This is my sermon for March 24 (Palm Sunday), preached at New Spirit Community Church.
After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” -Luke 19:28-40
Today is Palm Sunday, the day when we come to the end of our Lenten journey and prepare to walk with Jesus through Holy Week.
Tomorrow is also the start of Passover, which commemorates the most famous ‘procession’ or ‘pilgrimage’ that is recorded in the Bible. When Moses led God’s people out of Egypt and into freedom.
Like Passover, Palm Sunday celebrates people journeying toward freedom together. It’s a time to celebrate liberation, and to proclaim our loyalty to a God that can topple rulers—Egyptian or Roman– and set oppressed people free.
In this passage, we see Jesus entering into Jerusalem for the final time, before he is crucified. Luke tells us that Jesus knew what would happen to him and described his death shortly after the feeding of five-thousand.
But he didn’t try to sneak into the city anonymously. Instead, he made this bold, somewhat silly entrance, mocking the ceremonial processions of the Roman occupiers. Instead of hundreds of Roman soldiers wearing capes, marching into occupied Jerusalem on horses, one shabbily dressed man rode in on a donkey. It’s as if he’s saying to Rome “really? This is what you’re afraid of? One poor man riding a donkey? Is the Roman Empire really so fragile that it can be taken down by one person that’s not afraid to tell the truth? One person that refuses to play by its rules?” Continue Reading »