Summary: What Jesus saw on Palm Sunday were people whose worship was "fruitless, fraudulent and faithless"
You know, Palm Sunday is kind of a strange day to me.
It’s hard to explain, but today is kind of an enigma:
- We call it “Palm Sunday.”
- It seems like it should be a special day – a “holiday.”
And in some ways it is
- It is marked every year on the calendar
- We have a name for this day
- There are special symbols that can be found for it
But we really don’t treat it like a holiday
It’s like we don’t know what to do with “Palm Sunday.”
- We don’t usually gather with family for a big meal
- There is no celebration
- We don’t exchange gifts
- You won’t find “Happy Palm Sunday” Greeting Cards at the local gift shop
Maybe it has to do with the sequence of events.
You see, I think Palm Sunday is hard to swallow, because we know that it comes just before “Good Friday.”
The story doesn’t end with Palm Sunday; it is really just the beginning – the beginning of the end.
We celebrate Easter – rightfully so, because it is the beginning
The beginning of life
The beginning of faith
The beginning of everything that is truly important.
Palm Sunday is just the opposite.
Palm Sunday rings hollow.
Palm Sunday seems to be filled with false hope.
Palm Sunday is a difficult day, because we really don’t know what to make of what happened 2000 years ago.
• The people celebrated Jesus, but then rejected him.
• The people honored Jesus but then they had him crucified.
• The people hailed Jesus, then they hurled insults at him.
Palm Sunday seems to be a day where nothing seems to be as it should.
In fact, I would submit to you that everything about Palm Sunday was either Fruitless; Fraudulent; or Faithless.
Let’s read the story: Mark 11:1-11 - As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying 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. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Hosanna! 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!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple . . .
Finding the temple officials in agreement, Jesus set up His throne, established His Kingdom, and they all lived happily ever after!
And that’s why we celebrate Palm Sunday!!!
- You know, that would be a much more pleasing story, wouldn’t it?
- But, that’s not the way it ends!
- The fact is, Palm Sunday ends with Good Friday
- and I think that is why we don’t know what to do with today.
Let me read it the right way:
Finish reading Mark 11:11 - Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Wouldn’t you like to get into Jesus’ mind about right now?
- It’s Sunday
- First day of the last week of His life
- He has just entered Jerusalem
- People have hailed Him as a conquering King
- From the outside, it couldn’t have been a better day
- But Jesus knows the rest of the story
- Jesus knows that He is about to confront the religious leaders of Israel
- Jesus knows that the people who have just hailed him as king will also shout “crucify Him – we have no king but Caesar” in just 5 days
And so, as he is “Looking around at everything” He has to be extremely conflicted in his heart.
And then He leaves.
What is he thinking?
I think we are given a pretty good hint by what happens the next day:
Read Mark 11:12-21
12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry.13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.