Our Rescuer

2020-04-05 – Year A – Palm Sunday
Matthew 21:1-11; Philippians 2:5-11; Psalm 22:1-11; Matthew 27:1-54

  • Today we are confronted with two stories that don’t seem to make sense together. 
    • The triumphal entry with celebration and palm branches
    • The passion and cross with humiliation, suffering, and death
  • These two stories are zoomed far in, let’s zoom out for a moment and then come back to them.

The Big Picture

  • Philippians 2:5-11 is an ancient hymn, one of the earliest in the Church. It tells the big story into which these two stories fit.
  • v. 6-7 Jesus was and is equal to God the Father in every way, and yet, he was willing to leave the glory of heaven to go on a special mission. In the process, he took on human flesh with all its limitations, and was born as a helpless baby.
  • v. 8 Jesus’ servanthood goes even further, however, in that he willingly embraced the agony and shame of the cross.
  • The question is “why?”

The Rescuer

  • It the Old Testament, there are many prophesies which point to a coming “Messiah” which means “anointed one.” Anointing was the acting of pouring oil over someone’s head to appoint them, and empower them with God’s strength, for an important task like being a king, or a high priest.
  • This Messiah was to be a descendent of the Great King David and he would be sent by God to rescue his people.
  • Jesus is this Messiah, this rescuer, and as he rides into Jerusalem the people know it. This is why they shout “Hosanna” which means “O Save us”. “Hosanna to the Son of David.” (Matthew 21:5).
  • They thought he was there to save them from the Roman’s who were occupying their land, but Jesus knew he was there to save them from something far more dangerous.
    • Jesus was there to rescue them, and us, from our sin which separates us from God.
    • All of us are sinners. All of us miss the mark of God’s best for us. And because of this all of us are separated from God, just like our first parents, Adam and Eve.
    • Some families have “black sheep,” people who are estranged from the family because of their behavior.
    • I’m here to tell you that we are all black sheep, estranged from God.
    • In the book of Romans it tells us that the wages (or result) of sin is death.
    • This is why Jesus died on the cross, in our place, so that we could be given new, eternal life and be restored to God our Father.

Enter into the Story with Holy Week

  • This story is THE story. The story into which all other stories fit.
  • This week gives us an opportunity to enter into this story and tangibly remember the mighty acts by which we are saved.
  • “The story brings to its head the tale of the strange prophet-Messiah from Nazareth. This itself, in the evangelist’s telling, brings to its climax the entire drama of Israel – which, in Scripture, is the focal point of world history. Here we are offered what unmakes and remakes the world, ourselves included. Here…is the answer to our deepest questions, our most agonizing longings. And it comes, not as a theory, not as an explanation, but as a story which opens up to embrace or perhaps engulf us, sweeping us off our feet like a giant wave, carrying us off, out of our depth, away on the dark sea of God’s passion.”
  • All of us have a place in this story. Have you found your place? If not, let me help you find it this week. Give me a call or a text or an email. I would love to help you!

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