The First Palm Sunday

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday. What is Palm Sunday? We all know that – it is one of the most recognized and celebrated Biblical events. After Christmas and Easter (Resurrection Sunday) it is the number three best known Biblical event.

So why do we celebrate this event? What was happening when the palm branches were waved, the voices shouted Hosanna, and Jesus entered Jerusalem like a King? To find out, open with me to the Gospel by Matthew 21.  

Jesus lived about 33 years on earth, as most Bible scholars agree. That works out to 12,053 days on earth. Of those years of days we have four books of the Bible, giving to us an eye witness account of what went on. God directed those Four Witnesses to write down Christ's earthly ministry. The written record reporting what they and others witnessed and experienced -- we call the Four Gospels. What they wrote down is what God wanted us to know and learn from.

Between all four of them they record 89 chapters detailing over 250 different events in Christ's life. Those who have spent their lives  closely examining those events discovered that out of the 30 plus years of the earthly life of Jesus, and His 3 plus years of ministry, out of over 12,053 days of life on Earth – only 52 different day’s events are recorded. So today we celebrate one very special day in the Life of Jesus.

This week has been called Passion Week throughout the ages of Christ's church. Passion Week is what Bible scholars have called the week recorded in the Life of Christ from Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday.

APPLICATION: Could I encourage you to do something this Passion Week? Read the record of Christ's Passion. It is recorded in each of the Gospels. This record of Christ's final week covers just 20 chapters. If you take my challenge that means you only need to read 3 chapters each day of this week. If you do so – you will actually walk day by day with Jesus through the greatest week in the history of the Universe. The week that Jesus liberated us from the power and penalty of sin!  

If you want to walk through the Passion of Jesus this week why not mark these four spots to start your journey. Matthew 21.22, Mark 11.1, Luke 19.28, and John 12.12.

Please turn there, to the Palm Sunday Triumphal Entry of Jesus the Lamb that was to be slain at God's precise moment in time - Mark 11:1-10

Palm Sunday is important. All Four Gospels record this day. And there are only two other events before the Cross that are in all four. So the Palm Sunday’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem was something that God wants us to think about and remember. Why?

Because each event recorded in all four of the Gospels displays a precious element of Christ's character. With unanimous voices the Gospel writers declare -

  • that Christ came for the Lost at the start of His ministry (Matthew 4.12-17; Mark 1.14-15; Luke 4.14-15; John 4.43-45);
  • that Christ came with Compassion in the record of the feeding of the Five Thousand (Matthew 14.14-21; Mark 6.30-44; Luke 9.10-17; John 6.1-15); and
  • That Christ offers Hope. And that is the message of Palm Sunday! Let’s learn why!

HOPE BECAUSE HE IS THE PROMISED LAMB OF GOD

First, Palm Sunday speaks of Hope because He is the Promised Lamb of God.

Nothing speaks louder than the timing of Palm Sunday. Faithful Jews streamed into Jerusalem from the corners of the Earth. Over 250,000 lambs were brought or purchased to be slain. The whole city was united in one eager purpose – to fulfill what God had commanded Moses almost 15 centuries before.

The arrival of Jesus on the 10th of Nissan in AD30 was one of the greatest moments in all of history. Jesus hit Jerusalem with pinpoint accuracy. Jesus came on the very day and hour God had appointed for His presentation to the Nation and the World as God's Passover Lamb. It was an exact fulfillment of a precise prophecy. And with divine accuracy and incredible timing, Jesus came on Palm Sunday the week before Resurrection Morning. If you will note the amazing accuracy of God's Perfect Plan for the arrival of Jesus, there are three personal applications we can make for our own lives. What are they? Let me list them now, and discuss them at the end of the message:

Well it is Sunday, 10th of Nissan in AD30, Jesus Christ is leaving a small village 2 miles outside Jerusalem called Bethany.

His departure is precisely what had been predicted 1,500 years before by Moses (our Passover Lamb who had to enter on the 10th of Nissan). The way He would come was exactly stated 500 years before by Zechariah (our King riding on a colt). Both stated how He would come: as a Lamb and as a King! You see God's Plan is PERFECT!

Daniel 9.24-27 details God's Perfect Plan for the day of Christ’s official coming the promised Prince. Turn there with me.

“Seventy weeks (i.e., ‘seventy heptads’ or ‘seven-year periods’) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,… from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself.

It is clear that the prophetic period terminated at very close to the time when Christ officially offered Himself for reception as King of Israel. Instead of being crowned, however, He was crucified, “cut off, but not for Himself.”

John tells us (John 12:1-3) that Jesus came to his favorite home (Mary, Martha and Lazarus) six days before Passover; this would have been Friday night. So Christ had walked from Jericho with Bartimaeus to Bethany on Friday morning. So on Friday night to Saturday night (the Sabbath) He rests with them and Mary anoints His feet with precious ointment.

On Sunday morning (John 12:9-10) a crowd comes to see Him and Lazarus He raised last week from the dead. And then later that same crowd leads Him into Jerusalem (John 12:12) in what we call the Triumphal “Palm Sunday” entry.

If this is the schedule Jesus followed, that would make the entry into Jerusalem by Christ to be the same day the Passover lamb was to enter their homes and stay with them until it was killed for each family’s Passover feast. Thus intriguingly, Jesus entered into the home and heart of His people “Jerusalem” as their Passover lamb to be slain on their behalf. His crucifixion on Friday would result in a perfect fulfillment of being the Passover lamb because that was when they also were killing their lambs. He may have been crucified as the blood of thousands of lambs was pouring down the temple sacrificial areas and streaming down into the Kidron valley!

APPLICATION: Palm Sunday is the greatest time of invitation for us as Christians. When Jesus entered Jerusalem it was the very day that God had been asking His people to pick a lamb for their sacrifice. For nearly 1500 years it was this day that God said, “Go pick out a lamb to be your substitute. Pick out a lamb to die in your place. Pick out a lamb to shed its blood so that your sins will not face my wrath. I invite you to choose your lamb!”

This sermon continues with the following four points:

HOPE BECAUSE HE IS IN CONTROL

HOPE BECAUSE HE OFFERS SALVATION

HOPE CAN END, AND SO  HE WEEPS

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