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Palm Sunday
Series C

Option #1: "Who Is This Humble Man?"
Matthew 21:1-11 (Palm Sunday Historic Reading)
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

I. This is the prophet God promised to send as our teacher

    A. The teacher sent from God who is one of our brothers

        1. As we see in Deut 18:15-18

        2. As identified by the woman at the well in John 4:25-26

    B. The prophet God promised to send as our humble king

        1. As predicted in Zech 9:9

        2. He comes as a prophet-king to make peace between God and mankind

        3. He is humble--the Hebrew word aniy means "afflicted, humble, poor, lowly"

II. This is the Son of God who brings salvation

    A. The Hebrew word "hosanna" means "save us now!"

    B. By entering into Jerusalem in this way, Jesus sealed the cross as his destination. Dr. Paul Meier, Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, explains in his book First Easter:

"The prophet Zechariah had foretold the arrival of the messianic king to Jerusalem via this humble conveyance, and here the crowd was according a wildly triumphant reception to one whom they hailed as "the son of David," a loaded name in a loaded place, for many Jews expected the Messiah to be declared as king on this very Mount of Olives...
 
The priestly establishment in Jerusalem witnessed the procession also, catching and enlarging upon any political overtones in the demonstration. Might not the waving of palm branches be symbolic, since the palm was the national emblem of an independent Palestine? What if Jesus should claim to be heir to the throne of David in a restored Judean kingdom? The crowd was already calling Him the king of Israel…
 
Caiaphas, the high priest, must have cast a worried glance westward, in the direction of Herod's palace, where the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, had just arrived from Caesarea for the Passover, in case any demonstration, such as this one, might get out of hand. Caiaphas must have wondered at the boldness of the Rabbi from Galilee--the very man for whom arrest notices had been posted across the land--was now coming directly into Jerusalem in the most public way possible."
    C. He laid aside His prerogatives as God's Son to become obedient to the death of the cross--Phil 2:5-10

III. Those who desire His salvation must also humble themselves

    A. As Paul writes in Phil 2:5ff

    B. As Peter writes in 1 Pet 5:5-6: "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time."

    C. As it is written in James 4:10: "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up."

Illustrations:

Andrew Murray wrote: "I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above another and that the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God's greatest gifts are on shelves one beneath another, and the lower we stoop, the more we get." "Your attitude should the same as that of Christ Jesus," Paul wrote.

Copernicus chose to model his attitude upon that of the dying repentant thief who Jesus said would join him in paradise. Written on the tomb of Copernicus at Frauenberg is found this inscription: "I do not seek a kindness equal to Paul. Nor do I ask the grace granted to Peter. But that pardon, which you gave to the dying thief--for that I pray most earnestly."

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Children's Message for Palm Sunday

James 4:10: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

I want to tell you a story from a country very far away. The country is India. I have a friend who has a son living there. He and his wife traveled there to visit him.

India is a very modern place, but parts of India are like Africa, with wild animals roaming the jungle. There was an elephant who wanted to cross a river, but the bridge was made only of boards tied together with ropes. Not much of a bridge for an elephant to get across, but he made it. There was a fly on his back and he was in for a wild ride when the elephant started his crossing. You can imagine how a bridge made of rope and boards would shake when a big heavy elephant was on it. It was not only shaking, it was swaying back and forth as if a strong wind were blowing it. When the elephant with the fly on his back finally got across, the fly said: "BOY, WE SURE SHOOK THAT BRIDGE, DIDN’T WE?"

The Bible tells us that we are to humble ourselves. That means to remember who we are and who God is. This is something to remember in the very important things of life.

1) Humble yourself when you think about salvation. We don’t save ourselves; Jesus came here because we can’t possibly save ourselves. Today we remember that Jesus really is the King of heaven yet He humbled himself to die on the cross so that we could have our sins forgiven.

2) Humble yourself when you think about who you are and what you can do. Many people forget that what they can do is a gift from God. If you have a good mind, if you get good grades, if you’re a good athlete, if you have many friends, these are all gifts of God. You’re not the elephant in the story; you’re the fly. God gave you your gifts. Be humble and thankful to Him for them.

3) This is the most important thing when your life will be near an end. All you can do is to hold out your hand like this and write two letters of the alphabet on it--"M T." Your hand is empty because being saved from sin is God’s greatest gift to you. Jesus bought it for you when he spilled his blood on the cross to pay for your sins.

So HUMBLE YOURSELF. Remember that your hand is "M T" and let Jesus fill it with more good things in your life than you could ever count.

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Option #2: "A Holy Week For The Wholly Weak"
Deuteronomy 32:36-39
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

 
The Point: we must be broken of our so-called independence before there can be God-dependence
 
The Problem: worshiping and/or trusting in so-called or -deemed gods and idols
 
The Promise: God has compassion on us, executing judgment on and killing His Son for our sins, tripping up our false gods, and giving us the power of His Spirit to believe and confess His Name 
 
Notes:
 
1. diyn {deen}, v32: to judge, contend, plead; to act as judge, minister judgment; to plead a cause; to execute judgment, requite, vindicate; to govern; to contend, strive. (Blue Letter Bible)
 
2. nacham {naw-kham'}, v32: to be sorry, have compassion; to rue, repent of; to comfort oneself, be comforted; to ease oneself. (BLB)
 
3. Sign seen in a textile mill, "When your thread becomes tangled, call the foreman." A young woman was new on the job. Her thread became tangled and she thought, "I'll just straighten this out myself." She tried, but the situation only worsened. Finally she called the foreman. "I did the best I could," she said. "No you didn't. To do the best, you should have called me." (Unknown)
 
4. Since God has put His work into your weak hands, look not for long ease here: You must feel the full weight of your calling: a weak man with a strong God." (Lady Culross)
 
5. Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshiped. (Augustine)
 
6. Though we do not face a pantheon of false gods like the Israelites did, we face pressures from a pantheon of false values--materialism, love of leisure, sensuality, worship of self, security, and many others. The second commandment deals with idols. This may be something that most of us can't relate to--unless we include life goals that revolve around something other than God Himself. What is the object of our affections, our efforts, and our attention? Where does the majority of our time go? On what do we spend the greatest amount of our resources? (Today in the Word)
 
7. What other gods could we have besides the Lord? Plenty. For Israel there were the Canaanite Baals, those jolly nature gods whose worship was a rampage of gluttony, drunkenness, and ritual prostitution. For us there are still the great gods Sex, Shekels, and Stomach (an unholy trinity constituting one god: self), and the other enslaving trio, Pleasure, Possessions, and Position, whose worship is described as "The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16). Football, the Firm, and Family are also gods for some. Indeed the list of other gods is endless, for anything that anyone allows to run his life becomes his god and the claimants for this prerogative are legion. In the matter of life's basic loyalty, temptation is a many-headed monster. (James Packer)
 
8. Today's idols are more in the self than on the shelf. Goudzwaard's three basic Biblical rules: 1. Every person is serving god(s) in his life; 2. Every person is transformed into an image of his/her god; 3. Humankind creates and forms a structure of society in its own image. That for which I would give anything and accept nothing in exchange is the most important thing in my life. Whatever that is is my god (cf Isa 44:6-20). (McMath)
 
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM