This Palm Sunday sermon is based on verses 1-2, 6-11, 23, 28-32 of Matthew 21 and was developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett to preach on April 17, 2011 at Faith Community Church, Barre, VT.
• Jesus was nearing the end of his 3 ½ year earthly ministry.
• It was nearly time for the Jewish feast of Passover and Jesus made His way toward Jerusalem to celebrate it.
• Passover was when Jews remembered how God had spared them during the 10th Plague in Egypt when the Death Angel had killed the first born son in every house expect the Jews.
• For centuries the Jewish people have expected the prophet Elijah to show up one year during Passover and announce the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5).
• Therefore, many Jews would to travel to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple during that special time of the year in hopes that would be the year that the Messiah would be revealed.
• It was a time of great anticipation.
• Since Jesus had been gathering huge crowds during this sermons and since He had been healing many people as well as doing other miracles, many people had begun to wonder if Jesus could be the long awaited Messiah.
• Many of them had come to Jerusalem in hopes that Jesus would reveal Himself as the Messiah during Passover.
Verse 8 - A very large crowd spread their robes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road.
• There was always a large crowd in Jerusalem for Passover. But the excitement about Jesus had swelled the crowd to be “very large.”
• Even today, when a church full of people get excited about Jesus, it will swell the crowd!
• Spreading robes on the ground and waving palm branches was the equivalent of bringing out the “red carpet” for Jesus.
• It was a traditional Jewish way of honoring someone special.
• What have we done to honor Jesus in our lives lately?
Verse 9 - Then the crowds who went ahead of Him and those who followed kept shouting: Hosanna to the Son of David!, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!
• The New Testament word “Hosanna” actually comes from an Old Testament phrase “Hoshiya na.”
• That Hebrew phrase is only found in one place in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25.
• The literal translation of this phrase is "Save me, please!”
• It was a desperate cry to God from His people for help.
• Perhaps today some of us need to offer this desperate cry to God in our own lives.
• Notice that they also shouted “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
• The word “blessed” often means “happy” in the New Testament.
• But sometimes it means “anointed or special” which is what it means here.
• Jesus was anointed by the Father to do a special work which no one else could do, which was to free mankind from the curse of sin.
• Have we allowed Jesus to free us from our sin yet? If not, why not let Him do it today?
Verse 10 - When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken, saying, "Who is this?”
• The city was shaken by the presence of Jesus.
• Some were shaking with excitement because they knew who Jesus was.
• Some were shaking with fear because they knew who Jesus was but did not want to follow Him.
• Some were shaking with confusion because they did not know who Jesus was but clearly He was someone special.
• How have we responded to the presence of Jesus in our lives?
• Are we excited to have Jesus in our lives?
• Are we afraid of what it would happen if we got “too much” of Jesus?
• Are we still confused about what kind of connection we should have with Jesus?
Verse 23 - When Jesus entered the temple complex He began to teach parables . . .[one went like this]
• Parables are earthly stories that have heavenly meanings.
• Jesus often taught in parables because it helped people relate to the spiritual truth He was teaching and also because He wanted people to have to think through what He said.
• Jesus told a parable about a man with two sons.
Verses 28-29 - "But what do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'My son, go, work in the vineyard today. "He answered, 'I don't want to!' Yet later he changed his mind and went.
• In the parable, the father asked his first son to go work in the vineyard.
• At first the son says no, but then he realized that was wrong and went and worked.
• How many of us have felt the call of God to do something in our lives and at first refused?
• Obviously, we should learn to obey immediately when we sense God leading us.
• But sometimes we are hard-headed and need time to see the error of our ways.
• It is better to obey Christ “late” than to never obey Him at all.
Verse 30 - Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. 'I will, sir,' he answered. But he didn't go.
• In the parable, the father went to the second son and asked him to also go work in the vineyard.
• The son said he would obey.
• He even pretended to show respect to the father by calling him “sir.”
• But once the father walked away, the second son ignored what the father asked him to do, showing that he was neither obedient nor respectful.
• Too many Christians pretend to be spiritual and put on a face for others when they are actually not obeying the Lord at all.
Verse 31 - "Which of the two did his father's will?" "The first," they said. Jesus said to them, "I assure you: Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you!
• Jesus asked the crowd listening to His parable which of the two sons was actually obedient to the father.
• It was obvious to the crowd that the first son, though at first refusing to obey, was in the end, the one who did the right thing.
• Jesus then made a comparison from the story to the people who witnessed Him enter Jerusalem as the long awaited Messiah.
• Though many sinful people had not obeyed God for much of their lives, they now had seen the light and had become true believers.
• Jesus is the Messiah and deserves to be treated special.
• We may have failed to treat Jesus special in the past, but with God’s help we can change.
• As we see other people whom we may think are more broken than us also be changed, it should cause us to look deeper into our own souls and change even more.
• Jesus is the only hope any of us have for lasting change in our lives.