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Today is Palm Sunday and our reading was from Matt 21:1-11. Dave’s sermon looked at the 4 things we can learn today from Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
We must trust God’s timing. Jesus has previously asked people to keep quiet about His ministry and identity, but as He chose to enter Jerusalem riding on a colt and thus fulfilled prophecy (Zech 9:9), He was demonstrating an awareness of the divine timetable which others did not understand. The excitement of the crowd temporarily deterred the authorities, who would otherwise have arrested Jesus at once. Luke’s gospel records that they complained saying, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” And He answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” He was saying, “Don’t you understand? This is the moment that God my Father has been preparing since the foundation of the world for you to have Your Messiah. I am officially here. And if I stop my disciples from singing, then you are going to hear a literal rock concert!” We need to trust God’s timing, even if we don’t understand the road we have to travel.
When we give Jesus our time, talents and possessions, God is glorified. We don’t know who gave Jesus the use of the donkey on which he rode, but in doing so, he enabled Messianic prophecy to be fulfilled. When we place whatever we have at the disposal of Jesus – our talents, our presence in His house, our money, our service – they become the means whereby He receives the praise and the acclaim that is His due! The Kingdom of God grows; other people are blessed when we simply give Jesus what we claim as ours because, like this little donkey, our Lord has need of it. What is our ‘donkey’? What can we give?
We must love people as Jesus loved them. Luke 19:41 tells us that Jesus wept over Jerusalem; He loved the people and knew that many of them would reject Him and His plan to save the world, and so they would suffer the painful consequences. If we are to walk as He walked then we must not only know how much He loves us, but we must love people as He does. We must be as moved by their pain as God is. We must be moved to real tears by the pain of those around us who hurt because they have rejected God in their lives. We must be prepared to cry with them.
We must learn that Jesus’ way is the way of the Cross. The crowds on that first Palm Sunday did not understand the sacrificial nature of the Messiah, that He Himself would be the Passover Lamb. They were looking for a king who would conquer and kill, but instead they found One who walked the path of self-denial and urged His followers to do the same: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Jesus requires all that would follow Him to choose between the way of the world and the way of the Cross.