Apr. 13, 2022

Transcript from my Palm Sunday Message @ The Well

Today is what is known in the church calendar as Palm Sunday. It notes the Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Most liturgical churches will focus their message on that account which can be seen in all of the gospels.

Let’s look at Matthew 21: When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them on immediately.” Now this took place so that what was spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your King is coming to you, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” Jesus fulfilled over 300 Messianic prophecies in the Bible through His birth, His life, His death and resurrection. Things are not by accident. God had and has a plan for everything, both everything in Jesus life and everything in yours. The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their cloaks on them; and He sat on the cloaks. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. Now the crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” 10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Luke’s account, in Luke 19:39-40 he adds one of my favorite details about Jesus, the Pharisees and the crowds:  some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” 40 Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these stop speaking, the stones will cry out!”   I don’t know about you, but no rock is gonna cry in my place. 

Last week Matt encouraged us to read through the gospel accounts pertaining to this season from Palm Sunday to Easter. Rather than focus solely on the triumphal entry today, I want to look at some of the things that happened between Palm Sunday and Easter. Typically, during Holy week as it is referred to, we think of the last supper and the crucifixion, which are usually observed on Thursday and Friday. I believe there is so much more for us though. Years ago, in my first attempt at devotional writing, I wrote a devotional that focused on the days from Palm Sunday to the time after the resurrection, called Jesus Last Days, A Model for Our Days. I believe we could spend a lifetime just looking at the words and actions of Jesus in that last week, in His final days before His death and resurrection. Jesus knew that His time here and His time with the disciples was coming to an end. In those final days, Jesus poured so much into teaching and instructing the disciples. He said and did so much… In fact, if you break it down, almost 1/3 of all of the gospel accounts cover the time from the triumphal entry to the ascension.

I believe in some ways, we can equate the time we spent in worship this morning to the time of Jesus entry into Jerusalem. We greeted Him with adoration and praise. We did not allow any rocks to cry out in our place. What now?  What’s next? Matthew’s account continues: Cleansing the Temple 12 And Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those who were selling and buying on the temple grounds, and He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.” 14 And those who were blind and those who limped came to Him in the temple area, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant, 16 and they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘From the mouths of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” 17 And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. In John 2:13-17, John tells of a similar event that happened not at the last Passover, but rather at the first Passover of Jesus public ministry. The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And within the temple grounds He found those who were selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 And He made a whip of cords, and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away from here; stop making My Father’s house a place of business!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written: “Zeal for Your house will consume me.” I don’t think we should view this discrepancy in the time as a contradiction, but rather as in indication that perhaps Jesus repeated this action at least twice and possibly each time He came to the temple. Although zeal for the Father’s house caused Jesus to drive them out, I am sure that they were quick to return to their ways. What about us? 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says: Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.  After greeting Jesus with shouts of praise, if Jesus wants to drive some things out of our temples, will we set them back up after we leave today? How often must Jesus overturn the tables in our temples or drive out what should not be there?

Matthew continues: The Barren Fig Tree 18 Now in the early morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves alone; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. 20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.” Marks account, in Mark 11:13 says:Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. We’ve looked at this before, why would Jesus curse the fig tree for having no fruit if it was not the season for figs? Remember, Jesus knew His time was short. It wasn’t really about satisfying His hunger, but about teaching the disciples and encouraging their faith. We need to have the same urgency as Jesus. We may not know like He did, when the time of our death will be, but we are in a season when we should look to bear fruit for the kingdom every day. Bearing fruit is not just evangelizing, helping or praying for others. Galatians 5:22-23 says: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. In Psalm 37:3-5 the psalmist says: Trust in the Lord and do good; Live in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. If we want to bear fruit for the kingdom, we need to cultivate our faithfulness daily.

Still, there is so much more that Jesus said and did in that final week. In Matthew 24 we see Jesus prediction and description of how things will be before He returns. In verses 4-14 He says: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains. “Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. 12 And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” As we wait to celebrate His resurrection, could we be living in those times? Verse 42 says: “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”

Additionally, there are numerous parables, more than we have time for today. In John’s gospel we see the promise of the Holy Spirit in chapter 14 along with Jesus words “If you love me you will keep My commandments.” In chapter 15 there is the parable of the vine and the branches that we have looked at recently, where Jesus says we must abide in Him to bear fruit. Then in verses 18-25 Jesus says: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they followed My word, they will follow yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 The one who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But this has happened so that the word that is written in their Law will be fulfilled: ‘They hated Me for no reason.’” The world may hate us as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ because they hated Him for no reason.

In closing today, the final thing I want us to look at is Jesus time praying in the garden before His arrest. Matthew 26:39-46: He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 Keep watching and praying, so that you do not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink from it, Your will be done.” 43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up, let’s go; behold, the one who is betraying Me is near!” Marks account closely mirrors Matthew’s.  Luke 22:44 also says much of the same, but adds: being in agony, He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. The focus is often on Jesus asking that the cup be removed, but submitting to the Father’s will. The indication then is that knowing what was coming caused so much anguish that He sweat drops of blood. I have always thought though that John captured more of what Jesus prayed, what caused Him so much anguish that He sweat drops of blood. That prayer, His prayer for us is my closing prayer today. It’s my voice you will be hearing, but it is Jesus prayer.

John 17: “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You, just as You gave Him authority over all mankind, so that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth by accomplishing the work which You have given Me to do. And now You, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world existed. “I have revealed Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have followed Your word. Now they have come to know that everything which You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but on the behalf of those whom You have given Me, because they are Yours; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 I am no longer going to be in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are. 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name, which You have given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them away from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 Just as You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, so that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. Pay attention, 20 “I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, That’s us!  2000 years ago Jesus sweat drops of blood anguishing in prayer for you and me. He knew all that we would go through.  21 that they may all be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and You loved them, just as You loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “Righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

We came in greeting Him with adoration and praise. Go out knowing that you have been given the glory of Christ and that you are loved as He is loved. Amen