples had not yet understood. They thought it could happen without passing through the cross.

Jesus had tried to tell them repeatedly. 

Luke 9:22 (NIV)  And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

And in verse 44 he told them, 44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”


But they didn’t get it. Therefore, their understanding of Jesus' last journey to Jerusalem was flawed. They saw him as a king moving in to residency and taking control. And he was. But they could not grasp that the victory Jesus would win in Jerusalem over sin and Satan and death and all the enemies of righteousness and joy—that this victory would be won through his own horrible suffering and death on a cross; and that the kingdom which they thought would be established immediately would, in fact, be thousands of years in coming. Jerusalem was not the final destination, it was just a waypoint on a longer journey.

TRANS: So, they were on the right road but had the wrong destination in mind. That is not good!  So, how do we avoid making the same mistake today?  We need to go back to the beginning.


Turn to: Luke 9:51–56 

II.    Jesus Was Resolute in His Redemption Journey. (Luke 9:51-53)

A.    The disciples were focused on the wrong destination.

"When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem." To set his face meant He was totally focused – resolute in His mission.  He knew exactly what He had to do and nothing, absolutely nothing was going to dissuade Him. This was the beginning of the triumphal entry.  Jesus was entering into His final earthly journey toward eternity by way of the cross. 

This journey and it’s destination were very different for Jesus than it was for the disciples. You can see the visions of greatness that danced in their heads back in verse 46: "An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest." Jerusalem and glory were just around the corner for them. The problem was they had a small understanding compared to Jesus. 


B.    Jesus clearly knew where He was headed. 

Luke 13:33 (NIV) 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!


Jerusalem meant one thing for Jesus: certain death. And he wasn’t under any illusions of a quick and heroic death. He predicted it exactly: 

Luke 18:31-34 (NIV) 31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

And even then, the disciples were on a different road than Jesus heading to a different destination.

34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

Like you and I ignoring the voice of our GPS and going our own way. 


His death was not some tragic mistake - If we were to look at Jesus' death merely as a result of a betrayer's deceit and the Sanhedrin's envy and Pilate's spinelessness and the soldiers' nails and spear, it might seem very involuntary. A tragic accident or miscalculation by an otherwise exceptional strategist.  When they are pounding the nails into Jesus’ wrist and feet, you would not have heard Him say, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!” 

Know Jesus knew exactly where He was going and what was waiting for Him first in Jerusalem and then in eternity and the second coming. Luke 9:51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.  Jesus was not accidentally entangled in a web of injustice. His plan didn’t go “sideways” as they say and the wheels didn’t come off and everything tragically came off the rails. 

Since the beginning, all the way back when Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit and broke the special relationship between creator and created.  The cross was locked into the GPS as a waypoint so to speak and everything was moving Jesus to the cross on our behalf as He moved toward His final destination at the right hand of His Father in heaven.


III.   Jesus' Road Is Our Road of Discipleship. (54-55)

A.    Jesus' road to His destination is not one of condemnation. 

So, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, and it says in the text that " he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.

 It doesn't really matter whether this rejection is just because Jesus and his companions are Jews and Samaritans hate Jews, or some other reason. What matters for the story is simply that Jesus is already being rejected, and then the focus shifts to the disciples' response, specifically the response of James and John.

James and John ask Jesus, 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them[b]?”


Jesus had already named these brothers "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17). Here we get a glimpse of why. Perhaps. any of us there that day in that context might have said what James & John in essence did here.  “If they reject us, let’s destroy them!” Fire and brimstone Jesus!  Let them have it!

 Jesus turned and rebuked them; 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.

TRANS: So, they simply went to another town. Now why is that significant? It speaks to our discipleship in love.


B.    The disciple’s road must move through the cross.

We see that the disciples then are not really much different than disciples today.  Today, many people look at discipleship as claiming Jesus as their Savior and Lord and then just turning down or even off the voice on their spiritual GPS and living the story they are listening to in their lives.  Feeling good that they can call themselves followers of Jesus without really having to follow Him.  So, disciples determine their own destination and hope Jesus will bless it instead of truly following Him and submitting to His instructions.  “Turn here”, “Stop”, “turn in 300 feet”, “reverse course”, “love your neighbor”, “love your enemy”!

The disciples that day felt that they had the plan and the destination all figured out.  If they could just get their guy onto the throne and the place of ultimate worldly political power, then victory would be won.  All they needed to do was help Jesus stage a coup and overthrow the political and religious “swamp” of their day and the Messiah would have completed the mission.  His final destination was the throne in Jerusalem.  The good guys would finally be in power and legislate and everything would be great!

Obviously, they were way off.  20/20 vision helps us as we look back over history and keenly recognize that Jesus was meant to die in Jerusalem all along. That the cross was a crucial part of his journey.

Jesus Himself, made this clear when talking with the two men on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection.

Luke 18:25-27 (NIV) - 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

We follow a Lord and Savior who was meant to be a suffering servant for us all!  The cross and suffering are also to be our path as disciples.  Not for political power or political activism per se. Rather, following Jesus’ example of a loving, suffering servant.

TRANS:  So we see, discipleship then and now is humble submission to follow Jesus.  

C.     A disciple’s journey is NOT one of entitlement. 

Discipleship means “setting our face” to die with Jesus.

Those early disciples might have felt entitled. They had suffered long enough – camping out, sneered at by other disciples of other Rabbis, the losers!  It was about time for them to get their reward for all the suffering they had endured.  They were certainly entitled to some fame and glory and luxury in life. 

Today, we might be tempted to reason in the same way: since Jesus suffered so much and died in our place, therefore, we are free to go straight to the head of the class, as it were, and skip all the exams. He suffered so we could have comfort. He died so we could live. He bore abuse so we could be esteemed. He gave up the treasures of heaven so we could lay up treasures on earth. He brought the kingdom and paid for our entrance and now we live in it with all its earthly privileges, comforts, and luxuries.

But all this is not biblical reasoning. It goes against the plain teaching in this very context.  Luke 9:23-24 (NIV) Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.


TRANS: When Jesus set his face to walk toward the cross, he was not merely taking our place; he was setting our pattern. He is our substitute and pacesetter. If we seek to secure our life through returning evil for evil or surrounding ourselves with luxury in the face of human need, we will lose our life. We can save our life only if we follow Christ on the road to the cross. 


IV.  Following Jesus Requires Continual Costly Adjustments. (57-58)

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

So, as they are walking along, on their way to what Jesus knows is a cross and what the disciples think is the final destination, a man comes up and wants to join the merry band of disciples. So, why does Jesus tell a would-be disciple that he has no place to lay his head? 

The answer is that even, at this early moment, still many miles away from Jerusalem and the road paved in palm branches with shouts of hosanna echoing off the walls of the great city, Jesus wants His disciples to be like him, and to know that following Him is costly and hard. It will take something out of us.  It will require from us.  The right road of discipleship following Jesus means we must go where He went.  

Then, in each of the illustrative vignettes that Luke recalls, Jesus speaks to some of the literal ways following Him will cost us. Even a funeral of a father or saying farewell to one’s family. Good things, important things.  But not better or more important than following Jesus as a suffering, loving servant.


But the earlier disciples got off track. They didn’t have hindsight so we should give them some slack. Easy enough to see why.  We would have done the same, no doubt about it.  They would all have probably abandoned Jesus if they actually listened to Him about how it was all going to happen in Jerusalem. We all would have quick tried to find another route, a detour around Jerusalem if we truly listened to Jesus about the road for following Him.  Like most people, they only heard what they wanted to hear.  They wanted what they had created in their minds as the final destination.  Jesus and His disciples living in power and authority with peace for all.  Heaven on earth!


But, true discipleship is the way of the cross and requires sacrifice and even suffering as Jesus leads us. We have no excuse for looking at the fanfare and praises and adoration and thinking this is the road of discipleship.  We should be ashamed!

So, what does this all mean to us this Palm Sunday?



1.     The road of discipleship will be hard going, but worth it.

Even those we read about in the pages of the NT, while beaten, stoned, whipped, shipwrecked, hungry and weak continued on the journey with great delight and even joy! 

 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV) 10  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

There is something about being on the right path, heading toward our God ordained purpose and destination no matter how difficult the road might be. Jesus promised joy and even peace in the midst of the discipleship journey of taking up our cross.

We must note that none of the disciples who followed Jesus, even after it seemed everything was a bust regarding their original plan, once they understood the true destination and what Jesus did to accomplish that, rejected the name Christian.

And besides, the Scripture repeatedly compares following Jesus to a war!  A battle against cosmic spiritual and earthly powers! We are to live a faith of love and suffering, like Jesus.  Our faith is a suffering on the cross faith, not a triumphal entry faith.  At least, not yet! 


2.     Decide today to recalibrate your discipleship GPS. 

Altar Call:  Friends, this is the beginning of what we call Holy Week!  Maybe, as you look around at the scenery of your spiritual journey, you sense that something is off.  It isn’t what it should be.  Something is wrong.  You can make a course adjustment today.  Right now!  For some – you’re on a totally wrong road, heading toward loneliness, emptiness, sadness and no sense of purpose.  You have never even thought about getting on the right road and following Jesus to where ever HE wants to take you.  


Others, you thought you were following Jesus, but as you look around you can see, “wait a minute, this isn’t what Jesus would want from me.”