Palm Sunday – 2 Kings, 2 Kingdoms, 2 Choices

March 28, 2021   /   Jesus Church

Palm Sunday

Welcome to Jesus Church here and Online

  • If you have ur Bible… we find the story of Palm Sunday in Mark 11
    • If you grew up in church or been in church for over a year
    • You’ve probably heard this time of year is sorta a big deal
  • Today we celebrate Palm Sunday (Don’t always do a sermon on it)
    • But thought this would be a great year to do one
    • And most of us know at least some of the story
    • Jesus riding on donkey… crowd cheer Hosanna… Palm branches
  • But still… we are 2000+ years removed from this time & culture
    • And what a 1st century Jew or even Gentile would catch
    • It’s very easy for you and I to miss

This is why we set aside time to understand the setting of what we read

  • And before we go into the story of Palm Sunday and its significance
    • Need to understand some of what original reader understood
    • So b4 we jump in – there is some background work to be done
  • 3 things we need to know before jumping into the story

Turn to Is. 35… 3 prophecies show up in Mark 10-11

  • Anyone 1st Century Jew would have known these prophecies well
    • But today you and I might not know them super well


Is 35:3-5 (ESV)… Prophecy about the coming Messiah – about the Future

  • So for today… all you need to see is
    • When the Messiah comes – He will give sight to the blind
    • Might not seem significant… but that was unheard of…
  • Because many OT prophets did signs/wonders
    • In fact most of what Jesus did… had already been done before
      • Healing sick / Raising dead
      • Walking on water / Feeding 1000’s
    • None of it was unique to Jesus (Done by Moses, Elijah, Elisha)
      • It was a way… not so much to prove Jesus was God
      • More to establish Jesus as a prophet
        • Remember Jesus is our Prophet/Priest & King
        • And these showed God’s hand was upon him
  • BUT – No one had ever healed a blind man before
    • Because that was something that only the Messiah could do
    • It was unique from something that identified a prophet


Zach 9:9 (ESV) – Also prophecy about coming Messiah

  • What you need to see for today – When the Messiah comes
    • He will ride a donkey
    • He will bring an end to violence and war… and bring peace


  • Last Prophet b4 John – Dark time – God has left the temple
    • Temple in Jewish understanding was the center of the universe
    • God’s glory had left
    • And God’s people are captive by Babylon… scared to death
  • But in the silence… the prophets start to speak of a day to come
    • Where God would dwell among his people again
    • Return to the temple in Jerusalem
    • And the end of exile

Mal. 3:1 (ESV)

  • Here’s what you need to see – When YHWH comes… creator God
    • He will come to the temple in the center of Israel’ s faith

TAG: Alright…background done – Good job… Now to Mark 10

Mk 10:46 (ESV)

  • This is really great writing b/c Mark is telling us…
    • 1. He is on the side of the road – Physical Location
    • 2. He is sidelined… on the margin of society – barely making it

Mk 10:47 (ESV)

  • Son of David: Was Code for Messiah
    • From a Prophecy in 2 Sam – Messiah from line of King David
    • So in saying this… I believe that you are the coming Messiah
      • And he would know that Isaiah prophesied
      • The Messiah would bring sight to the blind

Mk 10:48-50 (ESV)

  • That detail is important b/c your cloak in this time was everything
    • It was your blanket to sleep on at night
    • It was your jacket during the day if it was cold
  • If ur a beggar… would spread it out for people to throw coins on
    • Kinda like a modern day tin can
    • So this man throws his cloak aside is how Mark is telling us
      • He is abandoning his one earthly possession
      • To chase after Jesus his messiah

Mk 10:51-52 (ESV)

  • Original Language: Raboni – Similar to Rabbi
    • But it’s a term with far more honor and respect
    • Can be translated: Master or Lord
    • It was a title used in prayer to God around this time
  • Some translations say… healed
    • Others say… saved
    • Because it’s the word SOZO – Where we get “Salvation”
  • So this man is Healed…. But also saved
    • Body & soul… together healing and salvation in Jesus
  • This word followed echo’s the words of Jesus right before this
    • The word FOLLOW
      • Echos the words of Jesus just a few chapters earlier
      • If anyone wants 2 come after me… pick up cross & follow
    • And the idea of WAY (Hodos)… It’s a figure of speech
      • In Mark… all over the NT… early church history
      • Long before we were called Christians
        • We were first called followers of THE WAY (of Jesus)
  • So this man isn’t just following Jesus in the literal sense
    • This is Mark’s way of saying… he is FOLLOWING JESUS
    • Living as a disciple and following Jesus’ WAY of life

Ok – Step back… what is this story doing right here

B/C we can’t just look at these healings as random acts of kindness

  • Easy to look at these stories… whole point of Jesus healing people
    • Jesus is really nice (and I’m sure he is)
    • But there is nothing random about the healing stories
  • Each is strategic in what Mark is trying to speak to his audience
    • Remember we just learned about reading the Bible well
    • Which means we understand (inspired by H.S.)
      • The writers wrote to get us to read a certain way
  • Mark divides his gospel into 2 sections (1-8 & 11-16)
    • Ch. 1-8: The Messiah is here and his name is Jesus
    • Ch. 11-16: Yes… But he isn’t like what you expected

In between those 2 sections are Ch. 9 & 10

  • This is where Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem (all geography)
    • Before this Jesus is up north in Galilee – Home town
    • After this Jesus is in Jerusalem
  • In these 2 chapters Jesus is “On the way” to his calling (death/rez)
    • WHICH IS WHY Jesus gives 3 prophecies on his DEATH & REZ
    • And each one has a pattern
  • 1st: Prophecy: We are going to Jerusalem where I will die and rise
    • Then the disciples don’t get it
      • 1st time – Peter rebukes God
      • 2nd time – They argue who’s greatest
      • 3rd time – James and John conspire to sit at Jesus left/right
    • Then Disciples are rebuked by Jesus (Get behind me Satan)
      • You have no clue what my kingdom is about
      • It’s about serving, loving the unlovable
    • And then is a teaching on the true nature of God’s kingdom
      • How the King and Kingdom is different than their thoughts
      • So these to chapters are all about what it means…
        • To follow this kind of King
        • Into this kind of Kingdom

Now at the very beginning and end of this in between section (Ch 9&10)

  • There r 2 stories of Jesus healing the blind (only place it happens)
    • They are real true stories of Miracles Jesus did
    • But they also are used by Mark to direct the story he is telling
  • The 1st healing… Jesus heals the guy – He see’s but not all the way
    • And you think – What does that mean – Jesus having off day???
    • No… Jesus touches the man a 2nd time and now he see’s clearly
  • Mark uses this to say “This is what is about to happen to disciples”
    • Disciples about to see that Jesus is MORE than Rabbi/Prophet
    • No… He is the long awaited Messiah
      • But the disciples don’t see that clearly
      • Think Messiah is a war hungry/nationalistic/military leader
    • But then in closing story is a man who see’s all at once
      • And He see’s clearly… Son of David… God of Mercy
      • Not a military ruler… but a ruler of mercy
      • “Son of David, have mercy on me”
  • Its Marks way of directing the story – People are starting to get it
    • Jesus is King… but not the kind of King they were expecting

Reason we read it… sets up Chapter 11 (Palm Sunday)

Starting in Ch. 11 we look into the last week of Jesus life

  • Meaning that half of the entire Gospel is dedicated to ONE WEEK
    • 1st half of Mark is over 3 years… 2nd half is over 7 days
    • Biography on Abe Lincoln – 700 pages – One chapter on death
    • Mark dedicates 7 out of 16 chapters to it
      • Meaning this last week is SUPER IMPORTANT

Mk 11:1 (ESV)

  • The journey from Galilee to Jerusalem wasn’t a fun one
    • Galilee is way below sea level and Jerusalem is above
    • So it’s a 15 mile hike that goes up 4000’
    • Most of the journey is totally baren – rocky desert
  • Then right at the end you get to the mount of olives
    • From dead wasteland to green lush vegetation w/in 200 yards
    • Come over rim to Bethphage and there over the rise
    • Perfect view of the city of Jerusalem… pretty amazing sight
  • So Jesus and disciples are coming into the weekend excited
    • Looking forward to the week ahead
    • Well at least the disciples are
  • This is Jesus enacting Zachariah’s prophecy of coming on a donkey

This is what u do for royalty – Road covered in dust, grime, animal muck

  • But the people are putting down their cloaks… spreading branches
    • This was cultural – It’s how u throw a party for guest of honor
    • But you don’t do this for anyone… only for a king
    • And they were singing…

Mk 11:9-10

  • Maybe you’ve sung that word before… no clue what it means
    • Hosanna is a Greek transliteration of well known Hebrew word
    • Like Hallelujah is English transliteration of
      • Hallelu & Yah = Praise Yahweh
  • Same idea but Hosanna means: Save we pray… Save now!!!
    • There’s an ugency and desperation to the word
    • God I need you right in this moment – Save us now
  • And all of this lyric is right out of Ps. 118 singing…
    • Bless’d he who comes in Name of Lord: Jewish Idium: Welcome
    • We welcome you… welcome ur kingdom… your reign

And all of it is directed towards a peasant rabbi from a no name town

  • This is the city of Jerusalem singing: Finally after 100’s of years
    • The long awaited Messiah is here and we are happy
    • Now read the closing verse 11

Mk 11:11 (ESV)

  • This is the epic fulfillment of long awaited prophecy of Ezekiel …
    • Glory of the Lord will come thru east gate off mount of olives
      • Here is Jesus thru east gate… off mount olives
      • Entering the temple itself
    • This is Jesus saying: Not only am I the Messiah u waited for
      • I’m also the embodiment of Yahweh himself
      • Here to bring to life the point of everything up until now
      • Exile is over… I’m back… I’m here
  • And 2 hear what happens next… come back 4 Easter (bring friends)

TAG: How does this story effect us… here in Phoenix… 2021

But thru out this story we see contrast b/w 2 choices

First you have this guy named Blind Bartemaus

  • Earlier in same chapter… there’s a guy called “RICH YOUNG RULER”
    • Wants to follow Jesus but refuses to give all to follow Him
    • And if you read the story… he leaves sad
  • The blind guy on the other hand has NOTHING but a cloak
    • He’s willing to give up his one earthly possession to follow Jesus
    • And he goes away with Joy
  • So there’s a compare/contrast between homeless man & rich man

Then u have Jesus entering Jerusalem

  • This is set against Pilate’s entrance to Jerusalem
    • There’s a back story that we don’t get…
    • Jesus’ procession wasn’t the only one that week
    • The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate also in Jerusalem that week
  • This wasn’t his home… he lives 60 miles away on the coast
    • He would have come to the city for the week of Passover
    • But he would have come from the west on Stallion (war horse)
    • With his army… huge… scary… golden eagles on poles
    • This was specifically to bring fear to every Israelite
  • Because Passover was a dangerous time in Jerusalem (why)
    • Passover was a feast… but it wasn’t about a holiday or eating
    • But to “Never Forget” how God saved Israel from oppression
      • Yet here they are hundreds of years later… no longer free
  • This time not by Egypt but by the Roman Empire
    • Imagine if we were conquered by North Korea (oppressed)
    • Can you imagine what the 4th of July would be like
      • What right now is fun, family and BBQ… blow fingers off
      • Would be a longing for the freedom we once had
  • For that reason Pilate was there with army to keep the peace
    • And the CONTRAST is staggering
      • Pilate from the WEST
      • Jesus from the EAST
      • Pilate with his WAR HORSE
      • Jesus with his DONKEY
      • Pilate with his army of soldiers
      • Jesus with his group of teenage fishermen
      • Pilate with his empire of fear/taxation/oppression
      • Jesus with the kingdom of healing/freedom/new life
  • They were on a collision course for a cross
    • No wonder in a few days Jesus would end up dead
    • With a sign above him saying: “KING OF THE JEWS” in mockery

So its all contrast

  • Man with everything vs Man with nothing
  • A king with earthly power… violence… money vs king with heaven

The call to the reader: Which was will you choose

The way of blind man… or rich man // Way of Pilate… or Jesus

  • And notice there are only 2 choices
    • Most of us want an “Option C”
    • But the Bible doesn’t give option C
  • The Bible is either Black or White
    • Choose life or death
    • Choose to be foolish or wise
    • Choose this day whom you will serve – Yahweh or Ba’al

Will you choose Jesus or something that is not Jesus (no option C)

  • As followers of Jesus everyday we face a choice
    • Do we choose God or do we choose ourself
    • In those moments of truth… where its not the easy choice
  • Which way to you choose
    • When you are alone in apartment w/ boyfriend or girlfriend
    • Sales person – Can make the sale if you just omit some truth
    • U get home from long day at work – sit on couch or play w/ kids
    • With ur spouce in fight – cutting words on tip of tongue
    • Pulling out of driveway on Sunday morning and see neighbor

This is life… nothing more than list of choice after choice after choice

  • Materialism or Giving
  • Hate/Anger or Love/Peace
  • Vengeance or Forgiveness
  • Self-Indulgence or Self-Discipline

And the invitation of Jesus: Choose the way that follows Him

  • When u face the fork in the road (trust me… you will)
    • But it’s not just about Jesus is right – other stuff is wrong (true)
    • It’s also that the way of Jesus is BEST
    • There is NO BETTER WAY to live
      • Freedom
      • Life
      • Joy
      • Love
      • Hope
      • Peace
      • Contentment
      • Fulfillment
      • Confidence in ur future
  • And above all the reward is JESUS!!!
    • Never forget the rewards for following Jesus… IS JESUS
    • So when u come to fork in the road (A or B)
    • And you have to choose…

May you remember that in HIS WAY is life – b/c in Jesus himself is life


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