Summary: Palm Sunday, what did the people come out to see?
Ready, Set, Go!
Today we are at the beginning of Holy Week, we have been following Luke’s history of the church in acts and now we are looping back to the week before the crucifixion of Jesus.
I am not trying to surprise you with this change of direction I am just jumping to match the Christian year. Holy Week is the common name for the week which precedes the Easter celebration.
Today is Palm Sunday the day Jesus enters Jerusalem for the Passover feast. We ail get back to that in a few minutes.
Next day in the calendar is Maundy Thursday which is the evening when the disciples gather for the meal we celebrate today as the last supper, Holy Communion or the Eucharist – Thanks Giving.
Then we have Good Friday is the day we commorate the death of Jesus christ on the cross. We as will many other churches, have a one of our special services, with Oostnallua and Rush Chapel.
Easter vigial happends early on the mornig on Sunday and we trypically celebratate as a Sunrise service. This year we will Gather at Rush Chapel for the serice and enjoy a breakfast together.
This season is a very special time for christians as we review what the Bible records of this time in history.
Much of the Bible covers hundreds of years and sometimes centuries in a chapter. And while this weel long period still moves very fast in the Gospel accounts in comparison the story comes as close to a real time feeling like no other plce in scripture.
--Turtle Races –
Every Wednesday evening for the past 43 years between June 6th and August 16th, the people of Nisswa, Minnesota and the surrounding communities gather at a designated parking lot for the weekly races.
It’s big excitement and big business and starting at 2 PM about 350 people gather on the starting line to race their …. turtles.
Vendors rent turtles; others sell "turtle products."
And the fans gather early, placing their chairs and blankets in the best viewing sites. In one recent contest, 435 turtles raced in heats of fifteen over a six-foot-long course.
Bif, the announcer, calls the turtles to their mark, gives them the "Go!" . . . and the crowd goes wild.
People stand, jump, and wave their hands in the air, encouraging their turtles to be unturtle-like.
The excitement grows and finally reaches a boiling point as the preliminary winners all gather for the championship race.
Amid unrestrained shouts and cheers, the first turtle crosses the finish line, and the winning "trainer" receives five dollars—along with a turtle necklace.
You know, Nisswa, Minnesota must be an exciting place. For people to gather rain or shine for this event puts me on the edge of my seat.
But, I wonder, do you think the people just go there to see if some unfortunate turtle looses control and crashes.
When we look at the event of Palm Sunday, I wonder what was the draw?
What made the crowds come out and give an enthusiastic response to Jesus entering the city?
Jesus is a popular Rabbi and there is a good chance that lots of people had heard of him because of the miracles.
Likely some happened to be there because of a personal touch from him. Don’t you think you would try to go to Jerusalem if you had been healed as a pilgrimage in gratitude to God?
Then others may have known of Jesus potentially by the reputation that the Jewish authorities had created. As a trouble maker and blasphemer.
But I would think for the most part, the people did not really have a clue why they were celebrating the entry of this man on a donkey and the group traveling with him.
Jesus and his followers had come from Jericho where He had met Zacchaeus the Tax Collector and had dinner in his home. He tells the parable of the 10 minas and they are approaching Bethany and Bethpage and Jesus picks two disciples and sends them ahead to get a colt which had never been ridden.
It seems that Jesus and the rest of the groups wait at the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is a hill outside of Jerusalem, which Luke tells us elsewhere is a “Sabbath day’s journey” from Jerusalem (Acts 1:12).
He has walked about 6 and a half miles up and down hills from Jericho to get to where he is. But I am pretty sure that after such a short distance he would not really be that tired. We don’t hear that Jesus ever actually rode any animal before. So, I think that this event should catch our attention.
He sends the men with some instructions. If anyone asks you, ’Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ’The Lord needs it.’ "