Sermons

Palm Sunday The Triumphant Christ

(Part of Easter series).

Palm Sunday signals the final week of Jesus’ life. It is the Sunday immediately preceding Easter when we commemorate and memorialise Jesus’ final and triumphant entry into Jerusalem. It was the Passover Festival - a pilgrim festival for the Jews when they celebrated God’s protection and providence over the Hebrew people during the tenth plague. During the Passover festival, Jerusalem and the whole surrounding regions were crowded with pilgrims. It was compulsory for every adult male Jew who lived within twenty miles of Jerusalem, to attend the Passover.

Jesus sends his disciples into the village to collect the ass and her foal. The password for the owner to part with his animals was, “the Master needs them!” Similarly this is the password for our calling to serve Jesus - “the Master has need of you and me.” Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on an ass that had never been ridden on before. Note, it was an ass not a war horse that Jesus rode on. This made Jesus entry into the city not only sacred, but it spoke of Jesus’ humility and grace. The people cut palm branches and threw them and their garments on the road, in the path Jesus’ took, like the Jewish people did when Jehu was proclaimed King of Israel(2 Kings 9:13).

The people shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” This acclamation, Hosanna, comes from the Old Testament Hebrew word meaning, save us or save us now! It was a cry for help or deliverance from an oppressed people under the tyrannical rule of the Romans. Jesus rode into Jerusalem in peace, as a Servant-King, not as a warrior-King or a militaristic leader. Jesus redefined the nature of his Kingship in the context of the Kingdom of God - basleia tou theou in New Testament Greek - which was not a geographical or geopolitical entity. The Kingdom was the reign of Christ as “King” in the life of an individual human being. The Kingdom was not based on power, violence and injustice but love, peace, justice, generosity, kindness, compassion etc Jesus final entry into Jerusalem is also commonly referred to as his “triumphant” entry, because Jesus allowed love to triumph over evil.

The Palm Sunday message of peace is the message for our world today. Jesus the “Game Changer” defeated evil with his sacrificial love and mercy. Even as Jesus rode into Jerusalem triumphantly, we need to allow Christ to ride into our hearts to transform us with his everlasting love and peace.

Sonny Rajamoney

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