Sermons

Summary: By starting with Palm Sunday, we journey through the significant days of Holy Week that lead to the victory on Easter Sunday.

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THERE IS A CERTAIN TIME OF YEAR THAT HAS ALWAYS PERPLEXED ME AS A PASTOR. IT IS A TIME THAT SHOULDN’T. I AM SPEAKING OF THE WEEKS OF LENT AND THE HOLY WEEK.

FOR SOME STRANGE REASON, I HAVE HAD TO ADDRESS AND DEFEND THE FACT THAT THESE ARE NOT OBSERVANCES RESERVED ONLY FOR THE CATHOLIC FAITH. THE REMEMBRANCES ARE FOR ALL CHRISTIANS TO REFLECT ON WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE FOR US.

I WANT TO FOCUS TODAY ON THE EIGHT DAYS THAT ARE COMPRISED OF TODAY AND THIS FOLLOWING WEEK. THE DAYS THAT FULLY EMBRACE PALM SUNDAY, MAUNDY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY, HOLY SATURDAY AND EASTER DAY. THE DAYS THAT CAN BE SUMMARIZED INTO TWO WORDS: HOLY WEEK.

CHRISTIANS EVERYWHERE GATHER TO REMEMBER WHAT JESUS CHRIST HAS DONE FOR THEM THAT THEY COULD NEVER HAVE DONE FOR THEMSELVES! SO WHAT DOES EACH DAY MEAN?

PALM SUNDAY: THE MOST DRAMATIC OF DAYS AS IT CELEBRATES BOTH THE JOY OF JESUS’ TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM AND HIS REJECTION AND CRUCIFIXION.

JESUS COMES RIDING ON A DONKEY AS IF TO SAY, "HERE I AM, THE LAMB OF GOD, ON MY WAY TO THE THRONE BY WAY OF THE CROSS. WILL YOU CHOOSE ME AS YOUR LAMB, AS YOUR SACRIFICE, AND THROUGH THAT SACRIFICE, AS YOUR KING?"

BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THEY DIDN’T QUITE GET THAT MESSAGE. THEY BEGIN STRIPPING PALM BRANCHES OFF THE TREES AND BEGAN LAYING THEM IN THE PATHWAY OF JESUS.

THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT POINT BECAUSE PALM BRANCHES WERE TO THE JEWS OF THAT DAY WHAT OUR FLAG MEANS TO US TODAY. JUST LIKE WE WOULD WAVE OUR FLAG IN THE FESTIVE OCCASION OF THE FOURTH OF JULY, THE JEWS WAVED THEIR "FLAG" (PALM BRANCHES) SHOUTING "HOSANNA" WHICH MEANS "SAVE US NOW!"

THEY WANTED JESUS TO BE THEIR POLITICAL LEADER INSTEAD OF A SPIRITUAL SAVIOR. THEY WANTED TO BE SAVED POLITICALLY FROM ROME. THEY WANTED JESUS TO BE A MILITARY LEADER TO KNOCK THE WEIGHT OF ROMAN RULE OFF THEIR SHOULDERS.

THIS ONE MISCONCEPTION OF WHO JESUS REALLY WAS IS WHY, IN LUKE 19:41, JESUS WEPT OVER JERUSALEM BECAUSE THEY JUST DIDN’T GET IT. THEY MISSED THE WHOLE POINT ENTIRELY. WE CELEBRATE PALM SUNDAY TODAY BECAUSE WE "GET IT" AND ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST BECAUSE HE IS THE MESSIAH.

WE KNOW THAT JESUS IS TRULY THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB THAT TOOK AWAY OUR SINS AND THE SINS OF THE WORLD. WE REJOICE AND SHOUT "HOSANNA" BECAUSE HE SAVES US SPIRITUALLY.

MAUNDY THURSDAY (HOLY THURSDAY): THE TITLE OF MAUNDY THURSDAY IS DERIVED FROM LATIN AND FRENCH WORDS MEANING "A NEW COMMANDMENT."

MAUNDY THURSDAY IS A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE AND CELEBRATION OF THE FINAL SUPPER JESUS SHARED WITH HIS DISCIPLES IN THE CONTEXT OF PASSOVER.

THIS IS THE LIFE-ALTERING EVENT THAT TOOK PLACE BECAUSE IT INSTITUTED FOR US A NEW COVENANT THAT WOULD PROVIDE REDEMPTION. JESUS ESTABLISHED THIS FOR US AND WE CALL IT HOLY COMMUNION, THE LORD’S SUPPER OR THE EUCHARIST.

BECAUSE OF WHAT TOOK PLACE THIS NIGHT IN THE UPPER ROOM WE CAN CELEBRATE THIS PASSOVER MEAL AS A MEMORIAL OF THE SUFFERINGS AND DEATH OF CHRIST.

WE THEREFORE USE BREAD AND GRAPE JUICE AS SYMBOLS OF CHRIST’S BODY AND BLOOD. THESE SYMBOLS OF BREAD AND JUICE ARE REPRESENTATIONS OF OUR REDEMPTION AND A TOKEN OF LOVE AND UNION THAT CHRISTIANS HAVE WITH CHRIST AND WITH ONE ANOTHER AS THE BODY OF CHRIST.

BUT DON’T FORGET THAT HOLY COMMUNION WASN’T THE ONLY THING THAT HAPPENED THAT MAUNDY THURSDAY NIGHT. NEARING 2:30 IN THE MORNING IN AN OLIVE GROVE CALLED GETHSEMANE, A GROUP OF ROMAN SOLDIERS AND OTHER ARMED MEN FROM THE TEMPLE WERE LEAD BY JUDAS THE DISCIPLE.

WHAT A SAD TURN OF EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE UNDER THE CONCEALMENT OF THE NIGHT’S DARKNESS. JESUS IS BETRAYED BY ONE OF HIS OWN, THE REST OF HIS OWN SCATTER INTO HIDING AND PETER WHO CLAIMED HE WOULD EVEN GO TO HIS DEATH WITH JESUS BETRAYS HIM THREE TIMES.

PETER WALES AND WEEPS IN IMMENSE GRIEF AS HE HEARS THE ROOSTER CROW. JUDAS REALIZING AND REGRETTING WHAT HE HAD JUST DONE RETURNS THE SILVER COINS AND THEN COMMITS SUICIDE BY HANGING HIMSELF. JESUS IS CONDEMNED. BARABBAS IS SET FREE. HE GOES HOME AND JESUS GOES TO THE CROSS.

GOOD FRIDAY: GOOD FRIDAY IS A SOLEMN REMEMBRANCE OF WHAT TOOK PLACE UPON THE CROSS OF CALVARY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 9:00AM TO 3:00PM. IT IS ALSO A TIME TO RECOUNT THE SEVEN LAST PHRASES SPOKEN BY CHRIST FROM THE CROSS.

JESUS SAID, "FATHER FORGIVE THEM" (LUKE 23:34), "TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE" (LUKE 23:43), "WOMAN, HERE IS YOUR SON” (JOHN 19:26-27), "MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" (MARK 15:34), "I AM THIRSTY" (JOHN 19:28), "IT IS FINISHED" (JOHN 19:30), AND "INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT" (LUKE 23:46).

GOOD FRIDAY IS OUR WAY OF REMEMBERING OUR JEWISH HERITAGE OF YOM KIPPUR. THIS IS THE GREAT DAY OF ATONEMENT WHEN THE HIGH PRIEST OF THE TEMPLE SYMBOLICALLY TRANSFERRED ISRAEL’S SIN ONTO THE HEAD OF A GOAT.

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