Summary: Palm Sunday
"Triumphal Entry - Part 2"
Revelation 7:9-15...........................March 28, 1999
I’ve always liked Palm Sunday. It signifies the beginning of Holy Week. And over the years I have tried to look at that historic entry into Jerusalem from every angle that I can think of. We’ve considered the people in the crowd (the skeptics, the faithful, the antagonists), we’ve looked at the expectations of the people who cheered. We’ve considered Jesus’tears over Jerusalem. We’ve looked at the irony or tragedy of the fact that less than a week following this grand celebration, some of these same people were yelling, "crucify, crucify." I’m sure, somewhere along the way, we’ve even looked at the donkey. But this year God showed me something different. This year He showed me that this entry into Jerusalem should not only remind us of what was . . . it should also point us to what shall be.
In order to make this point, I was led to Revelation (please, no "s") 7. My first response was to run. The book of Revelation can be an intimidating book. Lots of so-called experts are quick to tell us what every symbol means. I don’t think it is that easy. All week long I have struggled with various interpretations. I just got more confused. Then it seemed like the Lord whispered, "Forget the theories . . .just tell them what it says." So that’s what we’ll do.
Listen as we read Revelation, 7: 9-15
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Do you see why I call this Triumphal Gathering II? There are Palm branches, cheers, and Jesus is in the center of it all once again. But there are some differences,
The first crowd was a mixture of people the future group will be made up of only believers and the angels
The first group looked forward to what might be, the second looks at what is
the first group focused on the hope of temporal deliverance, the second group will look at eternal and spiritual deliverance.
I suggest that the reason the second triumphal gathering will be far superior to the first Triumphal Entry can be summarized in three statements.
First, We will Understand the Greatness of God and of His Grace Toward Us.
Perhaps you have talked about how great it would be to hold your child in your hands the very first time. But talking about it, and experiencing it are two different things. . . In the past we have talked to people who have experienced a severe grief. We have been compassionate and sensitive. But when we experience a grief like that ourselves, our tone changes. We become softer, our empathy becomes greater . . . now we understand.
It’s like that with sin and grace. We use the words but we don’t really understand. On that day, we will.
There are two reasons this is so. First, we will see our sin in light of God’s Holiness. At the present time we know that there are things that we do that are wrong. We can measure our lives by the Scriptures and see that we often fail to meet the standard God has set. We love the Lord. We want to please Him. And when we don’t it pains us. But we really do not have any idea of how offensive our sin is to our Holy God. We have not begun to comprehend how far we have fallen from the standard.