Sing Your Palm Sunday Song of Praise! (3/25/18)

Text: Mark 11:9 – 10
Theme: Sing Your Palm Sunday Song of Praise!

In his sermon last Sunday, Pastor Pagels reminded us that each time we come into God’s House for one of our worship service we get to see Jesus. Today, on this Palm Sunday, through the inspired pen of the Gospel writer Mark, we get to see Jesus riding through the streets of Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey. What do you see? What do you hear? We see people waving palm branches. We hear the crowd shouting and praising the Lord.

As all of us gather together today to celebrate this Palm Sunday, you and I are invited to join along with the crowd that we see and hear. The encouragement for you from God’s Word is to combine your voice with the voices of the crowd of people that was gathered that day and SING YOUR PALM SUNDAY SONG OF PRAISE. Listen once again to that song of praise as we read two verses from our Gospel Lesson for this Palm Sunday. We read from Mark chapter 11, verses 9 and 10:

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

Before we look at this song of praise from that first Palm Sunday, it is important to remember that all these events are happening because Jesus is allowing them to happen. As true God he is in complete control of what is taking place. We read earlier how Jesus told the disciples exactly where to go to find the donkey, and it was right where the Lord said it would be. Jesus told the disciples that someone would question what they were doing, but that they were to tell the people “‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.'” And Mark reports that this is exactly what happened. As we heard earlier, “They (the disciples) went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’ They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.” Jesus also showed his almighty power as he rode on the back of a young donkey that had never been ridden before, and yet the donkey calmly and slowly walked through the large and noisy crowd that had gathered.

That crowd on the first Palm Sunday knew their Old Testament. They knew passages from the Old Testament like the one we read earlier from Zechariah chapter 9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus was coming into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday as the fulfillment to this prophecy from Zechariah. He was coming as the promised Messiah – the Savior promised to God’s people throughout the Old Testament. This is why the people were singing in the words of Psalm 118, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

In their song of praise, the crowd also shouted, “‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!'” There were many people in Jesus’ day who thought he should be a great, political leader. They wanted him to be their earthly king, their Messiah, their Savior, from the oppressive Roman government.

But “the kingdom of David” is not a political kingdom, rather it is a spiritual kingdom. It is the kingdom of all believers. Remember how the Lord answered Pontius Pilate when he asked Jesus whether or not he was an earthly king? He responded very clearly, “My kingdom is not of this world.” And in the Upper Room on Maundy Thursday, Jesus comforted his disciples when he said to them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Jesus Christ came as the Promised Messiah to establish peace; not peace between worldly governments or by military force; but rather peace between a holy and righteous God and a sin-filled human race; a peace won for you and me through his perfect life and his innocent blood shed on the cross. As Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday he came as the perfect sacrifice for sin. He came as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. This is why it is a fitting song of praise that the crowd sang as Jesus rode into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday.

At the beginning of Holy Week, as we gather together to sing our Palm Sunday song of praise to our Savior, it is good for us to see Jesus willingly riding into Jerusalem. The Savior knew all the events that would take place in the week to come. Yet, in love for you and me and all sinful mankind, he rode on, knowing that on Good Friday he would be nailed to the cross to win the forgiveness of all our sins. As we read in the Second Lesson from God’s Word this morning, our Savior Jesus willingly, “made himself nothing…he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”

This coming week we will have many opportunities to gather together for worship; many opportunities to gather together here in God’s house and hear of the great love of our Savior-God. Today, as we begin Holy Week today, you and I are able to sing our Palm Sunday song of praise, “‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!'” Amen.

Pastor Daniel Schmidt