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Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 040812
Resurrection Sunday.

A Passover and Resurrection Sunday Special.

To begin this holiday season we start with what we call Palm Sunday, and then the one to follow which we call Easter. Palm Sunday which is the Sunday before Easter 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. At the final site, the place where Christ ascended into heaven, the clergy would read from the gospels concerning the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. In the early evening they would return to the city reciting:


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. The gospels record the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey as in 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!”

In the simplest of terms, 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.

LUK 19:28-41, And after He had said these things, He was going on ahead, ascending to Jerusalem. And it came about that when He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite {you,} in which as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it, and bring it {here.} And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ thus shall you speak, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” And those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought it to Jesus, and they threw their garments on the colt, and put Jesus {on it.} And as He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road. And as He was now approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” And He answered and said, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it,

In this section, the Lord Jesus Christ stops for a moment and sends two of His disciples ahead of Him into a nearby village to carry out a special errand. First, the special errand is found in verse 30, “Go into the village opposite of you.”

And how many times are we called to do the same. For in HEB 11:8, it was Abraham who we are told;

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.

Many times some of the greatest blessings we ever see is when, like Abraham, in 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.

You may not understand where, when, and why, but in HEB 11:6 you do know that 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. In other words, 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. You know, sometimes we all need to note the humor of God. Here is a passage where a sense of humor and weeping were both a part of the plan of God.

LUK 19:41, And when He approached Jerusalem we read that He wept over it.

LUK 19:30 saying, “Go into the village opposite {you,} in which as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it, and bring it {here.}”

These two disciples were told to Go into the village opposite {you,} in which as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it, and bring it here. Sometimes the Lord tells us to do things that are opposite of what we would normally do. The two disciples must have wondered about what Jesus told them to do, because none of the Gospel accounts about the ministry of Christ ever mention Him riding any animal to get from one place to another. He must have walked hundreds of miles up and down the land we now call the “Holy Land,” but there is no mention of Him ever riding, except in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. But now, 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. It must have seemed a strange command, indeed.

He even tells them the exact words they are to use should anyone question them. Did the owners know what Jesus was going to do? We don’t know. It is obvious, though to the Lord 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. Sometimes it’s the “so-called” little minor decisions that we are faced with or that we make that have the greatest consequences.

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

On top of that, to ride into the city on a colt, rather than to walk into it as He had often done before, must have been an even more difficult decision, because riding a colt into the city was a public declaration that He was a King. You see, 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. So, for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem upon a colt is to declare that He is a King. The issue now is how would the people respond to that? 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?

Here is a carpenter declaring Himself to be a King! 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. Of course, many would hail Him with joy, welcoming Him as an earthly King, come to reestablish the throne of David, and overthrow the Roman Empire. They were ready and eager to place a crown upon His head. 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.”

They had listened, and their lives had been changed. Jesus knew all of this.

He knew that just over the horizon was the cross, looming like a monster ready to consume Him. But 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. You can imagine the excitement that prevails. The news travels from one person to another, until finally when Jesus was ready to enter the city, great crowds had collected on both sides of the road. They were there! They had cut palm branches and were shouting, “Hosanna to the king!” Excitement prevailed throughout the whole city! Then Jesus looked over His waiting audience. He must have seen the mixture of expressions on their faces. There were those who loved Him: Perhaps Bar-ti-mae-us 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. 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!

Their lives reflected the love that was in their hearts for this man who had taught them, and molded them and changed them. 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. So, full of jealousy, they watched Him. The Romans were there, fearing revolt and watching for any sign of rebellion against Rome. They were ready and waiting to crush any uprising.

However, the Lord Jesus Christ 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. Possibly there was Thomas, a bit skeptical about everything that was going on - wondering what is going to happen next. Andrew was perhaps 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.

Suddenly, the people who were closest to Jesus realized that He had stopped the parade. Then they saw His face, and they saw no evidence of laughter. Rather, they saw sorrow and tears. He was not laughing. He was crying. The Scripture tells us that Jesus reacted emotionally many times from different scenes that He saw. When He saw the poor, the hungry, people sinning, the ill.

Whe He saw all that. the Scriptures say repeatedly that “He had compassion on them.” But it only tells us of two times that Jesus cried. One time He cried at the grave of Lazarus. You remember, Mary and Martha were both weeping, and it says that Jesus wept with them. He wept for them. He entered into their grief with compassion and He identified with their sorrow and despair.

So we have seen that Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal or victorious entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The gospels record the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey as in;

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!”

Known as the Holy week, Palm Sunday is the beginning occasion for reflecting on the final week of Jesus’ life and a time for Christians to prepare their hearts for the agony of His Passion culminating with the cross and the joy of His Resurrection.

Our Lord allowed it to happen, but it was not His perfect will. It was so the Scriptures would be fulfilled.

LUK 19:36-41, And as He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road. And as He was now approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” And He answered and said, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it,

Why Did Jesus Weep?

One of the reasons I believe that He wept is because He looked at the city of Jerusalem and He saw the vanity behind their faces and He realized the emptiness of their lives. They had not heard the message of peace. That is they heard it but did not perceive and understand the purpose of His coming. For in LUK 19:42-44, He was saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

They missed the day of their visitation from the King of kings and the Lord of lords. They had eyes, but they didn’t see. They had ears, but they didn’t hear. They missed the whole point of the message that God had given to them. They were too occupied with their lusts and desires. The fact they waved palm branches showed that they were totally ignorant and religious fools. By waving palm branches they were showing that they expected Jesus to be another warlord - another general of the armies - one who would lead them to overthrow the Romans. They were saying that they were ready to pick up their swords and shields and go to war if He would lead them!

JOH 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

When in reality our Lord said, “I didn’t come for that purpose. I came to show you a more excellent way. I came to show you the way of love.”

1CO 12:31, But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1CO 13:13, But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

He had said, MAT 5:11 "Blessed are you when {men} cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.”

MAT 5:39-42, “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”

MAT 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”

Those people who listened to Him must have thought, “Well, those are beautiful words, but surely He doesn’t mean Rome? He doesn’t expect us to love Rome? Only a lunatic would command you to love Rome. We can’t love Rome!” But don’t you see - that was exactly what He was saying? Show them love!” The nation of Israel had the opportunity to show Rome something new and different.

But because they didn’t understand TLJC - because they completely misunderstood His mission - Jesus wept over them because the opportunity would be taken away and they would never have it again.

In this Holy week beginning with Palm Sunday, don’t miss the opportunity. What a contrast! As He sits upon the Colt, the beast of burden, He sees the towering Temple of God against the sky. But beyond that - in the years immediately ahead - He sees the armies of Titus surrounding the Holy City. He sees Temple stones being taken down and the whole city leveled.

When He turns and looks into your life, I wonder, will He weep once again because of what He sees? Or will we have the joy that passes all understanding as we respond to His outstretched arms and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of the Lord.”

The next great event that we need to note, although it was not great in the sense of it’s procedure, though it was great in the sense of our Lord’s love for us all has to do with the illegal unjust treatment of our Lord is the six trials of our Lord. The first trial was before Annas, the father in law to Caiaphas.

 

JOH 18:12-14, So the {Roman} cohort and the commander, and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father‑in‑law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.

Since Annas was not a judge, this was an illegal trial! A former high priest, Annas was now the political boss of Jerusalem. He was engaged in gangster activities connected with every system of corruption in Jerusalem, as well as with the bands of robbers in the Negev, who owed their protection to him. You should notice at the very outset that the people who brought Jesus to trial in the first cases were all RELIGIOUS people the chief‑priests, scribes and Pharisees. Because Annas was no longer the high priest, he was not a judge; but as the political boss, all matters had to be cleared with him before going to court. Therefore, Annas, the most religious of them all, approved this case following the counsel of Caiaphas.

The second trial, they laid hold on Jesus and led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. MAT 26:57, And those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. Caiaphas was not a prophet, but he inadvertently prophesied the death of Christ (John 11:51-52). He was merely a practical man who recognized the need of finding a scapegoat for the anti‑Roman activities that were in the mill in Israel. He knew Rome would demand that the lawlessness in Palestine be rectified by the death of the culprit. Thus the Romans must be made to think that the Jews were cleaning house without Roman help or interference.

JOH 11:45-52, Many therefore of the Jews, who had come to Mary and beheld what He had done, believed in Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him {go on} like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” Now this he did not say on his own initiative; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

His plan, kill Jesus!

The third trial was held early the next morning by the Jews. The religious leaders (the council) suddenly realized that the trial at night was illegal. They gathered together and decided to make it a legal trial. At this trial Jesus gave them the supreme sign of His Messiahship. Realizing that it was a feast period (Passover and Unleavened Bread) and they could not sentence someone on a holy day according to their law, they said, “Let’s pass Him off and let someone else do it.”

LUK 22:66-71, And when it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council {chamber,} saying, “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.” And they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

The fourth trial was His second trip before Caiaphas that morning.

JOH 18:28, They led Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium [hall of judgment], and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium in order that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.

This was the day the Passover supper would be eaten. They wanted to keep their hands “clean” in order to eat the Passover that night the Passover which spoke of the death of Christ on the Cross. Eating the lamb was a picture of believing in Christ; yet they had rejected Him! The Jews took Jesus to the Roman governor in an attempt to evade Jewish law concerning the holy days.

JOH 18:29, Pilate therefore went out to them, and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”

Pilate had to go out because the Jews could not come inside a Gentile dwelling on a holy day. The entire procedure is most interesting. Pilate was keeping very cool. He wanted to know what the indictment was. He undoubtedly observed the majestic Person of the Lord Jesus Christ amid all the ruckus and shouting, the scrambling and fuss. There was no evidence to establish a charge against Jesus. They wanted to condemn Jesus without a trial. With characteristic hypocrisy, they posed as righteous men who would never think of arresting an innocent man.

JOH 18:30, They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.”

They were saying: Don’t waste time on words! We wouldn’t bring you anything but the scum of the earth and we have brought Him.

JOH 18:31, Pilate therefore said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,”

LUK 23:2, And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that Himself is Christ, a King.”

They do not mention blasphemy.

I want you to see just how smart these Jews were. Why do you suppose they did not mention blasphemy? This was a theological problem which would never hold up before a Roman governor. You see, the Romans had only one type of worship “Caesar worship!” Caesar is Kurios

The fifth trial was before Herod.

LUK 23:8-12, Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently. And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate. Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been at enmity with each other.

Herod was excited at seeing Jesus, for he had heard of His reputation for performing miracles. Hoping for entertainment, he attempted to induce Jesus to perform one of His miracles. When Jesus refused, Herod angrily ordered Him tortured. Herod not only tortured Jesus, but they threw a magnificent robe around Him and mocked Him. Pilate and Herod had been at enmity with one another; but this mutual crisis had made them friends. Jesus was now sent back to Pilate.

The sixth trial was before Pilate.

JOH 18:39-19:1-16, “But you have a custom, that I should release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” Therefore they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber. Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and arrayed Him in a purple robe; and they {began} to come up to Him, and say, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and to give Him blows {in the face.} And Pilate came out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And {Pilate} said to them, “Behold, the Man!” When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out {to be} the Son of God.” When Pilate therefore heard this statement, he was the more afraid; and he entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has {the} greater sin.” As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out {to be} a king opposes Caesar.” When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” They therefore cried out, “Away with {Him}, away with {Him,} crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified.

And so begins the reason why our Lord came. LUK 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The chronology of the crucifixion

Further evidence of the uniqueness of the Holy week and the uniqueness of Christ is seen in the words that He uttered as He hung upon the Cross.

To understand all the spiritual lessons involved, we need to review the chronology of the events of the Cross. It is interesting to note that no one Gospel records all the events because each has a different emphasis.

  1. The procession or Roman soldiers and religious leaders arrived at Golgatha (MAT 27:33).
  2. The lord Jesus Christ was offered a paralyzing drink of vinegar and gall, which He refused (MAT 27:34).
  3. Then Jesus was crucified between the two thieves (LUK 23:32-33), followed by the first cry on the Cross;
  4. The soldiers then gambled for His clothes, as was the Roman custom (MAT 27:35 And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots;
  5. The Jews began to mock Him (MAT 27:39‑43).
  6. The thieves began to rail upon Him, but one of them believed (LUK 23:39‑43).
  7. Then the second cry was uttered, LUK 23:43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
  8. Then, seeing to the care of His family, the third cry; JOH 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
  9. At exactly 12:00 noon, darkness covered the earth (MAT 27:45).
  10. This was followed by the fourth cry, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani, MAT 27:46).
  11. The fifth cry, “I thirst.” Christ thirsted that we might never thirst JOH 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, *said, "I am thirsty."
  12. The sixth cry, JOH 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
  13. And finally, the seventh cry, LUK 23:46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit." And having said this, He breathed His last.
  14. After this the Lord dismissed His spirit; MAT 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up {His} spirit.
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