Summary: A different look at Palm Sunday with a message done in stages. The message begins on Palm Sunday and ends with the cross on Good Friday
Written in Blood
April 13, 2014
Palm Sunday Message
The following message was preached in phases or stages during the worship service. The praise team prepared appropriate music for each point and provided various thematic elements during the sermon.
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name plays prior to this point
When Jesus enters Jerusalem, it was a city without hope. The Roman government was forcing a heavy oppression on the Jewish people. There was substantial taxation, made worse by crooked tax collectors. The Romans leveled significant restrictions on Jerusalem and the general population that created mass poverty. There were daily crucifixions for various crimes and political reasons.
The people of Jerusalem were searching for hope. They were waiting for a person to lead them out of despair. They were waiting on the Messiah, the Promised One, the Son of David to deliver Israel from the hand of Roman oppression. By all signs, they were waiting for Jesus.
The day of Passover was approaching. Passover was the day of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. The people of Jerusalem were filled with the hope that they too would be delivered. There was hope in the hearts of the people that they would soon be free. The people would be free from poverty, they would be free from tyranny and they would be free from pagan influence. This was their hope and it was also their expectation.
As Jesus rides into Jerusalem, it was to a hero’s welcome. It is to immense amounts of praise. It is to a people whose hope has arrived. It is to a place that was about to change. The crowds began to wave palm branches and lay them down as He passed by. This was the sign of a king’s welcome and a hero’s reception.
The shouts filled the air: Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Palm Branches were distributed to the congregation. The praise team began to wave their branches on cue for the congregation to do the same.
The crowds went wild as Jesus enters Jerusalem because they were filled with hope once again. The expectations of the crowds were at an all-time high. They expected that Jesus had come to set them free politically, to set them free from oppression and to begin a new era of unimagined prosperity. The cheering was overwhelming and intense as Jesus and the disciples made their way through the gates of Jerusalem.
The cries of the crowd are significant. Not only were they proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah but they were also claiming Him as savior. Hosanna means save us now. The city without hope saw their hope personified in Jesus. These people saw Jesus coming as the start of a new beginning.
During the entry into Jerusalem, Jesus received the praise He rightfully deserved. For one brief moment, Jesus was welcomed praise and celebration. These crowds welcomed Jesus with enthusiasm, excitement and honor. The result was an incredible experience of praise rising to heaven.
Lead Me to the Cross plays prior to this point
Note: The praise team began to wave their palm branches again here on my cue
The Cheering stops
It is ironic that the people waved palm branches before Jesus. They saw Him as a liberator, a savior. The cries of the people shouting Hosanna were in essence crying out long live the king. The enthusiastic greeting of Jesus would quickly come to an end.
The actions of the crowds would soon come to end and the cheering would stop.
The cheering would soon stop. Why did the people stop cheering? Why did their perspective change? The expectations of the people were not met. Jesus did not do what the people wanted or expected for Him to do. The people believed that their hopes were dashed again and so the cheering stopped.
Jesus never raised an army. Jesus did not create an uprising. Jesus did not overthrow the Romans and drive them from Israel. He never did what the people expected. In fact, He did what they least expected.
Jesus drove the moneychangers and the merchants from the Temple courts. He told the people to pay tribute to Caesar. Jesus taught that giving out of poverty was worth far more than giving out of abundance. He taught that to great, you must first be willing to be a servant. Jesus did everything the people did not want and so the cheering stopped.
The attitude of the crowds moved from long live the king to something radically different. Remember the Triumphal Entry happened on Sunday. Jesus clears the temple on Monday. He confronts the chief priests and teachers of the Law on Tuesday. Jesus tells the people to pay taxes to Caesar and confronts the Sadducees on Wednesday. On Thursday, Jesus confronts the Pharisees and Judas begins to put the plan to betray Jesus into motion.