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Summary: This sermon deals with the contrast of changing places with Jesus on Psalm Sunday as opposed to Good Friday. It stresses that Jesus not only died for us, but that He died in our place.

Punished For Me-Life Swap Palm Sunday

3/28/21 Matthew 21:1-11 and Matthew 27:32-54

We are in the fourth message of our series on Life-Swap in which Jesus changes places with us. We have looked at Betrayed For us, Forsaken For Us, Accused For Us. Today we will look at Punished For Us and next week Pastor Kellie will preach Alive In Us.

Imagine for a moment, that your team has won 11 games straight and your record is 11wins-0 losses. It’s the final game of the season against your arch rival whose record is 3 wins and 8 losses. It’s been 10 years since you defeated your rival. Your team is favored to win by 25 points. It seems like the whole city is at the game.

All the players are getting ready to come out from underneath the stadium. There is a large banner with the mascots name on it. We all know the team is going to run through as they come out on the field. The cheerleaders are holding the banner and as the team emerges out, there is a large uproar from the stands. People are screaming and jumping and can’t wait for the game to begin. The excitement is everywhere.

This is exactly how it felt on Palm Sunday when Jesus got on a donkey and rode into the city. The people were looking for a leader who was going to lead them to victory over their oppressors.

Finally God was doing something new and different. This Jesus had been doing miracle after miracle. The healings, the feedings, the teachings, the casting out of demons, and the raising people from the dead were all incredible events. Jesus and his disciples were the best team to come riding into Jerusalem in a very long time.

The whole city had turned out to see Jesus riding into Jerusalem. They were laying palms on the ground to give him the red carpet treatment as he entered the city. Some were taking off their coats, and robes lying them on the road hoping Jesus’ donkey would step on it as he came down the road. What a souvenir that would make!

People were shouting “Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. People would have been eager to get up on the donkey with Jesus. They would have gladly swapped places with him. Everybody knew this was a winning team. Who wouldn’t want to be identified with a winner? Who wouldn’t want to say they were with Jesus?

Let’s go back to the football game for a moment. Supposed on the opening kickoff, the other team runs back 99 yards for a touchdown. As a matter of fact, nothing seems to be going right. At the end of the first quarter its 35 to nothing. At the end of the first half its 70 to nothing. Your team has thrown 10 interceptions, had 9 fumbles, and gave up 125 yards in penalties and no first downs. You could call better plays than the coach was doing.

What do you think is going on in the stands. Instead of cheers, there’s a lot of booing going on. Instead of the stands continuing to be full, people are taking their stuff and going home. Some are taking off their jerseys they had been wearing and throwing them in the trash can as they leave the stadium.

There are still a few fans however who do remain loyal to the end, but most are gone by the end of the fourth quarter when the scoreboard doesn’t have enough places to show just how bad the score was.

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What happened between the opening kickoff and the fourth quarter of the football game is exactly what happened to Jesus between palm Sunday and good Friday. It didn’t cost the people much to be identified with Jesus on Palm Sunday

He was the most popular person in the city. People would have gladly traded places with him on Palm Sunday. But everything seemed to have gone wrong for Jesus that week, just like it went wrong for the team on the field.

Jesus was betrayed by one of his closest disciples. Judas, the treasurer of the group, sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He added insult to this injury be trying to betray Jesus with a kiss. You see it was dark, and the soldiers didn’t know which one was Jesus so Judas said, “Just watch me, the one I give a kiss to is the one you are to arrest.”

Before the arrest, Jesus took the other disciples into the garden of Gethsemane where he asked them to pray with him. But instead of praying they all fell asleep. Jesus knew the pain and agony of the cross was ahead with the rising of the morning sun, so his soul was overwhelmed and sorrowful to the point of death. Recognizing that he would be forced to be separated from the Father in order to pay for our sins, great drops of blood fell from Jesus’ forehead as he prayed.

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