Summary: A Palm Sunday sermon that explores the difference between people’s words and actions on Sunday with their words and actions on Friday.

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April 4, 2004 — Palm Sunday

Christ Lutheran Church, Columbia, MD

Pastor Jeff Samelson

John 12:12-19

Where’s Your Faith on Friday?

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our glorious King and Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Word of God for our meditation this Palm Sunday is John’s account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, 12:12-19:

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt." At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!" (NIV)

This is the Gospel of our Lord.

Dear Friends in Christ:

There’s a haunting spiritual that takes us to the foot of the cross on Good Friday and asks, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” But that’s Friday — what if you were there on Sunday? What if you had been part of that cheering crowd? Let’s picture that for a moment.

Children — imagine you were one of the kids lining the streets of Jerusalem that Sunday. You would have been filled with all kinds of excitement. You may not have understood exactly what was going on, but you would have known enough — the king was coming, he was here, he was right in front of you! You would have shouted out with all the grown-ups around you, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” On your way home that day all you’d probably be able to talk would be — “I saw the king today — and I think he saw me, too, ‘cause he smiled right at me! The king of the Jews came today!”

Men — imagine you were a traveler in Jerusalem that day, come in from the countryside a little early for the Passover. You knew about this Jesus, but there was something special going on today. For months people all over Judea and Galilee had been talking about Jesus, wondering if maybe he could be the Messiah, the long-awaited king who would save his people and re-establish David’s throne. You couldn’t argue with his miracles, and it was clear from his teaching that he was a leader with confidence and courage. You’d heard that he actually was a descendant of David, and so when you heard the noise and saw the crowds, you ran to see him, and you gladly joined in their shouts of joy and welcome. Because he had come — the Son of David had come to claim his rightful place as king of the Jews, and he would be your king.

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