Sermon notes from Palm Sunday 2023 – video here
Today, around the world much of the Church will be singing and praising God just as those praised Jesus on this day some 2,000 years ago.
At first it seems as though it is indeed a glorious day as we read of Jesus riding the donkey into Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.
The Bible even has the headings often written, “The Triumphal Entry.”
With such headings, you’d be led to believe this was indeed a happy and celebratory day.
The People Celebrated
For many at the time, they’d believed the Messiah was ready to take over! This was the moment they’d been waiting for.
Earlier in Jesus’s ministry His own brothers tried to convince Him to make Himself known, to show the world you might say, that He is who He says He is.
And His response to His brothers at that time was:
“The right time for me has not yet come.
The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I keep telling it that its ways are bad.
The right time has not come for me.”
Like His brothers, His own disciples were excited because this was the moment He was going to go into Jerusalem as the King to take what was rightfully His, and theirs.
They thought He was going to retake the City and sit on David’s throne.
The bible informs us, that as He was heading down to Jerusalem from the Mount, as He drew near,
He wept over the city.
He Weeps Over Jerusalem
Image by Enrique Simonet, 1892
HE weeps saying, “if you had only known the things that make for peace.”
Instead, HE weeps because He knows judgment is coming upon them. He weeps because there will be no peace for them now.
When He is gone from the earth, Jerusalem would be ransacked by the Romans some 40 years later near this same time of year. There was to be no peace for them.
So, He weeps over His people.
He weeps over you and I when we don’t believe or don’t obey.
Sometimes we tend to think He gets angry at us for not obeying Him.
I think instead, He weeps because He knows what could have been for us if we’d obeyed.
He weeps over those of us that have tasted His salvation only to turn away from Him for other idols in our lives.
His desire is always for us to turn and be saved. To endure until the end He often says, to leave the old life behind and be the new Creation He makes of us.
He weeps because He knows our hearts, and He knows who truly loves Him and who is simply going through the motions for attention.
He weeps because He knows the price that has to be paid for His people. The price He paid for you and I.
The prophets of old had it right, the Messiah was coming, and on a donkey.
And the people believed, at least for a moment, that Jesus was He.
But in a week’s time, all that changed.
Jesus knew it would.
He knew His people, some of them His very own disciples, would fall away. They would not only reject Him, but cry out for His blood.
So He wept.
His weeping was due to the future He knew they would face because of their rejection.
He Still Knows
He still knows.
He knows that many will proclaim Him their Savior one day only to reject Him on another.
He knows that many will call Him Savior yet still choose to live a life that doesn’t glorify Him.
He knows, and He weeps, because some of you will still, like the those Pharisees that were jeering Him that day, you will remain hardened against Him, blind to your own need for Him.
He weeps, because He knows some of you will face the fire of Hell because you have been blinded to the truth that God has offered you grace and forgiveness through His own Son.
He takes no joy in knowing there will be some that will suffer for eternity. So He weeps for you.
We Should Weep
Friends, we should be the ones weeping.
Weeping because we know it is on account of us that Jesus had to endure the beatings, the Cross, and the grave.
We should weep because He loves us enough to suffer all of that for us.
As He says of the rocks, we should cry out, “Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Have You Weeped
Friends, have you cried out to God to save you?
Have you weeped over your own sins?
Cry out to Him now, and ask for His forgiveness.
No longer make Him weep over you, instead let Him rejoice over you for coming home to your Savior.
Going a Little Deeper
I wanted to share a few words with you, sort of a behind the scenes if you will on this day for our Lord.
The Prophecies He Fulfilled
Zechariah 9:9 ESV
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Isaiah 62:10–12 ESV
Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples. Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the LORD; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.
Why did Jesus ride a donkey?
In Biblical times, it was common for kings or important people to arrive by a procession riding on a donkey. The donkey symbolized peace, so those who chose to ride them showed that they came with peaceful intentions.
Why did they put their cloaks and palm branches on the ground, (also waved)?
It was common practice to lay them down before the new king when he was announced: 2 Kings 9:13
2 Kings 9:13 ESV
Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”
Did they believe He was the Messiah?
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David. Mk 11:10
Mark 11:10 ESV
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
It was His disciples, the multitude, that were crying out. The Pharisees wanted His disciples to quiet down.
Luke 19:40 ESV
He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
David and the Mount
It is interesting to me that we have Jesus descending from the Mount to go into Jerusalem, when His ancestor King David, ran from his own son, Absalom, up the mountain in fear and weeping himself.
What was this “Hosanna” saying about?
Listen to Psalm 118 and see if you can figure it out.
Psalm 118:19–26 ESV
Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
It translates to “save us,” and it would seem to be a pronouncement of knowing that Jesus was the Messiah they had been seeking.
They recognized He was coming in the name of the Lord.