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 The King is Coming!

Matthew 21: 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Luke 19:35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

John 12:12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,
15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

Today, Sunday, is the beginning of Holy Week, a day which is referred to as Palm Sunday due to the worshippers of Jesus waving palm branches as He entered into His City for the last time riding on a donkey. The city was exploding with those who were attending the annual Passover feast and celebration so that when word went out that their king was coming, people went out to welcome Him. They shouted the word Hosanna, which means "come and save us." Finally the long awaited Messiah had come to save them and as the praises were shouted in honor of their King, Jesus rode through and by the crowd on His way to the events of the next week. Yes, indeed, He had come save them, but it would be in a manner that would cause most to question the nature of His kingdom.

May we spend substantial time reading of, thinking on and meditating upon the events of Palm Sunday and that which follows next week as we prepare our hearts for Easter!! May our hearts be hungering and thirsting for Truth as we follow Him in His final days of His rescue mission for us.

Today is a day of great joy and rejoicing for us who are living 2000+ years after the first Palm Sunday.

Unlike those who were celebrating the arrival of the Messiah then, we know the end of the story and we know that He entered into Jerusalem not to be crowned with a kingly crown, but with a crown of thorns. For He came to deliver us not from the bondage of living under a oppressive government, but to deliver us from the oppression of sin, of our flesh and from death.

Fulfilment of Prophecy

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

In the ancient Middle Eastern world, leaders rode horses if they rode to war, but donkeys if they came in peace. First Kings 1:33 mentions Solomon riding a donkey on the day he was recognized as the new king of Israel. Other instances of leaders riding donkeys are Judges 5:10; 10:4; 12:14; and 2 Samuel 16:2.

The mention of a donkey in Zechariah 9:9-10 fits the description of a king who would be “righteous and having salvation, gentle.” Rather than riding to conquer, this king would enter in peace.

Zechariah 9:10 highlights this peace: “I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

Annual Pilgrimage

It was during the great annual Passover celebration that has its origin in the Old Testament, from the book of Exodus. Estimates of the numbers vary from 250,000 to over 2,000,000. Needless to say, the city was overflowing with pilgrims. It is important for us to know the significance of Jerusalem for the OT worshipper. That is where they went to meet with their God, offering their various sacrifices which they were required to do in order to be assured that their God was still their God. They loved their God and worshipped Him in the ways that they had been taught by their ancestors.

They loved their place of worship with its meaning and significance so much that on their way to Jerusalem when the glorious city of Jerusalem came into its shining golden view, they immediately dropped to their face in worship of their Holy God. Here is a short excerpt from the book of Exodus in which is recorded the origin of Passover.

Exodus 12:24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.

Grand Opening of God’s Mission for the World through Christ, the Prince of Peace.

As I have read about, thought about, prayed about and considered as to how best bring forth this Palm Sunday message, I thought that it would be best to simply use this sermon as a launching pad for further meditations into the next week by providing a few scriptures that separate Jesus’s continuing journey as He establishes His kingdom. From our scriptures we know that many came out to see Jesus having heard that He had raised Lazarus from the dead, and they recognized according to their understanding and knowledge that this was the One that they were longing to come to set them free.

Let us think for ourselves for a moment now. The scriptures are clear that God has so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but would have eternal life. That is who God is and that is why Jesus came: To deliver us from our sin.

Those who shouted Hosanna that day were not only shouting praises to His name, but they were also calling upon Him to save them. They clearly did not understand what was going to happen the later in the week, but with what knowledge they had they praised God for the good works that He had done. With the faith that they had, they shouted loudly and joyously to their God as He rode by on the donkey.

How is it with you and I who live after the fact, knowing the rest of the story? Is the story an old old story that has lost its luster or its impact for us? Speaking for myself, there is need for me to receive fresh revelation of two very important truths: I am a great sinner and Christ is a Greater Saviour. Are not both of these truths on need of increase? It is when Christ is lifted up in His grace and forgiveness toward us that we are more and more thankful for His grace.

I read one time of a man who had all kinds of excuses as to why he was not interested in hearing about Jesus. He continually pointed out the faults and sins of others, and said that if that is what a Christian is, he wants no part of it. Everybody that he looked at was essentially a greater sinner than himself, and he kept himself content in knowing that at least he wasn’t the worst sinner. But what would happen to the man’s opinon of himself if he looked at Christ in His perfection? He would either have to believe a lie about himself or he would have to fall before the sinless Christ in humility and in need of forgiveness.

So in order to seek to be refreshed in these two truths, I am spending time this week reading and meditating over some scriptures which relate of the events of Holy Week, which start today with Palm Sunday. I have included them below in this writing for your convenience so that you too may encounter the love of God anew through Jesus the Christ.

Dear Father, we are rejoicing today in the knowledge that You came to set us free! Our hearts and voices are lifted up in Hosannas both in praise as well as in prayer. We praise you for loving us so much that you decided for us in Christ and we pray to you that You would help us to appreciate more and more of what you have done. May our hearts be lifted up on praise, along with the songwriter of old, who out of an overflowing heart of thanksgiving and praise penned the following words.

1. To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

o Refrain:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.

2. Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

3. Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

My dear friend, here are the readings for meditation during Holy Week. May you be blessed during this time as we see the shadow of the cross beginning to take shape.

Monday: Mark 11:12-19
Tuesday: Mark 11:20-33, 12:1-44, 13:1-37
Wednesday: Mark 14:1-11
Thursday Mark 14:12-51
Friday: Mark 14:53-72, 15:1-47
Saturday: Matthew 27:62-66
Sunday: John 20:1-18
Blessed Holy Week meditations to you, dear friend.
Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 09 Apr 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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