Summary: Lessons from Palm Sunday and the Feast of Passover: We can better see what Jesus has done for us as we examine the significance of the setting of Passion Week.
The Passover Lamb
Matthew 21:1-11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 "Say to the Daughter of Zion, ’See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’" 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" 11 The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
Intro: Palm Sunday is overlooked by many Christians as just another Sunday. I have been guilty of sailing right through it without considering its significance. However, we can see in the Bible that it was a very important day. Palm Sunday was really all about Passover, because that is when people would bring their Passover lambs to the temple for inspection by the priests. It was a day when many Jewish pilgrims would just be arriving into Jerusalem in preparation for Passover, which began four days later. There was a lot of excitement in the air, as people renewed friendships and welcomed one another to the feast. Well, today I’d like to take a look at some lessons from Palm Sunday and from the Feast of Passover. We can better see what Jesus has done for us as we examine the significance of the setting of Passion Week.
I. Lessons from Palm Sunday
A. Palm Sunday Reminds Us of the Passover Lamb – Four days before Passover, the people of Israel were required to present their lambs to the priest for inspection. In Jesus’ day, the priesthood was very corrupt. When people brought their lambs for inspection, the priests would pretend to find something wrong with the lamb, which would require them to go and sell it for a fraction of its value, and come back and buy an approved one from the temple authorities at double the price. It was pure extortion, and Jesus was not happy about it. That is why we read about Him turning over the tables of the moneychangers in the temple. They were the ones who were robbing the people in this highly dishonest way.
-Jesus presented Himself to the people and priests that day as the Passover Lamb – the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He made the crooked religious leaders angry, but the common people honored Him as their King.
-The book of Exodus, the 2nd book in the OT, tells us about the first Passover, when God delivered His people. The 10th and final plague of judgment against Egypt was to be the death of the firstborn in every household. However, God told Israel (Ex.12) to kill a lamb with no defects or blemishes, and to dip hyssop in the blood, and brush some of the blood on the doorposts of their houses. When the destroyer moved throughout Egypt to strike down every firstborn, He could not destroy anyone who had the lamb’s blood on their door. Why? Because they were protected by God Himself.
-The parallel is hard to miss. Jesus became our Passover Lamb. He was killed, and His blood became our protection against the destroyer. But you’ve got to put it on! Do you have blood on your doorpost? The lamb’s death gives us life – if we receive it by faith and repentance.
-The word Passover is not so much passing by as passing so as to shield over. This gives more meaning to what Jesus said when He wept over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37-39: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ’Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’"