Palm Sunday Victory Sacrifice

Palm Sunday is nearly upon us, and since I have too many thoughts to put into one sermon you will get some here. Read Mark 11.

Jesus is the coming King. He is announced as king and rides into the city with a kingly greeting (11:8-10). The Son of David has come to the holy city which was under foreign oppression. No wonder the people were excited. Perhaps they thought they were about to be liberated from the tyranny of Rome. Perhaps Jesus, the Son of David, would remove the despotic Herodian dynasty. Perhaps like faithful kings of old, this Son of David would clean up the priesthood and remove the covenant breakers.

What we see happen is actually anticlimactic. Jesus rides into the city, visits the Temple, looks around, and leaves. Remember the people were all shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”

This is a quotation from Psalm 118:26. Their expectations were a bit let down, I bet. Israel longed for a king because they desperately needed one. Think of the great novel from Tolkien, The Return of the King. If you have read it, you will know what Gondor was like without the true king. You will also know the joy that that the people had when the son of Arathorn was seated on the throne. They needed their king. Israel needed the Son of David to reclaim the throne and they longed for the promised King. And when the King comes, He leaves.

Well, perhaps continuing to read Psalm 118 would have beneficial.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of Yahweh!
    We bless you from the house of Yahweh.
27 The Yahweh is God,
    and He has made His light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
    up to the horns of the altar!
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to You;
    You are my God; I will extol You.
29 Oh give thanks to the Yahweh, for He is good;
    for His steadfast love endures forever!

The people were expecting Jesus, coming in the Name of the Lord, to route their enemies and save the people establishing His Kingdom like a king on war horse riding out to conquer.

Well, Jesus does conquer. He does rout His enemies, and He does save His people, but He does differently than the kings of the nations. He does it like Psalm 118 shows us. Jesus is the light of the world, He is the light of God and from God, and He has been given to the world for the purpose of sacrifice. This is what the Psalm says in verse 27. Jesus is the sacrifice. He comes in the Name of Yahweh to be King, but He is the King who conquers by giving Himself. He is the sacrifice bound on the altar cross.

I mean, look around. His people have salvation from all their enemies, even death. And you can’t find me a Roman from the Empire, or a Herodian, and yet Jesus is alive and crowned King and His people, citizens of the Kingdom, are conquering the earth; for His steadfast love endures forever.


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