A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch.
The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, dad?"
"You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got Palm Branches today."
The little boy replied, " Aw Shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!"
This morning as many of you know today is Palm Sunday- The day, taken from the Gospels, where a whole city threw a parade for Jesus. As Jesus rode into the city, the people threw Palm branches in anticipation of his coming.- Thus we get our word Palm Sunday. - This day marked a time of celebration where Jesus was the worshipped and praised.
This day is Bittersweet for us because even as we read of the celebration we know that Friday is coming- The cross is coming. We know that many in this same crowd will within a few short days exchange words of praise to words of death. Shouting Hosanna, Hosanna and then later shouting Crucify Him, Crucify Him.
This morning I want to focus our attention on two services both which focused upon Jesus, but with two different results.
If you have your bibles this morning turn with me to two passages one from the Gospel of Matthew and the other from the gospel of Luke. Turn first to Matthew chapter 27 beginning in verse 15. Place your finger there and then turn to Luke chapter 19 beginning in verse 36.
The great evangelist, Billy Graham, has been quoted many times as saying that the greatest mission field in our country to today is in our local church- the people sitting already in our churches. Now I am not sure whether this statement is true or not, but one thing that I do know is that many people know what to say, How to say it, even how to act in it, but when the rubber truly meets that road, there is no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. No salvation- just empty words.
We see a perfect example of this in our two passages this morning. On Sunday Jesus rode into the city with the people shouting praises and praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.
On Friday they are shouting give us Barabas, We want him, Crucify Jesus Crucify Him. Why the change?
Well there are many possible reasons, but one simple reason is that their words did not match their heart. They possessed a casual not a committed faith. They had religion but they missed the person Jesus… So how can we have a committed faith… How can we be real and sincere? Consistent in all that we do… Well this morning I want to offer you some keys to just such a faith.
The first Key is that a committed faith is not self-centered it is Christ-Centered
This sounds obvious, but we often miss it . In America, we tend to say to God, “ Hey God, here is my calendar, here is my agenda… Now I can squeeze you in here or here. Pulling God out or turning to God only when it is convenient or useful.
In our passage, The people praised Jesus as He passed by, but many of them praised him for two reasons. First, because of his miracles. He had healed the sick, raised the dead…They praised Him because he was serving them and Second, because they saw in Jesus a way to be politically delivered from the Romans- To be set free from Rome as Israel was set free from Egypt. Their praise was tempered with the attitude of Jesus what can you do for me.