The real purpose of the celebration of Palm Sunday is to move us closer
to Jesus Christ, but the story of Palm Sunday is one riddled with praise,
worship, falsehood, treachery and rejection.
The recorded account of this day in Luke 19:28-48 also tells us why we have so many problems in the world today. Let’s begin today’s message by looking at these verses:
28. And after He had said these things, He was going on ahead, ascending to Jerusalem.
Jesus knew that His ministry and time upon this earth was rapidly drawing to
a close, and knew that it should end in Jerusalem.
He also knew the true intent of the heart of the people, which is what we should be looking for as we continue:
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.
Jesus is fulfilling prophecy, and He knew what they would find and do.
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."
35. And they brought it to Jesus, and they threw their garments on the colt, and put Jesus on it.
Now, let’s compare this account to the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.
9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
And because of this prophecy, Jesus knew that both the religious hierarchy and the general public would recognize what He was doing and who He was.
36. And as He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road.
Even though the people’s actions are a fulfillment of the prophecy, Jesus wasn’t really looking for the outward signs of their praising Him with their garments; He wanted them to truly lay before Him their hearts and souls, and do as He taught them.
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,
"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
And again, what Jesus wants to see are the changed and contrite hearts and souls of the people that seek to be true children of God.
39. And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."
It should be obvious to us that these religious leaders lack the softness of heart and soul that He is looking for.
40. And He answered and said, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"
This is an important lesson for us to learn.
If anyone wants us to stop telling the truth, we should speak all the more.
We run into this kind of situation all the time, particularly when it’s about speaking for the animals who cannot speak for themselves.
And we ask
them, “Do you lack love and compassion so much that you have no empathy for
the suffering animals, that you continue to contribute to their suffering?”
Let’s go on…
41. And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it,
42. saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.
This is proof that Jesus sees the hardness of their hearts, and he wept because of it.
43. "For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank
before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side,
44. and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."
This came about in the year 70, less than 40 years after He said this, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.
45. And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were selling,
46. saying to them, "It is written, 'And My house shall be a house of prayer,' but you have made it a robbers' den."
As we know from other passages, Jesus also drove out the sacrificial animals and those who were selling them, for it was all part of the falseness of their worship. God wants obedience and mercy instead of sacrifice. He wants the people to truly desire to become peacemaking children of God.
47. And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the
scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him,
48. and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging upon His words.
First the Pharisees tried to silence the people from praising Jesus, and now
the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men are trying to find a
way to destroy or kill Jesus.
And even to this very day, we are seeing church leaders trying to destroy the loving and peaceful teachings of Jesus by focusing only upon salvation, and totally ignoring Jesus’ command to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect ( Matthew 5:48).
How can they expect to be saved, if they do everything that is opposite to what Jesus taught?
Jesus also taught us to pray for our Father’s heavenly will to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10), where there is no pain, or mourning, or death (Revelation 21:4).
And even after His example of cleansing the Temple of death by chasing out the animals and those who were selling them, these present day church leaders bring the tortured remains of animals back into the churches and celebrate eating their flesh, even though they know about the horrible pain and suffering of those animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses.
They go about claiming that Jesus was the last sacrifice, and at the same time they sacrifice or have others sacrifice more animals for the gluttony of themselves and others.
Where is the true Jesus Christ in all of this?
He is weeping over the church and the people of today, just as He wept over Jerusalem.
Isn’t it time we celebrate the triumphal entry of the true Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, into our lives and live as the loving compassionate and peacemaking children of God that He called us to be?
Isn’t it time we do everything in our power to end as much pain, suffering, mourning, and death from our own lives and the world around us as we possibly can?
Isn’t it time?
We believe it is.