Palm Sunday, March 28, 2010
“Join the Procession!”
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in the heaven and glory in the highest!”
Goal: To help the hearer to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, using Palm Sunday as the day that begins the walk through Holy Week.
Malady: We are often like the Pharisees, not wanting to join the procession but preferring life the way it is – with Christ quietly tucked away only to be used when needed or wanted.
Means: The Word, the gospel with the OT, points us to Christ. We will use the procession of palms as a way to join the festal procession.
Background: Zechariah 9:9 “rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you, righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The people of Israel understood this to be a Messianic prophecy – telling of the coming of the Messiah. They waited for the Messiah to arrive. They had hopes and dreams – many of which had become corrupted.
They wanted a Messiah to set up an earthly kingdom, to throw off the mantel of Rome, and other oppressors, make Israel as it was in the time of great King David. O, if only the Messiah would come, we would be free of the pain of oppression.
We get it wrong too- the wrong idea about the Savior. We want One who will take away all pain and suffering, all struggles of life. The “health & wealth” preachers tell us that Christ came to give us a life here on earth – great life. Pray for wealth – you will get it. Pray for freedom from financial struggles – you will be free. Set us up here on earth.
v. 37b “Praising God for the mighty works they had seen.”
What were those works?
• raising Lazarus from the deed a few weeks before.
• The blind beggar on the side of the road receiving sight.
• The feeding of the 5000.
These are the mighty works. People forget what they meant. John calls them signs (not miracles), these signs point out who Jesus is – the Son of God. The Savior of the World. Losing sight of that can lead to problems.
As the people saw all Jesus had done – they began to think this might be the Messiah.
Jesus goes out of His way to fulfill the OT prophecy. He sends the disciples to get the donkey – as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah. It would awaken in the people the thought of the Messiah.
Did it? Oh yeah! The people were beginning to jump out of their skin, Young and old alike began to do as was expected – singing praises to God.
Psalm 118:19 “Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
:20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous may enter through it.”
It was a holy procession, a joyous parade. Stately old King David could dance at the front of a parade. As the ark enters Jerusalem – some didn’t like it. 1 Samuel 6:14 “And David danced before the Lord with all his might.”
Why? “I will make merry before the Lord.” 1 Samuel 2:21b
Michal, his wife, despised him because of it. How could you? She didn’t humble herself before the Lord.
And as the people praise god for sending the Messiah (even if it was misunderstood) they were wild, filled with great joy. The Pharisees felt the same way about the people – and even Jesus – on Palm Sunday. How could the Teacher allow this? He should stop them. This is the time of great solemness. Stop the people.
This is Lent. Don’t celebrate. It is a somber season. Yet is it really meant for that? Why do we have Lent? To prepare us for the joy of Easter – it helps us to know one thing – Jesus is our savior! He is the Son of God. He has come to bring us salvation.
The people say, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” (vs. 38b) recalls what the angels say at Jesus’ birth (though the people didn’t know this – a Holy Spirit led event!).
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)
Peace in heaven – man’s peace with God, sin paid for, Law fulfilled, life given, restored, peace that was lost when Adam sinned. No peace has been given by the action of men (we try, with “good deeds” and sacrifices, and the following of the season). God brings peace – in the One who rides upon the donkey. The Messiah, the Savior, the Peacemaker and Peace bringer.
Glory to God in the highest! God gets all the glory. We don’t. The glory comes in Christ, the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Why keep quiet? All creation has been waiting in anticipation of the coming events. It is building to a crescendo – not the cross, for all creation stands in silence before the cross.
The crescendo comes on Sunday morning – as the grave bursts open. Palm Sunday is the procession – a time of preparation. Join in! We know where this is heading. We know the outcome. We look at what took place
Before the sorrow sets in, before the darkness clouds our vision, we look at the joy of the day! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
The children brought in the Palms. We sing. Was it with joy? It should have been. “Hosanna! Loud hosanna!” Join in the procession. Come to the Lord.
Be filled with joy – your Savior is come.
Be filled with hope – forgiveness is given.
Be filled with expectation – the hope of heaven is yours.
What is the challenge? Not to lose the joy of today to the everyday life.
Not to expect a Savior that gives earthly existence but heavenly.
Not to be overwhelmed by the world that wants to silence the voice of the One
who proclaims hope and salvation.
Focus: on Christ
on the Savior
on the joy of all that comes to us.
Ephesians 5;19 “addressing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
:20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Palm Sunday – worship – celebrate – in faith.