Summary: We all need to take our own Palm Sunday Journey; not to a physical Cross, but to purposely go to Calvary on the inside, and die to self-rule, so that we can live in the Lord's power and HIs direction.
A Palm Sunday JOURNEY
Palm Sunday 2015
Eric J. Hanson
INTRODUCTION (Read John 12:1-19)
The reason Jesus came into Jerusalem on that Sunday long ago was not to get a thrill. He did not come into the capital city in order to set up an Earthly kingdom while his popularity was peaking and he had countless followers. He did not come, even to overthrow the religious establishment and re-direct the Temple worship according to God’s intentions for how it should have been carried out.
No, his journey into Jerusalem, amidst the loud hosannas and the palm branches waved in His honor was to be a journey to death. Jesus was not swayed from his mission by the adoring crowds. He was there for one reason only. That was to die for the sin of the World. At this point in his Earthly life, the Lord had kept the law of God perfectly for some 33 years. He had indeed now come to the place where the Law of God, the moral code, which all people fall short of, would soon be fulfilled, and Jesus could take his stand against the death penalty of sin, by absorbing that penalty himself.
Jesus, the Christ, knew that there were no shortcuts to this massive business of the redemption of lost mankind. He set his face like flint toward the cross to come, and He refused to be turned aside. This coming Friday, we will commemorate the momentous occasion of the crucifixion. We will remember those dark hours when He who knew no sin became sin for us. We will remember the passion of the Christ. We will remember the awful moment when the Father turned away from his unbroken communion with the Son because the sin of the World had just been placed upon His righteous frame. All these things we will contemplate, and seek to understand the enormity of them, the enormity of our collective guilt, and the enormity of God’s mercy and grace toward us.
Then on Sunday morning we will gather; some of us at 6:00 AM, to remember that Jesus is alive forever; that He came out of the tomb on the morning of the third day. We will gather to remember that death could not hold Him, because sin died with Him We will celebrate with music and feasting and words of joy. Then we will go out to serve Him.
BODY OF MESSAGE
But there is another Palm Sunday Journey that we need to consider; our own journey to death. I’m not talking today about growing old and then physically dying. I’m talking instead about the journey to death that God commands believers to take by means of our choosing. Let’s consider the following scriptures.
In our efforts to walk free from sin, there is only one road to success. Sin has power to overcome even our most sincere and strenuous efforts to defeat it. To simply make a new resolution to never again lose your temper, overeat, or look on a woman with a lustful thought is something that is doomed to failure. All our efforts to achieve victory through self effort will collapse under the weight of sin. If this was not true, Jesus would not have died for the sin of the World. Galatians 2:21 states “…if righteousness could be gained through the Law, Christ died for nothing.”
How many times have people come forward to make a fresh commitment to leave sin behind, or to share the Gospel with others who don’t know the Lord, only to give up in discouragement after very little success and much failure. The altars of church buildings, youth camps, and convention centers are stained with tears of regret and remorse. Countless thousands have gone forth with the best of intentions, only to falter and give up
under the crushing weight of sin’s power. Pastors, evangelists, and youth ministers exhorting the flock to do better, have only the best of intentions in what they share, but lasting change eludes their efforts because human effort is not equal to this task!
Victory over sin, and empowerment to share the Gospel, with no fear and no embarrassment, begins with faith in the reality that you and I were in Christ being crucified at Calvary some 1985 years ago. We, though not yet born or even conceived, were in Him dying. Then, early the next Sunday, we were in Him coming to life. Then we were in Him reigning in everlasting life! We are today hidden in Jesus Christ as part of His body! As I Corinthians 12:27 says: “Now you are the Body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it!”
This whole scenario of being in Jesus Christ in his death, burial, resurrection, and reign, is truly a mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a case of unseen things being more important and more powerful than seen things are. If we do not abide in this set of truths, if we do not apprehend this, if we do not enter into this by positive choice, embracing our own Palm Sunday journey; our own journey to death- and hence to life, we can never truly know victory over besetting sins. We can never truly know victory over fears of various kinds which hold us back. We can never truly know what it is to walk with our Savior, empowered by His life and His mind in us, rather than by our own thoughts and impulses.