Sermon Series: The Drama of Scripture
By: Samantha Tidball – April 14, 2019
We’re so glad you are here with us this morning. We’re grateful for you! We hope you experience God’s love in our gratitude, in our joy, and in our generosity as we navigate the complexity of our daily lives. We pray that whether this is your first time with us this morning, or if you have been a part of our community for a while, that you will feel the invitation of the Holy Spirit to join in with our vision. If you are looking for a church home, we would love to be your church home.
We have been doing a sermon series called the “Drama of Scripture” where we are learning about the big picture story of the how different themes weave together throughout the Bible.
Act 1: Creation, caretakers of creation
Act 2: The Rebellion- brokenness of the world
Act 3: Exile -story of Israel, Abraham, people need rescuing
Act 4: Redemption- story of Jesus
Act 5: New Creation –Acts and the mission of the church
Act 6: Return of the King
Today, I am going to give you just a glimpse of Act 6 but we will primarily focus on the significance of Palm Sunday. However, come back after Easter on April 28 and I am going to finish our sermon series with a sermon on Act 6: The Return of the King on April 28th.
Happy Palm Sunday everyone! This Palm Sunday we are going to focus on what it means to trust Jesus as Lord and King in our lives. It’s also dedication Sunday, which reminds me of when my son was dedicated here. He had been learning in Sunday school about the story of David, and how David was anointed with oil when he was announced as King. So when my son got dedicated in front of the church, Pastor Donnell anointed him with oil, so he thought this was his coronation moment where as King. I tried my best to let him down gently that he was not a king. It’s tough when our expectations of an event don’t match the reality of all that it is.
The disciple’s expectations of who Jesus was and should be didn’t exactly match reality. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey what we call “Palm Sunday” God’s people were expecting Jesus to announce his reign as King of the Jews who would come as a political warrior King who came to conquer and give power to the Jews. Instead, Jesus shows up on a donkey teaching us that God’s Kingdom is one of humility… and he didn’t give some kick-butt warrior speech that people were expecting.
Luke 19:29-44 New International Version (NIV)
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives,the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[a]
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.
How would you feel if people were celebrating you and treating you like royalty? Pretty great, right? But did you catch the fact that Jesus was crying?! Everyone is celebrating, but Jesus is lamenting. Luke’s version of the story wrecked my original image in my head of Palm Sunday. In fact when I google image searched for pictures of Jesus on Palm Sunday, I knew why I had a limited picture of what the day was about.
When I searched for pictures of Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem there were photos of white Jesus seeming happy, sometimes even smiling, and waving. (Newsflash: Jesus is not white by the way) He’s happy and everyone is celebrating this joyous event.
However in Luke’s gospel, Luke paints this image of Jesus weeping while riding into Jerusalem. A weeping King is not what the Jews anticipated. Jesus is weeping because people he loves still don’t recognize God’s work of the Kingdom. Jesus wept over Jerusalem’s ignorance to the fact that God, in Jesus Christ, was in their midst yet people failed to recognize the time of God’s coming. Jesus even said in a few chapters before in Luke 17:20 “The Kingdom of God is in the midst of you!” But they still didn’t get it, because they were expecting Jesus to a tough political warrior King. Their image of Jesus didn’t match their expectations even though Jesus went a long way to clarify that their expectations for a political, warrior Messiah were misguided. The king and his kingdom had already arrived. They still didn’t seem to understand who Jesus was even as they are shouting out Hosanna, since a few days they wanted him dead. Not to mention, Jesus also knew that forty years from this event, Rome would besiege and conquer Jerusalem and level the temp to the ground. No wonder Jesus was weeping. Jesus wanted the people of God to recognize and understand who he was, not only as a savior but as the visible image of an invisible God.
1 Colossians 1:15-19
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
In the Palm Sunday story in Luke 19:42 Jesus says, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace.” Here in 1 Colossians 1:19-20, Paul explains how peace is found through Jesus’s blood and death. Jesus was raised up on the cross which was his throne, and crowned with thorns, and even dressed in a robe to mock him as the King of Jews. God used Jesus’ death as a way to bring peace and reconciliation to all things.
But in the Palm Sunday story, the people of God thought Jesus would bring peace by being a kick-butt warrior and political leader. They believed the lie that peace would come by conquering others and gaining power. Jesus came to teach that God’s Kingdom is soaked in humility, grace, and unconditional love. People couldn’t get over their expectations of who they thought Jesus should so they were blinded to who Jesus really was. This is why Jesus was brokenhearted, because if only the people trusted him as Lord, then they would see God and know peace.
Instead of recognizing God was in their midst, they were yelling out for Jesus to be crucified even though days before they were calling Jesus Hosanna, one who saves. Their faith was fickle. Many of us are not that different from the people in this story. We celebrate and affirm who Jesus is one minute, but as soon as life isn’t going our way, we chuck our faith out the door, letting our expectations and disappointment blind us from truth. I see this all the time as a Youth Pastor. Sometimes students get a big spiritual high on a mission trip or at a youth conference. They may even declare Jesus as savior in their lives, but they don’t really want Jesus to be Lord of their lives. Because trusting Jesus as Lord requires dying to themselves and putting God’s ways above their own. This is not just a youthful problem, it happens with all ages.
So what kind of people are we church? Are we the kind who praise Jesus one minute and yell crucify him the next? Are we people with fickle faith throwing God of the throne the minute life gets hard? Or are we going to be steadfast in our faith no matter what circumstances in life we have to face. Are we going to be Kingdom people who walk in the light with steadfast love and peace who bring hope to the hopeless? If we want to have a firm faith, we must learn to daily pick up our cross and follow our King.
We can’t follow Jesus as King if we are trying to take his place on the throne. There’s no room for Jesus to be Lord over our lives if we are trying to build our own kingdoms of security, comfort, power, and wealth. Recognizing Jesus as Lord begins with stepping down from our own throne, and submit to Jesus as Lord. Sometimes we take up the throne with good intentions.
As a Pastor, I tend to think I am in on the throne when it comes to helping people with their needs. My pride gets the best of me. I think it’s all up to me to fix people or plan programs to solve people’s problems. When I think I am in charge of the world, it makes sense I feel anxious and overwhelmed. Anxious feelings, are a reminder that I am not trusting that God is sovereign. I am working on learning to step down from the throne and let Jesus reign in people’s lives instead of me. This doesn’t mean I ignore the needs of others, it means learning to respond to God and over the need. When I am in a place of truly trusting Jesus as Lord I feel an abundance of peace.
Did you know a new Palm Sunday is coming? And in this version Jesus is not crying! In this version we are given a picture of people in white robes, who are living out God’s peaceful glory in the new Kingdom that’s been established. The book of Revelation has an awesome prophecy where people are holding firm in their faith and recognize Jesus and King and Lord.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
There are several Old Testament prophesies foretold about Jesus’s Palm Sunday moment that we read about in the gospels. All of the prophecies about him riding on a donkey, people waving palm branches, Jesus being rejected, etc. came true. So now we can read about this new version of Palm Sunday in Revelation with great enthusiasm and anticipation for when we get to celebrate Jesus our Lord and King! A day is coming where the world will be rid of all evil, there will be no pain or suffering and all the glory will go to our King!
However, we can experience peace in our lives today when we trust Jesus, not only as savior, but as Lord over our lives. Here are some practical ways we can live this out:
- Daily Submission (Do something to submit to God each day)
- Example: Before you get out of bed pray, “Jesus you are Lord of my life. I give you this day. Help to see ways your Kingdom is at work today.”
- Eyes Open- journal ways you see God at work so in times of struggle you can go back and reflect how God is faithful.
- Stay Connected to the Body – Do not isolate. Gather frequently with other believers.
- Get Baptized if you haven’t already