Palm Sunday Essay, Research Paper
?March On! Even after the Parade!?
It was Palm Sunday and Jesus was coming into Jerusalem. He was riding on a blazing white stallion and kicking up a cloud of dust as he rode along. He was looking for trouble. The people that he passed on his way were in awe of such a beautiful animal but they were even more awestruck by the man who was riding it. As Jesus passed by, you could hear the people say, “Who was that masked man?”
There were bad guys on the loose and Jesus had a job to do. As he rode into Jerusalem he quickly sized up the situation and formed a plan to capture the ring leader of the trouble makers, his name was Diablo or Satan. There was a short scuffle and Jesus won handily over Diablo. He hog-tied the devil and threw him in jail.
As a large crowd of people gathered to see what the commotion was all about, Jesus mounted his horse and pulled on the reigns. The stallion stood on its hind legs, nayed loudly, and pawed the air with its front legs. When it stood as tall as it could stand, Jesus leaned forward in the saddle. Holding the reigns with one hand while lifting his white hat in the air with the other, He shouted with a loud voice, “Hi ho Stallion, and away!” As Jesus road off into the sunset, you could hear the William Tell Overture in the background. Du du dunt. Du du dunt. Du du dunt dunt dunt.
Of course that is not how it happened, but that is how most of us would have done it if we were Jesus.
Let?s read how Jesus did it.
As your pastor, I?m tempted to preach on hosanna and hallelujah, people singing and shouting for joy and waving palm branches in the grand parade of Palm Sunday.
Instead of talking about the death of Jesus, I could simply pause here at the Palm Sunday procession and talk about how important Christian praise is, maybe even sing some praise choruses.
I could just skip right over Maundy Thursday and Good Friday today, and next Sunday you could come and hear about the triumph of Easter and the Resurrection.
We could just move from one celebration to another.
We could move from Sunday to Sunday in triumph, and never have to deal with all that messy stuff in between, just look the other way, and pretend it never happened.
But, you see, as your pastor, I take my responsibility to nurture your spiritual growth seriously.
And you cannot grow being fed a steady diet of baby food.
So I cannot and will not skip from Palm Sunday to Easter morning and avoid talking about what happened in between.
You cannot get from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday without going through Good Friday.
Before Jesus could be resurrected, he had to die.
So I have to talk about the pain this morning, because the same crowd that shouted “hosanna” to Jesus on Palm Sunday are the same people who, will realize that Jesus is not exactly the kind of Messiah they had wanted.
And before the week is out, they will turn against Jesus and demand his death.
To be involved with Jesus involves talking about death.
Do you remember what Paul said in his first letter to the church at Corinth?
“I decided to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
The New Testament is filled with talk about the death of Jesus.
Too many people today seem to be looking for a risk-free, cost-free, painless, bloodless faith.
Like the ouch-less bandaid, they want an ouch-less Christianity.
Jesus was crucified. Why?
Many people ask that question about Jesus.
“If God loves us so much, and if God is all-powerful, why couldn?t God just speak, like at the creation when God said, ?Let there be light!? and ? poof! ? there it is, just like that! So why couldn?t God just say, ?I forgive you,? and let it go at that? Why did Jesus have to die?”
Let me answer that with an illustration.
Suppose a husband has been unfaithful to his wife. He goes to her and tells her what he?s done and how sorry he is and how bad he feels about it and he promises never to do it again if she will just forgive him. And when the confession and apology are finished, what would it mean if all his wife said was, “Oh, that?s okay. Don?t worry about it. Happens all the time. No big deal. Let?s just forget about it.” Is the husband going to feel like he has been forgiven? No, he?s not. What his wife has said to him is, “I really don?t care what you do one way or another. You?re not important enough for it to make any difference to me. I?m not going to lose any sleep over anything you do.” What would it take to convince the unfaithful husband that his wife has forgiven him ? just words? “That?s okay. No big deal.”
No, that wouldn?t do it. There?s no forgiveness there. Would it not take some action on the wife?s part ? reaching out, taking his hand, and taking him into her arms? And yet how costly that would be! She would have to give up something of herself, wouldn?t she? She would have to give up her anger and resentment at having been betrayed by someone she loved. Can you imagine that happening? Can you imagine engaging in an act of forgiveness like that? I have to confess that I?d have a really tough time with that myself. That could only be described as an act of mercy, an act of unconditional love, an act of grace. And yet, that?s really what it would take to demonstrate forgiveness in that situation, isn?t it? Words won?t do it. You can talk all day and all night about loving and forgiving and accepting someone. Talk is cheap. It?s only when words are transformed into action that anyone really believes.
So if God had simply said, “That?s okay. Don?t worry about it, I forgive you ? again,” would it have been enough to convince us, to prove to us that God?s love and forgiveness are real?
God shows us His love at Calvary, on a cross.
Fulfillment of prophecy.
THIS WAS NOT THE ONLY PART OF GOD?S PLAN
This is just one of the many prophecies regarding Jesus’ entrance, arrest, trial and crucifixion.
Jesus was to be Betrayed by a friend ? Ps 41:9
Jesus was to be sold for 30 pieces of silver ? Zech 11:12
Jesus was to have false witnesses accuse Him ? Ps 27:12
Jesus was to be silent when accused ? Isaiah 53:7
He was to be struck and spit upon ? Isaiah 50:6
He was to suffer in our place ? Isaiah 53:4-5
He was to have his hands and feet pierced ? Ps 22:16
He was to be mocked and insulted ? Ps 22:16-18
He was to pray for His enemies ? Ps 109:4
He was to have His side pierced ? Zech 12:10
He was to have soldiers cast lots for His clothes ? Ps 22:18
He was to have no broken bones? Ps 34:20
All that Jesus went through was for the fulfillment of man’s salvation.
To fulfill prophecy Jesus needed a colt to ride into Jerusalem.
Made possible–at least in part?because one nameless person was willing to loan Jesus the animal He rode!
This unnamed person was willing to RESPOND to the fact that Jesus NEEDED what was his!
It’s ALWAYS that way!
When we give whatever we have to Jesus…
Our PRESENCE in His house,
HE receives the praise He is due!
I heard of a pastor in an inner city church in New York City. His mission field was a very violent place. He himself had been stabbed twice as he ministered to the people of the community surrounding the church. Once a Puerto Rican woman became involved in the church and was led to Christ. After her conversion she came to the Pastor and said, “I want to do something to help with the church’s ministry.” He asked her what her talents were and she could think of nothing—she couldn’t even speak English—but she did love children. So he put her on one of the church’s buses that went into neighborhoods and transported kids to church. Every week she performed her duties. She would find the worst-looking kid on the bus, put him on her lap and whisper over and over the only words she had learned in English: “I love you. Jesus loves you.”
After several months, she became attached to one little boy in particular. The boy didn’t speak. He came to Church every week with his sister and sat on the woman’s lap, but he never made a sound. Each week she would tell him all the way to Church and all the way home, “I love you and Jesus loves you.”
One day, to her amazement, the little boy turned around and stammered, “I—I—I love you too!” Then he put his arms around her and gave her a big hug. That was 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon. At 6:30 that night he was found dead. His own mother had beaten him to death and thrown his body in the trash…….”I love you and Jesus loves you.” ….Those were some of the last words this little boy heard in his short life—from the lips of a Puerto Rican woman who could barely speak English. This woman gave her one talent to God and because of that a little boy who never heard the word “love” in his own home, experienced and responded to the love of Christ…..
When we give Jesus our time, talents, and possessions, He is glorified….
What can you give? What is your “colt”?
You and I each have something in our lives, which, if given back to God, could, like the colt, move Jesus and His message further down the road.
Maybe you have a nack for working with children…
Or maybe you can sing…..
Or maybe you love to welcome people when they enter the Lord’s house….
Or maybe you can set up a web page…
Or maybe you can write a check…
Or maybe you know how to use a hammer
Whatever talent or ability you have…. that?s your “colt”.
When we give it over to Christ, God is glorified.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday, He entered it publicly claiming to be God’s Messiah. (Not the Lone Ranger, but the Lone Savior)
This entrance WILL BE FAR OUTDONE AT HIS SECOND COMING
At His Second Coming the last trumpet shall sound.
At His Second Coming the angels will be His attendants.
At His Second Coming the clouds will be rolled back.
Not only did he ride in on a donkey, it was a borrowed donkey.
At His Second Coming He WILL be riding on a white horse! (Rev.19:11)
At Hid Second Coming He will come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!!!
But in His first appearance, He walked the road of HUMILITY. (EXAMPLE)
ARE YOU WILLING TO WALK THIS ROAD WITH JESUS?
We love to have the blessings of God, but do we want to walk with Jesus in humility?
Do we really want to be conformed to the image of Christ?
What would Jesus do?
Well, what DID Jesus do?
He walked in humility.
Luke tells us that as Jesus approached Jerusalem He stopped on the Mt. of Olives.
With a view of the city of Jerusalem.
He did something almost unbelievable…. He cried!
With deep sadness, He said through His tears,
“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace…but now it is hidden from your eyes.”
CREATOR crying for the created….
Almighty, Holy God crying for sinful people like you and me…
GOD CRIED…because the people He loved so dearly had rejected Him.
He wept because He knew that many of them would reject Him and have to suffer the painful consequences.
If we are going to walk this road with Jesus
We must love people as much as He loves People…
A mother sent a little girl on an errand. She took much too long in coming back. Her Mother, demanded an explanation when she finally did return. The little girl explained that on her way back she had met a little friend who was crying because she had broken her doll.
“Oh,” said the mother, “then you stopped to help her fix her doll?” “Oh, no,” replied the little girl. “I stopped to help her cry.” Like this little girl, we must be moved by the pain of those around us who hurt because they have rejected God in their lives.
That’s what Jesus would do and if we walk as He walked, we will follow His example.
THEY SPREAD THEIR GARMENTS TO MAKE HIM WELCOME
What have you done to make Christ welcome in your heart?
What have you done to make His grace welcome in your home?
They spread their garments in respect for Christ.
Jesus on His way into Jerusalem the crowds begin to gather, they sang ?Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord…”
And they began to sing—-loudly!
Shouting for Jesus (ATF) Wow!!
Hosanna,(Save us) to the Son of David.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the Highest
VS 10 says the whole city was “Stirred,”(KJ Moved) this is an understatement.
The Greek word here is used to describe earthquakes.
These people were “wild with excitement” they were literally rocking the city with their noise and singing.
Luke’s gospel records that the Pharisee?s (church of that day) complained,
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
And Jesus answered,
“I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
What Jesus was saying was,
“Don’t you understand? This is the moment that God my Father has been preparing since the foundation of the world for you to have with Your Messiah. I am officially here. And if I stop my disciples from singing, you are going to hear a literal rock concert!”
Many of the people who joined in Jesus’ parade on Palm Sunday rained on His parade five days later.
The people were shouting cries of joy, but they would soon turn to cries of anger.
The cries of welcome would soon be cries of, “Crucify Him!”
It?s easy to shout for Jesus at the Triumphal Entry Parade!
It?s easy to shout for Jesus at ATF!
It?s easy to shout for Jesus at church!
Sure, You Can Join the Parade — But Can You Keep Marching?
God’s plan was to use the nation of Israel as a kingdom of priests proclaiming His love to the entire world.
But they missed this because they were self-focused….
And you know what? So are we.
Our culture seems to be as self-absorbed as those crowds around Jesus that first Psalm Sunday.
Self-interest is the way of the world…
But as followers of Christ we need to walk a different path…
Jesus’ way is the way of the cross.
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
This implies obedience to Christ in every road of life.
Our time…our talents…our possessions…our willingness to love and serve others…nothing is excluded.
Your life will never be the same once you get “on the road” with Jesus.