Summary: This message focuses on Jesus entering Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) and how He handled adversity.
Palm Sunday: Handling Adversity
Scriptures: Mark 10:32-34; 11:1-10
We traditionally celebrate the Sunday before Easter as Palm Sunday in recognition of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus entered Jerusalem with the full knowledge that He would not leave in the same manner in which He entered. His walking into a situation that would lead to His death gives us insight into how we can handle adversity. This will be a two part message as I will complete this story next Sunday which will be Easter. But, before we go into this message, I want to share with you a story I received in an email from my uncle. The story is called “Carrots, Eggs and Coffee.”
“A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up as she was tired of fighting and struggling. Her mother, after listening to her, rose and took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots of water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first pot she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
After about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots and eggs out and placed them in separate bowls. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’ ‘Carrots, eggs and coffee,’ she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother asked her daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, the inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they changed the water. ‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, and egg, or a coffee bean?” We will examine the answer to this question as it related to Jesus, His disciples and to each of us.
I. Jesus Foretells His Suffering
As we consider the story that I just shared with you, let’s examine what took place before Jesus entered into Jerusalem. In Mark 10:32-34 we find the following words: “There were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, saying, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.” In these verses we find that before He entered into Jerusalem, Jesus understood the situation that He was walking into. He knew that He would not leave Jerusalem the same way in which He entered it. He knew that He would be facing adversity and he knew that not only would it change Him, it would change Him for the good of all.
We have been trained to believe that adversity comes so that we can be crushed. Sometimes people are crushed under their adversity, but this is not the way in which it has to be. As Jesus was walking with His disciples headed towards Jerusalem He had plenty of time to reflect on His life and on His upcoming death, but He walked on anyway. How many times have we known adversity was before us and we tried out best to find a way to avoid it, only to hit it head on? The Bible makes it clear that we will face times of adversity, but it also tells us the source for making it through those times. Psalm 46:1 says that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” We will face adversity, trials and tribulations, but the question that must be answered by each of us is whether or not we will be changed (negatively) by the adversity or will we change the adversity. Are we the carrot, the egg or the coffee bean? Let’s examine Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.