Summary: Who is Jesus to you is only answered by the spirit in you that understands he is available just when you need him most.
Palm Sunday, April 1, 2007
“Who is This?”
Text: Matt 21: 1- 9
A Story is told of a young boy who was sick on Palm Sunday and unable to go to church. His mother stayed home with him and his father went to church. When his father came home he brought with him a few of the palm branches he received at church. He went into his son’s room to see how he was doing. His son asked him what he had in his hand. The father replied I have Palm branches. What are they for? His son asked. We waved them when Jesus comes to town. The boy became sad and began to cry. The father asked, what is the matter? The son sobbingly says, the very day Jesus comes to town I miss him because I’m sick.
This problem though presented in a humorous way is the same today. We miss Jesus because we are ill prepared to receive him.
“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?”
This truly would be a rhetorical question if not for the next verse in our text: “And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”
How is it possible that the multitude answered the question wrong?
Who is this? And the multitude answered Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
Prophets in the mind of the ancients where generally recognized as inspired deliverers of God’s message.
In this sense Jesus was simply seen as one of the other divinely inspired messengers the people had seen before.
You remember the story on the Mount of Transfiguration in the gospels. Jesus, along with Peter, James and John; were with Jesus when he appeared to become transformed into the images of Moses and Elijah. The images were so powerful that they wanted to build three tabernacles there and worship the images together. They concluded that it was good to have been here and wanted to stay forever.
If the disciples could only understand Jesus within the context of the prophetic line, really it is not unreasonable for the multitude to think the same.
Who is this? The problem we face if we reduce our understanding of Jesus to simply that of a prophet is that he is only a communicator of wise and useful sayings.
If we think that I believe your understanding is misdirected.
A misdirected understanding will focus upon the word as words; and not the word as the living word.
Jesus is the word that was with God and that was God.
Jesus is the word made flesh that dwelt among us.
Jesus is the word that becomes a lamp unto thy feet and a light unto thy path.
Jesus is the word of God that shall stand forever.
Jesus is the word that if it dwells in you; your life will be transformed.
The other problem we face is if we reduce our understanding of Jesus to simply as a prophet; then he becomes misunderstood.
You see it in the text and we will sing it later. The text says, “Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord.” He doesn’t come in the name of the Lord – Jesus the Christ is Lord!
Jesus and the Father are one.
Jesus is fully man and fully God.
Jesus is more than a prophet. Jesus is the light of the world.
Jesus is the Savior of mankind.
Jesus is the bright and morning sun.
Jesus Christ is the son of God.
Who is this? You must be careful that you are not misdirected in your understanding or that you cause the true Jesus to be misunderstood.
Who is this? We must be careful that our faith is not misplaced.
You will find the multitude displaying a misplaced faith when they are later given the choice between Barabbas and Jesus. The multitude chooses Barabbas and rejects Jesus because their faith was misplaced.
It really is not difficult to understand why the multitudes’ understanding is misdirected or their understanding of Jesus is misunderstood, or that their faith is misplaced. It really is not!
Jesus himself recognized this when he asked Peter who men say that I am. Peter responded with the popular opinion. Some say that you are John the Baptist, Some say that you are Elijah; still others say you are Jeremiah.
They were all prominent prophets in there memory.
But Jesus focuses the question and asks Peter who do you say that I am? And Peter answer revolutionizes our understanding of Jesus because he says; Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.
As we wave the Palms on this Sunday, the question each of you must answer deep within your hearts is: Who is this?