We begin a NEW sermon series entitled “The Greatest Comeback”. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Beverley Sills.
Jesus weeps over Jerusalem – Key verses (41 – 44)
41 But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. 43 Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. 44 They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.”
Today as we celebrate Palm Sunday, we join with the ancient crowds who lined the streets with palm branches to welcome the King into Jerusalem. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem was the fulfilment of an Old Testament prophecy in the book of Zechariah.
Zec 9:9 (MSG)
“Shout and cheer, Daughter Zion! Raise the roof, Daughter Jerusalem! Your king is coming! a good king who makes all things right, a humble king riding a donkey, a mere colt of a donkey.
Why the use of a donkey?
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy by making his entrance into Jerusalem on a borrowed colt. Christ riding on a donkey represents his kingdom as one of peace and reconciliation. In Jesus’ day, a military king would often use a horse that symbolized war and conquering by force. Jesus came to offer peace to Jerusalem and ultimately to the entire world.
What caused Jesus to weep on such a joyous occasion?
Jesus looked over the city and was reduced to tears because of Jerusalem’s pending calamity. Approximately 40 years later everything that Jesus said came true. In AD 66, the Jews revolted against Roman Control leading to years of uncertainty and the threats of invasion. In AD 70 Roman Soldiers brutally attacked Jerusalem causing the deaths of around six hundred thousand.
As we celebrate Palm Sunday in 2023 let us consider our community, nation, and world today. Would Jesus be moved to tears at the sight of what is happening around us today?
Despite the tears for evil acts of violence and the current state of affairs in the world today, there is still so much for us to be excited about! Why?
Because God stepped into the chaos – v34-38
The incarnation is a constant theme throughout the Gospel according to John (See Jn 1:1-18, 5:17-47,8:12-59) Jesus did not halt His Journey into Zion despite knowing their impending calamity.
Despite the chaos in the world, Christ has come to offer Salvation, peace, and life abundantly.
Challenge – Just as God chose to step into the chaos of sin, the church is called to step into the darkness to make a difference for Christ. Each one of us can shine the light of Christ wherever we go. Are you shining the light of peace and love in your community?
Because the palms can influence the stones – v37-40
(See also Jn 8:1-11 & 53-59)
Stones in Jesus’ day according to the law of Moses were often used in acts of punishment and retribution.
Jesus was nearly stoned by the religious authorities in Jn 8:59
Unfortunately, today we see the impact of anger and hate that can lead to fits of rage, wars, and violence.
The Palms laid on the path for Jesus signifies the Messiah comes in peace – v38.
Challenge – We may not be able to eliminate all forms of evil in our world throughout our lifetimes, but if we can use our palms instead of stones, one by one we can see our society drenched more in the love of Christ and less in the ways of Satan.
House group Questions
- Talk about the age-old question of why God allows suffering, war, and evil to infiltrate the world? Think about some bible passages that can help to answer this question.
- Talk about some of the current local, national, and world affairs. In what ways do you see similarities to the impending destruction of Jerusalem? (See Luke 19:41-44)
- Do you agree or disagree with the statement from the sermon that total world peace will not be possible until the millennial reign of Christ on earth? Discuss the reasons for your view.
- Read Revelation 20:1-15. Discuss the role and impact of the devil on the earth. Is Satan responsible for all the bad things that happen in our world or are human beings to blame?
- Describe what it is that the people of Jerusalem missed in verses 42-44. Why are there such dire consequences for missing out on the significance of Jesus?
- 4. In Luke 12:49-53, the passage from this weekend’s sermon, Jesus says he did not come to “bring peace, but division.” However, Luke 19:38 and 42 refer to Jesus as one who brings peace. How are both of these things true?