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Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Road to Jerusalem by Geoff Thompson

SERMON 20/3/16 Renmark and Renmark West Uniting Churches.

This is the outline and recorded message presented on Palm Sunday 2016 at the 2 Renmark Uniting Church Services.
The Bible Passages are underneath the transcript.


The Road to Jerusalem

In todays readings we see the enthusiasm for Jesus of the common people as He road into Jerusalem on a colt.

They had no idea of His real mission and purpose and were probably thinking on the lines here is our future King and Leader.

They were aware of the miracles He had been doing and this turn out was in part a celebration of what He had been doing over the last 3 years, the 3 years He actively carried out His ministry on earth.

They were overjoyed and thinking He will lead us out of oppressive lives we live under the ruling Romans.

Many of them had also just recently witnessed the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

They were thinking Jesus was the promised Messiah.

They were probably thinking of Him as their Saviour.

Saviour from Death,

as they saw what happened with Lazarus.

They lay down palm leaves in His path as part of the celebration.

The irony of the occasion however was that Jesus chose a colt or donkey to ride on.

A beast of burden.

Usually triumphant kings in those days rode into town on a war horse,

a symbol of strength and victory in battle.

But Jesus chose a beast of burden,

a servant animal.

Jesus was coming ,

although they did not know it ,

as the servant King.

Remember Him washing the Disciples feet.

The Son of God who had come to give His life for all mankind.

People were casting off their outer garments and laying them and palm fronds down in His path.

The Palm fronds and laying down of garments are given some significance in other commentaries.

“Zechariah had prophesied, "Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden"(Zech.9:9; Mt.21:5). Jesus instructs the disciples to bring a donkey and a colt, and so they do exactly that--just as it had been prophesied.”

“It is John's Gospel that informs us that these branches were palm branches(Jn.12:13), but what was their purpose? Why was this massive crowd stripping off their outer garments and throwing them on the road? Well, thankfully, we have another biblical precedent of this to provide us a clue.

If your Bibles are open, you may want to turn to 2Kings, chapter 9. In 2Kings 9, the prophet Elisha sends a messenger to give a Word from the Lord to Jehu. After pouring oil over Jehu, the messenger said to him in verse 12, 'Thus says the Lord, "I have anointed you king over Israel"'. After that declaration, everyone who was present took their garment and placed it under Jehu's steps, and they blew the trumpet, shouting, "Jehu is king!"(9:13).

So what does this mean for Jesus' entry into Jerusalem? It would imply that the multitude recognized Jesus as a king . Like in the case of Jehu, the garments and palm branches served as an improvised red carpet.”

So regardless of the behavior of the crowd Jesus was calmly and quietly riding to His certain death.

The crowd had no knowledge or suspicion of this.

Jesus came to us with one purpose.

To die for our sins on the cross.

To take our place.

To cancel the power of the devil.

To cancel the power of sin.

To rise from the dead and ascend into heaven.

(Having first descended into Hell)

To send us the Comforter , the Holy Spirit to allow us all to be born again and enjoy victory in our lives over sin and death.

In the garden of gethsemane, the night of His betrayal, we are told He was not looking forward to it.

The accounts tell us that he was in agony there and sweated great drops of blood.

His disciples fell asleep.

He pleaded that if it were possible could His Heavenly Father take this cup from Him.

But He had set His will, His face to the Cross.

He knew what had to be done.

None of the people on the road to Jerusalem had any idea that this was all to come.

Even his Disciples were of the  same expectations as the crowd.

They had no idea that their  winning team was going to be in disarray with the death of their Lord.

They did not handle it well.

They were to fall into a state of shock and disbelief and fear.

Indeed even Peter when he later saw what was unfolding denied that he had anything to do with Jesus.      

 3 times.

Only hours after saying he would never betray Him.

At this stage I would like to introduce an even more amazing and spectacular triumphal arrival of Jesus.

A huge contrast to the Palm Sunday event.

And some of us just might be there to witness it live.

Listen to these few paragraphs from a book by Max Lucado.

(read from introduction in italics)

What a breath taking description on the return of our Lord Jesus.

It is based on the book of revelation.

It is from Max’s book called “When Christ Comes”.

It is something that could happen in our lifetime.

Before we die.

It could happen tomorrow or in several years in the future.

It is not for us to know when but to be ready.

Next week we will be celebrating Easter once again.

I would like to share this from the very first message I gave in Renmark a couple of years ago.

“The cross of Jesus begins for most of us to have a profound effect upon us the day or the time we take ourselves, and what we are, and we kneel before his cross as he hangs there.

Until we do ,this personally and individually, the Cross of Jesus is mostly and mainly an historical event. A thing that happened 2000 years ago.

But when we kneel before our Saviour’s cross , when we kneel before Him hanging on His cross, it is then it begins to have a profound effect upon us.

As we kneel , and look up into His face, the face of Jesus as He hangs upon His cross , we see someone who utterly died to self, and as we look at Him and as this realisation begins to come home to us ,

I can assure you we are shaken to the very core, and not only are we shaken , but ,
we are scared ,we are frightened to death by that terrible challenge to self.

As we look into His face we begin, and often it’s only a beginning , begin to see how controlled, we are, by self.

We begin to realise how demanding self is.

That I always want to be first!

That I always want to get the biggest!

That one way or another I’ll scheme to get the best!

Give me the chance and I’ll put myself before you!

Driven by self ,all these ugly things as you kneel there, start to come home.

And you know that the Son of God is dealing with you.

When we kneel and look up into the face of Jesus on His cross, we begin to realise what Love really is.”

God is Love.

Jesus is Love.

At our Easter service next Sunday, and we can begin today, let us set our wills, our face towards the Cross of Jesus and allow Jesus to shake us at the depths.

Shake us out of our ;

spiritual doldrums,

our self pity,

our unforgiveness of others,

our criticisms and condemnations,

let’s live in the power of His Cross!

And let’s look forward to His triumphal return to this earth.

Luke 19:28-40
28 After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking along ahead of his disciples. 29 As they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead, 30 with instructions to go to the next village, and as they entered they were to look for a donkey tied beside the road. It would be a colt, not yet broken for riding.
“Untie him,” Jesus said, “and bring him here. 31 And if anyone asks you what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs him.’”
32 They found the colt as Jesus said, 33 and sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners demanded an explanation.
“What are you doing?” they asked. “Why are you untying our colt?”
34 And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs him!” 35 So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw some of their clothing across its back for Jesus to sit on.
36-37 Then the crowds spread out their robes along the road ahead of him, and as they reached the place where the road started down from the Mount of Olives, the whole procession began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles Jesus had done.
38 “God has given us a King!” they exulted. “Long live the King! Let all heaven rejoice! Glory to God in the highest heavens!”
39 But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Sir, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”
40 He replied, “If they keep quiet, the stones along the road will burst into cheers!”

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