Summary: Do what Jesus says -- even when it doesn’t make sense. Give what Jesus wants -- even when it isn’t easy. Feel what Jesus feels -- even when others don’t. Receive what Jesus offers -- even when others won’t.
Every Member a Worshipper
Rev. Brian Bill
A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mom. When church was over, his dad returned holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, “Why do you have that palm branch, dad?” The dad told him the story about Jesus coming into town and how the people waved palm branches to greet Him. The little boy’s face fell and he replied, “What a bummer! The one time I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!”
Most of us know a little about Palm Sunday so I thought I’d begin with a true/false pop quiz to find out whether our information is accurate or not (adapted from christianitytoday.com).
1. According to the gospels, the people waved palm branches when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. False. None of the four Gospels say the people “waved” branches but that they spread garments and branches in Jesus’ path. Only John mentions palm branches (see Matthew 21:6; Mark 11:8; Luke 19:36; John 12:13).
2. When the people spread branches and garments in Jesus’ path it was to pay Him honor. True. It was common in Bible times to spread garments in the path of princes and kings, especially at their coronation (see 2 Kings 9:13).
3. The pilgrims who praised Jesus were there for a holiday celebration known as “Palm Sunday.” False. People were pouring into Jerusalem for the Jewish feast of Passover.
4. The shouts of “Hosanna!” meant “Praise the Lord!” False. Halleluiah means “Praise the Lord;” Hosanna means “save us!”
5. By their actions, the people were publicly proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah. True. When Solomon was anointed king, he rode into the city on a mule, to the shouts and praises of the people (see 1 Kings 1:43-45).
One of my preaching purposes today is to pull out some exciting details in the popular Palm Sunday story so that when we’re finished, we’ll be filled with praise and want to sing again.
Even though all the gospels record the events of this amazing day, we’re going to camp in Luke’s account found in 19:28-44.
Luke makes it clear that the Savior is steadfastly set on getting to Jerusalem and there is nothing that will get in His way. Even though He stopped to minister to people, he never lost sight of His final goal. Look at Luke 9:51: “…Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” And Luke 18:31-34: “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.’ The disciples did not understand any of this.”
In his book “And the Angels were Silent,” Max Lucado writes, “Forget any suggestion that Jesus was trapped. Erase any theory that Jesus made a miscalculation. Ignore any speculation that the cross was a last-ditch attempt to salvage a dying mission. For if these words tell us anything, they tell us that Jesus died...on purpose. No surprise. No hesitation. No faltering. No, the journey to Jerusalem didn’t begin in Jericho. It didn’t begin in Galilee. It didn’t even begin in Bethlehem. The journey to the cross began long before. As the echo of the crunching of the fruit was still sounding in the garden, Jesus was leaving for Calvary.”
In order to understand what is about to take place in our passage today, it’s important to grasp at least five backstage details.
1. Everyone in Israel knew that the Messiah would be enthroned as King in Jerusalem. The Old Testament makes it very clear that the coming King would do His main work in the city of David.
2. The Passover feast was just about to begin. This celebration brought thousands of spiritual pilgrims to Jerusalem and fueled the fires of spiritual and messianic expectations. Here’s a cool thing. On the very day that Jesus, the Lamb of God, entered Jerusalem; families would have chosen their lamb to be sacrificed. This yearly reminder served to help the Israelites never forget that it was the blood of the lamb that provided their deliverance. Check this out. While the people are sacrificing their own lambs on Friday of that week, Jesus the Lamb of God is about to be slain once-for-all, for the remission of sins. For more about these cool connections, be sure to attend our Good Friday service at 7:00 p.m.
3. This exact day may line up with the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. According to commentator Dwight Pentecost and others, God’s timetable as set forth in Daniel involves seventy “weeks” of years or seventy times seven, which is 490 years. The first week would start with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem under the decree of King Artaxerxes, which was March 28, 445 B.C. Over the next sixty-nine weeks or four hundred eighty-three years, Jerusalem would be restored and rebuilt and the Messiah would present himself to Israel right on schedule, to the exact day! (“The Words and Works of Jesus Christ,” pages 374-376).