Summary: A Palm Sunday Sermon
Customs and traditions; we all have them. If you were to do a study on the customs and traditions in the United States you find a diversity that is similar to the diversity of the entire world. This is because people from every region of the world have come to call this great land home.
For example the Boling’s family tradition is to gather once a month and celebrate the anniversaries and birthdays of everyone in the family. It’s a tradition that goes back to the early 19th century when the family was separated by hundreds of miles and once a month they would hop on the horse drawn wagon and make the long journey to catch up on things and celebrate the important dates in the lives of their loved ones.
Terry Clark’s family on Christmas Eve opens their house to neighbors and friends in a pot-luck style dinner. On this night an Irish potato soup is made. For fifty years she can remember having Irish potato soup on this night. When she asked her mother as a little girl as to why they had this soup every year her mother replied, “To remind us that there are those who do not even have this simple soup to eat and to remind us of all of our blessings.”
Our own Garner family has a tradition. It is my understanding that once a year they have a family reunion out on the farm and families by the dozens come to town.
It was also a custom in Jesus’ time for all the Jews to gather in Jerusalem from all over the world to remember and celebrate the Passover Meal. It was similar to our 4th of July celebrations. On the 4th of July we celebrate America’s Independence. It is the day many consider to be the birth of this awesome nation. The Jews celebrated a moment in their history when God spared their firstborn children. It was the last plague on the Egyptians, but it was the final act that led to Pharaoh’s decision to surrender and let God’s people free.
It was also a tradition to welcome Jews coming from all over the world to celebrate the Passover by waiting for them on the roads leading into Jerusalem. There they were welcomed and branches were cut and placed on the road before them. It was sort of like rolling out the red carpet.
With Jesus in our scripture something different is happening with this custom. Matthew, a disciple of Jesus and author of the gospel tells us that Jesus chose a special way to enter into Jerusalem for the Passover meal. Jesus, first of all, has chosen to ride in on a donkey with her foal. They placed their cloaks on the animals and Jesus sat on them both. Notice Jesus didn’t sit on one of them, but on both of them.
Is there some sort of significance to this? Matthew tells us that this was done so that the prophecy would be fulfilled from Zechariah 9:9.
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you… gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
I find it strange that Matthew left out an important part of this verse, but then again I think maybe he did for emphasis. If one were to go this prophecy in the scripture and compare it to Matthews quote they would see that Matthew left a very important piece of this scripture out. When anyone would go to Zechariah 9:9 and they would have read:
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you,” here is the section he left out, ‘righteous and having salvation,’ gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
They might wonder why he left out “righteous and having salvation.” These are two very important qualities that all of scripture proclaim concerning the Messiah. Two qualities the Bible emphasizes concerning Jesus. So why would Matthew leave it out. I believe he left it out for emphasis. Wouldn’t it make a person who knew the scriptures and was reading this ask, “Wasn’t Jesus righteous and didn’t Jesus have salvation?” Maybe it was left out so that the reader and possibly the hearer might seek the answers and give affirmation to this question for themselves.
I don’t know for sure, but it made me wonder and ask these questions. It made me affirm in my own heart that yes Jesus was righteous and Jesus did bring salvation.
You know the man “Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only 3. Yet the influence of Christ’s 3-year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity. Jesus painted no pictures; yet, some of the finest paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him.