Palm Sunday-2017 Blessed is He…who comes in the name of the Lord-04/09/17

Message: ‘Blessed is He… who comes in the name of the Lord’

Text: Matthew 21:1-9

 Introduction: Palm Sunday! I think it’s one of the holidays in the Church that we really get really excited about.

  • We anticipate a time of celebration!
  • We expect to use words and phrases like; Hosanna, Rejoice, Glory to God, King of Kings, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!
  • We intend to see Jesus, high and lifted up!
  • We hope to encounter the presence of Jesus Christ; to worship Him, and to shout His praises.

And that’s my hope too. But, so we don’t end up like so many in the crowd that 1st Palm Sunday, I also hope, I have been praying, that as we come anticipating these things,

  • We’ll leave here, transformed by the presence of Jesus Christ.
  • That through our celebration, our rejoicing, our shouts of praise,
  • Jesus will truly be lifted up… in our lives,
  • so much so, that others will be drawn to Him, even today!

Transition: Open your Bibles to Matthew 21:1. As Jesus makes His way to Jerusalem, and we hear the people shout: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. I wonder if their lives were transformed when they encountered Jesus.

  1. Matthew 21:1-9 The Triumphal Entry

Background: Allow me to set the scene.

  • Jesus is heading to Jerusalem to take part in the Passover; the time the Jews celebrated God delivering their ancestors from slavery to the Egyptians.
  • At the Passover, Jews from all over the known world (upwards of 2 million) would make their way to Jerusalem to sacrifice a lamb as an offering to God for their sin.
  • All through Jesus’ ministry, He tells people that His time had not yet come.
  • Well… by God’s sovereign plan, His time has come to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
  1. Vss. 1-5 Jesus rides into Jerusalem

Read: Matthew 21:1-5

 Jesus is the Messiah, He is Israel’s King. And He’s traveling towards Jerusalem with the intent to make that statement.

Yet, He doesn’t enter Jerusalem like a king… at least not the king the Jews were expecting. He enters riding a donkey. And those with knowledge of Scripture wondered if perhaps Jesus was fulfilling a prophesy made by Zechariah concerning the Messiah:

  • Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)

Jesus is the Messiah, Israel’s King.

  • But, He’s bringing a kingdom of peace; so Jesus rides a donkey, not a war horse.
  • He’s bringing a kingdom of obedience to the Father, so He rides a donkey, a symbol of humility.
  • He’s bringing a kingdom that doesn’t rule from a throne in the palace, but from a throne in the hearts of its citizens.

The people in the crowd that day, as well as people today, all have preconceived ideas of who Jesus is. But, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem that day was to show them who He truly was.

  1. Vss. 6-9 The response of the people

Read: Matthew 21:6-9

As thousands of out of town people were making their own way into Jerusalem, they stopped and took notice of Jesus.

When they did,

  • They recognized what He was doing.
  • They wondered if perhaps he might be… the promised Messiah, their King!

They began to treat Him like royalty.

  • They take off their outer garments and lay them on the ground before Him.
  • They cut branches off trees to honor Jesus as He rode by.
  • And as one voice they shout before Jesus:

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

What they shouted was part of Psalm 118. Understand, this was not like what you see in movie musicals.

  • People who’ve never met, who don’t have any lyrics or choreography,
  • All of a sudden, w/o notice or practicing even, start singing in perfect harmony and dancing, step by step, in complete unity.

Here’s what was happening in our text.

  • As the people traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, they sang from their hymnbook. What was the hymnbook of Israel? Psalms.
  • They sang in the hope that this might be the year the Messiah, their long awaited King, would come.
  • They sang the Hallel Psalms (113-118), celebrating God’s victory at the Exodus and in anticipation of other victories yet to come.

Here’s how I see it.

  • They were already singing these Psalms as they traveled on the road to Jerusalem.
  • But, when they saw Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, and they made the connection to Zechariah’s prophecy of the Messiah, they saw Jesus in a whole new light.

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

They were saying:

  • Jesus, save us, O Son of David.
  • Deliver us from our slavery to Rome.
  • Be the King promised to us & to our fathers.
  • You are blessed by God, You have the power of the Almighty, because You come in His name.
  • Save us, O Most High, save us now!

On this side of the cross, we criticize those in the crowd that day for praising Jesus one day and less than a week later shouting crucify Him! But understand, from their perspective:

  • Jesus didn’t live up to their expectation that He would be a conquering king.
  • Jesus didn’t use the power of Almighty God to change their situation, to free them from slavery to the Romans.

So, they just…gave up on Him.

  • If He was not going to be what they wanted Him to be, then, they wanted nothing to do with Him.

But, knowing in less than a week their shouts of praise would change to crucify Him…for that moment in time, Jesus accepted, even encouraged their worship, their shouts of praise.

You see, Jesus’ time had come!

  • It was God’s sovereign plan and purpose, that Jesus would be lifted up in the praises of Israel.
  • But it was also God’s sovereign plan and purpose, that Jesus would be lifted up on a cross through the rejection of Israel.

Look, the people in the crowd that day, were right in what they said. And Almighty God would hear their cries for a Savior.

  • Not a Savior who would change their situation, their slavery to Rome.
  • But a Savior who would transform their lives… by freeing them from their slavery to sin.
  • A Savior who truly would bring them the eternal blessings God promised them.
  1. Ephesians 1:3-14 God’s promised blessings

 Background: Blessing.

  • I would venture to say that everyone here this morning wants to be blessed by God.
  • And that you regularly ask God to bless you.

But, often, we don’t all have the same understanding of what blessings from God are.

There are two general ways God blesses us:

Physically/materially and Spiritually.

Materially

  • A job, money, car, home, clothes, things, possessions. Even good health.

For many, that’s what they seek most from God. It’s how they see God’s blessings.

  • But, what often happens when God fails to bless them in that way?
  • What happens when they lose their job and can’t pay their bills?
  • What happens when their loved one dies from a debilitating disease or a close friend dies in a horrific accident?

Often, they raise an angry fist to God and shut Him out of their lives. Not unlike the Israelites did a few days after that 1st Palm Sunday.

You see, like those Israelites, some relate God’s blessings to their physical/material situation.

Spiritually

But listen to God’s primary concern for you, when it comes to His blessings:

  • Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy

and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19–21)

God’s first concern is always the heart, and the extent your heart is focused on the eternal. And it’s that area where God wants to bless us, above all others.

  • What are they?
  • They are the very same spiritual blessings offered by Jesus that 1st Palm Sunday, that He still offers today.

Ephesians 1:3-14

Vs. 3  Our blessing is complete/sufficient

Read: Ephesians 1:3

This is actually pretty clear.

  • Gods blessings are spiritual in nature, they originate in the heavenly places, in other words, they come from God’s heart.
  • And the storehouses of heaven are full of the spiritual blessings available to us. They have your name on them.
  • That means you lack nothing to be content, to be obedient, to be faithful, to be useful in His kingdom!
  • But note…every blessing, is because we are in Christ.

The Apostle Paul tells us what being in Christ means and lists some of the specific spiritual blessings that are ours.

Vs. 4  We are chosen, holy, blameless

Read: Ephesians 1:4

  • Wow… before you were born, before the world was created… God wanted a relationship with you. And He chose you to have that relationship with Him, through faith in Jesus.
  • But, because we sinned against God, and because we could do nothing to make things right with God, God made us holy, through faith in Jesus’ death on the cross.

 Vss. 5-6  We are adopted

Read: Ephesians 1:5-6

  • The Apostle Peter wrote that we were once not a people but now we are the people of God. That’s what Paul had in mind here.
  • By faith in Jesus, God has chosen, predestined us to be adopted into His family with all the rights and privileges of sonship.
  • And notice, God blessed us with adoption, because He loves us.

Vss. 7-8  We are redeemed, forgiven

Read: Ephesians 1:7-8

  • God has blessed us by redeeming us from the curse of the Law, which is eternal death for our sin against Him.
  • We are redeemed because God has forgiven our sin, all of our sin, by faith in Jesus.
  • For that to happen, God showered upon us His amazing, extravagant and abundant grace.
  • Grace is God blessing us, even though we don’t deserve it.

Vss. 9-10  We can know God’s will

Read: Ephesians 1:9-10

  • What a blessing it is, that we can know, God’s will. Not only for our lives, but for His kingdom.
  • We can know who Jesus is and why He came… for me, for you.

Vss. 11-12  We are given an inheritance

Read: Ephesians 1:11-12

  • The Apostle Peter wrote :Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, (1 Peter 1:3–4)
  • And what is that inheritance? I just don’t have the time. Read Revelation 21-22.
  • Our inheritance is when we leave this world, we will live, face to face with Jesus, for all eternity.

Vss. 13-14  We are given the Holy Spirit

Read: Ephesians 1:13-14

  • Finally, God has blessed us with Himself when He gives us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.
  • And the Holy Spirits residence in our lives is the down payment, the guarantee of our inheritance.

Folks, we didn’t deserve any of that. It’s all because of God’s grace that we enjoy His abundant blessings.

But listen to verse 13 once again:

  • In Him (Jesus) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him (Jesus), were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

Folks, all these blessings and so much more,

  • Only come to those who place their faith in Jesus,
  • Only come to those who believe that Jesus died for their sin and was raised from the dead to give them eternal life.

Conclusion:  You see, we’re all in the same place the Israelites were that 1st Palm Sunday.

We can shout praises to Jesus. We can cry out to Him for help. We can say Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. We can think really good things about Jesus.

  • But unless we go further than that, unless we fall on our knees, unless we confess our sin, unless we invite Jesus into our lives to be our Savior

Like many of those Israelites that 1st Palm Sunday, we will miss out, on the abundance of God’s blessing.

If you’ve never done that,

  • Let your attendance here this morning mean something more than just getting a palm branch when you leave.
  • Leave here this morning with Jesus in your heart and with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Let’s pray.