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ENTER JERUSALEM WITH JESUS CHRIST AND FEEL HIS LOVE AND PASSION

A SERVICE AND SERMON
ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
FOR PALM / PASSION SUNDAY

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

9 APRIL 1995

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Luke 19:28-40
        22:14 - 23:56

Preparation Verse: Luke 19:38

"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Homily:

We have talked about being able to view all of the world's history, from beginning to end, from a heavenly vantage point and with the timelessness of eternity.

So, at the same time that we look at today, let's look at what is happening in and around Jerusalem in what would be the year 29.

And as we do this, we need to ask ourselves how would Jesus desire us to live today?

We also need to ask ourselves, does the way we celebrate Passion Week bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ who died that we might have everlasting peace on earth and in heaven to come?

Jesus, realizing that His time to remain upon this earth in bodily form was drawing to a close, and having just told the people about the judgment to come for the unbelievers, set His vision upon Jerusalem.

Scripture Reading: Luke 19:28-34

28. And after He had said these things, He was going on ahead, ascending to Jerusalem.

29. And it came about that when He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples,

30. saying, "Go into the village opposite you, in which as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it, and bring it here.

31. “And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ thus shall you speak, ‘The Lord has need of it.’ ”

32. And those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them.

33. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?"

34. And they said, “The Lord has need of it.”

Homily:

Once the owners found out that the colt was for Jesus, they immediately granted permission.

Jesus of Nazareth, Messiah, was about to make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

They expected Him to enter as their King to reign forever, and to free Israel from all oppression.

Excitement spread throughout the entire area.

Jesus is coming!

The King is coming!

Hymn: 238 - The King Is Coming

Homily:

Feel the excitement.

The people with Jesus are proceeding from Bethany and Bethphage, and another throng is proceeding from Jerusalem to meet Him.

The more people, the greater the excitement.

They are beside themselves with excitement, not really knowing what to do.

They want to honor Him, but since they are not quite sure how to do so, they begin to cut down palm boughs and other green branches and carry them.

Scripture Reading: Luke 19:35-38

35. And they brought it [the colt] to Jesus, and they threw their garments on the colt, and put Jesus on it.

36. And as He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road.

37. And as He was now approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen,

38. saying,

"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Homily:

Let's not overlook the significance of the fact that the colt had never been ridden and yet willingly allowed Jesus to ride upon her back without making any attempt to try to buck Jesus off.

But, like people today, not everyone in the crowd was there to praise God.

Some were there to find fault.

Scripture Reading: Luke 19:39-40

39. And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."

40. And He answered and said, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"

Hymn: 173 - All Glory, Laud and Honor

Homily:

Jesus has now been in the area of Jerusalem for five days, and He has been teaching many of them.

He's been telling them about what will take place in the future, and that they should be on guard.

He is telling them about the resurrection and about His return.

But now it is Thursday, and His time upon this earth, in the form of a man, is drawing to a close.

Let's continue the account in Luke.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:14-16

14. And when the hour had come He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.

15. And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;

16. for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

Homily:

The interesting thing about what Jesus is saying is that since He is the fulfillment of the Passover, He will never eat it again.

And unlike the traditional Hebrew (Old Testament) celebration of Passover, there is not mention of a lamb being eaten in these verses or anywhere in the New Testament for Jesus was the Lamb of God, and no other lamb was to die

But those with Him are reminded to eat this "deathless" meal in remembrance of Him, and life, until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God in heaven and earth.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:17-20

17. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves;

18. for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes."

19. And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

20. And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Homily:

The people had rejoiced and praised Him.

Now Jesus was giving of His very being for them, and in that giving, He is offering them a sign of remembrance, that they will not lose hope, but will wait patiently for His return.

And in the interim, He is encouraging all His true followers to continue the celebration in praise and worship, and to live in the way He taught them.

Listen to the Choir sing of this Praise, and join in with them on the third verse.

Anthem: 174 - Hosanna, Laud Hosanna

Homily:

Unfortunately, today, just as it was at that time, most people don't want to hear the truth or believe the promise, for it is too convicting for them.

They want to continue to live the life they have been living, and not commit themselves to the Lord.

They don't want to give up their unrighteousness and indulgences, and be joined to the King of Glory.

And Jesus knew that even one very close to Him would betray Him for his own personal gain.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:21-23

21. "But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table.

22. "For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!"

23. And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.

Homily:

I don't believe most of us truly understand what it means to betray the Lord.

We think of Judas selling Him out for money, and we say to ourselves, "I would never do that."

And most likely we wouldn't.

But do we not betray the Lord when we knowingly and deliberately continue in those very sins for which He paid the price by dying on the cross for each of us, personally?

Or, do we not betray Him when we think we are more important than someone else for whom Jesus also gave of Himself equally?

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:24-30

24. And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest.

25. And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.'

26. "But not so with you, but let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.

27. "For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

28. "And you are those who have stood by Me in My trials;

29. and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you

30. that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Homily:

Do you hear how Jesus is explaining that we are all equal in His sight, and even if some are given a different job to do, that doesn't make one more important than another?

We are all to serve the Lord in spirit and in truth, not just when we come to church, though that is also good.

But we are to serve Him even more after we leave the church, for to not serve Him is to betray the confidence He has bestowed upon us.

And this is in spite of the trials that we may face.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:31-34

31. "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;

32. but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

33. And he said to Him, "Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!"

34. And He said, "I say to you, Peter, the cock will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me."

Homily:

I sometimes wonder how often Satan may make the same demand concerning one of us.

At times, even the strongest of us may slip up and do something wrong; and the Lord in all His grace understands that.

But a slip-up is not a deliberate or premeditated sin.

If our hearts are always set upon doing what the Lord desires us to do, then even when we make a mistake, the Lord will strengthen us.

And in that strength, we will not only overcome our own sins, but we will be able to help others overcome theirs.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:35-38

35. And He said to them, "When I sent you out without purse and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?" And they said, "No, nothing."

36. And He said to them, "But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one.

37. "For I tell you, that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment."

38. And they said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said to them, "It is enough."

Homily:

Jesus is here speaking in worldly terms.

But as we will see later on, He still wants us to hold fast to our faith in God, to follow His teachings.

I believe that He is saying, “It is enough,” not in reference to the sword, but to this line of reasoning.

We do not need a sword to fight against the forces of evil in this world.

We are to be peacemaking children of God who "fight" with the word of truth in love and compassion for all.

Keep this thought in mind as we continue with our reading.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:39-40

39. And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.

40. And when He arrived at the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation."

Homily:

We have to live in this world according to the rules of this world, as long as they don't conflict with the ordinances of God.

We have to live in this world, but we must not forget that we who belong to Jesus are really citizens of His kingdom and, as such, we are His ambassadors, His representatives in this world.

And we are to pray that we are not led into temptation, that we would not be bad examples of Jesus in this world.

Even Jesus understood the pull of the human body against the will of the Spirit of God; for as a man, he too had to pray for this inner strength, as is depicted in the painting at the rear of the church and in our next Scripture passage.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:41-46

41. And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray,

42. saying, "Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done."

43. Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.

44. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

45. And when He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow,

46. and said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation."

Homily:

We are very much like the disciples who fell asleep.

In fact, we of the Church are mostly sleeping now.

For in our sorrow, tiredness and slumber, we have allowed the will of Satan to grow stronger in the world around us.

We don't want to take the time to pray for the strength to set the proper example before the world.

Thus, in a sense, the world has come and taken the church captive, much in the same way as it took Jesus captive.

As we read the next passage, think of how you would feel if you were Jesus.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:47-51

47. While He was still speaking, behold, a multitude came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.

48. But Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

49. And when those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"

50. And a certain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

51. But Jesus answered and said, "Stop! No more of this." And He touched his ear and healed him.

Homily:

Do you see what I mean about Jesus speaking only figuratively about living as the rest of the world lives?

He wants us to be different.

Those who live and act like the world are as those who came to capture Jesus.

They don't do things in the light of day; they do them under the cover of darkness, when they are less likely to be recognized, and when there are fewer people around to witness their ungodly acts.

In our own country, the KKK is a perfect example of this kind of ungodly behavior.

And there are groups like them all over the world.

They feed upon fear and hate, and not upon love.

If we are truly Christians, we are different.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:52-62

52. And Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, "Have you come out with swords and clubs as against a robber?

53. "While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours."

54. And having arrested Him, they led Him away, and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance.

55. And after they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them.

56. And a certain servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight, and looking intently at him, said, "This man was with Him too."

57. But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him."

58. And a little later, another saw him and said, "You are one of them too!" But Peter said, "Man, I am not!"

59. And after about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, "Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too."

60. But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about." And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed.

61. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, "Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times."

62. And he went out and wept bitterly.

Homily:

I believe that if Peter had stayed awake and prayed, he would have overcome his fears, for the strength of the Lord would have been with Him.

Perhaps that's what the look of the Lord was saying to Peter.

What about us?

Are we like Peter, then: being remorseful for what we failed to do, instead of praying for the strength to do things properly in the first place?

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:63 -71

63. And the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him, and beating Him,

64. and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, "Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?"

65. And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming.

66. And when it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying,

67. “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe;

68. and if I ask a question, you will not answer.

69. "But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God."

70. And they all said, "Are You the Son of God, then?" And He said to them, "Yes, I am."

71. And they said, "What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth."

Homily:

These leaders knew that Jesus wasn't blaspheming.

They knew the Scriptures and the many passages in them that Jesus was fulfilling.

What they really feared was the loss of their position.

Because of their actions, they will have to answer to God.

And in their hardness of heart, they continued in their evil pursuits.

Hymn: 134 - Emmanuel

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:1-2

1. Then the whole body of them arose and brought Him before Pilate.

2. And they began to accuse Him, saying, "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King."

Homily:

Do you hear the deliberate lies intermixed with the truth, that they might mislead Pilate?

These are the religious leaders who were to set the example of God's love for the people, and they are doing just the opposite.

Be on the alert, my friends, for the same thing is happening today, from both the far left and the far right of Christianity.

The left is trying to make us believe that the Bible isn't true by using misleading out-of-context facts; and the right is trying to make us believe that unrighteous and unloving conservatism is the same as Godliness.

Both of these factions are lying to us in order to gain support for their own agendas, and we should not listen to them or follow them.

They are doing the same thing today to the Church, of whom Jesus Christ is the head, as those religious leaders did to Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago.

Feel what Jesus must have felt then, and as His ambassador, today, feel what is happening to the Church today and, in love, stand firmly against it.

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:3-7

3. And Pilate asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And He answered him and said, " It is as you say."

4. And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, "I find no guilt in this man."

5. But they kept on insisting, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee, even as far as this place."

6. But when Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.

7. And when he learned that He belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time.

Homily:

Pilate knew the truth.

He knew that this action of the priests and religious leaders was motivated by jealousy.

He had the power to stop what they were doing, but he chose the cowardly way out. He tried to pass the buck to Herod.

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:8

8. Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him.

Homily:

If Herod knew that Jesus could perform signs and wonders, then he also knew that He was no ordinary man.

And Jesus knew this of him as well; thus Jesus let Herod make his own decisions by himself.

Let's go on.

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:9-11

9. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing.

10. And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.

11. And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.

Homily:

Do you see Herod's arrogance?

Do you see and feel his hypocrisy?

Do you see how he also passes the buck instead of standing firm on what he knows to be the truth?

And as we consider all of this, consider how we behave as members of the Church, or even as confessed Christians.

Do we deny the truth, love and compassion of Jesus Christ before others, for the sake of so-called harmony?

Consider carefully the difference between shouting Hosannas with our mouths, and then resorting to blasphemies with our actions.

Scripture Reading: Luke 23: 12-19

12. Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been at enmity with each other.

13. And Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people,

14. and said to them, "You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him.

15. "No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.

16. "l will therefore punish Him and release Him."

17. [Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.]

18. But they cried out all together saying, "Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!"

19. (He was one who had been thrown into prison for a certain insurrection made in the city, and for murder.)

Homily:

And many of these people shouting for Jesus' blood were probably the same ones who shouted praises when He entered Jerusalem.

This must be so, for we are told that they shouted this all together.

Either there weren't some shouting for Jesus' release at the same time, or their numbers were so small that their voices couldn't be heard above those calling for His death.

Consider how our voices are heard in this community and in our work places.

Who do we sound like?

Truly consider for yourselves, "Where is my own heart and soul?"

Just as Pilate knew the truth, we also know the truth, even when we deny it, or fight against it, or try to pass the buck in an attempt to excuse it away.

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:20-25

20. And Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again,

21. but they kept on calling out, saying, "Crucify, crucify Him!"

22. And he said to them the third time, "Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; I will therefore punish Him and release Him."

23. But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail.

24. And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand should be granted.

25. And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.

Homily:

Feel what Jesus feels.

Have you ever had anyone lie about you?

Have you ever had any of your so-called friends, or even family members go along with the crowd against you, even when they knew what they were doing wasn't right?

And have you ever been one of those going along with the crowd?

All such truly unrepentant people will have to answer to God for their actions.

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:26-31

26. And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.

27. And there were following Him a great multitude of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him.

28. But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

29. "For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'

30. "Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.'

31. "For if they do these things in the green tree, what will happen in the dry?

Homily:

We should listen carefully to these words of Jesus to the women of Jerusalem, for they apply equally to us today.

Listen carefully to those calling for no birth control, and promoting large families, and consider their motives, and the kind of world into which our children are being born.

Consider also the motives of our local and world leaders who are leading us further and further away from Jesus and His teachings.

Consider also those who are trying to crucify Jesus out of our hearts and minds, so that their evil ways will seem more acceptable.

Which crowd are we part of? Those who mourn, or those who just shout?

Hymn: 176 - Lead Me to Calvary

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:32-38

32. And two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.

33. And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.

34. But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

35. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One."

36. And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine,

37. and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!"

38. Now there was also an inscription above Him, "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."

Homily:

Feel Jesus' torment and pain.

Really feel it.

Now consider for yourself: how much pain and suffering and verbal abuse would you accept without cursing those who abuse you?

But Jesus not only doesn't curse them, He even prays for them.

Jesus' love is unconditional, as should ours be.

If others don't accept that love, it is their problem and they will have to answer to God for it.

But if we don't offer this love, or if we condition it in some way, then we, too, must answer for our actions.

Feel what Jesus feels, and behave as He did.

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:39-43

39. And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"

40. But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

41. "And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."

42. And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"

43. And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

Homily:

Do you hear the difference between one who is only sorry for his own suffering and one who is truly sorry for his actions against God?

A lot of people say they are sorry, but relatively few really are.

If this weren't so, the world would be a whole lot better than it is.

But while we live, we can make a difference; that is, if we are not too cowardly to do so.

Why wait until we are upon a cross to try to make amends? We should do it now.

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:44-49

44. And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour,

45. the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

46. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit." And having said this, He breathed His last.

47. Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent."

48. And all the multitudes who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts.

49. And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee, were standing at a distance, seeing these things.

Homily:

And so Jesus died for each of us, that we might live forever with Him; for by His death, He paid the price of our sins.

And did you notice that it took His death to cause some to repent?

But Jesus already died the one and only time.

What will it take, today, for the world to repent?

Or will it ever repent?

If we truly can feel, as part of our very being, what happened then, we will understand what we are to do today.

If you don't feel as Jesus felt, then no other words are going to make any difference.

Soften your heart to feel and understand.

Soften your heart to stand up and be counted, as Joseph finally did.

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:50-56

50. And behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man

51. (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God;

52. this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

53. And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.

54. And it was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55. Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed after, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.

56. And they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.

And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Homily:

Has the account of these events touched your heart and soul?

I pray so!

For it is only in Jesus, that we can find true and everlasting peace and love.

Amen.

Hymn: 181 - Were You There?

Your Comments are welcome

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