Summary: This sermon is best for Palm Sunday.
THE TRAGIC SIDE OF A TRIUMPHANT EVENT
INTRODUCTION : I read a story about a plainly dressed man who went into a church in the Netherlands one Sunday and took a seat near the pulpit. Soon a woman came along and curtly told the man that he was seated in 'her seat'. She then asked him to leave the seat. The man apologized and apparently moved away to a pew reserved for the poor, from where he took part in the service.
When the service was over, a friend of the woman came over and asked her if she knew whom she had ordered out of 'her seat'. The woman replied casually that she didn't know who it was. To her great dismay, she was informed, “It was King Oscar of Sweden!” (Taken from a Men's Devotional)
Similarly, many people turn what could be a life changing moment into a possible negative situation because of bad choices. How often we hear statements like, “You blew it”, or “How could you mess it up like that?”. At other times, when some special opportunity seems to be opening up for us, someone or something comes along to 'spoil the party'!
We are coming close to Palm Sunday, which signifies the triumphant entry of the Lord Jesus into Jerusalem. It was a day of celebration and the celebratory spirit was ringing in the air. However, in the midst of the joy and celebration, we notice 3 tragic situations that arose.
PROPOSITION: Don't allow a 'God moment' to be turned into a negative (tragic) situation.
I would like to challenge you to consider 3 tragic situations that arose at the time when Palm Sunday was celebrated as the Lord Jesus came into Jerusalem.
1) IT WAS TRAGIC THAT THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE UNWILLING TO PRAISE JESUS (Lk 19:39)
As mentioned before, this was a day of much celebration and joy. As Jesus rode in, a very large crowd had gathered (Mt 21:8) to give Him a rousing welcome. They were praising Him by shouting “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mt 21:9). Luke 19:38 says, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” Matthew 21:10 adds, “the whole city was stirred!” We see praise arising to the Lord as follows;
The people joyfully praised God in loud voices for the miracles they had seen. (Lk 19:37)
The children praised Him in the temple shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Mt 21:15-16)
Even the stones were waiting to praise Him (Lk 19:40)
However, in the midst of all this praise, it is indeed tragic to note that there was a group of people (Religious leaders) who were callously unwilling to praise the Lord (Lk 19:39, Mt 21:15). Not only were they unwilling to praise Jesus, but they even tried to stop the children from doing so (Mt 21:15-16)! Talk about being spiritually dead!
Right now, maybe for some reason, possibly some challenge or struggle you are going through at present, you are unable or unwilling to praise the Lord on this Palm Sunday. Maybe, you were looking around at others in the service who were praising God and wondering why you cant join in? Well, I would like to encourage you to open your heart in praise to the Lord, because Palm Sunday is a day of praise! It is the day of the Messiah! The Bible speaks about receiving, “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isa 61:3). In fact, why don't we all join together, raise our voices and sing “Hosanna” right now.
ILLUSTRATION: There is a story about a Pastor who was so discouraged in his ministry that he had decided to quit. However, he felt that it was only right that he go into the church where he had ministered for years, one last time, to give thanks to God for all He had done for and through him. As he knelt down and gave thanks to God, he began to count his blessings over the years. Soon, his heart and voice was rising up in thanks and praise to God so much, that after a while, he was so full of praise, that he began to wonder why he had ever thought of quiting. He didn't quit!
That's the power of praise! Whatever your circumstances, would you right now allow praise to rise up in your heart to the Lord?
2) IT WAS TRAGIC THAT THE TEMPLE HAD TO BE CLEANSED (LK 19:45)
The temple was the center of Jewish worship. It possibly had a majestic appearance. It should have been the most precious place for God's people. However, as Jesus walked in and looked around (Mk 11:11), what His keen eyes observed obviously sickened Him. His heart would have broken at what He saw. According to Matthew 21:12 and Mark 11:15-16, the hallowed place of worship had been turned into a literal market place by unscrupulous vendors!