Text: Mark 11;1-11 Fertile Lutheran Church
Isaiah 50:4-9 March 29, 2015 Palm Sunday
Think of the times you looked forward to an event of some sorts- something important to you- graduation, your wedding day- the birth of your children. If you’re like me, it seemed the day would never come, and then again, it seemed to take no time at all and made you wonder- “am I ready for this?” Jesus was on a journey- a mission- and He faced it with quiet determination.
As Jesus and His disciples approached Jerusalem that day, His journey was nearing it’s completion. A journey that would end just outside the city walls- a place reserved for the garbage of the city- and the worst of mankind- the scum of the world where they would be executed in the worst imaginable way possible- on a cross.
The destination had always been Jerusalem- it had always been the cross. It had begun some thirty-three years earlier in the quiet village of Bethlehem- in a stable-in a manger holding the very Son of God- Jesus the Christ- the Anointed One- who had come to save the world.
It wasn’t the first time Jesus had been to Jerusalem- He had cried over it- wishing they would listen to him- come to him-believe him- but they would not.
The town they approached that morning was abuzz with excitement- bustling with people who had traveled far and wide to celebrate the Passover festival- a celebration rooted deep in spiritual meaning and worship- a festival of remembering how God had delivered their ancestors from slavery in Egypt.
It was the history- and faith of a nation- remembering how God had sent Moses and Aaron to demand Pharaoh to let God’s people go and when Pharaoh refused, God had sent ten plagues- each one more terrible than the one before-and yet Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go. Finally, God unleashed the final plaque- a plaque that would claim the life of every first born of every home.
But God had made a way to save the people of Israel from death. God instructed them to sacrifice their most perfect lamb and smear the blood on the door posts of their homes- so that when the angel of death would see the blood of the lamb covering their home, it would Passover the household, sparing the life of those within. Little did they understand at the time, but the perfect, final sacrificial lamb was about to ride into town, riding a humble donkey- a servant king without sin who would shed His blood for our sins once and for all.
The people had long been looking for a king to ride in on a snorting war horse-brandishing a sword, a king of power who would free them from Rome and set them free. But while they waited, they heard stories of miraculous healings and demons being cast out and feeding of thousands by a man called Jesus-not to mention the way he taught with wisdom and authority- and soon his fame had spread far and wide and everywhere He went, people were coming to see Him.
And so when the people heard that Jesus was approaching Jerusalem, they were excited- and they cut palm branches to greet him with, waving them and laying their cloaks on the road before him and- shouting- “blessed be the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
But even before the loud Hosannas had began to fade, the Chief Priests and Scribes had begun to scheme how to kill this man who was upsetting their world. Even those who greeted Jesus with open arms that day- would shout “Crucify Him” before the week was over-and demand his death by crucifixion.
Jesus was approaching Jerusalem- and the cross. The events of this week would reverberate throughout the universe and change the world forever. It was a holy week.