Summary: A sermon for Palm Sunday that encourages us to see that Jesus is God's choice...which is far better than the people's choice...
The recent Western Australia Senate elections highlighted something about the human condition. We are a fickled lot. Some people and parties dropped in popularity but up to 7% from 2013 to 2014.
Highlighting it doesn’t take much for us to change our mind from praising and following someone to rejecting them.
At times we treat people like last year’s Christmas present, we loved it for a short time but now have lost interest in it and are looking for someone or something new to please us.
And today’s bible reading from Matthew chapter 21 verses 1 to 11 highlights that this is exactly what is about to happen with Jesus as we prepare for the final run home to Easter.
By this time in Jesus’ life Jesus had developed quite a following.
Matthew chapter 20 verse 29 says a large crowd was following Him.
Was it because they thought he would make their life more comfortable now?
Was it because he had great teaching or was an engaging speaker?
Was it because he was fulfilling some of the prophecies that what we know as the Old Testament speaks about?
Was it because he was going to lead them to regaining some power?
Was it because they knew he was the Messiah. the one sent from God?
Or was it because they understood that Jesus was going to be the one who fixed up their relationship with God?
It could have been all of the above.
To get a better grasp on today’s reading from Matthew chapter 21 verses 1 to 11 there are a few things to remember.
Firstly the Gospel of Matthew is written to primarily to a Jewish audience.
A group of people who believed they were God’s special people.
However they were also a group of people who for years had encountered persecution and oppression.
Although they were living in their own land, they were being ruled by foreign powers.
Foreign powers who worshipped and praised not the Triune God but foreign gods and wanted others to do the same.
They felt powerless and they were looking for a leader to over throw these foreign leaders.
They were waiting for God to deliver them from this life of misery and difficulties.
Now does their situation sound familiar to your life.
Do you at times feel like you are under some form of oppression because of the society you live in?
Do you feel like a foreigner in your own land?
Are you waiting for God to do something?
If you do…then you are not alone!!!
There is good reason for this….
Earth, this time of your life, is not your home….
1 Peter chapter 2 verses 11 and 12 remind us of this
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
The difference between us and the Jewish people of Jesus day, is that even though at times we both feel oppressed as we live our lives under earthly rulers who are not ruling in a way that is consistent with God,
it is clear through the scriptures that this life is not where we are supposed to be.
God clearly says this life is only temporary.
He even says we are aliens, foreigners on earth.
As a consequence we shouldn’t be surprised when people have different standards, rules to live by and focuses that are not consistent God.
And God encourages us not to be distracted by these but rather remain focussed on Him and His way of life.
he simply encourages us to remain focussed on what is important to Him, to allow His way of life to guide us and influence us.
and why because God has something better in store, a life of with Him forever.
A life where we will be praising God continuously and living in harmony with everyone else in heaven.
A life where we won’t be oppressed but rather not only feel we are on top of the world but actually we will be on top of the world.
And for this to happen Jesus needed to enter Jerusalem….
And for those who knew the prophecies…they probably had a good feeling about Jesus….
He was entering on a donkey…..
which is part of the prophecy of Zechariah
A prophecy written around 500 years before the events that took place on that first palm Sunday…
Listen again to what it says
9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,