Notes from our most recent sermon are posted below each week.
April 5, 2020
Today is Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, beginning the week before His crucifixion. It is often called the Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday. There are different perspectives of what was taking place but, Jesus was the only one who really knew the significance of what was happening.
I. The crowd’s reaction; 12:12-15.
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 15 “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
The festival times in Jerusalem attracted great crowds. Over 100,000 people could have been there for Passover. Palm leaves had become a symbol of Jewish nationalism. Waving palm branches symbolized national hope. “Hosanna!” is an Aramaic phrase meaning “Save us now!” It comes from Psalm 118:25-26 and Zechariah 9:9, where Jerusalem was to rejoice at the coming of their king.
When the crowd shouted Hosanna, they were begging for salvation far beyond anything they anticipated. They wanted to be saved from Roman rule, the greatest freedom they could imagine. Yet, Jesus had in mind a greater freedom. Jesus knew that the path to true salvation would be a traumatic experience and encouraged them not to fear. But that was not the message the excited crowd wanted to hear. Jesus’ failure to satisfy their view leads to a cry for crucifixion days later.
People still want Jesus and Christianity to make their lives better and give them more freedom and resources to do as they please, but that’s not salvation. Don’t reduce Jesus to someone who helps you have a better life now. He came to die so that you might live forever; forgiven, freed from the brokenness of sin and power of death.
II. The disciples’ reaction; 12:16.
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
The crowd missed the point, and the disciples were confused about what was happening, yet Jesus was not confused at all about what was taking place. The lack of understanding of the disciples was not permanent. The glorification of Jesus would enable the disciples to see the event in its proper perspective.
Jesus’ resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit would bring clarity. We now experience both the power of the resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which bring us proper perspective in times of confusion. God’s Word has revealed to us what God is up to in bringing us hope in times of confusion.
III. The Pharisees’ reaction; 12:17-19.
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
The Pharisees, as representatives of the religious leadership, were completely frustrated by Jesus. The crowds caused them stress. They worried that any disturbance at a festival could cause the Romans to come and take over. Thus, in irritation they cried out, “The whole world has gone after Him!” “Jesus is going to ruin everything!”
There are those who see everything outside of their control as a threat and get stressed out when things don’t go their way, or it looks like they may lose control. They even see God’s working and the call of Jesus to follow Him as a threat to living life as they want, and to their prosperity.
God is never out of control and that’s why our hope needs to be found in Him and not in our ability to control things or get as much prosperity as possible out of our time on earth. We get reminders that we are not in control, just like now, and need to put our trust in the One who is in control and has a clear plan; a plan to bring salvation to the world.
Palm Sunday is a happy day. Jesus wants our praise and celebration. Too often we only see Him through the issues of our lives. We, like the crowd, want Jesus to just make our lives better today, or like the disciples are confused, or the Pharisees are threatened and stressed about losing control and prosperity.
Jesus said that in the end-times, there would be wars, rumors of wars, disease, persecution and such. So far, we have been in the end-times for 2000 years and have seen our share of these things. Many have their own perspective, but the One who sees past, present, and future has the only true perspective and answer. Just like 2000 years ago, and for every generation since, a relationship with Jesus Christ as our Savior is God’s ultimate solution and hope.
As you cry out to be saved from your current circumstances, Jesus offers so much more. Know that God is in control and is offering a salvation through Jesus greater than you can imagine. He offers salvation from the power of sin and death, from brokenness, stress, and confusion. He brings forgiveness and eternal life. Therefore, on this Palm Sunday we praise our Savior!