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Summary: Palm Sunday Message.


Palm Sunday

March 16, 2008

Pastor Brian Matherlee

• A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, dad?" "You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, and so we got Palm Branches today." The little boy replied, "Boy, the one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!"

The parade of palms was a clear understanding on the part of the crowd tying the expectation of the delivering Messiah to Jesus of Nazareth. They are shouting praise from Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” They added “Hosanna!” Which means, “save”. This means they are proclaiming, “Jesus, you are the expression of God’s deliverance!”

The deliverance of God expressed in a Psalm which expresses beautifully the love of God. God delivered us through Jesus because of His love.

In Psalm 118, the Psalmist tells us that God’s love is enduring. What does it mean?

God’s enduring love is…

1. Character based

a. It is based on His unchanging character not our changing whims-God loves because that is who He is.

b. Young ones hoping for love pay the game with flower petals, he loves me, he loves me not…

c. If we played that with God’s love toward us it would simply be, he loves me, he loves me, he loves me….

d. Peter was so sure of his devotion to Jesus. He was the first one to rise up, leap out, and proclaim for the cause of Jesus. But Jesus told Peter he wouldn’t always be that way. In fact Peter was told he would deny Jesus 3 times. Peter couldn’t fathom this. “Never!” He declared. But he did.

e. Has anybody ever let you down? Have you ever been let down repeatedly? Not the kind of sophomoric whims of young friends but the deep betrayal of someone you have invested in, someone who had stood strong with you and made so many promises only to let them fall. The Bible tells us that Jesus was betrayed by Judas…but I imagine Peter’s denial hurt all the same.

f. Yet Jesus didn’t turn his back on Peter. He appeared to him and restored him before His ascension. Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” He was loving Peter and rebuilding that relationship, not because of Peter’s actions past, present or future, but because of His love.

God’s enduring love brings…

2. Deliverance

a. Concern about outcomes (v. 6)

i. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones encounters a sword wielding Arabian. He calmly faces the man, pulls out his revolver and shoots him to escape.

ii. The Psalmist says, “What can man do to me?” In Matthew 10:28 Jesus expresses this by proclaiming, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” The Apostle Paul states, “I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:18-21

iii. That reminds me of the old story about an elderly missionary returning to the United States to retire. He & his wife had spent over 40 years serving in Africa. But now he was alone. His wife & two children had long since found their final resting place in the soil of Africa. As he got off the plane he saw a great crowd of people waiting at the gate. Some were holding signs, others were waving banners, & he could even hear sounds of music above the shouting voices. For a few seconds he thought, "Can it be? After more than 40 years of service, all of these people have actually come out to welcome me home?"

But no, that was not the case. On his plane was a politician returning from a visit to Africa. During his visit he had been catered to & waited upon & all his needs had been met. And now he was being welcomed back with all the ceremony his nation could provide. As he waited & waited at the airport, the contrast was almost more than the old missionary could bear. For a moment he began feeling sorry for himself, & he started to pray. "Father in Heaven, why? I’ve served You faithfully & for so long, & yet, look. I don’t expect much. But is it wrong to desire that there be some kind of a welcome home?" Then, almost as if God had spoken out loud, the old missionary heard Him say, "But my son, you’re not home yet."

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