Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week.  On Palm Sunday we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Next Sunday will be Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  In between these two Sundays of celebration are Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  These two days are tremendously important.  On Maundy Thursday, among other things, are the washing of the feet of the disciples by Jesus, the first celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, and Judas’ betrayal of Christ.  On Good Friday we have the crucifixion.  The primary reason that Jesus came to earth.  He was after all, “the lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world”.   If Jesus had not died for us, we would still be left in our sins.  There is no other way for us to be forgiven than through the sacrifice of Jesus.

I.  Rejoice:  Luke 19:28-40

 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”

34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

The disciples rejoiced over the mighty works they had seen.  After all, they had seen a multitude fed from a few loaves and fish, they had seen the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the blind see.  They had even seen the dead brought back to life.  There was much about which to rejoice.

Do we rejoice about what Christ has done for us?  We may not have had quite the same spectacular stories as the early disciples, but do we not have stories of the faithfulness of God?

II.  Weeping:  Luke 19:41-44

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Luke immediately follows the story of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem with this recital of Jesus weeping for the coming destruction of Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was to be destroyed because “they did not know the time of your visitation”.  They had not accepted, truly, that Jesus was the Messiah.  This prophecy came true when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman army in 70AD.

The close proximity to the story of the triumphal entry reminds us of the mixture of emotions that Jesus must have felt.  Sure, He enjoyed the celebration of Palm Sunday, but He fully understood the events of the coming week.  He also knew that not all would receive the gift of salvation that would be offered.  There is a curious mixture of joy and sadness.

We too, should have a burden for the lost.  We should pray that God would touch their hearts, that they would respond to the gospel and be restored like prodigal children coming home to the Father.  Yes, we can celebrate, but we should also, at times, weep for the lost, and pray that God would work through us to reach them with the gospel.

On a related note, this mixture of emotions goes both ways.  During times of testing or trials, when life is painful and difficult; we can rejoice in the knowledge that, in Christ, we are victorious.  That in the end we win.  That Christ is with us always, even in the days of darkness.

III.  Cleansing:  Luke 19:4-46

Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is  a house of prayer’, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

The triumphal entry, weeping over the city, and now the cleansing of the temple.  The account in Luke is filled with powerful emotions.  In this section Jesus is distraught over the way that they house of God was being treated.  Some have used this portion of scripture to condemn bake sales in the foyer, or any kind of fundraising sale in the church building.  I think that they have missed the point.  The various fundraisers that go on in a church are not for personal gain.  They are for worth while causes. However there are some issues that we should face regarding our attitude towards the house of God.  Are we attending merely for the sake of appearance?   Perhaps, we are concerned about status?  Maybe we are simply trying to network to further our business.  Certainly, it is possible to have the wrong attitude towards church attendance.  We should be gathering together to pray, to worship, to learn, and to both encourage, and be encouraged by our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Palm Sunday is a wonderful day of celebration, but as we celebrate, let us remember to pray for the lost, and to maintain a right attitude in our own hearts towards the house of God.

These are the sermon notes from 4/13/14.  Any advertisements that may follow this blog are placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them.

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