Ep. 9: Palm Sunday
April 6, 2020 Speaker: Jeff Brewer
Topic: Palm Sunday Passage: Matthew 21:1–21:11, Mark 11:1–11:10, Luke 19:28–19:40, John 12:12–12:19
Hello, Hope Fellowship! Welcome to our podcast “Full of Hope: Encouraging One Another with the Word of God,” where we seek to regularly equip the people of Hope Fellowship with truth from Scripture in order to help us cling to our Savior during troubled times.
Today, we’re thinking about Palm Sunday. The Sunday when Jesus triumphantly came into Jerusalem is a longstanding tradition in Christian churches.
All four of the Gospels mention the triumphal entry and they all include the people giving praise to Jesus and him riding on a colt which was fulfilling the prophet Zechariah of a humble and victorious King that would come. But in addition to the similarities of this account, each of the four Gospels gives a different texture to the event.
Let’s take some time to think about the big picture of the meaning of the triumphal entry and the different emphasis that each Gospel—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—brings.
After Jesus arrives in the city, Matthew tells us that the whole city is stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
In Deuteronomy 18, Moses had predicted that there would be a prophet like him that would arise that the people would listen to. Not only is Jesus the Son of David, the King, he is also a prophet like Moses who will speak to his people. Hebrews tells us that this prophet will be faithful—not as a servant, like Moses, but as a son. God spoke his word through the prophets, but now one has arrived in Jerusalem that has spoken a better word, a word that would end as he hung on the cross with the simple phrase, “It is finished.”
Our King is meant to be heard.
Luke and John include not only the praise that the people give to the King riding in, but also the negative responses from the religious leaders. John describes their frustration that they are not able to stop people from praising Jesus.
In Luke 19:39, he writes, “And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.’”
Luke and John describe the inescapable reality that the Pharisees are frustrated by: Jesus must be praised when he is revealed. Romans tells us that creation has been subjected to futility and decay. It is prepared to be liberated from this bondage when all things are put right at the return of Christ. And here, in Luke, in this geyser of praise that shoots forth from the people, nothing could hold the praise back, and if mouths were stopped the creation itself would shout the praise that is due his name.
Our king is meant to be praised.
Mark includes the people shouting, “Hosanna, blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David.” The people were expecting deliverance from the Messianic King who would come and establish his kingdom. God delivered his people during the Passover, and here, over a thousand years later, the deliverer is expected by the people, the one who will deliver them from their political oppressors.
But of course, this kingdom is greater than a simple political kingdom or leader. The people need one they can follow who will never fail. One who delivers and there are no other future threats.
This king is meant to be known and followed.
Our King is meant to be followed.
Both Matthew and John quote Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you!”
But John inserts a phrase from Isaiah 40:9 which also speaks of this king coming to Zion, and he adds, “Fear not, daughter of Zion. Behold, your king is coming.”
Unbeknownst to them, the days are coming over the next week that will be marked by fear. Peter will strike the servant with his sword from fear; the disciples will scatter in fear; even on Sunday morning, Mary will fear that they have taken the Lord’s body.
But the word at the beginning of this significant week in Jesus life is “fear not.” Our Savior could entrust himself into his Father’s hands, and endure faithfully to the point of death. We can walk through the valleys of the shadow of death, and we will fear no evil because we have come to a kingdom that cannot be shaken. This kingdom is sure.
Our King is meant to banish fear.
Hope Fellowship, our King is meant to be heard, praised, followed, and wondered at that he can banish fear.
And so, Hope Fellowship: remember, we have hope in Christ. Let’s encourage ourselves with this hope by speaking truth to ourselves and by making that hope known in a struggling world. See you next time.