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The disciples go and do as instructed, and in verses four to six you find they find this colt. And then they lose this colt, and as they lose this colt the folks say, 'Hey, ah, what are you doing?' And they say the exact words that Jesus instructed them to say and the people let the colt go, just as Jesus said, to fulfill the purpose of God. And that's definitely how it is when God leads you. Sometimes it requires persevering. This seems pretty easy, this one, they go and there it is and they come back. Sometimes it requires a persevering chin and faith to trust the Lord a little longer. But when God leads he'll prepare the way--you'll sense 'God is preparing the way.' 'Things are working out, man, look at that door open.' 'Look at this conversation I just had, amazing that they would be receptive to that.' God will prepare the way before you. Here, you see that God has set aside a colt for his purposes and in his perfect timing this colt appears before the disciples. They go and there it is, just as God determined. I wonder if the owners of the colt realized that when they tied the colt to the street that day, outside their home, evidently, that they realized they were being used by the Lord? But this colt is set aside, and no matter what it is, if God has determined that it's for his purpose, it will be set aside for his purpose. We can just trust him for it. Here is a donkey, I think of the people of Israel. It was an entire land, a land that was inhabited by other communities, other nations, even had high walls--but God said 'This land is your land. I'm gonna set this land aside for you.' And of course God did set aside that land for them. They just needed to trust the Lord and walk in faith. No matter how big or how small, whatever it is, if God is leading and if it is set aside for his purposes, and he's told us that, we can trust him for it. The Psalmist said in Psalm 135, "For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, he does. In heaven and in earth and in the seas and all deep places, whatever he chooses to do he does, because he's above all gods." And there he says specifically, he gave this land to the nation of Israel, a great work that God did and he led the people to trust him for it. As we are led by the Lord, we just walk in faith, we trust him, there's never ever any need to strive. Sometimes I find myself striving, even thinking that God was leading me, and maybe he was, but just not letting him prepare the way and just striving. But of course, Psalm 127 comes to mind, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to stay up late, to eat the bread of sorrows, for so he gives his beloved sleep." He says 'When God builds the house, he builds the house, when he leads, he leads.' You just trust him and you walk. You don't even have to eat the bread of sorrows, striving and hoping and trying to work this out and bumming out that it's not workin' out quite yet. You just trust God and say 'God has led me in this way, I trust him and therefore I don't strive, I don't need to go without sleep and be weary hearted, weary in heart--but just trust God for what he says. [I'm going to add a short but appropriate quote from Franklin Graham's autobiography titled Rebel With A Cause. The title of this quote is "God Room", and perfectly fits what this pastor is talking about, and expands a little on how God provides. "From India we went to Katmandu, Nepal, and Iran. While traveling with Bob (Pierce, late founder of Samaritan's Purse), I learned many of life's lessons. But the lesson Bob taught me that stands out above all else is what Bob called "God room." "What do you mean?" I asked him once when he started talking about "God room." He gave me a glance that was close to disgust, almost to say, "Don't you know?" He took a deep breath and sighed before he said, "'God room' is when you see a need and it's bigger than your human abilities to meet it. But you accept the challenge. You trust God to bring in the finances and the materials to meet the need.

"You get together with your staff, your prayer partners, and supporters, and you pray. But after all is said and done, you can only raise a portion of the resources required.

"Then you begin to watch God work. Before you know it, the need is met. At the same time, you understand you didn't do it. God did it. You allowed Him room to work." Rebel With A Cause, page 159, paragraphs 3-6.]

Verses 7-11, "Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and he sat on it, and many spread their clothes on the road and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then those who went before and those who followed cried out saying, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the kingdom of our father David, that comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!' And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when he had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve." Just an intense time, I'm sure for the disciples. They've got this colt, just as God has led them, and they bring it to Jesus and he sits upon this colt. We learn in the other gospels there's actually a mother donkey with her young, there's actually two. And evidently the colt is the primary one that the attention is focussed upon, but there's actually two we learn in the other gospels. But Jesus sits on that colt, and then he begins to approach the Mount of Olives towards the city of Jerusalem, and the disciples are there, and there's a multitude as usual. Jesus, just before, we read in Luke, healed and raised Lazarus from the dead--so there's a ton of excitement around him, especially because of Lazarus. And there's this great multitude, and they just began to praise and worship Jesus. Now, consistently prior to this time Jesus always prohibited people from worshipping him. Whenever people wanted to make him king he always withdrew himself. But this is one time, it's a very unique time, that Jesus presents himself as King and allows the people to worship him, and to just praise him, and he doesn't withdraw himself. We know from Zechariah 9 that this specific day is a fulfillment of prophecy. In Zechariah chapter 9 we read, "Rejoice greatly O daughter of Zion, shout O daughter of Jerusalem, behold your King is coming to you. He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt the foal of a donkey." Zechariah prophecied of a time when the Messiah would come. Although the Jews, the people of Israel expected the Messiah to come differently, even when he came as King they expected him to come more like a Roman king. You know when a Roman ruler would come, after a battle, he would have a parade that would last sometimes for days, with all the bounty and all the loot, just all the pazzaz and just be a tremendous thing--and he'd ride on a white horse. But Zechariah 9 said when the King of Israel was going to come [the first time], he was going to come lowly and meek on the back of a donkey. And they didn't quite--it didn't register in their minds, they didn't quite understand that. [Why? Because of the Old Testament prophecies of what we know as the Messiah's 2nd coming are so spectacular by comparison to those of his first coming (and the two prophecies run one into one another in the passages they're written in)--that it paled to insignificance the prophecies of his first coming, lowly and riding on a donkey, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 14:1-15 is a superb example of a stunning 2nd coming prophecy. These powerful prophecies kind of confused the Jewish scholar, Scribes and teachers into believing that the Messiah would only have one very powerful coming, not two totally different comings.] And you see that very clearly being fulfilled [Zechariah 9], this wonderful prophecy in Zechariah, and just Jerusalem shouting, the people shouting with joy and with praise [probably and obviously many of them thinking the Messiah had finally come to save them from the Romans].

Let's look at Daniel 9. We're briefly going to look at this prophecy. [And this prophecy can be interpreted two ways, as we will see.] There's been different times in the past where I've taught on this, but I thought I'd just quickly lay it out this morning too. But a tremendous prophecy. The Word of God is the Word of God. God's Word stands up historically, God's Word stands up spiritually as far as truth, and God's Word stands up prophetically. You can test any one of those and you'll never find one instance where it doesn't. Here's a tremendous prophecy. Here Daniel has been exiled with the people of Israel [really, Judah, the House of Judah], because of God's judgment, there in Babylon. While in Babylon Daniel receives different visions from the Lord, and here Gabriel in these verses of chapter 9 appears to Daniel in verses 20-23, and begins to share with him a vision and wants him to write it down. And as you read in verses 24-26 this is what Daniel is told by Gabriel to write down, "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty two weeks. The streets shall be built again and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary [70ad?]. The end of it shall be with a flood until the end of the war desolations are confirmed" (Daniel 9:24-26). And then he goes on to share about one last seven, one last week. Here, you see that Daniel refers to these sixty-two sevens and seven sevens and another seven and then another seven, the seventieth seven that I didn't read there. You read the Hebrew literally, it refers to a period of seven, just seven in general, not necessarily seven as far as a week. And he says, "Sixty two weeks, and a seven-seven, we understand with those Scriptures he's referring to years [a prophetic day for a year principle], specifically. And he says that there's gonna be a decree, Daniel, you're in exile, Jerusalem has been destroyed. But there's gonna be a decree by a king that it will be written, and after that decree is written you can count exactly sixty-two sevens and seven-sevens, meaning those number of years, and at that point after that decree, the Messiah is gonna come. Now the decree will be to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. And this guy [famous acheologist Sir Rawlenson] discovered not too long ago that on March 14th, 445 B.C. king Artaxerxes I wrote a decree to Nehemiah [20th year of Artaxerxes I] (as we study Nehemiah) telling Nehemiah that he could go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. We know the specific date [there are two dates you can calculate this decree from, giving you two separate interpretations for Daniel 9. The one he uses times right to when this pastor and his denomination believe Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The other date of another similar decree times right to the start of Jesus' ministry in 27 a.d.]. We've discovered that in recent time that this decree was written (and when). Well, if you go from that point 483 years [7 prophetic weeks + 62 prophetic weeks x 7 = 483 days. With a prophetic day for a year principle, 483 days = 483 years. By some denominations way of calculating, this decree to rebuild Jerusalem went out under Cyrus (II Chronicles 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1-2) in 457 B.C. 483-457 = 26 + 1 (year zero adds 1) = 27 A.D., the year Jesus' Christ's ministry started. With this way of timing, Jesus ministry and crucifixion ended in the spring of 31 A.D., which would have had the crucifixion held on a Wednesday from 9am to 3pm, and his resurrection on late Saturday afternoon, 3 days and 3 nights later. Now for the other interpretation.] When you convert the Babylonian calendar to the Julian calendar you'll come up with exactly 6 April 32 A.D. from March 14th 445 B.C. [Artaxerxes I, 20th year]. You take 483 years, convert it to a different calendar, from when Artaxerxes issues the decree to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem that took place after this time of Daniel, you come up with April 6, 32 A.D. Well, of course, that's where we are in Mark chapter 11. That's the date that Jesus is there coming down the Mount of Olives and this time of praise and worship is taking place. The Messiah himself has come. Well then you read that the Messiah shall be cut off (verse 26), but not for himself. Well, just a few days later from this time Jesus will be crucified, not for himself, not for anything he has done, but for all of us, for our sin. And then you go from there that the city and the sanctuary will be destroyed in this war. Well, forty years later from that time General Titus came in and destroyed the city of Jerusalem. And the people of Israel, the nation of Israel hasn't existed until this century [1948]. So that prophecy was fulfilled to the very day, right to April 6, 32 A.D. [by one method of calculating]. And I've gone through it kind of quickly, because I'm gonna go to other places today, but you can still study that for yourself. But amazingly, Daniel saw a vision, and we know today that the day the Messiah came and was cut off just after this, and (40 years later) the city of Jerusalem was destroyed. And then we have the 7th week that's yet to be fulfilled, ah, after the age of the church. Well, all this took place according to prophecy. The people that are around Jesus there back in Mark chapter 11 evidently have a sense for some of this prophecy because they cry out the words to Psalm 118, "I will praise you for you have answered me, and have become my salvation. The stone the builders have rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now I pray O Lord, O Lord I pray now send prosperity, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." The word "Hosanna" means literally "save now" or "deliver we pray". And they're just quoting Psalm 118, and Psalm 118 says "The stone the builders rejected is become the chief cornerstone. This is the day the Lord has made." And they're just quoting a very clear Messianic prophecy, even of the suffering of Christ. And don't think they completely understood it. That Psalm, Psalm 118 was sung during the Passover, and it's that time of year, which is interesting too, to note that. [Singing these verses from Psalm 118 was called singing the Hallel, and it was being sung by the Temple singers at this very time. What must have surprised the Scribes and Pharisees is that here is Jesus riding the foal of a donkey and the crowd around him are singing this very same thing, the verses, that the Temple singers are singing--and they are singing them to and about Jesus who is riding through their midst! This point is brought out by Dr. David Hocking in his sermon about Passover.] Well, these people are worshipping and praising. The Pharisees we read in Luke, come to the disciples and come to Jesus and they say "Jesus, rebuke your disciples" (because they're worshipping him). And he answered and said to them, 'I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.' Now as he drew near he saw the city and wept over it saying, 'If you had known, even you, especially in this your day that things that make for your peace, but now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side and level you, and your children within you, to the ground. And they will not leave in you one stone upon another because you did not know the time of your visitation.' But evidently they didn't know. But you know, you see this worship, and this praise and this incredible multitude. Matthew says that the emotion is so intense that all of Jerusalem--it's just like an earthquake, it's moved. The word in the Greek suggests like an earthquake. The city is just shook by this parade that comes in with Jesus. But you know then, I think, I think just a few days later, these people are praising 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord', but where are they just a few days from now? You have Jesus betrayed, and then you have Pilate and the multitude there saying 'Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!'. And where did all these people go? Jesus said they didn't, the people of Jerusalem didn't even know it was the day of their visitation. Evidently a lot of them are just going along with--there are some obvious believers there--but a lot of them are just going with the crowd, and with the emotion, it's good, and it's cheering. And then a little later they're gonna be with the crowd going 'Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!' You know there are many even today that do that. Go along with the church, go along with the crowd if it's good--there's the parade of people there--but when it really comes down to the nitty-gritty, what are they gonna do? What are they gonna do later? I guess it's a question for all of us--all this excitement, and then you just think a little later, evidently many of [some, not all] of these same voices are saying "Crucify him! Crucify him!". Jesus goes into the city and he goes to the temple and looks around, it's late, and he returns outside the city to Bethany, which he does every day this week. We have three specific days we can see in this chapter during this last week.

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