Summary: Palm Sunday sermon...
“Sacrificial Love” John 12:12-26
March 8 marked the beginning of an important time in the life of the Christian church.
Do you know what it is?
Ash Wednesday, which was on March 8, began a season of spiritual preparation during which we recall the whole life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus.
We call this season "Lent."
Those who celebrate Lent usually fast on Ash Wednesday and on Palm Sunday.
Today is Palm Sunday.
Today begins that period of time that Christians refer to as "Holy Week" or "The Passion Week", the last week Jesus lived before his crucifixion.
What do we know about Palm Sunday?
Here are some things that tradition tells us about Palm Sunday:
• Palm Sunday is always the Sunday before Easter.
• Palm Sunday was the day that Jesus rode into town on a donkey.
• Palm Sunday marks the day that Jesus finally received his well-deserved recognition as the Messiah.
• Palm Sunday was a time of joy and triumph for Jesus because, at last, the Hebrew nation recognized him as the Messiah, the anointed one of God who had come to deliver them from the oppression of the Roman government.
• Palm Sunday was a spontaneous event.
By this I mean that our picture of Palm Sunday is that Jesus found a donkey on the side of the road and decided to ride into town. Then a crowd suddenly appeared out of nowhere and began shouting praises and throwing palm branches.
• Palm Sunday marks the "triumphal entry" when Jesus came to fulfill his mission and become the "Savior of the World."
These are all things that tradition tells us about Palm Sunday, but is this what the Bible says about Palm Sunday?
This is an important season in the life of Christians.
Without the events that occurred during Lent the events of Advent would have no meaning.
Palm Sunday sets the stage for what was to happen in the life of our Lord and Savior for the remainder of that week.
If we understand what the Bible says about Palm Sunday we can have a better understanding of what Jesus actually went through during the last week of his life on earth.
What happened in the life of Jesus Christ during this week has a profound effect on all humanity.
It is imperative that we understand what happened because, through the events of Palm Sunday and Passion Week, we can see clearly two profound truths about the sacrificial love of a servant; the kind of love Jesus has for us.
I. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem illustrates the nature of the sacrificial love of a servant (v 12-19)
We call this the "Triumphal Entry" because WE understand that in just a few short days, Jesus would triumph over sin and death.
Because of his victory, we have the promises of God if we believe and receive God’s gift salvation.
We have the whole story written down for us and we can easily come to the conclusion that the people were lauding Jesus as a king who would triumph over Rome and establish his earthly reign.
We see in Verses 12-15 a huge crowd of people shouting, "Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
That word, hosanna, means "Saved" or "Salvation now".
The were throwing palm branches before him as an expression of honor, much like our throwing rose petals or rolling out the red carpet.
They were acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, the King of Israel.
You need to understand something about the kings in Jesus’ day to understand the full significance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
Once you do, you get a different picture of that "triumphal" entry.
In ancient times, when a king returned to his capital city from a victorious military campaign, he had a triumphal entry.
Usually, he rode in his chariot or on a white horse, symbolizing victory.
For the king, it was a day of joy and celebration.
The king would be followed by the defeated kings or other captives as evidence of his victory.
He would usually ride through the crowds throwing gifts of money.
If you read the other gospels, you quickly grasp the fact that Jesus orchestrated this entire event which we call "the triumphal entry."
He had previously made all of the preparations and was in complete control of the event.
But, His entry into Jerusalem was not the grand entry of a triumphant king.
It was the humble entry of a servant.
His entry came before the final battle, not after the victory.
The "great crowd" in Verse 12 who were praising him were not the people of Jerusalem, the capital city.
Some were people who had been with Jesus before.
Others were outsiders who had come to Jerusalem from the areas surrounding the Holy City in preparation for the Passover.