Summary: For the believer, Passover both illustrates and embodies our salvation.
Joyous pilgrims from all over the world thronged Jerusalem for Passover, the holy day – the Feast of Redemption. Jerusalem’s streets were transformed into an animated collage of ethnic sights, sounds and smells. As it is today, the Passover was a festive time of sacrifice, sacred commemoration and a gala meal. By Jesus’ time this distinctive meal was popularly known as the Seder.
For the believer, Passover both illustrates and embodies our salvation. It is more than a feast commemorating the exodus from Egypt. It transcends the varying theologies and liturgical forms of sacrament. Fundamentally the Passover instructs the believer in the mysteries of the Atonement in living a sacramental life.
General Albert Orsborn, captured the meaning of the Passover Seder celebrated by Jesus and His disciples.
My life must be Christ’s broken bread,
My love His outpoured wine,
A cup o’erfilled, a table spread
Beneath His name and sign,
That other souls, refreshed and fed,
May share His life through mine.
Jerusalem sits on Israel’s central ridge at 2,427 feet above sea level, people traveling from any direction must “go up to Jerusalem.” Along the way (and especially when the Eternal city came into vision) pilgrims would joyously sing the Songs of Ascent (Psalm 120-134) to the accompaniment of flutes. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1).
This Passover was different from all others before or since! All the prophecies of All the scriptures would focus on a Cross just five days from this day.
This is the context of that triumphal entry:
I. The Veiled Majesty of Palm Sunday (What did Jesus Do?).
A. He accepted (imperfect) praise!
1. They thought the Kingdom was just a victory away. They thought they understood what Jesus was telling them (Luke 19:11).
2. They were rejoicing in the miracles they had seen not the miracle worker they had seen (Luke 19:37).
3. These people couldn’t understand the great sacrifice; the tremendous struggle; the Victory just ahead!
A. The King showed great compassion;
He wept! Was it because He would be rejected and suffer? No! Because they rejected Him, they would suffer and die! (Illustration of Mountain Man) (Luke 19:41).
B. The King must be Just!
Here we see a hint of what is to come when the Conquering King comes to claim those that are His! “Temple” means more than a church building, it means Shekinah – your heart – our worship together.
II. This Is An Unfinished, Incomplete Message Today. Any Palm Sunday Message Is An Unfinished Message.
A. Jesus Is Still Encouraging Our Praise. . .
Even though it is still incomplete and partial. We think we have a handle on the truth. We do have an advantage of two thousand years’ worth of perspective. By now Tony Campolo’s sermon “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming!” is famous and rightly so! But even knowing now what we know and being invited to be a part of Christ’s ministry, we are reminded that the story is unfinished! And at the same time. . .
B. Jesus Is Still Weeping Over The Lost!
We must praise and be joyful and at the same time we must have the Lord’s compassion and share in His suffering for those who have rejected Him and not understood that their rejection of Him has caused them to suffer and die.
C. Jesus Wants To Cleanse Your Holy Place.
He wants to clean mine! It is important that the temple of our hearts, the place where God’s glory can dwell, be cleansed. When pure hearts come together in worship, there is the Church! Then God’s Kingdom is carried forward!
III. One Day This Palm Sunday Message Will Be Completed.
One day the whole world will see the Majesty of Jesus! The Palm Sunday Triumphal March was followed by another kind of procession, still led by our King. He was led forth to die! But it is important to remember that Jesus was no martyr!
In Luke 23 even as Jesus was on His way to Calvary, He told those who were there weeping and crying out: “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children (vs. 28-29). Jesus was and is the Lamb of God. The Lamb of before whom the powerful of this earth will flee to the rocks and mountains because of His wrath.
“And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the force of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb’” (Rev. 6:16).
There remains one more processional!
The story is not finished on Palm Sunday, nor Good Friday, not even on Easter, or Pentecost! Jesus, who entered Jerusalem on a gentle donkey to the shouts of children waving palm branches is coming again in a different sort of majesty!