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AF-S62-032005 Palm Sunday

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Alêtheia Christian Fellowship       (Sermon 62, 03-20-05)

9Announcements, Celebration night in 9 days.

Although I’m extremely eager to get going on 1 John, I don’t want to miss the celebration of the most important week in human history. Today is Palm Sunday, the triumphal entry beginning the last week of Jesus’ human life. It would be a great disservice to ignore these events at this time of the year.


This time of year has been celebrated as the greatest time of the year in Christianity since the beginning of Christianity. The 40 days of fasting and repentance preceding Easter are a remembrance of the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the desert before coming into the Promised Land and the 40 days in which Jesus was tempted in the desert before the commencement of His ministry. As well as other examples of 40 days of difficulty leading to joy in both the Old and New Testaments.

10 11 That’s the official line. According to the Bible the first satanic religion after the Flood was established at the Tower of Babel. Nimrod, the Grandson of Ham, founded Babel, Erech and Akkad. In what is present-day Iraq in the vicinity of Baghdad. They were the forerunners of Sumerians and Akkadians His wife was a witch named Semir-amis who was the High Priestess of the anti-God cult. She had a son named Tammuz who was a savior-God conceived by a sun-beam but he was killed in the early spring and remained dead for forty days mourned bitterly by his mother she became the conduit through the prayers of the people to her dead son and so she raised him back to life through her love and would forever function as a mediator for the prayers of the people. Every year people would fast and mourn in remembrance. She became the Great high mother goddess of dozens of nations, Ishtar, Isis, Aphrodite, Venus, etc. While her son also became her lover and is known by many names also, like, Baal, Osiris, Eros and Satan. Eventually she was believed to have been born of a sun beam as well.

This was the beginning of Baptism for renewal and mutilation/flagellation/suffering as well as penance for sin and pilgrimage to holy sites.

12 Ezekiel 8:14-15 ~ 

Then He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz. He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? Yet you will see still greater abominations than these.”

13 The fifth Christian council in 325A.D. formalized Palm Sunday and the Passion Week, with special supper and the giving of alms on Maundy Thursday the Passover day (Latin for Commandment, in recognition of Jesus’ order to love one another), Good Friday the Crucifixion day, The Great Sabbath of fasting and vigilance as well as the most common day of Baptism followed by Easter Sunday which I like to call Resurrection Sunday which we will celebrate next week. The Sunday following is called White Sunday where those baptized are given membership in the Church. This council took place in Nikae>a, from nikh~>, meaning victory like in Nike shoes. On the coast of Lake Iznik in Northwestern Turkey. From this synod (Path-Together) we get the Nicene Creed formally establishing basic Christian Theology.

Pope Gregory I, in 600A.D. officially established the Wednesday 6 weeks prior to Easter as the beginning of the 40 days (not counting Sundays) thus it is known as Ash Wednesday, people wear the ashes as a symbol of the start of Lent. Lent simply means, “Springtime,” in Teutonic then Old English as a replacement word for Latin QUADRAGESIMA, forty days. People being people total revelry became the order of the day in the time before Lent thus Carnival, Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday. Now people give up a vice for the 40 days or at least try to and they’re usually unhappy about it rather than just being who you say you are. Remember this is a Truth Church and part of that is getting all of us to be Truer to ourselves, simply becoming who we are claiming to be. Don’t be a hypocrite. That doesn’t mean you are perfect or never fail, but it does mean that when you do evil it’s not the norm!

Of course even by Augustine’s day the people were not living in accordance with relational Christianity, but were operating out of social and selfish reasons. Augustine is regarded as the greatest theologian of the early Church, he was born in and appointed Bishop of Hippo in what was the Carthaginian home base of North Africa, their empire spreading to Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and Spain as well. After the 3rd Punic War it was the Roman Province of Numidia and is in modern-day Algeria just inside the border with Tunisia. (Punic is from the Greek name for the Phoenicians who settled the area and were the ancestors of the Carthaginians.) He wrote in 400A.D. about his despair at the ritual and abuse and hypocrisy associated with Lent, Palm Sunday and Easter. He was killed by the Vandals in 430A.D. the Germanic nomads that raged through and overran Gaul (France), Iberian Penninsula (Spain), North Africa and sacked Rome in 455A.D.

There is a current movement fueled by the difficulty of Jesus saying He would give the sign of Jonah, 3 Days and 3 Nights and those who support Sabbath worship to suggest that Jesus ate the Passover meal on what we would call Tuesday night was tried and executed on Wednesday just before sunset, then was resurrected on the Sabbath again just before it ended at sunset thus three full days and three full nights. There are a lot of problems with this idea not the least of which is:

14 Luke 23:55-24:1 ~

Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.

There’s good reason to believe the early church got it right and we know that Sunday was considered the day of Christian Worship and Fellowship from the very beginning.

15 John 12:12-15 ~

On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem for the Passover is recorded in all four Gospels. Jesus had been staying at Bethany with Lazarus (whom He had raised from the dead) and his two sisters Martha and Mary. Mary anointed Jesus with a perfume worth a years wages. Judas was upset and Jesus rebuked him. This rebuke coupled with Jesus’ persistent talk of dying ultimately led him to betray Christ.

On Sunday Jesus, His disciples and a large crowd of people who were with Him at Bethany headed for Jerusalem a short, 1 ½ mile, walk away. Very soon they arrived at Bethphage, on the Mount of Olives just across the Kidron Valley East of Jerusalem. He stopped and sent some disciples ahead to bring an unbroken young donkey that had never before been ridden and the donkey’s mother. His crowd spread the word among the other pilgrims and before you know it a massive crowd with great expectation of the savior arrived.

16 17 18 19 As Jesus gets on the young donkey fulfilling the Messianic prophecies the crowd went wild. Understand that for Jesus it was nothing to walk 20 miles in a day, this jaunt was about like us walking out to the mailbox, so He didn’t get the donkey because His bunions were acting up. In the Messianic Prophecy in

20 Zechariah 9:9   Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

That’s as opposed to a fiery war horse.

21 Philippians 2:6-7

who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 

The valley He crosses is the Judgement valley and is a short distance, a mile or so across. As Jesus enters the City vast numbers of other people take notice including Gentiles. They are all asking what’s going on and are told by the large crowd accompanying Jesus that the Messiah has come. Imagine the rejoicing, finally we will be rid of the Romans.


 

The palm branches were from the Date Palm in Greek foini>x, we pronounce it Phoenix. Remember the Phoenicians? It’s the same word because the Phoenicians cultivated and exported the dates. The tree grows to 50' and is very useful for many things besides just the dates. Laying the fronds on the ground in the Roman world was a sign of victory and rejoicing. When the victorious Roman legions would return to Rome the people would honor them in this way. The Jews had used the branches for similar purposes as they did under Judas Maccabeus when he overthrew the Seleucid King, Antiochus V Eupater, son of Antiochus Epiphanes and rededicated the second Temple in 165bc. (Hanukkah).

They shout in Hebrew “Yah-shah-naw,”  נָא יָשַׁע meaning Save Now, transliterated into Greek in the New Testament as wJsanna>, it refers primarily to

22 Psalm 118:25&26a

Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

This Psalm by tradition is the last psalm sung by Jesus and His disciples prior to His death. It was the last sung after the Passover meal. According to Ezra, it was sung at the dedication of the second Temple and likely was sung at the rededication. Later, after He overturned the money-changer’s tables the children ascribed the same Psalm to Jesus and when the Jewish religious leaders heard it they were indignant, but Jesus claimed the Psalm by applying another Scripture to Himself, this time out of

Psalms 8, “From the lips of children... ordained Praise.” the reference to Psalm 118 starts by taking us further back to Psalm 28:8-9, another Messianic Psalm saying, “... fortress of salvation for His anointed one... save your people... be their Shepherd forever.” In 118 it says essentially, “Oh Lord save us... blessed is He who comes in the name of Yahweh.”

23 in the consonantal Hebrew text: Yod, He Waw/Vav, He

   traditionally pronounced:  Masoretic pointed text: Shewa, Holem & Qamets

   presumed original pronunciation:  Beyond the primary significance of the people proclaiming Jesus as their King and Messiah fulfilling several Old Testament Prophecies the word Hosanna is a prayer that over time and with use became an exultation of praise, just like our contemporary, “God save the Queen,” It was originally a prayer to God for the leader of the nation, but has become an exultation of praise for the leader.

On Monday Jesus goes back into the Temple area and overturns the tables. This does 3 things. First it fulfills more Old Testament Prophecy about Jesus. Second, it further solidifies the fact that Jesus is claiming to be the Messiah by doing these things. Third, it completely solidifies the Jewish Leaders desire to kill Him which is exactly what Jesus is trying to accomplish. You heard me right, Jesus must continue to poke and prod just as He does today in your life and mine to reveal who we really are. No pretending ultimately. As He continues to push the Jews they continue to fortify their hearts against Him.

24 Exodus 11:10

Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.

 

Probably on Thursday Jesus washes the feet of His disciples and they eat a traditional Passover meal at which Jesus institutes two separate things which are really one and the same. Communion and love one another as I love you and by this people will know you are mine.

 

25 1 Peter 2:21-24 ~

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

 

26 Philippians 2:8-11

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus died for you, will you live for Him? Although a cliche it is nonetheless the reality of things. Figure out who you are and be that person. And if you choose to reject Christ, do it in a big way, don’t pussyfoot around. I mean if your going to Hell for eternity and you only have 80 years or so here on Earth you better make the best of it baby. Like they say life is short, live it up!

If on the other hand you realize the complete futility of human existence and our total reliance on God, not only to take our next breath or have our heart beat again, but to even stay collated in one piece and not be scattered throughout the Universe. If you can realize that you can never approach God, can never do anything perfect enough for Him and therefore can only know Him if He provides a bridge.

Jesus is that one and only bridge between man and God. He has done everything for you all you have to do is accept it. But make no mistake about it you must make the choice. You can harden yourself like the Jews that day 2,000 years ago or you can livel.


 

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