Summary: This message focuses on the words of Jesus from the Cross. As we think about the final words of Jesus as he hung on the cross we begin to understand the pain, passion and love Jesus had for you and for me.

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Journey Toward Easter

Matthew 21:1-11

Today we begin our journey toward Easter. Passion week starts with the march of Jesus into Jerusalem. We celebrate the Triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday next Sunday. The last week of Christ’s public ministry was jam packed and filled with action. One third of the four gospels are given to recording the events of the last week of Christ’s public ministry.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey the news of his grand parade spread fast and Jesus became the talk of the town. As soon as people heard the news they quickly ran to watch the parade of people pass by and many joined in the march.

The prophet Zechariah had predicted the march into Jerusalem. Zechariah 9:9 – Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey --- even the donkey’s colt.”

Whispers and questions quickly traveled from one person to another, “Who is this man?” From that day to this people are still asking that same question: “Who is this Jesus?”

Some people in the crowd probably replied that –

Jesus was a skilled carpenter.

Jesus was a great man.

Jesus was a great teacher.

Jesus was from Nazareth in Galilee.

Many in the crows answered: “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.”

What is you answer to the question? Who is Jesus to you? Is He just a man or is He the Messiah, God’s only Son? Is He your personal Savior and Lord?

To many the name Jesus is just a name to use when disgusted and angry. When I visited the church our youngest daughter Janette McDugald attends in Florida, saw the subject the Pastor was going to preach on in the future: “God’s last name is not Dam!”

Why is it that people in America use the name of Jesus in vain? Why don’t they say another name in history like, “Abraham Lincoln” or “Mahatma Gandhi?” Exodus 20:7 gives a clear command: “Do not misuse the name of the Lord God.”

Jesus had a clear vision for His mission for the last week of his public ministry. He knew His mission was to go to Jerusalem and complete God’s mission. Christ’s compassion and love compelled him to go to Jerusalem.

If you had one week left to live for the Lord how would you spend you time? As we look at a harmony of the four Gospels we see just how action packed the last week of Jesus really was.

• Jesus cursed an unproductive Fig Tree.

• He cleansed the temple and drove out merchants who had turned the temple into a place of business. Jesus said his House was to be a place of Prayer.

• Jesus debated with Chief Priests, scribes and elders about his authority to do and say what He was doing.

• Jesus told three parables about “Two Sons, Wicked Tenants, and Guests at the wedding feast of the kings men.”

• Jesus debated with the Pharisees and Herodians about paying taxes to Caesar.

• Jesus debated with the Saducees about the resurrection.

• Jesus pronounced woes upon the Scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites.

• Jesus praised a widow for giving her small offering because she gave everything she had.

• Jesus gave teachings on the destruction of Jerusalem, the close of the age, the second coming of Christ, the coming judgment, and the importance of being ready for Christ’s second coming.

• Jesus warned His disciples of his arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

• Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive ointment in the house of Simon in Bethany.

• Jesus had his disciples prepare for the Last Supper to celebrate the Passover. Before the supper Jesus washed the feet of the disciples.

• Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane with Peter, James, and John, but they slept most of the time.

• Judas led the chief priests and scribes and elders to Jesus and betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

• Jesus is tried and condemned before Pilate then Herod and back to Pilate. Barabbas is release and Jesus is hung on the cross on a hill called Golgotha, the place of a skull.

As we prepare for Easter I want us to reflect on the words of Jesus from the Cross. As we think about the final words of Jesus as he hung on the cross we begin to understand the pain, passion and love Jesus had for you and for me.

This past week as I meditated on the words of Jesus from the cross I sensed anew His pain and compassion. I tried to think of words beginning with “C” to highlight the 7 last phrases of Jesus from the cross as they appear in the harmony of the Gospels.

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