Summary: This sermon compares and contrasts the Pharisees and the palm worshippers and encourages us all to not be like the Pharisees but to worship Jesus with enthusiasm like the palm worshippers.

The Problem With the Pharisees Who Pouted and Whined About the People Who Praised With Palms

Luke 19:28-48

April 13, 2003

(Palm Sunday)


A. [Enthusiastic Worship, Citation: Per Nilsen, Burnsville, Minnesota]

Per Nilson tells the story of Nisswa, Minnesota, where they hold the popular Nisswa Turtle Races.

Every Wednesday evening in the summer months, the people of Nisswa and the surrounding communities gather at a designated parking lot for the weekly races.

It’s big excitement and big business.

Vendors rent turtles; others sell "turtle products."

And the fans gather early, placing their chairs and blankets in the best viewing sites.

In one recent contest, 435 turtles raced in heats of fifteen over a six-foot-long course.

Bif, the announcer, calls the turtles to their mark, gives them the "Go!" . . . and the crowd goes wild.

People stand, jump, and wave their hands in the air, imploring their turtles to be unturtle-like.

The excitement grows and finally reaches a boiling point as the preliminary winners all gather for the championship race.

Amid unrestrained shouts and cheers, the first turtle crosses the finish line, and the winning "trainer" receives five dollars—along with a turtle necklace.

What an uncharacteristic frenzy of emotion for the normally reserved folks of Northern Minnesota!

And some people get upset when Christians worship "too expressively" in church on Sunday morning.

B. The Problem With the Pharisees Who Pouted and Whined About the People Who Praised With Palms.

1. Today is Palm Sunday and I want to look at Luke’s account in chapter Luke 19.

2. I want to read Luke’s entire account of that in 19:28-48.

3. Today I want to point our four things the Pharisees didn’t understand and see if we can understand their problem.

I. The Pharisees didn’t understand who Jesus was

Luke 19:39 (NIV), Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"

A. When the Pharisees heard the people praising Jesus, they said, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”

1. Now the reason the Pharisees were upset with Jesus was because they didn’t understand whom Jesus was.

2. Notice in verse 38 that the people were shouting, “Blessed is the KING who comes in the name of the Lord!”

3. And the Pharisees wanted Jesus to rebuke the people for saying that.

B. And the reason they wanted Jesus to do this was because they misunderstood the Scriptures.

1. Now these Pharisees were a sect of the Jews.

2. You’ve heard me speak of the Pharisees before.

3. They were the leaders and teachers of the Jewish people, but they didn’t understand they Scriptures very well themselves.

4. I like to describe them as the “Don’t bother confusing me with the facts, because I already know what I believe” crowd.

5. “I know what I believe, so don’t bother confusing me with the facts.”

6. The Pharisees had most of the OT memorized.

7. They knew it backwards and forwards--like the backs of their hands.

8. But although they had memorized the Scriptures, that didn’t mean they understood them.

9. In fact, they very rarely understood that what they were seeing before their very eyes was predicted in the Scriptures.

10.They didn’t know the truth when it stood right before them.

C. You see the Pharisees knew that the OT Scriptures predicted that the Son of God was to be born, but they didn’t recognize Him when He stood right in front of them.

1. Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.

2. Jesus was indeed the Son of God.

3. Jesus was indeed the fulfillment of the OT prophecies.

4. Jesus was indeed the King of the Jews.

5. But the Pharisees didn’t recognize Him.

6. They knew all of the prophecies.

7. They watched them being fulfilled in Jesus right before their very eyes.

8. But they didn’t understand it.

9. They couldn’t put two and two together.

D. And I believe there is a reason why they couldn’t understand who Jesus was.

1. The Pharisees had a lust for power and recognition.

2. They wanted everyone to know how good of people they were.

3. They loved the attention they got from people when they taught them how to follow their rules.

4. They loved it so much that they put more rules and regulations on the people that God did.

5. They decided that teaching people God’s laws brought them so much power and recognition, that they decided that more rules and regulations would just give them more power and recognition.

6. They saw Jesus as a threat to their ability to rule over and control the people.

7. The religious leaders saw Jesus as a threat to their ability to lord their control over people.

E. So they said, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

1. “You’re not the Son of God, so quit fooling these people.”

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