Sermon – Matthew 21.1-11 (Palm Sunday – 2020)

Almighty and everlasting God, You have caused Your beloved Son to take our nature upon Himself, that He might give us the example of humility and suffer death upon the cross for our sins: Mercifully grant us a believing knowledge of this, that we may follow the example of His patience, and be made partakers of the benefits of His sacred Passion and death; through the same, Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,

 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.

 3 “And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say,`The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

 4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,`Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'”

 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.

 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.

 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David!`Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

 10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

 11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your Word is truth. Amen.

Dear fellow redeemed,

God had whittled Gideon’s army down to 300. Gideon saw the army of their enemy, Midian and with Midian, the Amalekites, and other people of the East in the valley. They were numerous as locusts covering the land. And their camels were numbered like sand on the seashore.

And so this was the army that this little group of Israelites was going to war with. To our human eyes, this was a horrible idea. Gideon was fearful, but God had Gideon overhear someone describe a dream he had. The man said, “To my surprise a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed.” Then the man that heard the dream interpreted it, “This is nothing else be the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into is hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp!

The loaf of bread made of barley, which was considered a lesser grain, destroys the tent. The little insignificant army of Israel will destroy the mighty enemy. Gideon heard these things, was strengthened and worshipped God. He gathered his men and went to war against the enemies of God’s people.

[pause for comparison]

Jesus spoke of how He will go up to Jerusalem. But this concerned the disciples. There were many in Jerusalem that hated Him and sought to take His life. This was a dangerous place to go. Peter stood in the way of Christ one time. Another time, the disciples said, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?” (John 11:8). Jesus had a multitude of enemies, powerful people who wanted Him dead.

But from the lowly town of Bethlehem, which means house of bread, from this town little among the thousands of Judah, will come the Bread of Life. He appears lowly, insignificant, riding into the hands of His great and His powerful enemies on a humble donkey.

The enemies before Him appear to be the Jewish leaders, and the Roman soldiers. They blaspheme Him, accuse Him, and shout for His crucifixion. Yet, the greater enemies Jesus faces are much more severe, those enemies are sin, death and the devil. Jesus enters Jerusalem to destroy these enemies that have held sway over us. Yet the path to victory was through sacrifice. It was to be won on a cross. As a Lamb goes uncomplaining forth, He goes to accomplish that for which He was sent into the world. He very well knows what must happen. He tells these things to His disciples, and yet He goes to battle, enters into Jerusalem to win for us forgiveness of our sins, deliverance from the death, and victory over the devil.

And so this was a cause of rejoicing for that crowd that went with Him in this procession, however much they understood about what was taking place.

And so first determine whether you belong to this crowd. If you do not believe Him to be your Savior, then you shall not see His salvation. You remain in the tent of the enemy, the devil. And then Jesus, who is not only the Bread of Life, but also the Chief Cornerstone, will fall upon you and will grind you into powder (Matt 21:42-44). That is, if you do not see Him as your Savior, you will find Him as your Judge.

If you are persistent in your sins, and will not repent of them, then you choose sin over Christ. You remain in the tent of those who cry out, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” You offend against His holy and precious blood which was shed to cleanse you of your sins. Instead you choose to remain in your filth.

Then who are those who join in the chorus of praises around the Bread of Life who marches into the camp of those horrible enemies? You who see on the donkey riding into Jerusalem, Christ as your Savior from sin, your Deliverer from death, and your Victor over the devil, you are the ones rejoicing in Him!

Oh, your sins are great. You see them. Your pride, your lust, your doubt, your slander, your  love for God that falls so short. It is this guilt that presses hard on Jesus shoulders. It is your sins that put Him on the cross. How could you possibly be worthy of Him? Are you not in the tent of the evil one, because of your sins?

But take comfort, for He enters into the battle against our enemies for sinners, for you. He takes your sin and your guilt willingly. So behold, your Savior, let Him have your all your sins. Repent of them. For He has taken them you, suffered for them, gave His life as the price to save you from them, so that in Him, you are free from your sins! You are forgiven! And you are restored to God! And this is the reason for our song! “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Through faith, you are joined to your Savior! You are members of His Church, receiving His grace, and responding to Him with songs of praise.


But also consider also what other problems the people had in the crowd, the problems we who live in the Church still struggle with today. In the crowd would have been people who were anxious. There were people who were lonely, who lived each day with uncertainty about what tomorrow would bring. There were people who had sorrow and grief in their hearts. These are the common troubles and experiences that we have in this vale of tears. And these are pronounced ever more so during this time of pandemic.

But then, oh what comfort we have in Christ. See how much He loves you as He rides into Jerusalem for your eternal salvation. He defeats sin, death, and the devil for you! He joined you to His Church through faith, and thus you have the promise that He who entered into Jerusalem in lowliness for you, now in His glory with dominion and rule over all things, will never leave you nor forsake you.

And so even in the midst of the trial and difficulty, even as we have tears of sadness on our faces, we may sing praises to Christ our loving Savior. Because of Him, we know that these trials and tears are not in vain. He works all for your good. And He will deliver you and will bring you to a day when those tears will be wiped away, and all trial, sorrow, and sadness will be no more. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.

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