Summary: Palm Sunday. The story of Simon, from Simon’s eyes.

Palm Sunday: Simon This Blood’s For You

Matthew 21:1-11; Lev. 23:40; Psalm 118:27; Matthew 27:11-66

My name is Simon and I want to tell you a story about a week that changed my life.

Have you ever been to a parade where there were lots of people yelling and screaming as the floats came down the street? If you have then you would notice that the crowd is often made up of a lot of different people, some watching the parade while others are talking. Some are interested in the parade while some are not. Some know what is going on while others just wonder around trying to find out. Then there are the crowd members who do not know what is going on but they are having a joyful time just being a part of the crowd. These are the one who enjoys the festivities and go alone with whatever the rest of the crowd decides to do. This morning I want to tell you about two parades that I was in – two very different parades. The first parade took place when this man named Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and the second parade took place when they led him away to be crucified. I will never forget this parade and what happened.

Because of the first parade when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, the Sunday before Easter for you is known as Palm Sunday. As He was entering the city, these men supporting Him, I guess they were His disciples, and some of the crowds were shouting, “Hosanna, to the Son of David, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” I did not know what was happening but I saw all of these people began to lay their cloaks (coats) on the ground for the donkey to walk on. Some of them did not have cloaks so they took palm branches and laid them out for Jesus. This processional was in recognition of their King – Jesus, the prophet who was the true Messiah. This type of parade was generally held for someone who had done something special, someone famous, a hero or general returning victorious from battle. I remember hearing the scribes reading from 1 Samuel 18:6-9 when king Saul and David returned from fighting the Philistines? As the women of the city came out to meet them they cried out “Saul had slain thousands while David had slain tens of thousands”. When Saul heard this, he became very jealous of David, something that lasted until his death. These women were giving more credit to David than they were to King Saul. This infuriated Saul. Saul’s response gives you an idea of the importance of such a processional and public recognition. The one who is being honored is given praise and recognition for their accomplishments. This is the type of parade that they gave Jesus in His processional – He was hailed as their King. He must have been important I believe because remember I told you that some of them who did not have coats, took palm branches (or branches from other trees) and laid them before the donkey to walk on. This was very important in the recognition of Jesus as King. These people were “rolling out the red carpet” as we say, for Jesus with their clothes and palm branches. It was a sign of high honor. I was told it was because of who He was and the victory that had been gained through Him. They said He had conquered sin, sickness and death. He had healed the sick, raised the dead and had performed all types of miracles. When He entered the city everyone’s hope was that He would establish His Kingdom right there in Jerusalem. I found myself starting to believe and hoping that we would finally be set free from the Romans through this man they said was a king. Everyone wanted to be on the good side of this victorious King. So naturally I joined in with the crowd and offered praise and honor to Him. I waved a palm branch in praise of Him. In my time and long before my time, palm branches were often use in the worship and praise service to God. The use of palms in praise dates back to the Old Testament times and became part of the tradition of the time. Lev. 23:40 says “On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.” The use of palms was encouraged, actually commanded in this celebration of praise to the Lord. They would wave the palms high over their heads back and forth, similar to what we do when we are giving praise with our hand swaying back and forth. David wrote in Psalm 118:27 “The Lord is God, and he has made His light shine upon us, with boughs (palms) in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.” David was encouraging the use of palms (or other tree leaves) in the active praise of God. The waving of the palm branches by a large group of people is a wonderful sight. This was a major part of the praise that went forth.

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