Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday: Don’t Miss Jesus Today!

It’s Palm Sunday, the day many will once again celebrate an event approximately 2,000 years ago when Jesus rode on a donkey from the Mount of Olives down and across the Kidron Valley and up into the city of Jerusalem.   Crowds gathered along the rocky road to watch the spectacle of One Who had become known by many as a prophet.    Others saw Jesus as a miracle worker; and, still others as a heretic and trouble-maker within the Jewish religious establishment. 

Jesus, humbly riding on a donkey's colt
Sadly, most who gathered to watch the strange parade missed the significance of this special day; and, many misidentified the man riding humbly on the young donkey.  Some thought Jesus might be the One sent by God, the Messiah, to deliver Israel from oppressive Roman rule.  To them, this procession signaled that a political revolution was about to begin.  John 12: 13 records that many grabbed branches from nearby palm trees and began waving them.  Matthew, Jesus’ disciple who had been a tax collector for the Roman government records in his gospel that many in the crowd began crying

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
 Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
(Matthew 21:9)

As Jesus rode by, some took off their outer garments and placed them on the road in front of the donkey and rider as they would for a king.

Others in the crowd, especially the religious leaders, heard the “Hosanna’s,” saw the royal treatment and viewed it as a threat to the Jewish establishment which was already on shaky ground under the Roman rule.  They realized that this song, recorded in Psalm 118: 26, had been sung on many occasions over the past centuries of Jewish history as pilgrims made their way into Jerusalem.  Under Roman rule, such gatherings were viewed as attempted insurrections and were sometimes addressed with a violent show of force.  Therefore, the Jewish leaders called out, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ (Luke 19:39).  But, Jesus replied, I tell you . . . if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.(Luke 19:40).

How silly!  Who would dream that a man humbly dressed, riding on a donkey, could bring a new era of freedom from oppression?  Yet how many times in recent history have Christ-followers made the same mistake?  Many in the “Moral Majority” a few decades ago and others within the more recent “Tea Party” movement have placed their hopes for righteousness and peace in the rule of a political party, or in candidates who professed to be Christ-followers.  But, Jesus said within a few days of His triumphal ride into Jerusalem, My kingdom is not of this realm (John 18:36). 

Jesus had come to set up a spiritual kingdom within human hearts and minds—a kingdom in which we would worship and serve Him out of love for Him and for what He has done as the One Who died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit… (I Peter 3: 18).  Jesus came to deliver, not from political oppression but from spiritual oppression caused by the rule of the god of this world (i.e. Satan who) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4: 4).

Jesus Christ came to Earth as Messiah, the “sent one” to become the ruling king of our very lives.  To accomplish that, Jesus came as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, just as John the Baptist had proclaimed when he introduced Jesus before His baptism (John 1: 29).

This Palm Sunday, let’s not miss Jesus for Who He really is—the coming King.  Jesus came seated on a donkey’s colt on that first Palm Sunday, just as the prophet Zechariah had prophesied centuries earlier (Zechariah 9: 9).   The crowd waving palm branches didn’t realize that they were watching the Lamb of God coming on “lamb selection day,” the day in which faithful Jew would select their spotless lambs to offer as a sacrifice for their sin.  His timing was perfect!   After all of these centuries of Jewish history and all of the blood of lambs, bulls, and goats that were offered to take away the sin of the world, we must now realize that, as Hebrews 10: 3-4 states,

in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

As the familiar song asks, and then answers,

“What can wash away my sins? 
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

This Palm Sunday, let us not be as so many in Jerusalem were on the first Palm Sunday, causing Jesus to pause along the procession, and from His humble donkey say through His tears,   Luke 19:41–47).

Jesus is still tenderly calling us.  Don't miss Jesus today!  Don't miss Him this Easter Season!

How About You?  If you would like to know more about the“Good News” or Gospel of Jesus Christ, let me help.   The “Good News” is summarized in an outline called “Steps to Peace with God” which explains God’s love, our predicament (sin and separation from God), what Jesus has done to address our predicament, and what you can do by faith to receive God’s righteousness (right standing with a Holy God).  If you have additional questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.  Just post a “Comment” below or e-mail me at

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