Summary: A Palm Sunday message to prepare people for the Holy Week.
THE MEANING OF HOLY WEEK
About 2000 years ago an event occurred in the Middle East that changed the world permanently. We’ll never be the same again. In fact, we date our calendars by this event. Every time you write a date, you’re using the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the focal point. A.D. and B.C. History was split by this one event.
What’s so important about what we now call Holy Week? What’s the big deal about it? Why are the events of that first Holy Week and Easter often on the cover of major national news magazines? Why is Jesus still on the cover 2000 years later?
Because it was the week that proved Jesus was who He claimed to be. He was God and He came to earth to save us.
The events that happened on that Holy Week occurred in a dramatic succession of events. There was his triumphant entry on Palm Sunday, which we are celebrating today. Then there was the Last Super with his disciples on Thursday, the trial of Jesus late that night, then there was the death of Jesus on Friday, and finally the resurrection of Jesus on the next Sunday. I want to briefly consider three events of that week—Jesus’ trial death and resurrection, and the implications for us here this morning.
Jesus actually went through six trials. They arrested Him at night and they arrested Him secretly because He was so popular they didn’t want an uprising in the city of Jerusalem. Then He went through three religious trials and then He went through three civil trials.
First He went to Annas, then a trial before Caiaphas the high priest. Then a trial before the Sanhedrin, the religious Supreme Court. Then He went before Pilate, the governor of Jerusalem. Then Herod, the governor of Galilee. Then He was back to Pilate again. He went through six different trials, all night.
When they finished those six trials, what did they have to accuse Him of? Nothing. He had done nothing wrong. They had no crime against Him, no accusation that would stick. They brought in people to make up phony charges but they didn’t stick. Finally they got Him convicted on one count. He claims to be the Son of God. That’s why they put Jesus on the cross. He claims to be the Son of God.
Matthew 26 “The priests were looking for false evidence against Jesus so they could put Him to death but they didn’t find anything. Then they said, `Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.’ `Yes, it is as you say,’ said Jesus. Then they spit in His face and struck Him with their fists and others slapped Him.” Notice: Jesus never claimed to be a good man. He never claimed to be a moral leader. He never claimed to be a great teacher. He said, “I’m God. I’m the only way to heaven. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”
That kind of changes the agenda a little bit. For instance, if I were to say, “I’m a good teacher.” Some of you would say, “Yes, he is a good teacher.” If I were to say, “I’m a good man and I’m an ethical person and I teach good moral principles.” You might agree with that. But if all of a sudden I stood up here one Sunday morning and said, “By the way, I’m god! And the only way you’re ever going to get to heaven is to put your trust in me.” would you relate and feel a little bit differently about me? Yes, it’d force you to make a decision.
If you ever meet anybody who claims to be God, you only have three options. One, believe he’s an idiot. The guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s mentally deficit. The lights are on but nobody’s home. He’s deluded. Like the guy on the funny farm who thinks he’s Napoleon. That’s one option when a guy tells you, “I’m god.” He just doesn’t know what he’s talking about and you feel pity for him.
Two, you could say, “I believe he’s a deceiver. A shyster, a swindler. He’s trying to con me into believing he’s something he’s not and he probably wants my money.” There are a lot of people like that out there. They’re all over. People who will tell you they are something they’re not in order to get something out of you.
Third opinion is to say, “I believe you’re telling the truth. In that case I need to fall down and worship you, obey you, and follow you.”
Everybody in this room has already made some kind of decision about Jesus Christ. You either believe He’s a liar or you believe He’s a lunatic or you believe He’s the Lord. It can’t just be: “I believe He was a good teacher.” He couldn’t be a good teacher because a good teacher would not say, “I’m god and I’m the only way to heaven.” A good person would not say that unless it was the truth. And if it’s not true we ought to close up shop and go home. You have to decide is Jesus deluded, is He an intentional deceiver or is He deity? Is He really who He said He was? God.