Summary: If Jesus came riding down your street, what would you lay down before Him? A message for Palm Sunday.
April 16, 2000
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 bring a large cup of their choice wine to the town square. They said, “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.
A. Palm Sunday is all about a day when the King of Kings was greatly honored. Because people gave the very best they had – a gift of praise.
This day marks the beginning of the end for Jesus’ earthly life. The first day in what was to be his last week. His weekend would take him to a cross on Friday morning, into a tomb on Friday night and all day Saturday, then ultimately result in him being raised to life again on the following Sunday morning. Let’s read from the Bible how the events of Palm Sunday turned out approximately 1967 years ago today.
1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
I. JESUS’ MISSION: TO SAVE
A. Jesus rode into Jerusalem that day on a mission.
It was Passover. The greatest of all the Jewish feasts, and people from all over Israel made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate this holiday commemorating God’s mighty work of freeing the Jews from Egyptian bondage during the days of Moses.
Jesus, already having traveled and taught and performed miracles over the past three years was making what would turn out to be his last trip to this Holy City. He knew what would happen there…how he would be treated…how he would die. But he had a mission.
1. Just a few days earlier he had made the statement, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
2. The word Hosanna literally means “Save!”
“Save!” the crowd shouted. I wonder if Jesus thought, “That’s exactly what I’m here to do. How right you are, but how little you understand.”
3. Without knowing the details, the crowd was clearly articulating what Jesus came to do.
B. As Jesus rode into town, the people let loose with joyous, uninhibited praise.
A crowd of people, probably from his home region of Galilee, gather and shout Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
1. By Jesus’ time, Hosanna had become a common shout of Jewish praise to God.
Hosanna literally meant to save – To say Hosanna was to praise.