Where Is Jesus—Jesus Is Here
Palm Sunday OT Zech 9:9-10 Luke 19:28-48
If someone were to run up to ask you and say, “where Is Jesus.” What would you say. How many would say, what on earth is wrong with you? He’s seated at the right hand of the Father? Who would say, he’s right here living inside of me. Last week Pastor Kellie told us that Jesus is Coming. Next Week Pastor Toby will tell us Jesus is Risen. I’m here to let you know that Jesus is here.
Have you ever had one of those days, when you just couldn’t wait for it to get there. That’s what Palm Sunday was like back in the first century. Go back with me for a moment in time some 2000 years ago.
It’s been three years and the people are dying to elect a young man for office. The guy is a man of integrity, he’s compassionate, and he’s able to see the big picture. He’s a great leader and inspires many to follow his ideas. He does not fear taking on the big powers that be and calling a spade a spade.
He gives hope to people who think life has passed them by. He’s the overwhelming favorite by the masses, but there is one problem with him. This young man will not declare himself to be a candidate. He’s consistently told the people, now is not the time. No one is able to talk him into running for office.
But today there is a sense of urgency about the young man. Word has leaked out, that today is the day, the young man will hold a press conference and declare that his time has come. It is late in the afternoon in the small city of Bethany, where the young man’s friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived, that he decides to declare that the time has now come.
The young man declares himself for the office crown, not by making a great speech, but by changing his means of transportation. He has walked all the way from Galilee to just a couple of miles outside the capital city of Jerusalem.
But in Bethany, he chose to ride on a donkey’s colt. It was not just any colt, but a colt that had never been ridden upon. The specification that this be a colt that has never been ridden is significant in light of the ancient rule that only animals that had not been used for ordinary purposes were appropriate for sacred purposes.
Now if we had of seen Jesus on CNN riding upon a donkey heading toward Jerusalem, we may have been waiting for him to make a speech. But the people of his times who knew the Scriptures would have recognized getting on the donkey’s colt was itself the speech.
The prophet Zechariah in the Old Testament predicts hundreds of years earlier that God is going to send his candidate for king heading into Jerusalem, riding on a colt. As Jesus gets upon the colt, everyone recognizes that He is saying, “the time has come, my time has come. I am here.
That is why on Palm Sunday there is a lot of cheering. People are so excited as they try to make shift a carpet road for Jesus and the donkey to ride over into the city. Some take off their coats and lay them on the ground. Some take palm branches and place them in front of the oncoming colt. People are running from all over the place to get a glimpse of Jesus as he comes down the Mount Of Olives to enter the city. Green palm branches continue to be laid into the city. People are running through the neighborhood shouting, Jesus is here! Jesus Is here!
Jesus is the most popular political candidate of His day. To the joy of many and to the dismay of others, now He’s throwing his name into the ballot box. The election is not even going to be close. As a matter of fact the people dispense with the election altogether. They start declaring, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” The crowds declare that Jesus is their king. No others even need to apply. Jesus is here.
The opposing candidates demand that Jesus stop the people from making such bold declarations. They know that their days are numbered if Jesus accepts the claims of the people. But instead of stopping them, Jesus affirms their right to declare Him as their king. He goes a step further and declares “even if I tell them to be quiet, the rocks and stones will cry out in their place who I am.”
There were probably more people shouting for Jesus and praising Him on Palm Sunday than there were any other day of his life. Yet Jesus knows that he will be dead before the week is over. When we are on the top, it’s easy to get caught up in the praises of others and forget that this is not what life is all about. You see praise can blind us to God’s call upon our lives.
We all want to be liked and admired. What happens though when maintaining the praise of others, forces us to cut loose from the will of God for our lives. What happens when standing for God, may mean losing what we have. Sometimes when Jesus is right next to you and you aware of it, it will make you feel uneasy.
Jesus is so popular in Jerusalem that day, that if he had of asked for a crown, somebody would have found one and put it on his head. The people are so happy and jubilant, but instead of having a campaign victory party, according to Mark’s gospel, Jesus walks away from it all and heads back into the little city of Bethany.
Jesus never let fame and popularity go to his head. The next day he comes back to Jerusalem to cleanse the temple and to teach the people. Remember no matter how high you rise, like Jesus, you’re primary calling is to do the will of God.
Each of us has been placed where we are in order to be a spokesperson or mouthpiece for God. Don’t let us allow our popularity ratings cause us to be to silent when God wants us to speak. We are living in a time in which what we believe about the Word of God can cause us to lose our job. Recently the CEO of Mozilla, a large internet operating system was forced out of his job by a gay activist group for making a donation in 2008 to a group that supported marriage as between a woman and a man. The legislation passed by a majority of people in the state.
What will you do if someone attacks you on your job because you give an offering each week or month to an organization that believes marriage is between a man and a woman. I was angry that the Plain Dealer listed the story as the CEO being fired for being anti-gay. He was fired because of his belief was that traditional marriage between a man and woman is how marriage was intended by God. That belief does not make you anti-gay .
I had a letter to the editor published online in the Plain Dealer on the 10th this week. I it I pointed out that the gay movement gained tremendous support by claiming their movement was the same as African-Americans. I pointed out that we as African Americans didn’t try to get people fired or demand that they publicly embrace African American culture. We did not care what people thought about us as long as we got the jobs, the education, and the opportunities available to everybody else.
Palm Sunday marks a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. After that triumphant march into the city, Jesus does not do any miracles of healings, casting out of demons, or feeding people. He still prophecies about the future and he curses a fig tree and it dies. But his emphasis is on teaching the message be prepared to meet God and be willing to pay a price to make it happen.
Instead of his crowds getting larger, they are actually shrinking in size. Some people may have been of the mindset, if there’s not going to be any miracles, I don’t have time to come to the meeting today. Why is it, when God does not do what we think He ought to do, the temptation is to say, “well Lord I’m out of here. I can do this badly on my own.”
Jesus’ life is a warning to us, that when God uses us to make a difference, the enemy is going to come back and attack. If Jesus is present in your life and you show it, you will pay a price. There is no way to be faithful to Christ without encountering some form of persecution in our lives. Sometimes it’s the actual act off being faithful that causes us the problem.
More people than ever are determined to kill Jesus after Palm Sunday. Jesus does not to fight to hold on to the praise of the people. His focus is on knowing, He does not come into Jerusalem for the purpose of hearing the praises of the people. He comes into Jerusalem to do the will of God.
Jesus even expects trouble to erupt around him. Before he makes it to Jerusalem, Jesus tells the disciples that the chief priests will arrest him, and have him killed. The disciples brushed it off by saying, “we will never let anything like this happen to you.
We often think, when things go wrong when we’re trying to do right, we have missed the will of God for our lives. The truth is, we may be more in the will of God than ever before. Let’s pick up on Jesus just a few days after Palm Sunday. Jesus washes the disciples feet.
They eat the Last Supper together in the upper room. They cry together because Jesus tells them, on of them is going to betray Him. To make matters even worse, Jesus tells them, “all of you will deny me tonight. They all declare he’s mistaken, and they will stand by his side to the end. Peter state’s he’s ready to die for Jesus.
Then Jesus leads them out to the Mount of Olives. This is a garden area with trees. Everybody is encouraged to spend some time in prayer. Jesus goes a little further from them and has the greatest battle in prayer that He’s known to date. His mission is so great that angels come to minister to him. He’s under such stress as He prepares to die for us, that in praying, the sweat on his forehead falls like drops of blood to the ground.
Luke’s use of the world like, may suggest that the sweat merely fell to the ground like clots of blood. But there is a rare physical phenomenon known as hematidrosis, in which, under great emotional stress, the tiny blood vessels rupture in the sweat glands and produce a mixture of blood and sweat (Luke 22:44).
We pick up the story in Luke 22:47. Jesus finishes praying and goes to the disciples. They are sleeping instead of praying. The disciples are exhausted from sorrow over what Jesus had told them would happen. Judas gets to the garden and lets the crowd know that “Jesus is here.” Jesus wakes them up, just in time to see Judas coming up to Jesus in order to give him a kiss. Since it was dark in the garden, Judas had led a group to come and arrest Jesus. Judas had told the group, “Just to make sure that you get the right one, I’ll go first and give him a kiss.”
To Judas’s surprise, once his lips touched the face of Jesus, Jesus asks Judas, “are you betraying me with a kiss?” Then the crowd appears out of the darkness. The crowd is made up of some soldiers with swords, and some local thugs and hoodlums armed with clubs. It is obvious they intend to bring Jesus in regardless of who they may have to beat or kill to do it.
The disciples are hopelessly outnumbered, but that did not stop the disciples from springing into action. No doubt Peter probably shouted out, “let him go now!” To put a little force behind his words, Peter drew out a sword and with one move, Peter slices of the ear of one of the guys who is probably trying to take Jesus away. There is a scream of pain as the young man’s bloody ear drops to the ground. Blood is trickling down the side of his head.
All of a sudden the sound of swords being drawn from their sheaths is heard from the soldiers as both sides prepare for an imminent battle. The thugs raise their clubs in the air as they prepare to turn on the disciples. Fear grips the eyes of the disciples because there is not turning back now. It’s kill or be killed, or more realistically in the face of these odds, its kill until you are killed.
Let’s pause the battle for a moment. Just a mere three and a half days ago, they were among one of the most popular groups in town. They had marched into Jerusalem right alongside of Jesus. Oh what the people would have given to have been one of the 12 on Palm Sunday. You know something, when we march in with Jesus, we never know where the parade might end.
Whoever tells us you to come to Jesus, and your problems will be over is not telling the whole truth. Jesus puts it this way, whatever people have done to me, they will also do to you. He goes on to say, “these things have I spoken to you that in me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
Let’s go back to the scene in the garden. It’s still dark except for the burning torches the angry mob has brought with them. If you would have been there as a disciple, do you think you would pick up a sword and attack this mob, knowing that in so doing you will most certainly be killed. But on the other hand it is pretty dark out there.
Do you think you might perhaps give in to the temptation to go and run in the opposite direction and hide behind a tree. You know they’re not really after you. They just want Jesus. Think about it. You see that bloody ear on the ground. Your ear, or your arm, or your head could be the next body part to hit the ground.
Let’s pause again. What price are we really willing to pray to further the cause of Christ. What really does happen in our lives when others attack Jesus or his teachings. Do we pick up our sword to speak up for what’s right or do we look into the darkness to run and hide behind a tree with our silence. I regret how often I betray Jesus with my silence only later to say to myself, “I should have said something.” Do you know why I kept my mouth shut. For the some reason many of us do, I preferred the approval of others over the persecution of standing with Christ.
Let’s go back to the garden and let the cameras roll. The blood has infuriated the crowd. The disciples are terrified as they begin to do battle. They hear “attack” as the crowd turns upon them. What hope does a former fisherman have against a soldier trained for battle with the sword.
But above the roar of the mob, you hear a voice that speaks with such authority that everything stops. The clubs come down from over people’s heads, and the silver glistening swords reflecting the torches light are no longer held high. Jesus said, “No more of this.” It became as quiet as it had the day he spoke to the raging sea and all immediately became calm.”
In the quietness of that moment, in compassion and with full authority as the Son Of God, Jesus touches this bloody ear that has been severed off, and places it against the man’s head. Instantly the ear is healed and restored. This is the first healing Jesus has done since Palm Sunday and the last he will do before his death.
Jesus has a rebuke for both his captors and his would be defenders. He asks the mob who have come to take him away, “what are you guys doing trying to attack me under the cover of darkness with swords and a club? Are you cowards? Were you scared to arrest me in the day time when I was in your temple courts?”
Jesus looks at the disciples and says, why are you fighting to defend me. Put your swords away. Do you knot know that I could call on My Father, and instantly there would be 72,000 angels here at my disposal willing to fight for me?”
Jesus is saying I am here, and no matter what you think I am still in charge. I don’t know your particular situation, but I know if you know Jesus, Jesus is still in charge.
If we are going to walk with Christ, there is a certain amount of persecution and rejection we must be willing to endure for the cause of Christ. We should expect it. We should even count it joy to be able to face it. Not everybody is going to like us if we are faithful. It’s sometimes dangerous to pray, Jesus be with me today. There are going to be times when we’d rather Jesus be somewhere else. We want to handle things our way for just a few moments, but the moment we get into trouble we want Jesus to come racing back to our side. Are you glad Jesus does not hold our foolisheness against us.
Not everybody is going to like our message because it’s truth. There are times when we ourselves are not going to like our message. We cannot do what everybody else is doing. We’re going to have to be willing to stand alone at times. We must recognize at times it is going to hurt to be a real follower of Jesus Christ. To choose to follow Christ is the most difficult and courageous decision a person can make. It does not take much effort to follow the devil or our own desires. But Jesus made it clear, if you want what he has to offer, it costs you everything. Some of you think you’re saved because of a prayer you prayed. No what saves you, is allowing God to be at work changing us into what He intended for us to be. Where is Jesus, until we are confident asserting, Jesus is here, we’re not living for Jesus as we are called to do by God.
Palm Sunday began with praises, but the week ended in persecution. Jesus died on a cross for sins He did not commit. If Jesus had of been content with the praises, we would still be lost today. Christ paid a price to love us. Are we willing to pay a price to love Him back?
Sermon Outline Pastor Rick 4/13/2014Palm Sunday
From Praise To Persecution Zech 9:9-10 Luke 19:28-48
Intro: Sermon Series
1. Response To Where Is Jesus
2. A Nut, At The Right Hand, Jesus Is Here
3. PK Jesus Is Coming, Jesus Is Risen Jesus Is Here
4. Looking Forward To Big Day
A. They Want This Young Man As A Candidate
1. Honest, Integrity, Compassion, Vision, Fearless
2. Favorite Of The Masses—Will Not Declare Status
3. There’s A Leak That The Time Has Come
4. Announcement Is Made In Bethany
5. The Walk From Galilee To Jerusalem
B. Riding In On A Donkey’s Colt
1. The Colt Has Never Been Ridden—Sacred Purpose
2. CNN Would Cause Us To Miss The Significance
3. Prophet Zechariah 9:9-10 Already Told About It
4. The Time Has Come—My Time Has Come
C. Palm Sunday—A Day Of Praises & Shouts
1. The Carpeted Road, Coats, Cloaks, Palm Branches
2. Trip From Mount Of Olives To Jerusalem
3. Jesus—Most Popular Of All—He’s In The Race
4. The Crowds Declare That Jesus Is King
5. The Opposition Starts To Arise—Demand Action
6. The Rocks Are Ready To Cry Out
D. Don’t Let The Praises Go To Your Head
1. More People Shout This Day Than Any Day
2. Death Is Still Waiting At The End Of The Week
3. When You’re On Top, Remember Your Purpose
4. A Danger In Wanting To Be Liked
Mozilla CEO Donation 2008
Fired Anti Gay—Donating To New Life At Calvary
My Letter To Plain Dealer
5. Jesus Does Not Celebrate, But Returns To Bethany
6. Primary Call Is To Do The Will Of God
7. We’re Raised To Be Mouth Pieces For God
E. Palm Sunday Marks A Turning Point In Ministry
1. No Miracles, Casting Out Demons, Feedings
2. Emphasis—Be Ready To Meet God—Pay For It
3. The Crowds Get Smaller—Hey Lord I’m Gone
4. If God Uses You—Satan Will Attack You
5. To Be Faithful Requires Some Persecution
6. Lost Job But Spared A Sentence
7. God Knows What The Future Holds
F. Jesus Begins To Make More & More Hit Lists
1. Jesus Lets Go Of The Praises Of People
2. Jesus Stays Focused On Reason For Jerusalem
3. Jesus Expects Trouble
4. When Things Go Wrong—Stay In God’s Will
G. A Few Days After The March On Palm Sunday
1. The Foot Washing, The Last Supper, The Tears
2. The Prophecy Of Betrayal
3. The Promise Of Loyalty No Matter What
4. The Trip To The Garden—Mount Of Olives
5. The Call To Prayer—Angels In The Garden
H. The Betrayal Is Launched
1. The Disciples Are Exhausted From Sorrow 22:47
2. Judas—Out Of The Dark With A Kiss
3. Jesus Surprises Judas With A Question
4. The Crowd, Soldiers, Thugs & Hoodlums
5. Peter Begins The Attack---A Bloody Ear Falls
6. The Swords Are Drawn, The Clubs Are Raised
7. Kill Or Be Killed
I. Going Back Into Time 3 Days Earlier
2. The Disciples Were Very Popular
3. Many Wanted To Trade Places
4. Be Prepared If You March With Jesus
5. Coming To Jesus Does Not Erase All Problems
6. Jesus—In Me You Have Peace—In The World You
Will Have Tribulations. John 16:33
J. Back In The Garden With The Action
1. What Would You Do –Pick Up Your Sword
2. Would You Get Up And Run And Hide
3. What Happens When Other Attack Jesus
4. The Regret Of Keeping My Mouth Shut
5. The Word Attack Is Heard Fisherman vs Soldier
K. Just Four Word Makes A Difference
1. When Jesus Speaks All Others Listen
2. Moment Of Silence, Compassion, Healing
3. Rebuke For Both Captors & Defenders
4. Why Come And Attack At Night
5. What About The 72,000 Angels At My Disposal
Jesus Is In Control—When it Looks Like It Or Not
Jesus Is Here Whether It Looks Like It Or Not
N. Persecution & Rejection Comes With The Calling
1. We Can Count On It Happening
2. Not Everybody Is Going To Like Us
3. The Message Causes Division
4. Willing To Stand Alone
5. Jesus Dying For Sins He Did Not Commit
6. Are We Willing To Pay A Price