A mathom for Palm Sunday
March 20, 2005 § 4 Comments
Dearest folk, I submit for your perusal a little something I wrote for today, Palm Sunday. I pray that God blesses youthrough it.
“Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD; Hosanna in the highest!” These words thundered through the streets of Jerusalem as children danced and grown-ups cast off their cloaks to pave the way for a humble carpenter’s son, riding meekly on a donkey.
It was a full week before Passover; that ancient reminder of El Shaddai’s mighty deliverance of His people Israel from slavery and oppression in the pagan land of Egypt. Could history be repeating itself? Were the ancient prophets finally going to be fulfilled? Had the Deliverer, the Messiah, finally come for His own?
Enslavement in Egypt had given way to the oppression of Rome and Israel was not free. They longed for a king, their king, the King; the One who was promised of old that would lead them into freedom and vanquish their enemies.
And here came a Man doing wonders and preaching that the kingdom of God was here! The wait was over, the time was now; Praise the Name of the Living God!
But this first triumphant day was to give way to a week of misgivings, confusion, disappointment, anger, and eventually, blood thirsty cries for an innocent Man’s murder.
He came into the city in the midst of a huge, noisy, joyful parade; He left the city in the midst of a huge, noisy, angry mob.
After that first day of awesome deeds: purging the Temple of all those crooks and money changers, yelling at those transparent hypocrites, the Pharisees, things just seemed to go down hill. He didn’t challenge Rome or the Emperor. If anything, He said, “Pay your taxes.” And He didn’t try to establish Himself as King. He just kept making weird statements about the Son of Man being lifted up and how He wouldn’t be with them much longer. And then He totally sunk Himself with that whole line about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Surely He couldn’t be serious? Those who opposed Him had more fuel to feed their flame of hatred. Obviously this guy had a demon and wasn’t what they had thought He was or what they had hoped He’d be.
But they were only partly right. It wasn’t a demon that was on Him, but the Spirit of the Sovereign God. And He wasn’t what they thought He was or had hoped He’d be. His purpose was far greater and deeper than a little government overthrow. And His eyes were not only on Israel. From His perspective, He saw a whole world cursed and fallen and shackled in a prison so dark, it didn’t know what Light looked like. He looked upon a world in bondage to a Slave Master so Evil that all he cared about was its ruin and humiliation.
Jesus stood on the Temple Mount and wept for the hardened hearts that would not turn to Him, despite what He was about to do for them. And what He was about to do was to turn the whole world upside down and inside out.
For three years, He had done His utmost to prepare His beloved disciples and inner circle for what was to come, but they were going to be thrown for a total loop. For Israel, this would be completely out of left field, even though they’d been warned for centuries that it was coming. As for the unsuspecting Gentiles that lived in complete darkness, this would shake the very foundations of the earth.
He didn’t come to teach a philosophy for right living—the Pharisees, the Greeks, everyone had their own spin on that.
And He didn’t come to bring down a mighty dynasty; they had been rising and falling for millennia.
He came to defeat an Enemy far greater and more insidious; one that had infected each and every life since that first tragic fall thousands of years ago in Paradise.
Jesus came to defeat Sin and Death: those ancient foes of every man woman and child. And He came to establish a Kingdom that was not of this world; one that had a whole new set of rules that were completely antithetical to EVERYTHING we knew and understood.
Turn the other cheek? PRAY for those that HATE you? Don’t resist an evil person? Love your enemy? But Lord… what if they kill me???
Let them; or at least let them try… I am with you always.
I must forgive my brother 70×7 times in one day for the same sin?
I will be just as generous in mercy to you as you are to your brother.
Take up my cross, Lord? But crosses are brutally hideous instruments of humiliating, torturous death.
Hard and narrow is the Path that leads to Salvation and few there are that find it. I AM the Way the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.
But I believe You are God made flesh and that You died on the Cross for the sins of the world. I believe the whole Apostles Creed!
The demons believe… and tremble. If you love Me, you will obey Me.
This was a pivotal week in history 2000 years ago. An event occurred that actually split eternity right down the middle and rent the very fabric that separated us from our Maker. God Himself came down and paid a price too costly for any of us to afford and made a way for us to find redemption from a fate we were barely even aware of.
2000 years ago, Christ endured torture, humiliation, the loss of all his friends and followers and even the loss of the close communion He had shared with His Father since before time began. He humbled His glory and power to be limited to the finite and small form of a poor carpenter from a Podunk town in a backwater burg where His own friends and relations didn’t believe or respect Him. The very legitimacy of His birth had been questioned and as a baby, a king had tried to have Him killed.
In the end, He was misunderstood, misquoted, and mistreated; all for the very same miserable wretches that were doing it.
They weren’t prepared for the humble King that spoke in riddles and asked impossibilities of His followers. They weren’t prepared for this invisible Kingdom that exalted the meek and lowly and rejected the rich and powerful.
And they weren’t prepared for the Cross as the doorway to freedom.
The Jews knew they were in bondage, but not how deeply. All these years later, we are all still slaves but we are blind to the chains that bind us. All men serve something.
What do you serve? Yourself? Your job? Your ambition? Money? If you are not serving the God of Creation, then you end up serving the god of this world by default: Satan. And this is the path that leads to Death and Destruction.
Today is Palm Sunday, remembered for Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem to the joyful shouts of a hopeful crowd. But by the end of the week, when it became obvious that He wasn’t going to do what they wanted Him to, their adoration quickly turned to hatred.
Who do you think Christ is? If He doesn’t do things the way you want Him to, will you reject Him?
Take some time to think and pray today, and ask God what His plans are for your life. They will probably not match your own.
Before you accept Jesus joyfully, make sure you’ve listened carefully to Who He’s said He is. Save yourself the nasty shock that the Jews received at Passover and make sure it is truly Him you are accepting, and not some picture you have painted based on who you think you need Him to be.
Maybe you know Him and maybe you do not. Maybe you don’t know if you do. But Jesus loves you very much and died on the Cross so that you could be with Him.
The time is coming when voices will once again be raised in “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!! Hosanna in the Highest!”
Jesus will return.
But will you be disappointed by your own expectations?
Jesus says ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened.
Let Him reveal Himself and His expectations of His followers to you. And know that those He calls according to His purposes, He promises to save. Those impossible pronouncements, His Spirit will accomplish in you, if you are willing to submit to Him.
My prayer is that the Hope and Light of Christ may be in you and that His Love may guide your footsteps.