Palm Sunday April 5 2020

 

With this being the first Sunday of the month I would like to encourage our congregation during this time of self quarantine, to participate in a home communion time. I would like to suggest that we all set aside a few moments beginning at 11:00 am Sunday morning to share a communion with our families.  If we all begin at this hour it will be a joint communion in the Spirit although we may be apart in the physical.

Take a small piece of bread and with a little juice conduct your family communion. You can read the following Scriptures at any point in your ceremony of worship to honour our Lord and Saviour in a time of remembrance and a time of looking forward. May God bless you each at this time and draw you closer to Him and to each other. Remember, also to pray for at least one other person in our fellowship.

Scriptures

Luke 23: 15-20 “And he said to them, ‘With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not anymore eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ And he took the cup, and gave thanks and said, ‘Take this, and share it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.’ And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.’”

Sing a favourite hymn or chorus and praise Jesus, our Lord and Messiah.

There follows a pastoral prayer before the message of the week.

 

 

PASTORAL PRAYER

Dear Father in Heaven, we rejoice because You are our Lord and our God. You who made heaven and earth honour us with Your Great Love. We are completely blown away by Your Amazing Plan of Salvation. Thank You for Jesus, Your only begotten Son, our Saviour. We are so incredibly delighted that because our sins are covered by the holy blood of Jesus that we have the privilege of being in right relationship with You. Thank You  Father for how Jesus taught His disciples and how He continues to teach us. We are so grateful Lord for Your Word. Thank You that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Thank You that it is only through Jesus that we may come to You. We appreciate His willingness to live as a man and to die as a man that we may have our sins forgiven and eternal life with You. Hallelujah!

Throughout His life Jesus constantly declared “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” And we declare it today as well Lord, just as Jesus told His disciples to do when He sent them out to heal the sick and set the demon oppressed free. Father we agree with Your Word, and submit to Your sayings. We endeavor to keep Your Word before our eyes and in the centre of our hearts. According to the Holy Scriptures, Your Word is our medicine: it is Life, Healing and Health to every part of our lives. – Proverbs 4:20-22

Lord, You have ordained that Life and Death are in the Power of the Tongue. Therefore we choose to speak Your Word over our bodies and our lives that we may walk in the harvest of our Faith-Filled Words. – Proverbs 18:20-21

Lord, Your Word is Life! – John 1:1-5 It overcomes death in any situation or circumstance.

Lord, Your Word is Light! – John 1:1-5 It overpowers and shatters the darkness.

Help us Lord, to always choose to speak Life and Light: the Word of God tabernacled in Jesus. Remind us of the Power of declaring Your Word, and help us in any area of unbelief about this. Remind us to apply our faith to Your Word that we may walk in the Harvest of Abundant Life that Jesus died to give us. In Jesus’ Name. To God be the Glory!

We worship You Lord. You deserve all of our Worship and all of our Praise. According to Your Word, when we do this, Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, rises within us with healing in His wings. – Malachi 4:2 Hallelujah!

Thank You Lord, that according to Your Word, You forgive ALL of our iniquities and heal ALL of our diseases; You redeem our lives from the pit; You crown us with Love and Compassion; and You renew our youth as the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:3-5

Thank You Lord that we are healed because Jesus paid it all, He bore the stripes on His back.  – 1 Peter 2:24 We don’t understand why it had to be this way but we praise You wholeheartedly.

According to Your Word Lord, the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in each one of us, and gives life to every part of our mortal bodies. – Romans 8:11 Thank You Lord for healing my _____________ (at this time you may lay hands on any part of your body that needs healing, believing that God wants to heal You and knowing that He delights in your well-being).

And Father, as we continue to pray and declare Your Word in Psalm 91 we are trusting You to preserve and protect us in these dark days. (Please take time to read it as circulated in March.)  Thank You Lord that we do not need to fear because You have chosen us and You are with us and take us by the right hand. – Isaiah 41:8-10,13 Thank You Lord that we shall not die but live and proclaim the wonderful works of the Lord. – Psalm 118:17 In Jesus mighty name! Hallelujah! Glory to God!

As we partake of communion this morning Lord, we submit to You, Your Love, and Your Word knowing that You are our very LIFE, we cling to You O Lord our God.

Thank You Father for the Word You have given Pastor Bob. Help us to have our eyes and ears wide open to receive the Truth that You have for us here today.

We submit our worship, praise and prayers in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Note: There is great comfort for all of us in the Word of God. As believers we are descendants of Abraham, therefore many Old Testament promises are equally for us. In Isaiah 41:8-10,13 the Lord Almighty says:     But you I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham. I have called you and chosen you. Fear not for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you (and harden you to difficulties). Yes, I will help you. I will uphold and sustain you (and give the victory) with My Righteous Right Hand. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you “Fear not, I will help you.” – AMPC

 

 

PALM SUNDAY 2020

 

I begin this message by once again reminding you of the poem, The Donkey written by G. K. Chesterton. It concerns the donkey that bore Jesus as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

The donkey is bemoaning its looks and characteristics.

It is critical of his long ears, its irritating cry, its big head, and its reputation of stubbornness.

It has been mistreated and starved and ridiculed.

But in the last stanza it rejoices because it had its moment in the sun, carrying The Son upon its back – the first one to ever ride upon her.

 

THE DONKEY

 

WHEN FISHES FLEW AND FORESTS WALKED

AND FIGS GREW UPON THORN,

SOME MOMENT WHEN THE MOON WAS BLOOD

THEN SURELY I WAS BORN.

 

WITH MONSTROUS HEAD AND SICKENING CRY

AND EARS LIKE ERRANT WINGS

THE DEVIL’S WALKING PARODY

ON ALL FOUR FOOTED THINGS.

 

THE TATTERED OUTLAW OF THE EARTH

OF ANCIENT CROOKED WILL

STARVE, SCOURGE, DERIDE ME, I AM DUMB

I KEEP MY SECRET STILL

 

FOOLS! FOR I ALSO HAD MY HOUR

ONE FAR FIERCE HOUR AND SWEET:

THERE WAS A SHOUT ABOUT MY EARS

AND PALMS BEFORE MY FEET.

G.K.Chesterton

Shouts about my ears and palms before my feet. This little creature heard and saw. What about us? Are our ears attuned to the Master’s voice? “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” 1

All nature ‘shouts’ about the reality of our Creator. All creatures attest to His glory and power and beauty. This colt walked upon a path strewn with palm fronds. A path ordained by our Lord. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” 2 What do our ears hear; what path do our feet follow? The Bible has much to say about God using the foolish things of the earth to confound the wise; the unseemly ones, the weak ones, to bring Him His glory. 3 Maybe you are uncertain today whether God knows of your situation. Perhaps you see yourself as a donkey at times either in looks or character. But we all can have our moment – when our long misshapen ears hear His voice. The Lord spoke the word, way back, through the prophet Zechariah, and set this young donkey aside, sanctified, for the coming Messiah. 4 This donkey was created and purposed by the Almighty God, to the service of Messiah. This was no chance occurrence, and neither are you. The word was spoken, the circumstances prophesized, and the donkey was right where it was supposed to be, ready and equipped for its “call.” 5 How about you? Is your faith such that you can recognize this about yourself? That you have been created for a purpose of the Most High God? That you have been placed where you are and when you are? This donkey had a home, as do you; had a family, as do you. It lived in a small community on an even smaller farm, at the edge of a desert. A desert not only of a scarcity of water and food but also a scarcity of the hearing and acceptance of the word of God. YET, there she waited to bear the Son of Man upon her back. We have an opportunity to bear the Son of God within our own earthly temples! 6

“I know the plans I have for you . . .” 7 Perhaps it’s time, this Palm Sunday, to align ourselves with His purposes for us. The people cried out as Jesus entered Jerusalem, Hosanna to the son of David: blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” 8

These are the shouts that echoed about the obedient donkey’s ears.  These cries also echoed about the ears of the keepers of religion, the high priest, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They ordered Jesus to silence the voices. But Jesus replied that if they were to be silent, even the very stones would cry out and do so immediately! 9 It seems even stones have ears to hear what the Spirit says. The fleshy ears of the doubters could not hear. Their ears were not of stone, but their hearts certainly were.  And when Jesus left the city later in the afternoon to return to Bethany for the night, He passed the barren fig tree. The fig tree is the symbol of Israel in Scripture. Jesus cursed this fig tree because it had beautiful leaves but no fruit.10 The religious leadership had rejected their Messiah. They had a ceremonial show of great piety. They paraded about with their leaves held out for all to see, but they lacked the true faith and fruit.  And as the religious boasted of their leaves, the faithful laid theirs at the feet of our donkey. Jesus called them, “White sepulchers full of dead men’s bones.” 11 He cursed the fig tree because, “Israel knew not the hour of its visitation.” 11b Let us not miss the time(s) of our visitations by our Lord.

You will recall, as Jesus crested the Mount of Olives, on His way toward Jerusalem, He paused and wept over the city. You see, He knew what was before Him. He was aware of His coming rejection by those to whom He had come to save. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” Just as would be the fig tree. “For I say unto you, ‘You will not see me henceforth till you will say, ‘Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.’’” The very words His followers were crying out as He entered Jerusalem. The very thing the stones were prepared to cry out! 12 And this will eventually come to fruition, sometime in the distant future when a repentant Israel returns home from its Diaspora.13  By the way, this was not the first time God used a donkey to educate us – there was a talking donkey once, but that’s another story. 14

FOUR DAYS OF INSPECTION

Let me clarify the timing of the Passion Week.

The Hebrew day begins at Sundown, 6:00 pm, the previous night. So, a Thursday would run from 6:00 Wednesday evening, Sundown, through to 6:00 pm Thursday Sundown.  Consider the following.

According to John 12:1 Jesus arrived at Bethany on Thursday the 8th of Nisan, and stayed at the home of Lazarus and his two sisters. Recall that Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave after he had been dead for four days. A foreshadow of His own coming resurrection and one of the four Messianic miracles that Jesus performed signifying that He indeed was Messiah.  Remember Jerusalem and environs would be extremely crowed due to the approaching feast days, so this would be a logical and prophetic spot to stay for Jesus. Bethany, you may recall, was the town where the Passover lambs where kept and nourished until being released to graze out on the hills of the Kidron Valley. The Lamb of God was staying at the very place where the lambs for Passover were being sheltered.

Below is an outline of the week of Passion through to the resurrection.

There were many “Sabbaths” not just the normal weekly Sabbaths of Saturdays. The entire feast of Passover involves The feast of Passover on Nisan 14, the feast of Unleavened Bread on Nisan 15, and the feast of First Fruits on Nisan 18.

Wed. 6:00 pm –  Thursday  -Thur. 6:00pm  8th of Nisan (Hebrew month)a

Thur. 6:00 pm – Friday – Fri. 6:00 pm          9th of Nisan – b

Fri. 6:00 pm – Saturday – Sat. 6:00 pm       10th of Nisan – *

Sat. 6:00 pm – Sunday – Sun. 6:00 pm        11th of Nisan – **

Sun. 6:00 pm – Monday – Mon. 6:00 pm        12th of Nisan – ***

Mon. 6:00 pm – Tuesday – Tue. 6:00 pm        13th of Nisan – +

Tue. 6:00 pm – Wednesday – Wed. 6:00 pm  14th of Nisan – ++

Wed. 6:00 pm – Thursday – Thur. 6:00 pm     15th of Nisan – +++

Thur. 6:00 pm – Friday – Fri. 6:00 pm               16th of Nisan – !

Fri. 6:00 pm – Saturday – Sat. 6:00 pm             17th of Nisan – !!

Sat. 6:00 pm – Sunday – Sun. 6:00 pm              18th Nisan – !!!

a  Thursday Nisan 8th Jesus arrives at Bethany 6 days before Passover, the 14th of Nisan. Jn. 12:1.

b He has supper. This would be the start of Friday. He is anointed by Mary with the expensive oil. Judas is critical. But Jesus explains that she is anointing Him for His burial, verse 7.

* Jn. 12:12 – on the next day, Saturday 10th of Nisan, Jesus leaves Bethany for Jerusalem.  Triumphal Entrance. Mt. 21:5,12,17; Mk. 11:7;Luke 19:28. The Passover lambs are chosen on this day, Nisan 10th, as Jesus is passing through the fields of the Passover lambs. The High Priest is selecting the Passover lamb at this exact moment and place.

**Returns to Bethany for night. Sunday, 11th Nisan. Curses the fig tree. Mt. 21:18,Mk. 11:2.

*** Conspirators counsel, Monday.  12th Nisan. Mt. 26:2, Mk. 11:20; 14:1; Luke. 22:1

+ Returns for last supper, Tuesday, 13th Nisan. Mt. 26:17;Mk.14:7,12. And Luke 22:7 which says, “between the evenings.” (This means the supper was between 6:00 pm Tuesday and 6:00 pm Wednesday.)

++ Betrayal, Garden, Trial and crucifixion. Wednesday. 14th Nisan.        Jn. 19:14, 31,42; Mk. 15:42; Luke 23:17,54.

+++ Feast of Unleavened Bread. Thursday, 15th Nisan. Lev. 23:4-8.

This is why everything had to be done in haste. Before the start of Unleavened Bread all work had to be done. The body of Christ needed to be taken down quickly and His burial had to be finished before 6:00 pm on the 15th of Nisan.

!  The women prepared spices. Friday 16th Nisan. Luke 23:56.

!!  Saturday, 17th Nisan, the women rested after the Sabbaths. Luke 23:56; Matt. 28:1 This was also the Saturday, the weekly Sabbath.

!!!  Early Sunday morning, 18th Nisan, the day of the feast of First Fruits, Christ rose! Matt. 28:11;Mk. 16:1; Luke 24:1; Jn. 20:1.

Every detail, every moment was ordained and CONTROLLED by the Messiah. He “forced” the conspirators to act in haste when He revealed to Judas that He was aware of his coming betrayal. Judas left the last supper in a hurry and went to the priests. They then determined to do away with Jesus within the short window of time between the festive Sabbaths. Jesus controlled the events in the garden not the soldiers.15

At the very moment the High Priest was out on the slopes overlooking Jerusalem, selecting the Passover lambs, Jesus passed by. On the very day that Daniel prophesized the hour of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus passed under the gates of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.16 At the hour of the sacrificing of the Passover lamb, Christ was being crucified. At the opening of the feast of Unleavened Bread, Christ body, broken for us was buried, our Bread of Heaven. And for exactly, three days and three nights as He himself mentioned, He lay in the tomb. The three nights of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and three days of Thursday, Friday and Saturday.17 And precisely, on the first day of the Feast of First Fruits, Jesus arose early Sunday morning, the first fruit of the resurrection.18

What have we to fear? Who else deserves our trust? Who indeed is the Resurrection and the Life? Who is The Way, The Truth, and the Light? We cling to a God who is above all, beneath all, through all and in each of us! So precise with history, can we not trust Him with our history, with your history, with my history?

During the interval between His arrival on Palm Sunday and His crucifixion there were four days of inspection. The priests were conducting their own four-day inspections of the Passover lambs during this interval to determine if they were worthy to be Passover lambs. From the 11th of Nisan through to the 14th Jesus also presented His credentials during these four days, as our Passover Lamb, for all to see. You can read one such account in Luke 20. The religious leadership inspected Jesus as follows. They began by questioning His authority.

The priests, Sadducees and Pharisees questioned, “by what authority do you do these things?” This after Jesus disrupted the corrupt economy of the temple by overturning the tables. He proceeded to turn-the-tables on them by asking about their belief in the baptism of John. They next questioned his views on money and again His answer deflated their puffed up self evaluation.  They questioned the resurrection! This from the One who was, is and always will be The Resurrection and the Life. He would later demonstrate that resurrection was not just a point of theology but a living reality. Finally, they questioned the claim that He was more than the son of David. “Before Abraham was, I am!” For the four days, while the priests inspected the Passover lambs Jesus presented His credentials. Even Herod and Pilot found no fault in Him. No spot, no blemish, the Perfect Lamb of God, sent to fulfill all that was promised of our Messiah, come to be our Passover Lamb.19

Let whoever has an ear hear what the Spirit says to the churches. There were shouts about the donkey’s ears and palms about his feet.

If you listen carefully you can hear the shouts and the donkey’s footfalls. Will you welcome Him with rejoicing this day? Will you allow Him to enter into all those secret and hidden areas of your life? He can be trusted; He will be faithful; He will sooth your ears with words of comfort and He will direct your feet. Amen

 

Footnotes

1 John 10:27                                                2 Ps. 119:105

3 1 Cor. 1:27                                                4 Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:5

5 Matt. 15:23                                              6 2 Cor. 4:7

7 Jer. 29:11                                                            8 Matt. 21:9

9 Luke 19:40                                                10 Matt. 21:19

11 Matt. 23:37                                            11b Luke 19:44

12 Matt. 23:37-39                                      13 Zech. 12:10-11; Hosea 5:15

14 Num. 22                                                  15 Chuck Missler Feasts of Israel

16 Dan. 9:24-27                                          17 Luke 11:29

18 1 Cor. 15:23                                            19 1 Peter 1:19

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