Summary: What do Psalm 118, the patriarch Abraham and palm branches have to do with God's plan to provide His Passover Lamb - Jesus? This message looks at how God brings it all together on Palm Sunday.
Hear the word of God from Psalm 118. "Open for me the gates of righteousness. I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteousness may enter. I will give you thanks for you answered me. You have become my salvation. The stone the builders has rejected has become the capstone. The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Oh Lord save us. Oh Lord grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the House of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God and He has made his light shine upon us. With bows in hand join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God and I will give you thanks. You are my God and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. Love endures forever."
May God add his blessing to his Holy and inspired word this morning. I'm amazed time and time again by the symmetry of our God. How the smallest details throughout the countless ages are woven into an elaborate pattern to proclaim the purpose and the power of our God. This morning is no different. In fact, this morning especially, we need to understand how our God chooses to work. On this Palm Sunday, in order to understand the shouts of the people. In order to understand the exultation of Jesus. In order to realize how this day fits into the week that is upon us. I want us to consider first of all, the Palms and then the Psalms, a patriarch and then the purpose of God.
The scene is very familiar to us. We've heard it time and time again, year after year. We can picture it in our minds. Jesus coming down the Mount of Olives and the multitude beginning to gather. The disciples full of joy and they begin to lay their coats before Jesus. The people begin to take the branches, the bows off the trees and they begin to wave them, and they begin to shout Hosanna. Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We know that the Passover season is a season of high expectation. Of messy [antic 00:03:12] hope. The people waved their branches and they cry out, "save us, save us." Do they really know what they want to be saved from? They wave the branches of victory. The branches that were waved when Judas Maccabeus and his brothers came and drove Antiochus Epiphanes and the pagans from Jerusalem, the small people of God raising up to drive out a superior military political presser. So they waved the branches hoping for another victory over the oppression of the Romans. "Save us," they cried. Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Like so many times ourselves, the people of Israel have forgotten their past. They've forgotten their history. They've forgotten the promises of God. As the palms wave and the cries go up, to understand what is going on we need to turn to the Psalms. In particular, Psalms 113-118 and they're called the Great [Hallel 00:04:35] Hallelujah Psalms. They were sung by the children of Israel as they gathered for the festivals, as they gathered for the feast in Jerusalem. The pilgrims would sing them along the way. As they gathered there in the courtyard temple they would lift them up and they would form the structure of their worship and of their praise, for they were a recitation of the promises of God, of the history of God.
In particular, on Palm Sunday the Psalm that is upon the lips of the people is Psalm 118. In particular, the verse that we read beginning at verse 19, that called the people to celebration. That called the people to procession. That the people come and they lift up their pride to God in verse 25. Oh God save us. Oh God grant us success. What is that word? It's Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna; their cry goes up to God not to a military conqueror. Not to a son of Judas Maccabeus. Not to a false Messiah. That prayer is reserved for God alone. Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we will bless you. This Psalm is more than just a cry for salvation. For within the cry is the answer to the prayer that is prayed. That is why this Psalm is so important in light of the events of Palm Sunday.