Summary: . Too many people do this still today, they run to God’s grace desiring eternal life in heaven, but quickly pull back from God at the first hint of obligation or responsibility to this grace we freely enjoy.
Intro: A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, dad?" "You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got Palm Branches today." The little boy replied, " Aw Shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!"
TWO WORDS THE WOLD HATES
The “Road to the Cross” is a road of commitment that quite honestly very few travel. Every one wants to line the streets and enjoy Palm Sunday praising God for the relief the Messiah offers. A relief they thought to be political much like the relief we have been witnessing in Baghdad. The relief that Jesus offered of course was not political but spiritual and the only way to receive this relief was to repent of sins and receive His offer of eternal life. Two unpopular words then come into play: they are submission and commitment. We always step back away from Palm Sunday and get all up in arms at the fickle crowd who cheered Jesus on Sunday and then turned and jeered him on Friday. But are people any less fickle in our day and culture? During the Passion Week Jesus focused the majority of His teaching to submission and commitment. How did the people respond? They readily accepted and ran to His offer of grace but quickly drew back and shunned any obligation to live under the umbrella of God’s protection. Too many people do this still today, they run to God’s grace desiring eternal life in heaven, but quickly pull back from God at the first hint of obligation or responsibility to this grace we freely enjoy.
Illustration: Lest we be too critical of Jerusalem, ask yourself this question: What city even today would not be shaken by Jesus’ entry into it? Imagine Jesus entering New York, Baghdad, Washington, or even Grand Saline. Oh, I’m sure we’d welcome him with our hosannas - at first, anyway. We’d line the streets and strike up the band and have a grand parade right down Main Street. But I’m equally sure that, by the end of the week, we’d have him nailed to a cross, too. Why? Because the Kingdom Jesus came to establish still threatens the kingdoms of this world -- your kingdom and mine -- the kingdoms where greed, power, and lust rule instead of grace, mercy, and peace. And who among us really wants to surrender our lives to that Kingdom and that King?
We live in a free society, but our freedom not only comes at a price it’s maintained at a price. Yes, it has come at the cost of soldiers shedding their blood to provide and protect our freedom, but it also comes at a monetary cost to us everyday as we pay taxes to support our government.
Salvation although free to everyone came at the high cost of Jesus shedding his blood on the cross for our sins we must also bear in mind it cost a real man, real blood as He experienced a real death on a real day. So as we understand the value of our relationship with God we also must understand that with this salvation God has given us a trust. This trust involves our attitude and action towards God and other people. Just as the fire on the alter was to never go out in the Tabernacle so should we never allow the excitement of our spiritual life to dwindle. God is not asking us to die for Him but He is asking us to live for Him.
A SHIFT FROM MIRICLES TO COMMITMENT
It is interesting to note that in all four Gospels after Jesus enters Jerusalem to the shouts of Hosanna and palm branches there is not another miracle recorded. There are some events we might count as miracles but no miracles are done for the people. On the face of it this may not seem significant but when you consider that nearly one half of the Gospels is devoted to the last seven days of Jesus life, you then understand significance of this. Open your bibles and see if that is not true. But listen to this: While there are no miracles recorded in these chapters what you will find is a persistent call to commitment.
WE COULD NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH
It’s interesting to think about the Passion Week of Jesus, we call this coming Friday as “Good Friday” a day when an innocent man was murdered in an awful way. If you try to step outside of all we are and all we know the fact that we call it “good” is interesting. It seems like we should call a day someone was killed as “good” I think it would be more appropriate to call it “Bad Friday”. I think what’s so weird about it we don’t want to think we’re that bad of a person. If you get away from understanding the need of Christ death on a cross it fogs up the whole meaning of the cross.