Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Palm Sunday to the Cross 4/07/09

KJV Mark 11:1 And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.
4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.
5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?
6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.


Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the most significant week in the Christian church year. Traditionally today is described as the "Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem." Note: All history is dated from the time of Jesus Christ, from the time of his birth. It is either B.C. or A.D

{The calendar era that they refer to is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus Christ, with AD denoting years after the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of this epoch
.Because B.C. is the English abbreviation for Before Christ, some people incorrectly conclude that A.D. must mean After Death, i.e., after the death of Jesus. If that were true, the thirty-three or so years of his life would not be in any era.[3. (Wikipedia)}


It was the last Sunday before Passover week: one of the most important religious times of the year for the Jews. Passover was one of the three times each year when every male 12 years old and older was required to make a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem to “appear before the Lord” in worship.

Passover and its origin

The city of Jerusalem was filled with people for this annual passover celebration, which was held once a year during a specific time and was held in commemoration of the passing over of the angel of death in Egypt. On that night the Children of Israel were told to slay their lamb and to place the blood of the lamb on the door posts of their house and to stay inside their house. So when the angel of death came it passed over those houses which were marked with the blood of the slain lamb.

Christ is our Passover

For us as Christians, Christ is our passover as it is written in 1 Corinthians 5:7 where Apostle Paul writes: Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Prophecy fulfilled

Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the prophet Zechariah had foretold the coming of the King of Jerusalem, a prophecy which was now fulfilled on this day. ESV Zechariah 9:8-9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Both Matthew and John refer to this in their Gospels (Matthew 21:4-5, John 12:15))

Jesus' method of announcing/heralding the beginning of His Mission

At His birth He had been born in the stable in a manger, and now even though He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He chooses to begin the Passion week by coming into Jerusalem on a donkey. After spending Saturday night at Bethany with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, His bosom friends, Sunday morning He sent His two disciples to fetch his means of making His grand entrance into Jerusalem.

He rides into town on foal of a donkey. A donkey which He acquired from a stranger, revealing His divine nature to His disciples in the process of acquiring the animal. An animal used for sacred purposes must not have been ridden before. (Numbers 19:2)

The crowd swells

As He was seated on the donkey, coming into Jerusalem, great joy and expectation filled the great mass of humanity that was making its way to Jerusalem, the city of Peace. As the city was full of Pilgrim Passover worshippers, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they flooded out to meet the King. They were confused but yet encouraged by the passivity of Jesus and of His willingness to be hailed as their King, for up to this time He had resisted those who would have desired to place Him on a kingly throne. John 6:14-15 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

They worshipped their King by (Mark 11:8-10) spreading their garments in the way, some cuttting down branches off the trees, and laying them in His pathway..
And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
Taken from Psalm 118:25-26 in which it is written:

KJV Psalm 118:25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
KJV Psalm 118:26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.>/bible>

"Hosanna" seems to be both a cry for salvation, while at the same time is a declaration of praise.


Today is a day of many contrasts. Jesus enters Jerusalem to the praise of the Passover Pilgrims and yet He knows that He will die before the week is over. He is incredibly popular with some, but, as with all popular people, He has powerful enemies. Jerusalem welcomes the coming of the anointed one - the Christ - the Messiah. Yet, the crowd's ignorance shields them from the knowledge that this anointed one has come to Jerusalem to suffer and to die. Jerusalem celebrates while all of history holds its breath as it prepares to witness the single most important event in all of time.

Many times He had told His followers that He was going to suffer beatings, floggings, crucifixion, and that death waited for Him in Jerusalem. Up until the day that we call Palm Sunday, He had always said, "My hour has not yet come," but after He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He said, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." He also said, "Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out." It was clear to Jesus that everything was now in place for His sacrifice. The final events that would lead to His death had begun. The climax of his mission was mere days away.

Anticipation of these events already began to take their toll. He shared His thoughts with the people who had praised Him and now listened to His teaching, "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour." Jesus is the perfect human being and His impending suffering and death bothered Him just as much as it would bother anyone. He knew very well what was about to happen and it troubled His soul.

As Jesus was sharing His heart with the people who came to hear Him, He once again told them how He would accomplish His role as Christ. "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the Passover Pilgrims saw Him as the one who would restore the Empire of Jerusalem back to the days of King David. They rejoiced. They celebrated. They prepared a way with palm branches and cloaks. They were ready for Jesus to restore the rightful place of Israel back among the empires of this world.

When Jesus told them that He came to Jerusalem to die on a cross, His hearers were confused. This Jesus was not what they expected. They did not understand that although the Christ will establish an eternal kingdom, He must suffer and die to do that. They did not understand that Christ's kingdom is not of this world and that the entrance to that kingdom is through death and resurrection. They did not understand that the Christ's death and resurrection from the dead were a part of that eternal reign.

To us the experience of Palm Sunday may be compared to an earnest money agreement that is placed on a house. It is a promise of that which is to come in the future. It is a prophecy and a promise that by faith and trust we receive that which is already accomplished. Meaning. For example, we read in the book of Revelation: Revelation 7:9-10 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

In the same way that they long ago waved their palm branches to offer worship to the Messiah on the first Palm Sunday, we likewise do that today by faith and look to receive the reality of that which has been promised to us. In that place we will worship Him forever and forever.

From the standpoint of the world, the procession into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday seemed a lot more victorious than the procession out of Jerusalem on Good Friday, as Jesus and another crowd moved toward the cross on Calvary's hill. Never the less, the true victory took place on that Friday and the evidence and power of the victory was shown on Sunday Morning, Resurrection Day. There on the cross, the King who rode in majesty will battle sin and defeat it with His own death. The victory that He won with His death will enable a new procession, a procession that began three days later and has not yet ended. And we are caught up in that procession, for this is a procession up out of the grave and into eternal life. Jesus led the way with His resurrection from the dead and all those who believe in Him will follow Him into eternal joy. We have received salvation as individuals, but we journey toward our right homeland in a multitude that no man can number, a group that is called the body of Jesus Christ. Therefore we say, Hosanna, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest! In Jesus Name, Amen

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 07 Apr 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The joy of filling sandbags! 4/04/2009
Lord, bind us together in love, with cords that cannot be broken.

Recently our youth along with some adults traveled to the Fargo/Moorhead area to help with the sandbagging efforts which were going on in order to prevent the towns from being flooded by the rising Red River. Since the leaders of the youth group were not available to be with the youth on Friday night, I was asked to be their substitute. Here are the comments of those who were at the youth meeting who had gone to Fargo. We thank Carl, Brian, Patty and all the parents who supported this trip and made it possible for it to happen. We also are thankful for the giving hearts of the young people in our congregation. May the Lord richly bless you as you serve Him.

Jordan Sterner: "It was amazing to see how many people came together to help in the time of need."

Gabe Hendrickson: "I was amazed at how many sandbags got filled and it made me sad to see how so many people had lost so much by the flooding that did happen."

Kelsie Sterner: "I enjoyed working hard and it was even fun."

Nathan Rokala: "It was good to see how many people of the area donated food and materials toward the efforts at the dikes."

Bill Peterson: "There were so many people that we had to wait our turn to pile sandbags. It showed to me of just how many people were there to help."

Katie Sterner: "It just felt good to help people."

Robin Rokala: "It was cool to see how far people traveled to offer their help."

Caleb Saukkola: "I was surprised at how bad the flooding was and at the large number of people who were willing to help."

Rhonda Rokala: "I noticed that people were happy to help and nobody acted like they were forced to help."

Tom Peterson: "I was amazed at how quickly filled sandbags were placed into the bin which was used to transport them to the dike area. It was amazing to see how fast things got done by so many people."

Misty Aho: "It was fun working hard."

Debbie Rokala: "It was amazing to see that so many people came from so far away who had not been affected by the flooding."

Following this we had a little discussion about the following:

1. God is the source of love;

2. Love must first be received in order to be given away;

3. Love must be extended to others in order to be active;

4. Love is patient, kind, not jealous, boastful, proud, rude. Love does not demand its own way, is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice/evil but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

How do we define love?

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 But anyone who does not love does not know God-- for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.
10 This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

Is love simply receiving or does it involve giving?

1 John 3:16 We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters.
17 But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help-- how can God's love be in that person?
18 Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.

Love must serve others in order to be genuine

NLT 1 Corinthians 13:1 If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody.
3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud
5 or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
6 It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear.

Lord, bind us together in love with cords that cannot be broken. You made all this possible through the suffering, the death and the resurrection of your Son, Jesus.

Always in Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 04 Apr 2009 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Palm Sunday to the Cross 4/07/09
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns