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Palm Sunday Message

Palm Sunday Message

SCRIPTURE READING FOR TODAY – Mark 11:1-11 (NIV)

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

 

MESSAGE – “HOPES AND DREAMS FULFILLED AND THEN SHATTERED”

The twelve disciples had been with Jesus for the past three years. In that time, they had followed him, heard his teachings, and had begun to believe that he was indeed the Messiah – the expected one. Jesus was the one that would free Israel from the Romans and set up an earthly kingdom. They had begun to sense the excitement building as they travelled with Jesus from up north in Galilee all the way down to Jerusalem. They had seen many miracles and they were very caught up in the vision of what was going to happen in Jerusalem as they arrived there after the long journey. They were not disappointed! Jesus sent for a colt that had never been ridden and then Jesus led a spontaneous parade into the capital city of Jerusalem. People all around had heard of Jesus and were expecting great things from him as they arrived in Jerusalem. They all came out and waved palm branches and threw clothing in the road for Jesus’ colt to walk on. Not only that, they began to shout: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” The disciples were amazed – this is exactly what they were hoping for. It was what they had dreamed about. People all over Jerusalem believed in Jesus and what he could become. It was a magical moment as all they had worked for and hoped for was falling into place. As they returned to Bethany with Jesus for the night, they thought that they were right on the edge of the culmination of their dreams. They fell asleep that night with the good feeling of their hard work and dedication to Jesus was finally paying off.

Isn’t it a good feeling to experience your long time goals and dreams finally coming into focus? We work, we plan, we dream and then we begin to see things fall into place. Perhaps it is financial security, perhaps it is the success of our kids, perhaps it is a happy marriage, perhaps it is a sense that your life has been fulfilling. Many of us were in that position a few weeks ago. The year 2020 was shaping up to be a good year and it was proceeding on schedule. Spring was on its way, the stock market was up, full employment was all around us, and the opportunities abounded for our kids or grandkids who were getting out of high school or college. We were looking forward to spring break, summer vacations, graduation celebrations, and much more. And then the virus came to our shores. And then it began to spread across the nation. And then it began to take people’s lives. And then businesses were shut down and we were assigned to stay at home. Health care workers began to risk their lives to take care of the sick. People lost their jobs while others lost their businesses. Unemployment skyrocketed. The stock market skidded to a stop and lost a lot of its value creating loss of confidence and throwing retirement plans into disarray. Dreams fulfilled over the past few years were now shattered in the space of a couple of weeks.

For the disciples, it only took a few days – from Sunday to Thursday. Suddenly, rather than proclaiming Jesus as king, the religious leaders decided that he had to go. He was arrested on false charges and the leaders whipped up the crowds into an angry mob. Those same people now were shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” It was all false charges and false statements, but they worked – they all decided that Jesus was a fraud and that he must go. Imagine the disciples’ disappointment and deep frustration! They saw all they had worked for going out the window – dashed into nothingness. Plus, their own safety and security was threatened as Jesus was led away – a captive of the Roman government. Despair and hopelessness began to set in. Questions about the future abounded as they considered the next steps. It got worse. Peter did the unthinkable and denied that he even knew Jesus. Many of the rest of them fled and went into hiding. It continued to get worse – Jesus was actually crucified and some of their own saw his body taken down. Now, they knew all was lost.

What they did NOT know was that God was at work in this terrible situation. God had not deserted them and he had not deserted Jesus, but He was working and preparing for an even better outcome than becoming an earthly king. God had a plan for blessing them and the whole world through them. God did love them and God did keep reaching for them. They just could not see it at the time because they were blinded by disappointment and despair.

On the other side of the resurrection, they began to understand – gradually and very slowly. They were hesitant to believe because they had been so disappointed. They were hesitant to believe that God was actually at work bringing about a good outcome. And you can’t blame them. Deep despair and deep disappointment leads us to a place where we are hard pressed to believe good news and to believe that God is actually working again in our lives and the world around us.

God has a long history of doing this – working sight unseen and surprising his people who have become filled with disappointment and doubt. He keeps doing that over and over again. And he will do it again as we come through this coronavirus epidemic. I don’t know what God will do or how he will do it, but I know he will be at work while we can’t see it and I know that he has a plan for us. It may be different than we expect, but his love continues and his love sustains us through difficult times and trying circumstances. The Bible and our own circumstances show us over and over again that God continues to reach for us, to search us out, and to answer our prayers.

As we begin Easter week, please join me in prayer for each one of us, for the people suffering with the virus, for the medical personnel working to save lives, for the leaders of our country and other countries who are working to make the right decisions, and for God to keep his hand on each of us and on our country as we work to return to some kind of normal after this disruption and loss of life is over. Pray that we will feel God’s presence and power in our own lives as he works through our circumstances – just as he brought about the miracle of resurrection with Jesus; pray that he will bring about miracles and new life into each of us.

David Brock

 

david brock ovalDavid loves being with people and greatly enjoys serving as pastor of Spiceland Friends Church. He and his wife, Linda, enjoy spending time with their three grown children and their grandchildren. David is also a full-time attorney. David likes to say that his job description is simple - it is like a pizza delivery person - deliver a hot, fresh sermon each week in LESS THAN 20 MINUTES! Actually, he does a few more things at the church, but his focus on the pastoral team is preparing a Sunday morning message that makes the scripture relevant and applicable to our lives.

 


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