The Triumphal Entry :: Fr John 20170409

What if Jesus held his triumphal entry into Bellingham today? Well, according to Warren W. Wiersbe, he wouldn’t get to far before being detained by police for the numerous complaints filed by the following:

The FDA for turning water into wine without a license, the EPA for killing fig trees, the AMA for practicing medicine without a license, the Dept. of Health for asking people to open graves so He could raise the dead the NEA for teaching without a certificate, OSHA for walking on water without a lifejacket the SPCA for driving hogs into the sea, the NATIONAL BOARD of PSYCHIATRISTS for giving advice on how to live a guilt-free life, and by the ZONING DEPT for building mansions without a permit.

The point is that it would be very likely that if Christ were to walk into one of our modern day communities today, He would likely not be entirely understood. And this actually was the case 2,000 years ago when He rode in on the back of a donkey. The people held up their palm branches crying out Hossanah!!! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! But why? Because a few centuries earlier, Jewish crowds had done the same thing as the Maccabean heroes had ridden into Jerusalem victoriously after driving out the pagan Greeks who had desecrated the Temple! They were heroes! They were victorious, they had restored the honor of the people and, it seemed the honor of God! So here, the people gathered around Christ have this imagery in their heads, and they are prepared to celebrate His victory over the pagan Romans, and the restoration of the peoples honor and, dare we say it, even God’s. This is why they cry Hosannah!! A shortened Aramaic form of the Hebrew for “Save us.”

But…that is not what happened as we know. And we know that those who waved the branches so joyfully and victoriously on Palm Sunday, would soon be weeping, crying, or completely silent as a far angrier crowd would soon lead a broken, ripped and bleeding Jesus out of the city, to kill Him in one of the most horrific ways possible. And those who shortly before had proclaimed Hosannah!!! Would remain silent, or turn away, or deny Him, or even betray Him…. For their understanding of what His mission was and what He was doing was different from the reality. And we have no right to judge them. For in a sense, when we who stand here today and hold the palm branches turn away from our God, whether that be in denial or our own false expectations we place on Him, or in the sins we commit despite knowing what He has done…… we too are like those people of Jerusalem so long ago, who went from crying out in victory to turning away when that victory did not materialize for them.

But nevertheless, in both cases, Christ would answer the cry of Hosannah “Save us!”, even if those who were calling it out were not fully able to perceive Him or what his purpose was. Despite the silence of those who looked on and did nothing in His time of trail, He still suffered on their behalf. And His victory was far more glorious than any could have been anticipated, and the cries of Hosannah, SAVE US, far more closer to home and reality than anyone could have imagined.

And so this week, Holy Week, we remember the story of how this happened. This great victory that looked like such a horrific defeat. And we well to do so, because it is just as much our story in so many ways. For we, who have gathered together to remember it and give our own cries of “Hosanna”, are participants in this story just as much today, and perhaps in ways that may surprise us.

A dear friend of mine, called to do ministry in the inner city of London was once was given a dream, a vision, from our God. He saw crowds of Englishmen running from all across London. They were ripping branches off of the few trees along the street as they did, with smiles on their faces, their eyes bright with hope and excitement. They were saying, “He’s here. He is here!” And they ran down the street, and as he made is way to the crowd he could hear shouts of “Hosannah, hosannah, save us Lord, save us!” And when the crowds parted, there was Jesus, riding into the midst of London. But He was not being carried by a donkey….He was being carried on the back of my friend. And he carried our Lord into the city of London.

And so the story goes on, the story of redemption and our Lord’s ever pursuing love to rescue and redeem His children from sin and death. And this is our story, for it was our fate, our souls and our redemption that were at stake during that fateful week so long ago when Jesus rose into Jerusalem. And despite the silence and betrayal that Jesus was destined to meet from those who should have kept on crying Hosannah, He still continued on, past the city gates, and to all that awaited Him. And this Holy Week, we are called not only to remember and give thanks for that, But to also remember that the story goes on, and our participation in it. In sense we are called to be the donkeys carrying our Lord further to those who, whether they understand it or not, cry out Save us, Lord save us… Because He will. Because He is Emmanuel. Because He is God with us. And this is His story, and it is ours. And it is the greatest story ever told.

Almighty and everliving God, in Your tender love for the human race, You sent Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ to take our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of His great humility, Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of His suffering, and also share in His resurrection, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Who in His great mercy has promised forgivness of sins to all those who sincerely repent and with true faith turn to Him, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

As we now approach the time where we are to offer our gifts unto God, it is worth remembering that the gifts of God’s people are not just the bread and wine that will be consecrated and given to you as a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice; they are also our offerings and tithes. Here at New Hope, our offerings and tithes are left in the plate at the back of

the sanctuary. They will be carried forward for blessing after the passing of the

peace. If you feel so called to give today, you may do so during the peace.

Because You gave Your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind from the power of darkness; Who having finished the work You gave Him to do, was lifted high upon the cross that He might draw the whole world to Himself, and, being made perfect through suffering, might become the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

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