Summary: A sermon for Palm Sunday to encourage people to encounter Jesus, the true king.
We are nearly there.
It’s nearly Easter.
Maybe you are looking forward to that extra dose of chocolate.
Perhaps your looking forward to an extra day or two off.
Maybe it’s a chance to catch up with someone
or some things.
And it is also a wonderful opportunity to spend time with the most important person in your life.
God…the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
At Easter time you get to share with God and with other Christians,
and experience probably the two extremities of the Christian faith.
On Good Friday we hear and experience the suffering and death of our saviour, Jesus.
Then Sunday morning we join in the celebrations.
Celebrating His triumph over death.
Celebrating His resurrection.
However, before this could happen Jesus had to complete his journey to the cross.
And today Palm Sunday begins the final leg of Jesus’ journey.
It is the start of Holy Week.
This leg of the journey is very public.
It’s a little like a royal trip,
where the itinerary is known
and people no matter who they are can observe and even be part of the journey.
Like other aspects of the journey,
we get to see more of Jesus,
more of His character,
who he is!!
And some of his traits.
It also highlights some things about us.
About our habits.
Particularly when we are with others.
Or with Jesus.
In verses 1-3, Jesus does something that sounds a little strange.
He sends two of his disciples off to go and pick up a donkey and a colt that just happens to be in a village close by.
And if anyone questions them about it,
they are to reply the Lord needs them.
Some people may even say, "Hey Jesus is being a little cheeky’ taking someone elses donkey for his own use.”
But we should put this in perspective.
Listen to Psalm 24 verse 1,
’The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.’
And Psalm 50:10-11
’for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are mine.’
That’s right everything on this earth is the Lord’s.
Everything that you can see, feel, touch, smell or taste not only comes from God,
but also is His.
Now that doesn’t mean I can come around to you a demand that you hand everything over to the church for the use of the Lord’s work.
What it does mean though is that every single thing we have,
we should first remember is not ours,
everything we have belongs to God.
And we have been given the responsibility to look after it.
And to use it for the purpose of bringing Jesus and His love to people.
What I found amazing is that Jesus expected this to happen and it did.
It demonstrates that Jesus had respect and recognition amongst the community.
But Why an ass???
Why did Jesus choose a donkey?
Was it for the donkey’s stubborness, in all situations.
In 1828…Andrew Jackson stood as a presidential candidate in America.
His opponents and the media quickly labelled him a donkey, in an attempt to discredit him.
He declared he was delighted to be called a donkey.
Infact he adopted it as his mascot,
because donkeys are hard working, sturdy creatures, able to carry heavy loads and willing to serve.
Jesus chose the donkey, however for another reason.
As verse 4 and 5 indicates,
the donkey was chosen to fulfil scripture.
In other words it was part of Jesus plan in saving us
and in riding a donkey it demonstrated the type of king Jesus is.
A king who was humble
A king who came in peace…the donkey represents peace.
A king as Graham Kendrick emphasises in his song, the SERVANT king.
Yet, was this the type of king the locals were expecting?
They were probably expecting a strong,
stern fellow to overthrow the foreign rulers that they had been putting up with, not just for yearse, but for generations.
They had been waiting for this moment for some time.
And in rides their king, humbly on a donkey.
Many of Jesus followers still had faith at this stage that his plans to become king were still on track.
They laid the way for Him, with coats and branches.
They expected him to save them.
However the sight of Jesus on a donkey caused problems in Jerusalem.
We read in verse 10 the whole city was shaken as he entered Jerusalem.
Imagine the scene for a moment.
Here was this character riding a donkey.
Into a city that was attempting to accommodate 3 times as many people who live there.
And his followers were calling him the Son of David.