Summary: Just as the crowds praised and then a few days later crucified Jesus. We must be a people that "stays the course" and follows Jesus as Lord, not as a "quick fix" for our problems.
Palm Sunday – My Way or the High Way – Luke 19:29-48
Intro.: These religious leaders think the whole world has gone after Jesus because of the crowds waving their palm branches as Jesus entered the city. But despite the number of people around that day, no one seemed to grasp the magnitude of what was unfolding before their eyes. The Pharisees wanted Jesus dead. They were afraid that His popularity would position Him as a great political leader, maybe even a king. Is it possible that this entire crowd of people missed the mark by so much that they only saw Jesus as a politician? Absolutely! The Pharisees also saw not only a political threat, but a religious threat as well. He might usurp their political and/or their religious status.
The crowd saw Jesus as a political Savior rather than a threat. Freedom from the oppressive Roman occupation was their dream, but it wasn’t Jesus’ – His focus went far beyond the boundaries of the bloodline of Jacob. Jesus was reaching the full scope of the seed of Abraham, both physically and spiritually. He was securing the hope of salvation for all of humanity, past present and future.
I. Do What Everybody Expects and They Will Love You – vs. 36 - 38
A. They may greet you with rejoicing
EXAMPLE: In today’s political arena, Barack Obama has mastered this. He has built an entire political platform on the idea of bringing “change”. People want change and he is giving them that hope
B. They may speak words of blessing
C. They may honor you with gifts
NOTE: The sad truth about that first Palm Sunday was that people followed Jesus in greater numbers than ever before but they were doing it for all the wrong reasons.
1. They were hoping for political change – freedom from Roman oppression
D. Popularity comes with expectation
1. Don’t meet their expectations and you’re dead
II. Disturb the Comfortable and You Will be Crucified – vs. 47
NOTE: The church has a wide comfort zone that is “off limits”
A. Answers to difficulties must come in acceptable packaging
1. Short and sweet – no long-term involvement
a. Microwave mentality
2. Clean and good smelling – no “dirty stalls”
a. Results in a weak, ineffective church
3. Easy to respond to, low demand, high results
a. Lazy church
4. Must not disturb the “status quo” – no “rocking the boat”
B. Jesus was a long-term, get your hands dirty, high-demand, boat-rocker
1. And they nailed Him to an old rugged cross!
Concl.: The people failed to realize that Jesus did not come to serve them. He came to save them.
We are in the process of selecting presidential candidates right now. People are casting their vote for the person they believe will support the issues that are important to them as a voter.
Jesus knew what the gathered crowds wanted or expected from Him. He knew that the same people that worshipped Him this day would scream “Crucify Him!” a few days later. He knew that the same voices that called for Him to wear a crown of gold, would cry even louder for Him to wear a crown of thorns.
They were willing to follow a god of their own design, one that would tell them what they wanted to hear. There were many that started their spiritual journey that day, that couldn’t “stay the course.” This number included a large majority of those who called themselves “disciples.”
I wonder what our journey through this Easter Season will look like? Will we yield to God’s desires or will we strive to satisfy our own? Will our pursuit of the Lord be such that we will humble ourselves and allow God to be the Master Sculptor that shapes us into His own image? Or will we be looking for a comfortable, easy going relationship that we can remain steadfastly in control of?
The challenge before us is clear; will we be able to see beyond the palm branches?
Will we be able to pursue the Lord regardless of the cost?
Will we desire a short and sweet, clean and good smelling, weak and ineffective, low demand, status quo, impotent, mockery of Jesus
Or will we embrace the long-term, visionary, climb-in-the-trench-beside-you, all-powerful, all-encompassing, rock-your-world Savior that came to earth for the sole purpose of saving your butt from the fires of hell!?