Today is Palm Sunday. But there are no crowds. No church services! The world is in ‘lock down’ because of the Corona virus!
Unlike that first Palm Sunday the streets are empty.
The palm was an emblem of “joy and victory and peace.” But as the crowd waived palm branches that day, it seems to me, their focus was on revenge. They were expecting something different than they got.
And we can learn some lessons from that day regarding expectations:-
Lesson One: Don’t expect too much from people (Then you won’t be disappointed).
Don’t be surprised when people let you down.
“The crowds were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
A week later they chanted: “Crucify him, crucify him!”
They had wrong expectations. They had greeted Him as the KING OF ISRAEL!
Watch as they slip off their garments in honour!
“The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road.“Matthew 21:6-8.
They spread their garments in the way; in the middle of the road, instead of carpets, to ride upon; this they did, in honour to him as a king.
So, we can learn something unusual and interesting. The disciples put their clothes on the donkey. The crowd put theirs on the road.
You see, the disciples cared about the king.
The people cared about the kingdom. They greeted Him as THE KING OF ISRAEL.
Watch them as He takes a whip… and they shout their approval!
Watch them as He drives out the money changers… and they shout “Do that again!”
Watch them as He argues with the Pharisees… and they shout “That’s the way to do it!”
But when He’s been arrested, and whipped, and humiliated, their faith is shaken. If He was really the King of Israel, He would not be in this position! So now they cry “Crucify Him!”
Remember the old song: “First they say they want you, O how they really need you!
They greeted Him as king. But before He can take the throne He must battle the enemy. So they had wrong expectations at that time.
Lesson Two: Expect God to work out His purposes no matter what
The crowd was used in two ways. First, these palms are being waved as a sign! These people are making a point. They are prophesying – and they don’t know it!
“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10.
The first fruits are a token of a GREATER harvest!
As they waved the palms it was a type of the wave offering of the firstfruits signifying a bumper future harvest.
“A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9.
Also, without their cry against Him, He would not have been crucified – and there would have been no salvation!
If Satan had known the plan, he would have scuppered it: “If the princes of this world had known the plan of God, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of Glory!”
Lesson Three: Jesus is expecting His enemies to be reconciled.
“When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin…” Hebrews 10:12-18.
Do we want EVERYONE to be saved?
Even as they nailed Him to the cross, He asked GOD to forgive them.
There was no repentance! They sneered cruelly.
He did not say “Lift up your hand” and then I can forgive you.
In fact – He couldn’t forgive them! Why? Because at this moment He is at His most human! He is the MAN Christ Jesus. The Mediator between God and men.
And this is His first mediation: “Father forgive them!”
Do you believe that God did forgive them? “O! Yes! Of course!” – You say!
But let me press you on that. They are nailing the Son of God to a cross. Do you have no doubts at all that they would be forgiven?
So why do you have grave doubts regarding the drunkard, and the thief, and the aldulterer, and the liar, and the lover of money? If he can forgive a crucifier of Christ, is there anyone He cannot forgive?
Or even your family. It is not His will that any should perish! Do you think your family can thwart God’s will?
We believe in the forgiveness of sins. Don’t we?
That is what the Church believes. It is written in our creed! “Every knee shall bow!”
Let me give you hope this Palm Sunday morning for a wayward son or daughter, or a loved relative.
“All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.” Psalm 86:9