Palm Sunday message: Christ is our King and He is coming back (Mark 11:1-11)

prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, April 10, 2022

In 1943, 230 women were arrested as members of the French Resistance and sent to Birkenau. Only 49 survived, but this in itself is remarkable. These women were as diverse a group as could be imagined—Jews and Christians, aristocrats and working class, young and old. Yet they were united by their commitment to the French Resistance and to one another. In her book A Train in Winter, Caroline Moorhead reconstructs the story of these women through the journals and memoirs of survivors. The solidarity of these women sustained them through unspeakable horror and torture.

In contrast, many Holocaust survivors hoarded whatever meager resources they could save for themselves. And how could they be blamed? Survival became the only goal—no matter what the cost, even to others. Yet, in most of the cases with these French women in Birkenau, their solidarity toward each other trumped the selfishness that engulfed so many others. As Moorhead writes, “Knowing that the fate of each depended on the others … egotism seemed to vanish and that, stripped back to the bare edge of survival, each rose to behavior few would have believed themselves capable of.” Moorhead recounts that when unrelieved thirst threatened to engulf one of their members in utter madness, the women pooled together their own meager rations to get her a whole bucket of water.

This kind of love is very rare. Putting one’s own needs first is as natural as breathing, and just as unconscious. Yet the women of the French Resistance provide a contemporary model of what Christ has done for us. But there are two big differences: first Jesus willingly chose to stand in solidarity with us in our suffering. Second, he stood in solidarity with his enemies. He walked among humans including the very least of these, and chose to share the horror of human death. Even after the victory of his resurrection from death, this One still bore in his body the wounds of his earthly suffering. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. This is solidarity for life.[1]

Christ is the One who saves us, Christ sanctifies us, Christ is our King. He is worthy of all praise and worship. Let’s read Mark 11:1-11

Mark 11:1-11

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Theme:

Christ is our King and He is coming back.

Application:

Surrender, unadulterated surrender and worship is what we must do.

  1. Jesus enters Jerusalem, the people are ready for a King
    1. The people have been waiting for a king. They have been waiting for a king like David in the Old Testament. They have been waiting for a Savior.
    1. This is the beginning of what we now call Holy Week.
    1. Jesus is entering Jerusalem after a busy ministry schedule. He has a busy week ahead.
    1. They treat Jesus as a king right now, don’t they?
    1. Verse 8 begins to show this. They put their coats on the ground and many spread leafy palm branches.
    1. They shout “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
    1. (Verses 9-10)?
    1. Hosanna means “save us!”
    1. The people wanted a savior, they saw Jesus as that Savior. The people wanted a king, they saw Jesus as that king.
    1. They were so loud that if you read other Gospel accounts, such as Luke 19:39ff the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples. But Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out.”
    1. Jesus was hailed as a king then, but later in the week, he was crucified. Some will say the same crowd who worshipped Him will later cry out, “crucify Him.” Though, it is likely a different crowd.
    1. But on Palm Sunday they had the right idea. They welcomed Him as King. Jesus will come back as King. Jesus will come back as King and as the judge.
  2. Jesus will come again as King
    1. Jesus is our coming King.
    1. Jesus, welcomed as King on that Sunday, later crucified, ascended into Heaven some forty days after the resurrection. Following the ascension we read in Acts 1:11:
    1. Acts 1:11: and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
    1. Jesus is King and will return as King. Jesus will return in the clouds, and He will return in His time.
    1. Jesus will return in the clouds: Rev. 1:7: Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
    1. Often we wonder why He hasn’t returned yet. 2 Peter 3:8-10: But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
    1. Further the Bible teaches more about Christ’s return: Jesus Christ will be vindicated in the eyes of those who crucified Him (Rev. 1:7); the whole of creation will be liberated from the curse imposed upon it after the sin of Adam in the garden (Romans 8:20–21); the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord (Isa. 11:9); God’s righteous reign will be established upon the earth for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1–6); and, ultimately, the final destruction of Satan will be accomplished (Rev. 20:7–10). [2]
    1. One writes: Over the last four decades I have read a great many books about the Second Coming of Christ. Unfortunately, most were devoted to predicting when this cataclysmic event will occur (something the Bible explicitly tells us NOT to do), to debating the order of events connected to His return or to splitting the eschatological “hairs” that separate one group of evangelical believers from another. All of this speculation entirely misses the point of what the Bible says about the matter. The whole focus of the New Testament’s teaching about the return of Christ can be summarized in two simple propositions: first, because Christ is coming, we need to be ready—living lives that are pure, steadfast, prayerful, holy and reverent; and, second, because Christ is coming, we need to finish the task He has given us—the preaching of the gospel.[3]
    1. Jesus is the rightful King. They worshipped Him for this reason on Palm Sunday. He will return as the rightful King. Are you ready?

Close:

Theme:

Christ is our King and He is coming back.

Application:

Surrender, unadulterated surrender and worship is what we must do.

As we go through this week, take a few moments and pray about surrender. If Jesus came back right now, what is something that He would ask about, some thought or action? Repent and surrender. Or, what is something you haven’t done that you know He wants you to do? This week take some time and reflect on your spiritual life. Grab your Bible, a pen and paper and take some time and ask God to show you some things to work on. Read Psalm 42 and pray that you desire God like the Psalmist.

“During World War I, a British commander was preparing to lead his soldiers back to battle. They’d been on furlough, and it was a cold, rainy, muddy day. Their shoulders sagged because they knew what lay ahead of them: mud, blood, possible death. Nobody talked, nobody sang. It was a heavy time. “As they marched along, the commander looked into a bombed-out church. Back in the church he saw the figure of Christ on the cross. At that moment, something happened to the commander. He remembered the One who suffered, died, and rose again. There was victory, and there was triumph. “As the troops marched along, he shouted out, ‘Eyes right, march!’ Every eye turned to the right, and as the soldiers marched by, they saw Christ on the cross. Something happened to that company of men. Suddenly they saw triumph after suffering, and they took courage. With shoulders straightened, they began to smile as they went. You see, anything worthwhile in life will be a risk that demands courage.” [–Gordon Johnson, “Finding Significance in Obscurity,” Preaching Today, Tape 82.]

Keep your eyes on Jesus!

Pray


[1] Source: Adapted from Margaret Manning, “Solidarity,” A Slice of Infinity/RZIM (3-7-17); source: Caroline Weber, “Sisters Unto Death,” New York Times Book Review (11-13-11)

[2] https://www.cmalliance.org/about/beliefs/coming-king

[3] ibid.

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