Posted by First United Methodist Church – Nebraska City on Sunday, April 5, 2020
SER # 14W
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
COLOR: PURPLE OR RED
SUNDAY MARCH 29TH 2020
TEXTS: MATTHEW 21: 1 – 11
THEME: A HUMBLE KING ENTERS THE CITY.
If you are wish to join me for Holy Communion at the end of this service you may want to get a piece of bread and some juice near you. This will help when we do the consecration of the elements.
Today is Palm Sunday when we celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus to Jerusalem.
Let us listen to the word of God from the gospel according to St. Matthew 21: 1-11. “As they approached Jerusalem and come to Bethphage on Mount Olive Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them ‘Go to village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away. Say to the Daughter of Zion, see your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, place their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followedshouted, ‘Hosanna to the son of David.’ Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘who is this? The crowds answered, this is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
This is the word of God written to the people of God.
Many call this entry of Jesus to Jerusalem for the last time as triumphant entry. This triumphant entry needs to be seen in the lenses of redemption and the fulfilment of Jesus mission on earth. Otherwise people might see it as a time when Jesus died in the hands of his opposition. It was a fulfillment of the prophecy as recorded in Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” People may not have remembered this prophecy but nothing happened to Jesus that was a surprise but rather a fulfilment.
In the middle of all the noise that was made in welcoming Jesus to town every action that Jesus took had a specific teaching that went along with it let us look at a few of them.
- Why use the Donkey? As we think about the donkey here, we have to realize that in the middle east a donkey was noble animal though in the west we don’t think that way. The status of the donkey and the horse can’t compare. But it was also believed that if the King came to town riding on a donkey it meant he was coming in This became the third time that Jesus had to be carried by the donkey. The first, when in his mother’ womb as Joseph was taking Mary to his home town Bethlehem to be counted. The second when Joseph had to quickly run to Egypt to hid baby Jesus from being killed by Herod. The final, use of the donkey was his pick while the first two the parents picked for him. This was the victory ride to the cross. I am of the believe that Jesus being God could see way ahead of journey even to a point of seeing that the donkey will be tied at a specific place. Jesus provides with a password when required. As the disciples went to get the donkey, they needed a password. When people asked the disciples, where they were taking the donkey, they had to provide the password that Jesus had given, “the master needs it.” We know these days we need a password in everything we do. Have you found yourself in a situation where you said something and you wondered where it came from? Something right at the right time, God provides the password. Don’t think too hard what to say all he requires of you is to be faithful and he will provide a password for it. This being my theory, it makes me believe that God who is all knowing is able to direct our footsteps even on things that we can’t see. Ours is to obey like the disciples did on that day. We have to trust our master’s directive. They did not ask Jesus whether he was sure that the donkey would be out there but they went by faith. Jesus calls us of the same today. Jesus might be putting something in your heart that he likes you to do but you may not have all the fact at hand. All that is required of you is to obey and leave the rest to him. God might be inviting you to take a new path in your family life, career, or even in the church ministry and you may not know all the fact but he says trust me. Some things in life you are better off not knowing all the fact, because the facts may discourage you or make you overconfidence and you miss the purpose. When you hear the voice go ahead and do it for God has already prepared the way for you. There is a willing giver. There is very little we know about the owner of the donkey. His or her name is not mentioned in the bible, all we know he/she was willing to give the donkey for his/her master. The owner may never be known but his/her action or generosity has been alive and will continue as the preaching of Christ continues. There is gallery of donkey givers in our churches. Many in our church have given a lot to God’s work and their names may never show anywhere. There are different kinds of donkeys that we can give for God’s kingdom. Therefore, when you give and nobody thanks you or notices your giving don’t be discouraged because the master knows. At this time of covid-19 many have given something even have given their own life. we thank God for them. The Donkey to enter Jerusalem was a symbol of humility. He would have ridden on a more prestigious animal like a horse or even use a chariot if he was coming in as an earthly king, but he chose the humble way of the donkey. In whatever we do or achieve let us learn to ride on the donkey of humility. The Bible reminds us, those who humble themselves will be lifted up. Humility is not a weakness but it is a virtue that each believer ought to possess. Without Jesus we are nothing: On that day the little donkey had a very special treatment. The donkey had to walk on people’s clothes and even enjoyed listening to the hosanna choruses. The donkey enjoyed the love that went with the king who was riding on it. But we know the next day that donkey did not have any recognition from the people. This mean this little donkey without Jesus riding on it was just an ordinary one. This experience of the donkey can remind us what happen when we have Christ in us. In Christ, we can do all things. In Christ, we are more than conquers. Without Christ, we are just ordinary but when we invite him, we become princes and princesses, sons and daughters of the King.
- Welcome Jesus as the King: In those days when the King came to town, he would be welcomed by big crowds singing praises to him. When Jesus come to town riding on the donkey the singing begins. First: Jesus came as the prince of peace. That means he came to bring us together. He came to love not to destroy. Second: He did not come to condemn but to help. Jesus invites us to the arms mercy with the strength of love. Three: Jesus wanted his people not to open their palaces but open their hearts for him.
- The Victory: The triumphant entry was dramatic way of Jesus telling the story of redemption. This triumphant entry marked three things: a) It was an act of courage. Jesus did not want to sneak in Jerusalem he wanted to in power to know. b) It shows us his claim to be God’s Messiah the anointed one who had come to cleanse the Temple. c) It shown us his appeal as King. It shown his kingship of the As people welcomed him to the town many of them thought of him as a king coming to liberate them from the Roman oppression. As they made noise and put their clothes out and palm branches, they were declaring some form of independence. But we now know that this story on this day known as the Palm Sunday reminds us of a King who is not of this kingdom but rather of king of heavenly kingdom. Hosanna simply means come and save us now. When people cried Hosanna, it was a cry for help. Hosanna in the highest also suggest that they are asking for help from the Angels above. By this time people had heard about Jesus work and his standing against the religious establishment and they thought this has to be the man they have been waiting for. By listening to this story, we can draw different conclusions. For me this story that represents Jesus final journey on earthly ministry brings with its certain teachings that have been helpful in my faith journey. First: Singing Hosanna is easy: Hosanna was easy because there were no threats to their lives yet. People had a happy time as they invited the king. All of us have hosanna Second: Hosanna moment can be short lived. But never be deceived by the Hosanna moment. Jesus Hosanna moment lasted less than a week because come Friday they were after his blood. They were seeking his blood. Crucify him they called on Friday. One wonders what happened on Good Friday after people ushered the King in town. People get tired, while others have no time. People get scarred, while others get busy with their lives. I can imagine people getting busy preparing for Passover for their families who had come out of town and never stopped to ask what happened to Jesus. Does this sound familiar in our struggles? Third: Face the reality of the cross. Jesus had to face a difficult journey for the days that followed but he never gave up he stayed on the course. And finally come a victory through resurrection. In the same way don’t give up in life when Hosanna stops and you find yourself alone for there is victory waiting for you. In the blood of Jesus there is power and victory.