Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday, a day that marks the beginning of the week that ends in Easter.  Here is the Biblical account of why we call it Palm Sunday.

And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here.“And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”


So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.  But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” 

And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”  Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.  And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.
 
Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
 
And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”  
 
But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”  Luke 19:28-40 NKJV
 
As the week goes on, these very same people who were praising him were shouting to crucify Him. 

When I think of our current situation, the only thing I have to compare it to is 9/11.  After 9/11, people were flocking to God in droves.  I realize that people can not flock to church, but I rarely hear any mention of God through this. I hear fear, I hear anger at those who do not obey their version of social distancing, and I hear frustration.  I hear this even among believers as we all cave to fear and not to Truth.  We forget that God is in control.  We forget that no matter how or why or where this virus originated, it was allowed for by God and for a purpose.  The question should be not what we can do about the virus, but what purpose is there in God allowing it?  

Think about how this passage and how it relates to society today.  Has society upheld the Truth?  Has society chosen what God says is right instead of what is right in our own minds?  Have we rejected God?  Today, instead of upholding what God has said is true, we upheld what we think should be truth.  In today's world, loving God is called hatred and is some places the Bible is called hate speech.  We have no god but ourselves and that is reflected in that we all do what is right in our own eyes.  We were once a society that praised God but now we are a society that ridicules those who do.  
 
I am not writing this from a standpoint of fire and brimstone.  I do not believe that God is judging the world.  When judgement does come, it will be a lot more certain and a lot more harsh than this (for some in the Bible it was literally fire and brimstone).  I am writing this from a standpoint of grace.  Easter is about the judgement of sin, but in the person of Jesus Christ who bore those sins for us.  It is about a new life we can have in Christ and a God is always calling us back to him no matter how far we have strayed or how hard we have fought him.  No one can run so far as to escape the love of God and no one can out-sin the grace of God.  No matter where you are, no matter what you have done, no matter how much you have rejected God, no matter how much you have persecuted the church, and no matter how much you have insulted and hated God yourself, Jesus paid for your sins and that free gift of salvation is available to you. 
 
If there is a purpose to this, and I believe there is, that purpose is for us to turn from our rejection and back into His love.  His love brings peace and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ brings eternal peace in the assurance of our salvation through His sacrifice.  
 
In closing, there is a certain irony to the Easter story and a great illustration of God's love for us.  The people who rejected Jesus and shouted to crucify Him were all part of the plan.  If Pilate had released Jesus as he wanted to, he never would have laid down his life not just for our sins, but for the very people who shouted for His death.  That is how big the grace of love of God are.  
 
If you are a believer, today is a day to praise Jesus as King.  The virus does not rule the day, God does.  Just as Jesus had Palm Sunday under control and all lined up, so does He have today under control.  I urge you, do not sit in fear of what may or may not happen or how the virus seems out of control, but praise God that He does know and He has EVERYTHING under control. 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV