Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries

A Passover and Easter Special, Part 1.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Palm Sunday which is the Sunday before Easter, and marks the beginning of Holy Week, the week of events leading up to Jesus’ death. The celebration of Palm Sunday originated in the Jerusalem Church, around the late fourth century. The early Palm Sunday ceremony consisted of prayers, hymns, and sermons recited by the clergy while the people walked to various holy sites throughout the city.

PSA 118:26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;

Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal or victorious entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.

MAT 21:9 And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after were crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”

Palm Sunday is an occasion for reflecting on the final week of Jesus’ life. It is a time for Christians to prepare their hearts for the agony of His Passion and the joy of His Resurrection.

First, the special errand is found in verse 30, “Go into the village opposite of you.”

HEB 11:8 By means of faith, pistis, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
HEB 11:8 By means of doctrine, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
HEB 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Not only did Abraham, go out not knowing where he was going, but he was also not familiar with what he was going to do when he got there, it would be opposite of what he was use to doing. Abraham did not only know where he was going but he also did not know what he was going to do when he got there.

Sometimes the Lord tells us to do things that are opposite of what we would normally do.

None of the Gospel accounts about the ministry of Christ ever mention Him riding any animal to get from one place to another.

He gives this unusual command to go into the village to get a colt that had never been ridden on, and to bring it to Him. They are to say, “The Lord needs it.”

He knew what He was going to face in the city of Jerusalem.
His decision to go into Jerusalem must have been one of the most difficult decisions the Lord had ever made.

ZEC 4:10 “For who has despised the day of small things?”

Riding a colt into the city was a public declaration that He was a King.
In times of war the conqueror would ride upon a prancing stallion.
But in times of peace, the king would ride a colt to symbolize that peace prevailed.

For Jesus to ride into Jerusalem upon a colt is to declare that He is a King. Would they recognize that His Kingdom was not of this world – that it was a spiritual kingdom, and He was to be a spiritual King?

Small chance, because He had been teaching them that for 3 and a half years, and still they had not learned that lesson.

Perhaps some of them would greet Him with laughter. Perhaps some would think, “He is a lunatic, living in a world of fantasy – imagining Himself to be a King!” And they would laugh at Him. Others would greet Him with anger – upset because they would interpret His riding into the city as arrogance and blasphemy against God.

Many would hail Him with joy, welcoming Him as an earthly King, come to reestablish the throne of David, and overthrow the Roman Empire. Among the crowds would be people He had healed. Some had been among the thousands He had fed.

Many more had seen some of His miracles, and listened as “He spoke with authority.”
He knew that just over the horizon was the cross, looming like a monster ready to consume Him.
Luke tells us that in spite of it all, Jesus still“…set His face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem.”

As Jesus rides down toward the gate of the city, the crowds are growing, and there is a festive air, for it is Passover and pilgrims are gathering from far and near for this greatest of all Jewish holidays. Even before Jesus arrives, the news has spread that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead.

Lazarus died, and was buried in a tomb so long that his body was starting to decay. This teacher from Nazareth called, ‘Lazarus, come forth’ and Lazarus came forth. They had cut palm branches and were shouting, “Hosanna to the king!”

Perhaps Bartimaeus was there, the man who had received his sight, no longer in his beggar’s rags.
How about Zacchaeus?
He had paid back his debt to society, and had made his peace with God.
And the lepers?  Their skin had been cleansed and now they were rejoicing for the healing that the Lord had given them.

Maybe Jairus’ daughter was there – back to life again after experiencing death.
Lazarus and Mary and Martha and Mary Magdalene – they were all there!
There were also sinister faces there. Faces with squinty eyes, waiting for Him to say one wrong word – to make one mistake.

The Sadducees and Pharisees were there. They were supposed to be keepers of the law, the spiritual leaders. But Jesus had gained so much popularity that they felt threatened.

The Romans were there, fearing revolt and watching for any sign of rebellion against Rome. They were ready and waiting to crush any uprising.

TLJC realized, as He listened to their “Hosannas,” that soon the sinister voices would drown out the voices of love – that those crying for Him to be King would soon be crying, “Crucify Him!” or simply standing aside, saying nothing at all.

Now Jesus is descending along the road from the Mt. of Olives, across the brook, toward the gate, the crowds thronging around Him. I wonder how the apostles were reacting to all of this? Judas was probably ecstatic – delighting in the reflected glory – because Judas may have wanted an earthly Kingdom more than any of the others.

Peter walked with chest expanded -enjoying the throngs and the cheers of the crowd – maybe with one hand on his sword just in case something went wrong – thinking to himself, ‘Maybe it was worth it to leave the fishnets and boats.’ Thomas, a bit skeptical about everything that was going on – wondering what is going to happen next. Andrew was overwhelmed by it all. He was so used to bringing people to Jesus one by one, or in small groups – and now look at them all! What about James and John? Do you suppose they were thinking about Jesus being crowned King – so that they could be on His right and left hand in positions of authority and power? They were all there in Jerusalem – loving faces – sinister faces – anxious apostles.

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