Summary: Reflecting on the first Palm Sunday, we see that there is no better mission for our lives than to (a) Encounter Adverse Situations (b) Discover what God desires (c) Freedom from Bondage (d) Bring what God desires.
Opening illustration: There is a legend about an ancient village in Spain. The villagers learned that the king would pay a visit! In a thousand years, a king had never come to that village. Excitement grew! "We must throw a big celebration," The villagers all agreed. But, it was a poor village, and there weren’t many resources. Someone came up with a classic idea. Since many of the villagers made their own wines, the idea was for everyone in the village brings a large cup of their choice wine to the town square, “We’ll pour it into a large vat and offer it to the king for his pleasure! When the king draws wine to drink, it will be the very best he’s ever tasted!” The day before the king’s arrival, hundreds of people lined up to make their offering to the honored guest. They climbed a small stairway, and poured their gift through a small opening at the top. Finally, the vat was full! The King arrived, was escorted to the square, given a silver cup and was told to draw some wine, which represented the best the villagers had. He placed the cup under the spigot, turned the handle, and then drank the wine, but it was nothing more than water. You see every villager reasoned, "I’ll withhold my best wine and substitute water, what with so many cups of wine in the vat, the king will never know the difference!" The problem was, everyone thought the same thing, and the king was greatly dishonored Palm Sunday is all about a day when the King of Kings was greatly honored. Because people gave the very best they had.
Let us turn to Mark 11: 1 – 11 in our Bibles and catch up with the Palm Sunday Mission story and apply it in our own lives by bringing our best and all to Him.
Introduction: Now, we know more about the event described in these verses than Mark tells us. No doubt most of Mark’s readers were familiar with other parts of the story. They recognized Bethany as the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. They knew that a few days before this the Lord had raised Lazarus from the dead, a miracle so dramatic and so public that it created an immense stir and a very hostile reaction on the part of the religious authorities. They knew full well that by this time the Jewish leadership was determined to rid them of Jesus of Nazareth. They knew that messianic fervor, the patriotic expectation of the coming of the long-promised Messiah had reached a fever pitch both because it was Passover, the most patriotic time of the year for Jews, and because of the very public approach to Jerusalem of Jesus and his entourage. The welcome afforded Jesus on that Sunday morning was a sudden but predictable explosion of the crowd’s pent-up enthusiasm, however misplaced, however based on a complete misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission. They wanted more miracles and he came to suffer and die for sinners.
Mark’s readers knew very well that the enthusiasm of the crowd would turn into a savage blood-lust just a few days later when it became clear that Jesus had no intention of meeting their expectations. They knew that in entering the city as he did, accepting the applause of the people as he did, allowing them to greet him as virtually a king, as he did, he was, as the great Dutch preacher Klaas Schilder put it, “putting his hand on the latch of the door of the house of sorrows.” He was orchestrating the events that would lead to his crucifixion four days later.
What is the Mission for Palm Sunday? (Verse 2 & 3)
1. Encounter Adverse Situations ~ “Go into the village opposite you …”
Jesus had instructed His disciples to go into the village opposite to where they were.
A situation which was contrary to your comfort zone.
Villages in Asia live in rivalry with one another. They can go to the extent of killing one another for a piece of land. Why did Jesus not arrange for a donkey within their own village? Jesus was testing His disciples as to whether they would be willing to take this first bold step in what was about to come on Good Friday. This was only a preliminary test for the disciples.
When God puts us in adverse situations for the purpose of extending His Kingdom, it matters a lot as to how we handle and respond to it. It is just a test and greater things are yet to come.
Illustration: Personal experience of going to the Middle-East when we were not open to God’s Call in our lives. A place contrary to what we were used to or had imagined life to be all about. God put us in that situation to humble us that we will be dependent on Him alone and will become passionate about Him.