Summary: Palm Sunday Sermon
Palm Sunday Seen With Fresh Eyes"
3/23/97 - Rev. Bruce Goettsche
An Episcopal priest was preaching in an unfamiliar church one Sunday morning. As he stood in the pulpit to begin the service, he tapped the microphone to make sure that it was on. He heard nothing, even though, it was working fine. So he leaned closer to the microphone and said, he thought, to himself; "There is something wrong with this thing." The congregation, being well trained church people immediately responded, "And also with you."
This story illustrates the danger of the familiar. We can be so steeped in routine that we stop paying attention to what we are doing.
It can become dangerous to drive on a road that we drive on every single day. It’s dangerous because we stop being alert, we take things for granted, we figure we can drive this route with our eyes closed. If something different happens on the road we may not notice it at all... At least, until it’s too late.
A husband and wife can soon take for granted all the things their spouse does. In fact, they become so used to those provisions (meals cooked, garbage taken out, laundry done, yard mowed, children taken care of) that before long we don’t even realize the person is doing those things. And before we know it, we feel we are the only one putting anything into our relationship. It is at those points that marital Affairs often occur.
A parent can become so used to having their child filling their life with joy that they don’t appreciate their child.... Until they move away.
The same is certainly true about living in a small town. We often hear people gripe about how "Smothering" a small town can be. All the time, unappreciative of the friendly neighbors, good school system, safe community, and even a post office where the mail will get to you even if it has the wrong address. We become so used to these things that we don’t notice them--until they are gone.
This is also the danger we face as we come to the Easter season. The accounts of the Triumphal Entry, the cross, and Easter are so familiar to most of us that we can easily go through the motions of a celebration without ever allowing the message of these events to touch us.
The challenge every year is to read these accounts with "fresh eyes". Look with me at this familiar account of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus and see if you don’t see what I see.
We See a Strong Declaration of Love
1. This event was so out of character for Jesus.
Previous to this, Jesus had always avoided the spotlight. In John 2 Jesus is asked by his mother if he would help Friends of the family with an embarrassing wine shortage problem. Jesus responded, "My time is not yet come." Jesus did not want to make a public scene.
In John 6 we see an occasion when Jesus felt that the people were ready to take him and make him king by force. Rather than enjoy the public acclaim, Jesus left town. In fact, whenever the Ministry of Jesus seemed to be getting to a point of success in a community, Jesus would move to a new community.
On several occasions Jesus tells those that he has healed, "Don’t tell anyone". Jesus was not looking for public demonstrations on his behalf. He was not seeking the spotlight.... Until today.
Notice also that in the past, though Jesus never compromised the truth, He generally walked away from conflict situations.
2. It was organized by Jesus himself.
Again, in the gospel of Luke, we are told, that Jesus had arranged to use a donkey. He told his Disciples to go to town to find this donkey that would be tied outside. If they were asked why they were taking the donkey, they were to respond: "The Master has need of Him ". Apparently, Jesus had made arrangements to use a donkey. Jesus had this parade in mind in advance of it taking place.
This was not a spontaneous demonstration . . . Jesus intended it to happen. The question we must ask is why? Why was Jesus orchestrated this grand demonstration? It certainly was not because Jesus wanted to throw a party in His honor. When Jesus caught His first glimpse of Jerusalem he didn’t stop to savor the moment . . . .He wept.
This procession was not frivolous . . . .it was purposeful. It was not provoked by vanity but by compassion and love.
First, it was time. It was time for Jesus to do what He came to do. In verse 23 we see that "the hour has come." God was determining the timing . . . .not man.