Summary: To experience the Victory of the King and live a life triumphant you need to make Jesus the center of your attention, you need to worship with abandon, and you need to teach and mentor your children.
This Sunday is a day Christians all over the world call Palm Sunday. At the beginning of the last week of Jesus life, before his horrific torture and execution, throngs of people came out of their homes and businesses to honor their messiah as he entered the city of Jerusalem. They were hoping that Jesus was the one promised in the Scriptures who would deliver them from Roman rule. You can blame the people for the misunderstanding I guess, but, the fault really belongs with their teachers who just had it all wrong. There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the messiah. Here are some: Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Psalm 132:11 and there are many, many more.
But, Jesus rode a donkey. It was a tongue in cheek move. When a king rode into a city in triumph he would choose the best, biggest, most pranciest and handsome horse available. The King of kings chose a donkey. It's funny. Jesus is also making a subtle point. He's not the conquering messiah, the people are making him out to be.
But they don't get it. They are overcome with emotion in the moment. Palm branches and coats are laid out in front of Jesus as he rides through the street. Jewish people did this back in the day of Jesus, laying out palm branches and coats and waving them all around was the symbol of celebrating triumph and victory. And the crowds quoted Psalm 118:25-26 They chanted, "Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success. Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord."
Over a thousand years before the first Palm Sunday there was another triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:15-17) This time it's the ancestor of Jesus, David, who is bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem for the first time.
As we look at these two triumphant and victorious parades there are some significant comparisons:
Both Jesus and David are kings. Both are the center of attention. There are those who are celebrating with the king, and those in the crowd suspicious of his motives. Both kings are celebrating a defining truth that God seeks to live with His people. David was bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. (the Ark of the Covenant was designed by God as a meeting place for him and the High Priest in the inner room of the tabernacle.) Exodus 25:22 And Jesus was bringing himself into the city as the ultimate lamb of atonement for all the people. 1 Peter 1:19 And both stories mention the faith of children in their king. 2 Samuel 6:22; Matthew 21:16
Let's put ourselves in these triumphant parades and ask ourselves some important questions.
1. Is the King the center of your attention?
For everyone who was present in Jerusalem on each of these occasions the king demanded their full attention. For Jesus they were shouting "Hosanna!" which literally means "Save us!" For David they were celebrating with him as the Ark was being brought to Jerusalem for the first time. For Jesus they were praising him and shouting his name, for David they were shouting with joy and blowing horns. Of course we are fickle by nature. Those who were praising Jesus and begging for him to save them, would in a week be crying for his execution. This is the power of public opinion. It's always been this way. We hardly ever wait for the facts, we just assume if everyone else is thinking one way, then it must be the right way to think.
Is God the center of your life? Even if it means that others, including friends and family, may not understand your passion to serve Jesus Christ, do you serve Him faithfully?
And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
You adulterers![a] Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.