Sunday, March 24, 2002

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday
March 24, 2002
Matthew 21:1-11

A King Comes Riding

Introduction:  Palm Sunday is an easy scene to recreate. We’ve all heard the story over and over again. It is so very familiar to us but what really is going on here as we see a king comes riding on a colt.

I.        There were issues at hand to be sure.

A.     The Land was occupied

1.      Romans despised Jews and made life for them extremely difficult.

2.   The Jews, on the other hand, hated the Romans; harboring a grudge and they were subject under them.

B.     There were messianic expectations among the people.

1. This was promised throughout the Old Testament that in due time a Messiah would come to deliver the people from their oppressive leaders.

2. Thus the people were wondering if in fact a true deliverer would at last come. What better time then this for a true savior to come?

C. Finally, Lazarus had just been raised to life.

1.      His being raised to life had just recently taken place, within a few weeks.  Everyone was talking about these events.

2.      This news was well known by all. People were starting to question; could this be the promised Savior? Could the messiah be at hand? Could this Jesus be the one?

3.      This simply brought things to a head. The leaders felt threatened. It was determined by a consensus of the leaders that this Jesus must die. “It is expedient that one man should die for the sake of the nation”

II.     The Intention – why did these things happen?

A.     It was not just to fulfill prophecy.

1.      Things didn’t happen just for that. We can not simply say that it was fate that the events of Psalm Sunday escalated as they did.

2.      The events prophesied were being fulfilled in the people’s hearing. God was beginning to act. Events in the world were beginning to unfold and God was at the center.

B.     Christ takes control of His own destiny.

1.      He deliberately precipitates a crisis.
a.      Fate or luck has nothing to do with it. 
b.      Jesus takes matters into His own hands.
c.      He forces the issue. People will now have to take a stand. What will we do with this man Jesus?

2.      Brought events to God’s timing.
a.      The whole matter is in the hands of God
b.      This becomes the crucial event for the people of Jerusalem but especially for you and me today what do you do with Jesus?

III.   The Identifications

A.     Actions of Christ

1.      Sets self forth as the true Messiah

2.      The colt shows what sort of Messiah He will really be.

B.     The responses to Him

1.      The leaders completely missed the point. They ask him to quiet the crowd.

2.      But the people, they too, no less miss the point also.
a.      They linked Jesus to the Psalms
b.      They should have linked Him to the rest of the Old Testament.

C.     Explanation of the crowd.

1.      They were fickle. Today the flock to Him. By Friday they will ask for His blood.

2.      They expected a political Messiah, a bread king.
a.      He showed He was not such “My kingdom is not of this world”.
b.      They became disillusioned.

IV.  Implications

A.     God is in control of every timetable.

B.     Beware of “protestations of praise”

C.     People want a kingdom on their own terms.

1.      Health, wealth, prosperity: view wants that king of kingdom (a kingdom of glory)

2.      Those who want him as Savior but not as Lord

3.      Those who want salvation some other way.

If Christ should come riding into your town today how would people respond?

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