Summary: A sermon for Palm Sunday.
“A Mismatch between Our Expectations and God’s Answer”
By: Ken Suaer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chatt., TN eastridgeumc.org
Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem just five days before His bloody Crucifixion is one of the stories that all four Gospel writers tell us about.
Everybody remembers that day!
It was a joyful and glorious day.
It was a time of excitement, optimism, and renewed national pride for the Israelites.
What starts with a handful of disciples offering their praise to God turns into a citywide celebration!!!
And if we think about it, we can appreciate why.
After all, the people of Jerusalem had been waiting for something like this for a long time!!!
Their hope was that Jesus would launch a revolution against the Romans and free the Holy city from Roman occupation.
Still, if the truth be told, all of their hosannas couldn’t hide the fact that Jesus is not quite what they expected Him to be.
Most conquering Kings ride into town on a White Stallion—ready for war.
Jesus came on this little colt of a donkey that almost left His feet dragging on the ground.
Plus there was no sword in His hand nor any weapon attached to His saddle.
In fact, Jesus doesn’t even have a saddle, only someone’s old overcoat.
As we watch Jesus entering Jerusalem with friends and followers waving palms, not swords, we see into the heart of God.
And at least one thing is clear: Jesus doesn’t come to us on our terms.
Jesus comes on God’s terms.
Yet, He comes.
And that is a very good thing!!!
The people wanted a prophet, but this Prophet would tell them that their city was under God’s imminent judgment.
The people wanted a Messiah, but Jesus—the Messiah--was about to be enthroned on a horrible, bloody Cross.
The people wanted to be rescued from evil and oppression, and Jesus was going to rescue them from evil…
…but from evil in its fullest depths, not just the surface evil that they could see.
Those who believed in Christ would have their “hearts circumcised” or “changed” inwardly not necessarily their outward situations.
The story of Jesus’ grand, but surprising entry into Jerusalem is a great lesson in the mismatch between our expectations and God’s answer!!!
The crowds wanted Jesus to conquer in the worldly way.
Jesus would conquer through serving, loving and laying down His life to save those who will believe.
The “Hosannas” of Palm Sunday were justified, but not for the reasons the people had supposed.
And to learn this lesson is to take huge steps towards wisdom and humility and genuine Christian faith!!!
Jesus comes as Jerusalem’s King to bring salvation, but salvation means much more than relief from an oppressive government.
Jesus comes to free people from themselves!!!
Jesus comes to free people from self-hatred and selfishness…
…from our broken relationship with God!!!