Sermons

Summary: I don’t know about you, but I find Sundays uplifting. Why can’t everyday be Sunday? The rest of the week gets tough, huh?

--Illus: I have a personal hero list, and high on that list is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I admire him for his courage and conviction; what he did and how he challenged this nation is nothing short of inspirational. Furthermore, as a preacher, I admire him as an orator. His speeches are spellbinding. My favorite speech of his? It isn’t "I Have a Dream." I personally think his "Mountaintop" speech is his greatest one. Perhaps you know the story behind it. It was delivered in Memphis, TN on Apr 3, 1968. Dr. King was in Memphis to support striking santitation workers, sanitation workers grossly and unjustly underpaid. A rally was scheduled at Memphis’ Mason Temple, and Dr. King was scheduled to speak. But he was tired; his duties taxed him, and he had Ralph Abernathy (the man who was going to introduce him) fill in for him. Back in his hotel room, Dr. King got a phone call. It was Abernathy. He told him, "Get down here. This is YOUR audience. There’s a buzz all around, and these people are here to see YOU!" So, Dr. King went and delivered the speech. Everytime I read it or hear it, it still stirs me. I remember watching a TV documentary on it; all who witnessed it said that they were never so moved. An amazing speech. And what makes it even more moving was the timeliness of it. You see, he was assassinated the very next day. Amazing, isn’t it. How the euphoria of the Mason Temple and Apr 3 gave way to the Lorraine Motel and Apr 4?

--And if you think about it, we see that same principle all thru life. ’What principle is that?’

--I: Part One

--In Mk. 11-16, we have Mark’s record of Jesus’ passion week. Mark gives us a day by day account of this last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Two Sundays bookend the section.

--And when you think about it, the two Sundays are wildly triumphant Sundays. They are clearly high points.

--On the 1st Sunday, we have the triumphal entry. It’s passover time. The most important festival on the Jewish calendar.

--And remember that passover was more than a religious festival. It stirred patriotic feelings in the Jewish people as well. Passover commemmorated their deliverance from Egypt, from slavery, and God led them into the promised land, the land he’d give them forever and ever...Passover celebrated their formation as a nation and a people. It united them. It expressed solidarity.

--Think of what the 4th of July does for many Americans? Yes, it is a secular holiday, but we at times attach a lot of religious baggage to it, don’t we? For many, it is more than a secular holiday. Well, passover was like that and then some to the Jewish people. It stirred feelings of patriotism and nationalism.

--This, of course, made the Romans nervous. Passover was a very volatile time in Palestine. And because the Romans were so resented, passover gave the Jewish people a heightened expectation and sense of anticipation.

--Every passover, there was this hope. "Maybe this is THE passover? Maybe there’ll be another Exodus? Only the Romans will be the ones leaving! Maybe THIS will be the passover when Messiah comes and he glorifies Israel?!"

--This is the backdrop for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. And notice HOW he enters. (Read 11:2-11).

--You see, HOW is signigicant because of an OT prophecy. One etched on the minds and cultural consciousness of the Jewish people, especially at this time of year. It is found in Zech. 9:9-10 (read~~it talks about the Messiah riding in on a colt).

--They see Jesus enter the city, and then they think of THIS passage! ’Isn’t this the same Jesus who gives sight to blind people? He makes the lame walk? The deaf hear? The dead are raised? And the poor get the good news preached to them? Isn’t this HIM?! Is he THE one?’ Imagine the sense of anticipation and excitement.

--Illus: Can you understand that sense of anticipation? If you remember May 7, 1945, you do. What was that day? V-E day. The day Nazi Germany surrendered. It was a day of wild celebrations, especially in London. London, where they had been harrassed by Nazi bombs and rockets for months. There is one thing, though, about the celebration. The war wasn’t yet over. There was still the matter of Imperial Japan. And the world didn’t know about the bomb. An invasion of the home islands was likely, one that would have cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The war was not yet over, but they still celebrated. Why? Anticipation! With Germany out of the way, it was only a matter of time.

--That Palm Sunday was a Sunday of celebration and anticipation. A true high point.

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