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Palm Sunday During a Shelter in Place

Preparing for Easter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Palm Sunday

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Introduction

It seemed like it was the best of times. Jesus had been healing and teaching everywhere that He and the disciples went. The disciples marveled at all Jesus was doing. However, Jesus knew what He was about to face. He knew that these crowds that followed Him and rejoiced in the miracles He did, would soon turn against Him. His heart had to be heavy as He made His journey. He had left Galilee, journeyed to Jericho and now He was heading to Jerusalem. There is a rite of passage that takes place that it is important for us to see as we celebrate this Palm Sunday. All four gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record this rite of passage. All give significant details that are worth studying.
This morning, we will be looking at Matthew’s version in detail. I am going to read from . As I do, I want you to listen for these themes: preparation for passage, the passage for peace, and the peace for the perplexed.
Matthew 21:1–11 NIV84
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Just before He got into Jerusalem, Jesus sends two disciples to make preparations.

The Preparation for Passage (vs.1-3)

The Bible says as they approached Jerusalem they came to a place called Bethpage. Bethpage means “House of Unripe Figs” and it is see as the outer limits of the area of Jerusalem. Jesus sends two of His disciples on a very unusual task. They are told to go to a village just ahead, to get a donkey and her colt. He tells them specifically where they will find this donkey and colt, what to do with it, and what to say if anyone asks why they are taking these animals.
I am reminded with this particular part of the passage that if Jesus is aware of that is ahead in the next town, He certainly knows what lies in front of me. He knows about my concerns, my worries and my needs. What a blessed assurance to know that nothing you and I will ever face will take Him by surprise. In fact, if we look at this passage carefully, we can see that not only does He know what is around the corner or down the road, He instructs us on what do with it. Notice the detail Jesus gives. He describes the location and He gives instruction on what to do. He even gives instruction on what to do when the disciples are asked why they were taking the animals.
Jesus will give us instruction and has done so with His word.
Paul says in :
Colossians 2:6–7 NIV84
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7
We certainly have the ability to continue to live in him, to be rooted and built up in Him, to be strengthened in the faith and then respond through an overflowing thankfulness, even in the times in which we live right now! Be assured dear friends, that Christ is well aware of what is going on with each of us!
Matthew tells us that Jesus told His disciples to get the donkey and her colt to fulfill the spoken word of the Prophet. The Prophet was Zechariah and we have this in our Bibles in . This also shows us that Jesus was not just giving instructions to carry out what He wanted, but to carry out the commands of God. This preparation for the passage was more than just a journey. It was to show that God had designed a plan that would reconcile Himself to all mankind through Christ. It was a passage of peace.

The Passage of Peace(vs. 4-9)

The reason that the King of kings came into Jerusalem on a donkey was to show that He was and is the Prince of Peace.
Psalm 2:6 NIV84
“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
The riding of a donkey symbolized that He was not a tyrant with a political motive, but rather He presented Himself as a ruler of peace. It was on this path that would be revealed.
The riding of a donkey symbolized that He was not a tyrant with a political motive, but rather He presented Himself as a ruler of peace. It was on this path that would be revealed.
Isaiah 26:8 NIV84
Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
Isaiah 62:9–11 NIV84
but those who harvest it will eat it and praise the Lord, and those who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.” Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations. The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’ ”
Isaiah
God desires for each of us to praise and glorify His name! He desires for each of us to be at peace with Him.
Romans 5:1 NIV84
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Roman
The path of peace to God began before the foundation of the world and continued when God sent His only Son into this world as a baby and that path would be completed on the cross. Matthew shows us here that the passage of peace would indeed be revealed symbolically by Jesus going into Jerusalem on a donkey. The donkey was used much in that day for travel. Horses were used only by the most prestigious of men. Jesus, being the Son of God could have called on a cherub to give Him this passage.
Psalm 18:10 NIV84
He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.
However, because He is called IMMANUAL, God with us, Jesus chose in humility to ride upon a donkey.
Notice what the disciples did when the donkey was brought to Jesus. They took off their cloaks and put them on the donkey for which Jesus could sit. They did not have a saddle but they used what they had to bring honor and glory to Jesus. They might not have fully known at that time He was God, but they knew He was different and treated Him as such. We must be willing to give glory to Christ with all that we have and recognize the example of the disciples as they took the very clothes off their back to serve Jesus.
Their example created a domino effect. The people in the crowd also began to line the path with their cloaks and someone got the idea to start using branches as well. Those of us who call Jesus as our King would do well to follow the example of this crowd. They laid what they had, their cloaks, their garments, that which protected them- they laid their all under the Master’s feet. Can you see that crowd doing just that?
Ever thought about who was in that crowd? Were the two blind men that had just been healed as we see in there? Were there folks from a crowd that had experienced the miraculous lunch of a few loaves and a few fishes on the side of the mountain? Was there a leper that had been cured there? Were there folks that had been released from demonic possession? Were there folks that believed the teachings of Jesus and who He said He was? Would you and I have been there testifying to what Jesus had done in our lives? No wonder they started shouting:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
The people thought Jesus was the new King that would save them. Hosanna is transliterated from Hebrew to Greek to English as “Save us now.” The people did not fully understand, but that is exactly what Jesus came to do, to save us now!
Jesus came to us in the Name of the Lord. He is our Mediator and God has provided through Him to be our Peace. Jesus coming in the Name of the Lord is worthy of our full acceptance! We should shout “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.” When we realize all that He has done for us, we should shout and proclaim for He alone is worthy. He comes in truth, righteousness and is able to display His awesome deeds. That is just what was said in :
Psalm 45:4 NIV84
In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds.
There’s a preparation for the passage, a passage for the peace, and the peace is for the perplexed.

The Peace for the Perplexed (vs.10-11)

We see in Matthew’s Gospel, that when King Jesus arrived on the back of the donkey on a path of cloaks and branches, the people were perplexed. They wanted to know, “Who is this?” Does Jesus being in your life cause a commotion? When you and I carry Jesus in our lives, do people wonder why we do what we do? Jesus should be so relevant in our every day actions, that people should ask us, what makes you do what you do?
When
In this time in which we live, the whole world needs to know that Jesus is real and only He can give us the peace that will still the storm in which we face.
We have to understand that there will be folks that will be perplexed and confused about these times. However, we can show them during this Holy Week that we know the Author and Creator of peace. His name is Jesus and He came from glory to become nothing so that through Him we can have that peace we have been talking about just now. He has plans for us. He has desires for us, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Jeremiah 29:11–13 NIV84
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah
Dear friends, we need to take that passage to heart. There is nothing that has happened of which Jesus is not aware. There is nothing in front of us or around the corner that will happen of which Jesus is not aware. Jesus longs to remind us that He is with us and will not forsake us. This week we will prepare for Easter. It will be perhaps the first one many of us can remember that we will not be able to enter a church building. Nevertheless, it is not whether we can enter a church building that will allow us to celebrate Easter or not. It is indeed about a King who become nothing so we could obtain all He has for us!
When you read this story about the humble prince peace riding into on the back of a borrowed donkey, will you shout:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
Or will you ask, “Who is this?”
If you want to learn more, I will be glad to show you more!
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