Sermon Title: Jesus Knew
Hi, my name is Thomas, you have probably heard about me, I am one of Jesus’ disciples. I want to take you on an imaginary journey, back to the day of the first Palm Sunday.
I want you to travel with me this morning to see if we can answer the question, What happened between Palm Sunday and Good Friday?
It was the Sunday before the Friday when Jesus was crucified when we first entered Jerusalem with Jesus.
We had been walking all day and we arrived early afternoon. As usual word had gotten out that we were coming because everyone was waiting for us.
Oh it was a sight to behold. Because this was the time of the Passover, People had gathered there from all over the world to celebrate our freedom from slavery in Egypt.
Just imagine Hundreds of thousands of people all gathered along the road side shouting and waving at us as we approached.
There were young and old alike, people from all walks of life –they were all there to see Jesus because they had heard about his great teachings and of the miracles he performed.
As we drew closer, some of the people began taking off their cloaks and started spreading them our on the road ahead of us. Some had even gone into the fields and cut palm branches and spread them out and waved them at us. That is one of the reasons you call this day Palm Sunday.
But for us it was more than that.
It was our day to shine.
This was the day that Jesus was going to make those people that called him a fake eat their words.
This was the day we would see Jesus reveal himself to the people as the Messiah- oh yes, this was the day we had been waiting for. Or at least this was what I was thinking.
I looked around for Peter, James, and the other disciples, because it was hard to stay together with so many people pressing against us and trying to reach out and touch Jesus. We had to protect him. We had to try and keep the crowd back.
But even then my mind began to reflect back on some things Jesus had said..
For three years I had followed Jesus.
I left my home, family, friends, everything to go with him. I can’t rightly understand it but when he called me and told me to follow him, I knew I had to obey.
I have sit at his feet and listened to him as he taught us. I have watched him perform miracles and he even gave us the power to heal and cast our demons. I know that he is a Man sent by God and He himself proclaimed to be
the Son of God.
But lately in the last few days Jesus had been saying some things that none of us understood.
He said he was going to be handed over to the gentiles and that they would mock him , insult him, spit on him, flog him and after that they would kill him.. These were his actual words.
How could this be?
He is the Messiah. We know this now.
He is the one who has come to set the people of God free from the bondage and the oppression of the Romans.
But the most puzzling part was when he said: On the third day he would rise again.
He said that he was going to rise from the dead.
I don’t know what he was talking about, and neither did any of the others. But we were afraid to ask because we didn’t want Jesus to know we didn’t have the slightest idea of what he meant.
Besides that, look at all the people who have come here to welcome him into town. These people love him- they wouldn’t allow anything to happen to him. Would they?
Just then, I saw Peter and James and John, those three were always together, I even think Jesus favored them over the rest of us. But there they were shouting at the top of their voices along with all the other disciples.
“Blessed be the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest!”
There were some Pharisees nearby who shouted for Jesus to quiet his disciples and tell them to stop making such audacious claims about him.
But Jesus only smiled and said, “even if they keep quiet the stones themselves would cry out. Jesus was always saying things like that, things we didn’t understand.
As Jesus neared the edge of the city he stopped and as he sat and looked out over the people He began to weep.
I thought it was because he was because of his joy in seeing so many people come out to welcome him.
But later I learned it was because he knew the hearts of the people.
He knew that in the next few days, all the Hosannas, and Blessed be the King would change into “Crucify Him” and Free Barabbas.”
Jesus knew on that Sunday that the next 4 and half day were going to be the most grueling and painful days of his earthly life.
He knew that on Monday he would find the Temple, his father’s house being desecrated by men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.
Jesus knew that on Tuesday, the chief Priest, and elders would approach him while he was teaching in the temple and try to trick him into saying something they could use against him, so they could kill him.
He knew that Wednesday would be his last full day of freedom and that he had to prepare himself and his disciples to face what was coming on Thursday.
Jesus knew that on Thursday he would be betrayed by one of the men he had discipled for 3 years.
He knew that the end was near and that he had one last opportunity to teach his disciples the meaning of unconditional love.
Jesus knew, that on Friday there was Cross waiting for him with his name on it.
He knew that many of the same people who welcomed him into town would be at his trial demanding his blood on the cross.
Jesus knew and because he knew he wept. Not just for the people of Jerusalem but for you and me as well, because he knew that many of us would turn our backs to him just as the crowd on the road.
Even I fled when the water started to get to hot. I turned my back on him in his hour of greatest need. And after he rose, I was still too stubborn to believe the truth, the same truth he tried to teach me for three years.
An now your imaginary journey is over. You may return to the 21st century. But as you do, I beg you:
• “Don’t be like me. Believe Jesus! Trust him!”
• Don’t be like the other disciples who turned and fled just as I did, when things got hot.
• Don’t be like Judas who flat out betrayed Jesus for a few dollars.
• Don’t be like the crowd who stood by the side of the road shouting and waving on Sunday only to turn away on Friday.
The question I asked at the beginning of this message is still the same, “What Happened between Palm Sunday and Good Friday?” Maybe if we really listen and point our hearts toward Christ we can find the answer.
The answer that will enable us to answer the call of Christ to be witnesses.
So on this 28th day of March we have come together to celebrate Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a triumph that was short lived.
But what will do for the rest of the week that will separate us from the rest of the jeering crowd?
How will we respond to the call to be witness for Christ?
Will we stand up for him regardless of the consequences or sacrifices?
Will we stand against the world for Jesus or will we follow the crowd?
Look around this room. Take a good long look at the people around you.
Now imagine what an impact on the community we could have if all of us were living up to our call to be witnesses for Jesus.
The world is hungry for Jesus.
And according to the great commission we are sent into the world to witness for him.
Just imagine the impact if we were all being the witnesses we are called to be?