Pastor Barry Bruce: The Gathering Study 3 of 6 : Palm Sunday
“Hindsight is 20/20” Have you ever made a decision that led you down a path of heartache and pain and then you say, “Hey, I should have known this all along.” Welcome to the expression “hindsight is 20/20”. Isn’t it amazing how clear your vision becomes after you have lived out the pain and suffering of your choices? If we had 20/20 hindsight we would probably never had made half of the decisions that we did.
How about Jesus? If he had known what a traitor Judas was would He had taken him as one of His trusted disciples? Would he have washed his feet and sat down to eat the Passover meal with him? Would He had allowed Peter, who denied Him three times, to be one of His closest friends? Would He had gone to the garden to pray that night if He knew that His friends would all fall asleep there in His hour of need, or that He would be arrested there by Roman guards and later crucified? And what about that parade called Palm Sunday? The day we celebrate today. Would He have come into Jerusalem like He did, with all of the fanfare, if He knew that in one week’s time, in that same city, the same crowd would be shouting “crucify!” The answer to these questions is a resounding “yes!” Unlike us, Jesus did have 20/20 hindsight. He knew every one of these things and yet He still chose to make the decisions that He made. Decisions that cost Him dearly! Decisions He made because of His “brutal love” for mankind. In fact, “brutal love” was His mission.
The “Lamb of God” John 1:29-34, Luke 19:29-40 God had been silent in regards to providing a prophet for the Jewish people for 400 years (e.g.“silent years”: intertestmental period) until the angel Gabriel announced the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias (Luke 1:5-13). When John grew into his prophetic ministry he announced that the kingdom of God was at hand and that people needed to repent and make themselves ready to meet the Lord. As John was baptizing people for repentance in the Jordan River Jesus approached him. It was then that John made the proclamation that Jesus was the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.
Jesus was indeed that sacrificial lamb on that first Palm Sunday. The sporadic sort of parade to honor the proclaimed messiah king had actually been planned well in advance and carefully orchestrated long before Rome ever ruled the earth. Everything was planned beforehand by God. The location, the mule, and even the exact day foretold over 500 years earlier by God’s prophets. (The Time and place: Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy ‘sevens.’ Daniel 9:24-27, The vehicle: Zechariah’s prophecy of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9) “Shut your disciples up” said the jealous Pharisees, but Jesus replied with a jest: “I tell you,” He replied, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”(vs. 40) After over 400 years of silence I should say so!
Weeping at a Parade Luke 19:41-44, Daniel 9:24 The people had no idea of the plan that was unfolding before them that day but Jesus did. That is why He wept! He wept because He could see (and prophesied) the future of the city and its people. He knew the parade would end and in one week the same crowd would shout crucify. He knew that as a result of their rejection of Him Rome would one day destroy the holy city and take the Jews captive (In 70 A.D. Jesus’ prophecy came true to the letter). He also knew that His mission would culminate in His own blood sacrifice on a cross. As the prophet Daniel said, Jesus came to “finish transgression, put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, and to bring an everlasting righteousness.” Daniel 9:24 Jesus came to pay for our sin, to finish the debt of our transgression, to atone for our wickedness, and to make us righteous in God’s presence. Jesus came into Jerusalem that day to not only be our king (Lord) but our savior.
Inspected for Sacrifice Exodus 12:1-14, 1 Peter 1:18-19 When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem Passover lambs were arriving too. The Jewish historian, Josephus recorded a census that stated that 256,500 lambs were slain for one Passover. Lambs selected for sacrifice were inspected by the priests to see that they met the Levitical requirements. Jesus “the Lamb of God” met those requirements too: •A lamb without blemish— required perfection •A Male—a son •No bones could be broken—Jesus bones were never broken •Its blood poured out—a symbol of Christ’s death
Passover was to remember the night when the angel of death passed over the homes of the Jews in Egypt who had followed these directions and put the blood of the lamb on their door posts. (Top, and sides as in the shape of a cross) Is Jesus blood on the door to your heart? He is knocking at that door with every beat of your heart. Will you open it? Revelation 3:20
The truth of Palm Sunday (The Triumphal Entry) is that Jesus came as mankind’s sacrifice for sin (Our Passover Lamb). Without Him there is no forgiveness. (John 14:6) Is your faith and hope in Him? Do you obey His truth? Behold the lamb!
Brutal Love Romans 12:1-2 To be our Savior (Sacrifice) Jesus must also be our Lord (King). He has demonstrated Brutal Love to us as the only acceptable sacrifice for our sin. He has willingly become our Passover Lamb. In our thankfulness He calls us to become a sacrifice too. Not as a sacrifice on the altar, as the Mosaic Law required the sacrifice of animals, but as a living sacrifice. That is living out our lives in dedication and appreciation to Jesus. This is the only reasonable act of our worship to Him for what He has done for us.
A Nail in His Hand When we see ourselves as the nail in Christ’s hand we begin to see things clearly. Our individual sins necessitated His sacrifice on our behalf. He willingly took our blows upon Himself to redeem us. This is Brutal Love and He calls us to the same.