THE JUNCTION | SUNDAY 5.4

THE JUNCTION | SUNDAY 5.4

Palm Sunday

Hi again everyone and welcome to another Junction online session!

Sunday the 5th of April is Palm Sunday. We remember the day when Jesus arrives in the city of Jerusalem at the start of what we call Holy Week. Holy Week ends with Good Friday and Easter Sunday when we remember Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection.

At the start of the week people were cheering Jesus as he entered the city but at the end of the week they were cheering for him to be crucified.

Today let’s focus on why they cheered Jesus on Palm Sunday?
What were they expecting?
And what are our expectations of how God acts?

Palm Sunday

The next day a great crowd who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast heard that Jesus was coming there. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Jesus, shouting,

“Praise God! God bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
God bless the King of Israel!” (Psalm 118:25–26)

Jesus found a colt and sat on it. This was as the Scripture says,

“Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem!
Your king is coming, sitting on the colt of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)

The followers of Jesus did not understand this at first. But after Jesus was raised to glory, they remembered that this had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

There had been many people with Jesus when he raised Lazarus from the dead and told him to come out of the tomb. Now they were telling others about what Jesus did. Many people went out to meet Jesus, because they had heard about this miracle.

  • Did you notice that people were shouting words from a Psalm? Why do you think they did that?
  • Why were people so happy to see Jesus?
  • Why does it matter that Jesus arrived on a donkey?

A Welcome For A King

I wonder if you found it weird that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey?
All the Jewish people in Jerusalem were waiting for their promised King to arrive. To arrive and to save them. The story of Palm Sunday is also in the Gospel of Matthew (see Matthew 21:1-11.) In that version the writer tells us that everyone was also shouting the word “hosanna” which means “save us!”
I wonder what they thought about King Jesus arriving on a donkey?

  • Have you ever done or bought something that didn’t live up to the expectations you had?
  • How would you expect a future King to arrive in the capital city?

Zechariah (an Old Testament Prophet) told people not to be afraid or worried about their future King arriving on a donkey several hundred years before Jesus was even born! In Jesus life he would also fulfil many many many other prophesies from other prophets in the Bible.

When you think about it, a lot of things Jesus said and did didn’t match up to what people thought a King should do, say or be like.

  • What does it mean to call Jesus King?

Check out these verses here for how different Jesus is as a King.
Matthew 5:38-39 / Matthew 20:16

Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

 

Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”

 

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.

 

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.

 

15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.

 

22 The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.

 

25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!

 

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up to the horns of the altar.

 

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.

 

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

His Love Endures Forever (2-4)

When it comes to God His love never ends.
It never gives up, it’s never “not enough,”
it’s there for everyone.

Cornerstone (22-24)

The cornerstone, when building, is the most important stone.
It goes first and guides all the rest of the building work.
When the Psalm says the builders reject the stone that becomes the cornerstone we look ahead to Jesus rejection and how, in his resurrection, he is the cornerstone. He is who he claimed to be in his actions.

The Kingdom of God

Palm Sunday highlights how differnt living under God’s rule will look.
Jesus enters Jeruselm on a donkey as a King.
When we say that Jesus is King it implys that there is a Kingdom.
This is called the Kingdom of God.

Reflection

On Palm Sunday everyone was so happy to welcome Jesus as King. They thought he had arrived to save them (that’s what hosanna means) from the rule of the Romans.

But as the week went on; thier expectations were shattered. Jesus consistently brought his critique to the Jewish people themselves and not the Romans!

Jesus didn’t match their image of saviour King.

How do you expect God to act in your life?
Does He match that expectation?
Where do our expectations come from?

Ultimately, Jesus did fulfil the role of saviour. He just didn’t do what everyone was expecting… the Easter story is about saving people. Just not from their immediate circumstances. More on that next week!

Why don’t you find some time to pray.
Ask God to speak to you today.
Ask Him to realign ur expectations with that of Jesus.

Dear God, we thank you for Palm Sunday.
Thank you that you are our saviour and the saviour of everyone.
Help us to live now as in your kingdom.
Amen.

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