When you think of Palm Sunday, what do you think of? Where do you see yourself in the account of this memorable day? Where should you see yourself in these events? What can this day teach us about daily living in 2016? Let’s answer those questions!
Palm Sunday: Associations
What does Palm Sunday bring to your mind? One of our first thoughts is: Triumphal Entry. I am sure you recall the beginning of these events from Matthew 21. Jesus told His disciples:
Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.
It wasn’t surprising that the disciples found everything just as Jesus said it would be. They brought the animals to Jesus and He rode into Jerusalem on the colt. At this point, we remember some very familiar things:
- The Crowd
- Palm Branches
- Coats in the street
- A joyous scene
In all of that, where do see yourself? Why ask the question?
Palm Sunday: My Possible Places
There are many narrative accounts in Scripture. We learn a great deal by placing ourselves in those stories. For example, I was preparing a sermon a couple of weeks ago. The message was about water in the desert. We compared Exodus 15 and Exodus 17. In both chapters, God miraculously provided water for His people. One can learn many things by seeing themselves in the position of the Israelites. As I was thinking about how to apply those very lessons, I believe God sent me an entirely different thought:
Put yourself in the place of the water!
In Exodus 15 the water was bitter and God made it drinkable. In chapter 17, God told Moses to strike the rock and water gushed out. The application is, the world often comes to the Church or to Christians looking for that water which gives life. Too many times they find bitter water and/or people with hearts as hard as stone. That’s why I ask: Where do you see yourself in the account of Palm Sunday? Are you:
- In the crowd?
- One of the disciples?
- The owner of the donkey?
Palm Sunday: A Humble Place
It’s right for us to be in the throng shouting our praises to Jesus. It’s right for us to identify with obedient disciples. It’s right when we sacrifice what we possess for the good of the Savior. But there’s another place to see ourselves. It’s not flattering, but then Jesus didn’t come seeking the spotlight. He came in humility and He lived that way. So if we pick a humble place in these events, that’s probably a good thing!
In one way or another, our attention is drawn to all but one of the elements of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry. It’s the donkey! Once the disciples brought the donkey to Jesus, it became an anonymous part of the events. Like Jesus, it gave humble, unrecognized service to the Father. The donkey brought Jesus to the crowds who were seeking rivers of Living Water.
We can and should identify with the donkey in Matthew’s Gospel. The Apostle Paul said in Corinthians were are earthen vessels, just clay pots. Those aren’t flattering descriptions. We wouldn’t think to run right out and “apply” for that postion. But where did Paul say God has put His treasure? He chose to put it in plain old clay pots like us. What’s the treasure? It’s the Good News of Jesus Christ, the One Who still causes Living Water to flow from hard, bitter hearts.
We should do more than just put ourselves in the donkey’s place. We should embrace it with passion. If we do, every day can be a Palm Sunday for someone. Jesus can have His Triumphal Entry into a new heart. Carry Jesus to the world!