Summary: On Palm Sunday, the people wanted Jesus to be their king, but on their terms. Much has not changed.
1. Don’t you wish you had been there? Standing along the side of the road waiting and watching Jesus come in the holy city of Jerusalem, into the place where He would establish His rule. People shouting and waving palm branches, even laying their cloaks on the road to prepare a royal entrance in for Him - much like a red carpet.
2. The events of Palm Sunday took place one that day 2,000 years ago, but what was happening was really nothing new. And it was something that continues to happen daily.
3. For throughout history up to this very day and even here in this sanctuary we often show that we are no different from the people who lined the way into Jerusalem.
4. This morning we take a look at what was really taking place and each of us needs to ask self "Is that me standing there waving those branches and shouting Hosanna?"
1. We begin a long time before Palm Sunday, back to 1Sam 8. Time when Samuel was judge, prophet and priest. He was getting old.
a. His sons did not follow in their fathers footsteps. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
b. And so the elders gathered together and asked Samuel to appoint a king who would be able to lead them.
c. They wanted to have a king just like the nations around them had.
d. Perhaps this did not seem so wrong but Samuel knew that it was and so he prayed to God.
e. God told Samuel that it was God Himself they were rejecting. (1Sam 8:7-8)
f. What God was saying was that they did not want to trust in Him to rule over them as their king but they wanted an earthly king.
g. They were not willing to be a special people who were different from the peoples around them.
h. Perhaps they would respond by saying "We want a king but you are still are God, how can you say we are serving other Gods"
g. Important point here - we can believe in God and we can even worship Him, but if we do not fully put our trust in Him or if we put expectations or demands on Him that are not in line with His will and ways, we are in effect following other Gods
h. Outwardly we say, you are our God, but in reality we say "you are the God of our making or the God we want you to be"
i. The other gods we follow are the gods of self and the gods of other nations. We may think we are serving God but we are really serving ourselves and in fact trying to make God serve us
j. Samuel warns the people that they will regret having an earthly king. How often do we not suffer when we insist on our ways rather than God’s way?
k. In 1Sam 8:19-20, the people insist they have a king and they say what kind of a king they want.
l. They want a king to fight their battles for them.
m. Because they insist, God tells Samuel to give them a king. The history of the people of Israel for the next 500-600 years shows how many kings were evil and led the people in the wrong direction, until the nation was no more.
2. But we move ahead to Palm Sunday
a. In some ways the situation is not that different. The people of Israel are again looking for a king like other nations had.
b. It had been centuries since they had a king. They had been ruled by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians and Medes, the Greek, and now the Romans. The people had become cynical about life - there was no peace, no prosperity, no integrity, but they had remembered God’s promise of a messiah.
d. They began to hope in this Messiah who would fix everything for them - one who would throw out the foreign army, establish a new kingdom and bring peace and prosperity to the nation.
e. When Jesus came he seemed to fit what they wanted. He stood up against the scribes and the pharisees, he healed the sick and spoke with authority. He seemed to be a natural for the job.
f. Well, the people were right and yet they were wrong. This time they had the right person- Jesus indeed was the Messiah, the long-hoped for king.
g. But they did not understand what that meant. They did not understand what kind of a king he would be. They looked for power and riches not humility.
h. They looked for one to show they were good and right and their enemies were the problem, not for one who made they see that the problem was within themselves.