Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Palm Sunday:
‘Hosanna and the Palm Sunday Story’
© March 25, 2018, by Steve Mickelson
Announcements & Call to Worship; Prayer
Opening Hymn: Hosanna (See Front of Bulletin); Choruses:
Prayers and Tithing; Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings
Responsive Reading #631: The Incarnate Christ (-from John1)
Message by Stephen Mickelson: ‘Hosanna and the Palm Sunday Story’
Let us pray…
Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church’s Palm Sunday Celebration Service. Our lesson today is about: ‘Hosanna and the Palm Sunday Story’.
Palm Sunday is the date that the Christian Church observes the fulfillment of the long-awaited prophecy that God would send His only Son, as a Savior to the people of the world suffering under the death for sins, which hovers overall like an ominous dark cloud of death. That prophecy is found in Zechariah 9:9-10 (ESV):
The Coming King of Zion
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River[a] to the ends of the earth.
Footnotes: a. Zechariah 9:10 That is, the Euphrates
Many of the faithful believed that the deliverer sent by God would be arriving at Jerusalem as a mighty king as described in Zechariah 9 and lead his people in a battle against Rome, not unlike the Battle of Jericho described in Joshua 6:2-20, a lesson topic that we studied in our March 6 Worship Service.
The events of Jesus’ arrival, described as The Triumphal Entry may be found in several of the disciples’ gospels. For our lesson, we will look at the account from Matthew 21:1-11 (ESV):
The Triumphal Entry
21 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 “Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt,[a] the foal of a beast of burden.’”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Footnotes: a, Matthew 21:5 Or donkey, and on a colt
You will note that as Jesus arrived at Jerusalem, many of the people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
What do the crowds mean when the people shouted Hosanna?
When used in a liturgical context, Hosanna refers to a cry expressing an appeal for divine help.
In Jewish liturgy, the word is applied specifically to the Hoshana Service, a cycle of prayers from which a selection is sung each morning during Sukkot, the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. The complete cycle is sung on the seventh day of the festival, which is called Hoshana Rabbah (הושענא רבא, “Great Hosanna”).
“Hosanna” was the shout of praise or adoration made in recognition of the Messiahship of Jesus on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” It is used in the same way in Christian praise.
And what about the terms Messiah or Christ, used to describe the Lord?
The Greek translation of Messiah is khristos (χριστός), anglicized as Christ, and Christians commonly refer to Jesus as either the “Christ” or the “Messiah”. Christians believe that Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in the mission, death, and resurrection of Jesus and that he will return to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy.
The majority of historical and mainline Christian theologies consider Jesus to be the Son of God and God the Son, a concept of the Messiah fundamentally different from the Jewish and Islamic concepts.
Many Christians mistakenly use Christ and Jesus, as if both interchangeably describe the given name of the same man. As instructed by angels who visited both Mary and Joseph, Mary would give birth to her son, who was fathered by the Holy Spirit, and they were instructed to name him Jesus. In time Jesus would grow to fulfill the prophecies to bring reconciliation and sanctification to all humanity by his death as the Son of God, and he demonstrate his identity of being God the Son by his resurrection. Jesus would later show his love for us, by sending us the Holy Spirit of God to be our companion now and forever.
It is interesting that though the people gathered at the entrance of Jerusalem, awaiting the arrival of Jesus, shouted out to him: “Hosanna,” which was a plea for mercy that acknowledges the power and authority of the Messiah or the Christ sent by God the Father. However, we see in Matthew 21:10-11, some mistakenly identified Jesus as a prophet:
10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Perhaps it was the fact that Jesus arrived on a colt, the foal of a donkey, or because the Lord did not arrive clothed in royal raiment, along with an entourage befitting a king, many in the crowd assumed Jesus to be just a humble prophet. Contrary to the expectations of some, Jesus did not arrive on a chariot or horse, dressed as a king, dressed in expensive robes worn by kings, and emperors of the day. The Triumphal Entry did not include horns and a mighty army as Joshua had brought to battle Jericho. The Messiah’s mission was not to battle the army of the Empire and bring down the walls of the city of Rome. Our Christ was on a more important mission: to bring salvation to humanity and to demonstrate the love of God by allowing himself to be the final sacrifice for sin. The disobedience of Adam and Eve, with the help of the devil, would be forgiven through the obedience of the Son of God, who defeated both sin and the devil on the Cross at Calvary. Christ did not come as a Messiah for the people of Israel, The Lord’s teachings and actions would enact God’s New Covenant of salvation, resurrection, and the gift of the Spirit to all of humanity, for all time, allowing all of us to join God’s Chosen.
That was the same misperception that the Woman of Samaria had in last Sunday’s lesson, John 4:19-26 (ESV), where the Samaritan said in John 4:19 (ESV), also misidentifies Jesus as a prophet:
19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.
And later the Samaritan woman acknowledges in John 4:25 (ESV) that a Messiah is coming:
25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”
It is then, in John 4:26 (ESV), that Jesus corrects the Samaritan woman by identifying himself as the Messiah,
26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
The frequent misidentification of Jesus as a humble prophet instead of the Messiah sent by the Father was not just a case of erroneous identification, but an integral part of the Ministry of Jesus, as we see in Mark 10:42-45 (ESV):
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[a]44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave[b] of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Footnotes: a. Mark 10:43 Greek diakonos b. Mark 10:44 Or bondservant, or servant (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos)
The importance of Ministering the Gospel of Jesus with humility is reinforced when Jesus teaches his way of ministry in the most humble way when he washes the feet of the disciples, described in John 13:1-17 (ESV):
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet,[a] but is completely clean. And you[b] are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant[c] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Footnotes: a. John 13:10 Some manuscripts omit except for his feet b. John 13:10 The Greek words for you in this verse are plural c. John 13:16 Or bondservant, or slave (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)
If Jesus were just playing the role of servant for the Passover Meal, he would have washed the disciples’ feet before the meal. But to avoid this perception, an assure that the twelve would understand that he was teaching an important lesson by the example of humility. He would humble himself even more by allowing himself to be betrayed, denied, tried and convicted as a criminal, crucified for the judgment, though he were innocent. Though the Lord was the Son of God, he allowed himself to die the death as the humble son of man.
As disciples of the Resurrected Christ, we are expected to carry out the Great Commission in the same humble manner as Jesus. Instead of teaching the Gospel of Jesus, we must follow the humble example of the Lord, by way of the truth in our words and love in our actions, as explained in Philippians 2:3-11 (ESV):
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c]being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Footnotes: a.Philippians 2:5 Or which was also in Christ Jesus b. Philippians 2:6 Or a thing to be held on to for advantage c. Philippians 2:7 Or slave (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)
Jesus came in the form of a humble servant, preferring to identify himself as the son of man: born in a humble stable, arriving at Jerusalem riding on the foal of a donkey, though innocent, he died the death of a criminal to pay our debt for our sins by surrendering his blood, his body, his life as the perfect love offering. Jesus died a man’s death as the son of man, only to return three days later, as the resurrected Son of God, a Messiah for all of humanity, for all generations, our Lord of lords and King of kings, forever, until the end of time.
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #398: I Come to the Garden Alone
Benediction – 2 Corinthians 13:14: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.