Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Palm Sunday: Were you there.....

Were you there when.......they laid palms at His feet
Our journey to Jerusalem, to the Cross, to the empty tomb… begins in earnest today.
Our theme for Holy Week and Easter this year is… were you there when…
and today we ask and hopefully answer the question… were you there when they laid palms at His feet?

One of the privileges of having the Bible as we have it today; accessible, in our own hands, in our own language, is that when we read it with the eyes, ears and heart of faith… when we read it asking the Holy Spirit to help us read, then the words can become a Living Word for us today.

So… we weren’t at Creation, but as we read Genesis 1 by faith we can see the beginning, hear the beginning, by faith we can be at the beginning.

So, let’s by faith, go back to the “beginning” of the first Holy Week:

 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.

The next day – that is the day after where we left off last week – the day after Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with that beautiful, expensive perfume in her act of sacrificial love.
The great crowd – there would have been +/- 250 000 pilgrims in Jerusalem for this, one of the 3 annual festivals that Jews were expected to attend in Jerusalem.
And they heard that Jesus was on His way – and remember that the story of Lazarus has wafted into Jerusalem. The man who raised Lazarus from the dead is here… HERE.

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

I like to remind us every Palm Sunday that the palm branch was a nationalistic symbol in Israel at the time of Jesus, of similar significance as the Black Power salute of the 60’s. Just lifting a palm branch was saying “we want to be free Jews living in a free Israel”.... it was a dangerous thing to do in the presence of the Roman occupiers.
Hoshia ‘na
Hoshia… save
‘na… please
Save please… save please… save please.
Jesus is recognized as one who can save and the people shout: save… please.
You know that cry only too well… perhaps even now you’re crying out, save… please – save my job,.......... my marriage, save, please.

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Now they are reciting Psalm 118 – a psalm about the Messiah. They are recognizing in this human being who has raised a man from the dead, and done lots of other miracles in Galilee and Judea, they are recognizing in Him… the one who exercises God’s power and authority on earth… they are recognizing the Messiah.

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
There is the statement that will get Jesus the cross. 
The Roman’s don’t care if someone is the Messiah, ...................the Roman’s don’t care if someone comes in the name of the Lord. ..................The Romans do care if someone comes as King. And the religious hypocrites of Jesus day, the Scribes, the Pharisee’s, the Sadducees…. today they would possibly include ministers, bishops, popes… the religious leaders will take Jesus to the Roman’s and say: “this man claims to be the King, but we have only one King and that is Caesar.”

O may the religious hypocrite in you, in me, be crucified and buried this Holy Week…
NEVER to rise up again.
O that religion will die and faith come alive in our midst this Holy Week.

Were you there when they laid palms at His feet?

If you were, you would have been caught up in the events… we all get caught up in events sometimes.

There is a sense in which even as we lived in South Africa in 1989, we were all caught up in the events that led to breaking down of the Berlin Wall – we were there,.............. even though we weren't there.

We were there, a month or two later when in Cape Town, Nelson Mandela was released from prison… we were there................. even though we weren't there.

Were you there when they laid palms at His feet?

I think we have yet to fully understand what the Risen Lord was doing on His planet in 1989, when He brought down the Berlin Wall, when He brought down communism, when He brought enemies to the peace table in our country.

But we were there… and the one thing we know is that these events haven’t had there God intended consequence. People who prayed for over 50 years for the end of Communism were not hoping and praying for what they see in that part of the world today.

People who prayed for the end of apartheid did not hope for what we see in our nation today.
We were there, but the one thing we know is that these events haven’t had their God intended consequences...........................................................................................yet!

We were there when they laid palms at His feet. We were there… but has Palm Sunday had its God intended consequences in you, in me, in our homes, in our  marriages, our church, our schools, our workplaces (mines), our nation?

What is Gods intended consequence for us as we celebrate Palm Sunday?

First:.... that we would recognize Him as King and be a people who live out what it means to say “We have no king but Him.”

Second:........... that we would bless Him with our praises… let us praise Him with our palm branches, our palms (i.e. our hands), our prayers, our money, let us praise Him with our very lives themselves and with hold nothing from Him.

Finally:..... it is Gods intended consequence of that first Palm Sunday, that this Palm Sunday we would cry out Hoshia ‘na.

Save ......please 

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