Palm Sunday – Sermon 252

9th January 2016 Off By Derek

Palm Sunday

10.00am Holy Communion

29th March 2015

Bible References :

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Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ





Imagine for a moment – that we are in the crowd – waiting for Jesus’ procession to arrive –


We’d heard about it coming – and wanted to see who they were all talking about-


around us were people waiting patiently – others – less patiently –  children getting increasingly excited – and the mothers trying to keep them calm – a mixture of old and young –  sellers – officials – all wondering what they were about to witness –


The noise of the singing sounds in the distance – and the crowds chattering increases – who is this man – will we recognise Him?  Will He really make a difference –


There is a swirl of emotions and expectations – to some He was a powerful symbol of the Messiah coming home to his people and city –  for the authorities a worrying  and undermining challenge to their leadership – to those less informed –  it was something to watch and wonder –  a carnival atmosphere and celebration –  but for Jesus and his disciples – it was much more than that –



Point 1        Journey of a King


Jesus began his journey with an ascent to Jerusalem –


He would have taken the old road – winding through the hills of Jerico – and the Judean desert –  climbing all the way – halfway up he would reach sea level –  and there would still be the mountain ahead –  hot and dusty – it was the way all pilgrims came –


I remember taking that same route – by coach – on a trip to the Holy Land in 1997 – sheer drops on both sides – it was very scary by coach – unimaginable on foot –


when you reach the  summit – the holy city comes into view – and then after reaching Bethany and Bethphage – almost at once  – you exchange barren dusty desert for lush green growth –  its Passover time – and it’s the height of spring –


But for Jesus – this was to be more than a long walk – it was the climax of his story – his public career and vocation –


He knew what lay ahead – and set his face to go – and meet it head on –


For Jesus it was to be a Royal occasion – carefully planned and staged – so as to make exactly the right point –


the colt he chose – no doubt through pre-arrangement with the owners – would fulfil the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 – ‘Your King is coming to you – His cause won – victory gained – mounted on a donkey – a colt – the foal of a donkey’ –


like the tomb in which Jesus would lie a week later – it had never been used before –


The disciples pick up the theme and – as a form of royal celebration – spread their cloaks on the road before Him –


Down they would go – on the steep path to the Kidron Valley – the crowds start to sing that great psalm of praise – that all pilgrims sang on the way to Jerusalem – a song of victory and praise to God – who defeats all His foes – and establishes His Kingdom –


Jesus was coming as the fulfillment of the nation’s hopes – answering their longings for a king who would bring peace to earth from heaven itself –


But even within the euphoria of His spectacular entrance into the city – Jesus knew it was time for some hard lessons to be taught –


His entrance into the city was more than just a parade – more than a celebration – He was also announcing the nature of His Kingdom –


Point 2      Journey of Faith & Committment


There is a children’s story that many might remember – called the Little Red Hen:


The little Red hen lived on a farm and was friends with a lazy dog – a sleepy cat and a noisy yellow Duck –


One day the hen found some seeds – and decided to plant them –


Who will help me plant the seeds she said: Not I barked the lazy dog! – Not I purred the sleepy cat!  – not I quacked the yellow noisy duck – so she decided to plant the seeds herself –


And when the seeds grew into wheat – she asked again  – who will help me cut the wheat? – Not I barked the lazy dog – Not I purred the sleepy cat – not I quacked the yellow noisy duck – so again  – she decided to do it herself –


When all the wheat was cut she asked her friends again – who will help me take it to the Mill – to grind the wheat into flour – who will help me carry the sack of flour back to the farm – and bake the bread – Not I … Not I  .. Not I – came back the answer – so again  – she decided to do it herself –


And when the bread was finished- the tired hen asked her friends – that all important question – who will help me eat the bread?


Immediately there was a change of tone – I will barked the lazy dog – I will – purred the sleepy cat  – I will – quacked the yellow noisy duck –

Me! Me! Me! Said her friends –


All too often when we are asked to help or to do something – our friendship and loyalty so often depends on what’s in it for us –


And so it was on that first Palm Sunday – as Jesus entered Jerusalem to the acclaim of the crowds –


Who will welcome me as King – his actions seem to be saying –  and the answer came back – Me! Me! Me! – Who wants to share in the Kingdom of God – and again the answer came back – Me! Me! Me! But just a few days later when the crunch question comes – Who will follow the way of the cross – Not I – said the crowd – We have no King but Ceasar – Crucify! Crucify! Crucify!


Palm Sunday is a day that challenges our faith and our loyalty – to Jesus – asking us – how ready are we to follow when faith is demanding – and the going gets tough –


In that Palm Sunday procession – Jesus is setting out his stall – making his bid to attract people to his vision of God’s kingdom –  as Paul reminds us – a kingdom of  service – humility- and obedience


We all have an opportunity to join in with the King – on that road which leads to life – we can stand back in the crowd – and say Not I – or take the road with Jesus – as He walks the way of the cross with us –


Point 3        Journey to a lifetime


And – so as the procession reaches us – and we see Jesus walk by with His disciples – what is our response?


Will we be like the disciples who made promises by day and fled by night?


Will be like some members of the crowd – who cheered Him one day – and lost interest in Him the next –


Jesus knows it’s easy to applaud when you’re part of a group that is already giving Him applause – the real test is when we go home  – and try to take on those challenges – that test our commitment to Him –


The poem that Paul places at the heart of his latter shows us what we must do and how we should think  – as a follower of Jesus –


put God first – and be obedient to Him – take on the weight of the world’s evil around us – and be prepared to die to everything else – to change it –


abandon our rights – for the sake of the world – and to take the way of the cross –


For Christians – the cross is – the only way that really matters – it tells us who we should follow – and how we are to get there




The long and dusty way of our lives – gives us time to – sort out – our motives for following Jesus – but He calls us – not only to spread our cloaks in front of him – but to follow him into trouble controversy –  trial – and death –

In the story of the Little Red hen – in the end she decides to eat all the bread herself –


fortunately for us – no matter how we respond  – we have a Saviour – that will never deny us – the food of salvation –


Today – we stand on the threshold of holy week – and Jesus has given us an opportunity – to crucify our nature – and to join Him on a new journey to Life


Let’s seize the moment – hold up our palms – and follow Him all the way to paradise


Prayer                  AMEN