A Palm Sunday Message
Got to love it when we all get excited about Jesus and begin to let the praises ring out! Today is that kind of day! It’s Palm Sunday and the celebration has begun…Jesus is riding into Jerusalem to the shouts of Hosanna and songs of praise. There is nothing better than being lifted up in spirit by a song of praise and shouts of Hosanna(Save Us) This is referred to in scripture as the Triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Triumphant means filled with pride and victory. The occasion was festive, celebratory; it was a huge street party!
You see there was great anticipation and excitement on Palm Sunday. Just a short time before this, Jesus had been in this community standing in front of a tomb where a man named Lazarus had been buried. Mary and Martha had been on an emotional rollercoaster. They knew that Jesus could have helped but he did not show up in time. They would find out that He did indeed show up in time…His time….and His timing is perfect. Lazarus would come walking out of the tomb, alive…raised from the dead. It caused quite a stir. And now, this “healer”, this “miracle man” was coming to Jerusalem. Many of the folks were gathering because Jesus was coming and because Lazarus would be there too. The miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead was being shared by all of those that saw it. You could feel the energy…there was life and anytime that life returns to things that were once dead, the party begins. That is why heaven rejoices when one sinner is saved!
This was quite a day. But unfortunately, the real meaning of all that Jesus had said and taught did not “land”. In less than a week they would call for his crucifixion and in just a few days this impressive and jubilant tone would be gone. From cheers to jeers. What happened?
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we spend so much of our time in pursuit of good things…but they aren’t God things. Right before this story in CH 12 you can see where Mary and Martha had Jesus in for dinner. Lazarus was there too. Martha was busy, busy, busy getting everything ready, the food, the table, the décor. Mary was in the other room at the feet of Jesus pouring out some expensive perfume on his feet. Both were busy…Martha was concerned about the stuff…the look, the food, the surroundings. Martha was interested in service. Mary was interested in worship. Don’t misunderstand, there is a time for serving and a time for worship and its up to each one of us to recognize when Jesus is close and realize what we should do when those moments are here.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near. When His presence is near, spend time with Him. Worship prepares the way for acts of service to have their most powerful affect.
Our busyness cannot overshadow God’s business. Pursue God things.
Soon after this there was a huge gathering in the streets. A crowd had gathered upon Jesus’ arrival and waved the branches while singing songs. Yet this crowd was filled with two types of people. Some of them were looking for Lazarus. Others were pursuing Jesus. Things haven’t changed much. Today we still chase the emotional experiences. We still attend the gatherings to see “Lazarus”. We still become consumed by the right look and the right setting and miss a perfect chance to sit at Jesus’ feet and worship.
The cheers and singing would dissipate, and Jesus would see humanity in its purest and most carnal form. It’s why He was sent. People needed to be saved. Jesus would observe people filled with fruit like the fig tree yet unproductive in fulfilling His purpose. He would witness the people making the house of prayer a marketplace…he would see people worshipping creation over the Creator.
This is the start to Holy Week and the lead-in to the Sunday that separates us from all other beliefs…Resurrection Sunday! As we move through this very special week for people of faith, let’s take a close look at where we are…why are we here...who do we emulate…the Martha’s or the Mary’s…the seekers of Lazarus or the pursuers of Christ. Let’s be people that pursue His presence. Take a deep breath and sit yourself down at His feet. You may not always feel as close to Him as you are right now. Use the time wisely. Worship Him. Let’s be the people running to Jesus, not just looking for Lazarus. Let’s not chase the healed but rather lets pursue the Healer. Let’s stay excited about all that He’s done in our lives and keep sharing the story with the people we meet. Let’s drop the nets and follow Him! And let’s keep praying that one day that little verse (verse 19)would indeed be true…”See! The whole world is running after Him!” Where are YOU running?
Here's the story…John 12:9-19
9 Now a great crowd of the Jews heard that He was at Bethany, and they came there, not only because of Jesus but that they also might see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also,11 Because on account of him many of the Jews were going away [were withdrawing from and leaving the Judeans] and believing in and adhering to Jesus.12 The next day a vast crowd of those who had come to the Passover Feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him. And as they went, they kept shouting, Hosanna! Blessed is He and praise to Him Who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel! 14 And Jesus, having found a young donkey, rode upon it, [just] as it is written in the Scriptures,15 Do not fear, O Daughter of Zion! Look! Your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt! 16 His disciples did not understand and could not comprehend the meaning of these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified and exalted, they remembered that these things had been written about Him and had been done to Him.17 The group that had been with Jesus when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from among the dead kept telling it[bearing witness] to others.18 It was for this reason that the crowd went out to meet Him, because they had heard that He had performed this sign (proof, miracle).19 Then the Pharisees said among themselves, You see how futile your efforts are andhow you accomplish nothing.
See!The whole world is running after Him!