March 20, 2016

Pastor Bernt P. Tweit

Old Testament Lesson; Zechariah 9:9-10

Epistle Lesson; Philippians 2:5-11

Sermon Text; Luke 19:28-40

The portion of God's Word we are looking at on Palm Sunday is taken from Luke's Gospel, Luke, chapter 19, looking at verses 28 – 40. This is in Jesus', our King's name.

After Jesus had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As He approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.'”

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as He had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As He went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

This is God's Word.

It is going to be a roller-coaster of a week. I say that because it is Holy Week. Think of all of the things we are going to go through, this week.

       -The joy of Palm Sunday,

       -leading up to the celebration of Jesus instituting The Lord's Supper,

       -the depths we are going to go to on Good Friday, as we recognize what it was Jesus did with His death on the cross to pay for our sins,

       -and then, the glory of the resurrection on Easter Morning, a week from today!

Today is also a roller-coaster from an 'elevation perspective'. I want to talk about Jesus' journey on His way to Jerusalem, for the day we call Palm Sunday. You see, right before our text, Jesus was at the home of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus lived in Jericho. Jericho was a city by The Jordan River, down by the Dead Sea, which is below sea level. Jerusalem is a city that is 3,600 feet above sea level. And so, here we have this journey of 21 miles from Jericho to Jerusalem, going up ¾ of a mile. That is the journey Jesus took on His way to Palm Sunday.

Before Jesus left for Palm Sunday, He told a parable. It was The Parable of The Minas, or The Talents, in which He said there was a man of noble birth who went away to appoint himself as king. And, he would be coming back. But, before he left, he gave the servants ten minas, and he wanted them to be productive with those ten minas.

They didn't want him as their king. They even said that to him. They said, “We don't want you, as our king.”

But, he came back anyway to see what they had done with those minas. To those who had used their minas wisely, he gave them a reward. To those who didn't use their minas wisely, they were punished.

Now, that ties right in to Palm Sunday, which happened the very next day, as Jesus is 'that Man of Nobel birth', who would be coming as King. Here is that journey from Jericho to Bethany. It is nineteen miles, ¾ of a mile up hill. And now, Jesus tells His disciples, (at least two of them) to go into Jerusalem, and “there you are going to find a colt tied there. Tell the owner, 'The Lord needs it', and he will send it to you.”

In doing so, Jesus was showing His omniscience to His disciples. He was telling them He was all-knowing. How else could Jesus know that a colt would be in the exact location it would be?

Jesus is God.

He knows all things.

He knew the colt would be there.

And so, here is this colt that is lowly. I say that because the colt is just a beast of burden. It is lowly, and does not seem like the proper transportation for a King to come on. But, not only is that colt lowly, but it is also holy. It was set apart by God for this very specific task of bringing Jesus into Jerusalem, as King!

Now, how can you tell if what a prophet says is true? Or, how can you tell if what anybody says is true? You can tell it is true, if it comes true, right? If what they say comes true. Let me just talk about the NCAA Basketball Tournament, for a moment. Many of you filled out your brackets, didn't you? Maybe somebody in the crowd here can say, “I picked Hawaii to beat Cal”. Maybe somebody did. Maybe somebody in the crowd said, “I picked Middle Tennessee State to beat Michigan State”. Maybe somebody did. But you know what, of all of the 13 million brackets that were sent into ESPN, not one of them was perfect. Not one of them was perfect. You see, what they were doing was just making a guess, making a prediction.

What Jesus did here was not just a guess. It was not just a prediction.

It was the truth.

He was prophesying it.

He knew that colt would be at the exact location He told His disciples, because

He is God.

He is omniscient.

He is all-knowing.

It says,

“Those who were sent ahead went.”

They went. The disciples who were sent, went. They followed in perfect obedience to what Jesus had instructed them to do.

May we, in our lives of faith, also follow in unquestioning obedience to what it is Jesus instructs us to do.

But, not only does our text for today show the omniscience of Jesus, that He is all-knowing, but it also shows His power, as well.

He is omnipotent.

He is all powerful.

When those disciples went to untie the colt, it was the owner of the colt that asked, “What are you doing?”

They simply said, “The Lord needs it.”

Jesus was showing His power over the owner of that vineyard. He borrowed that colt. Luke doesn't tell us this, but Mark does. The Lord would borrow this colt, and He would return it shortly after it was used. Now, here we have this colt that has the honor and privilege of bringing the King of the world into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Here comes our King, riding in humility.

This is more of a hymn from our Advent Section of the hymnbook. We sing this right before Christmastime. It is the hymn, “As Angels Joyed with One Accord.” We have sung here, before. This is verse one.

As angels joyed with one accord

upon the advent of our Lord

So long we all and bless the name of Him

who from the Father came.

But it is really verse two that ties in with Palm Sunday and Jesus coming in humility.

He came, not clothed in majesty

Nor power that suits His deity

In lowly state

He rode till He

in dying set us captives free.

And so, here comes our King in humility. And, here comes our King riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of donkey.

But, as Jesus rides on this donkey, He fulfills scripture. I should back up a step, and say that our text for today says Jesus rode a colt that had never been ridden before. Would you guys ever ride an animal that has never been broken in? I know I wouldn't. I would never ride an animal that hasn't been broken in! And yet, here was this colt that had never been ridden before that was set apart for this very purpose of bringing our King into Jerusalem. In doing so, it fulfills scripture. It seems like a very simple thing, a very mundane thing. Almost a thing to be forgotten. And yet, what Jesus did on Palm Sunday fulfills scripture. Five hundred years before this, it was prophesied by the Prophet Zechariah. Here is our Old Testament Lesson Pastor Bartels read. Zechariah, 9:9.

“See, your King comes to you,

righteous and having salvation,

gentle and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

And so, what seems as a very minor event, is the fulfillment of scripture, as Jesus comes as our King. People were laying their cloaks down on the road, before Jesus, and waving their palm branches, while they sing their hosannas.

Dear friends, it is very significant what it is the people shouted, when Jesus came into Jerusalem. Different psalms were used. The psalm that was used at this time of year is Psalm 118. Just consider the words from Psalm 118, and think about our Savior, Jesus during this week of Holy Week. Here is what they would read, during this week.

“The stone the builders rejected

has become the capstone.”

We focused on that last week. That was my sermon text from last week.

Jesus is the Cornerstone.

He is the Capstone.

Without Him, the whole building falls. But the Psalm goes on to say,

“The LORD has done this.

It is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Many times we say that on Sunday, don't we?

“This is the day which the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

We can say that on Sundays. We can say it any day of the week, actually. But, think of the significance with this week.

“This is the day which the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

The Psalm goes on to say,

“O LORD save us.

O LORD grant us success.

O LORD save us.”

That is what the Hebrew word 'Hosanna' means. 'Save us.' A thousand years before Jesus came, the people were singing, and saying their hosannas. But, here is the very next verse.

“Blessed is He

who comes in the name of the LORD.”

That is what the people were saying on that Palm Sunday.

“Blessed is the King

who comes in the name of the LORD!”,

as their King was coming in glory.

Then, the verse closes by saying:

“The LORD is God.

He has made His light shine upon us.

With bows in hand,

join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.

With bows in hand,

join in the festal procession.”

What was taking place on Palm Sunday? Jesus was processing into Jerusalem. The people had their palm branches in hand, and it was going all the way up to the horns of the altar.

Do you guys know what happens at the horns of the altar? Sacrifices are made. A thousand years before it took place, Psalm 118 was talking about Holy Week. The people would be saying,

“Blessed is the One

who comes in the name of the LORD!”,

holding their bows, joining in the festal procession, and doing that in preparation for what would happen on Good Friday, as Jesus would go to the horns of the altar, and there be sacrificed to pay for the sins of the world.

With that, it is the Pharisees who show their disgust with what is taking place. They go to Jesus and say, “Tell the people to stop saying what they are saying.” They were sick and tired of this 'Jesus movement' that was taking place.

But, Jesus said, “If I stop telling the people what to say, then even the stones will cry out.”

So, praise God that the people continued to shout,

“Blessed is the King

who comes in the name of the LORD!

Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest!”

That can't help but have us think about Christmas, when Jesus was born, and the angels said,

“Peace on earth”.

Guys, sometimes we are like the Pharisees. We can be, because there are those times in our lives, when we may say, willingly or not, “Jesus, I don't want you to be my King. Tell these people to stop saying what they are saying.”

But yet, you know what? It is not an accident the events that transpired in our text for today.

       -It is not an accident that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt, the foal of a donkey. It is not an accident, because it was prophesied in The Old Testament that it would happen, five hundred years before it happened!

       -It is not an accident that Jesus died on the cross. All four thousand years of The Old Testament, prophesy after prophesy was made, talking about how our King would come, and He would go to the horns of the altar. It would be at the cross that Jesus would make full, and complete payment for all of our sin.

       -And, it is not an accident, that God loves you. It is not an accident that God loves you.

“This is how God showed His love among us.

He sent His one and only Son into the world

that we might live through Him.

This is love.

Not that we love God,

but He loved us,

and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

And so, may we shout, just as the people of that very first Palm Sunday did.

“Blessed is the King

who comes in the name of the LORD!”

Before I quit for today, I have this question for you. It is interesting God used a colt, right? That colt was used for that humble, and holy purpose of bringing Jesus into Jerusalem.

There once was a visitation pastor here at Holy Cross. His name was Pastor Carl Mischke. You maybe have heard me say this before. Pastor Mischke was a wise pastor. One time, (even a few times), he said this to me. “God doesn't need you. God does not need you. He can fulfill His purposes without you.” But, he went on to say, “Isn't is awesome God uses you? He doesn't need you, but He uses you.”

Jesus didn't need that colt, but He used that colt. It was used for that lowly, and holy purpose of bringing Him into Jerusalem.

On this Palm Sunday, during this Holy Week, consider that for a moment. God doesn't need you, but He uses you, just as He used that donkey. It seems like a very mundane thing, but just as that donkey was used, think about the purpose for which God has raised you up to be that lowly, and holy person, set apart, to point others to Jesus, and say with the crowd on Palm Sunday,

“Blessed is the King

who comes in the name of the LORD!

Hosanna in the highest!”