Palm Sunday – Worship Jesus Alone

Jesus Alone

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April 9, 2017

Mark 11:1-11

Allen Burns

Scripture Reading: Psalm 24 Sermon Title: Worship Jesus Alone Sermon Text: Mark 11:1-11 Memory Verse: Mark 11:10 MAIN IDEA: Cry out to Jesus alone to receive salvation and forgiveness of sins. Three reasons why we should cry out to Jesus alone to receive salvation and forgiveness of sins: 1) Jesus alone fulfills God’s Word 2) Jesus alone brings God’s Kingdom 3) Jesus alone is the Sacrifice   NOTE: “Scripture quotations are from the NASB." This manuscript is provided as a courtesy and is not intended for publication. The audio message will differ because the manuscript is not followed word for word. Thanks for understanding.    

Introduction: Palm Sunday

Today we are celebrating Palm Sunday. It is the Sunday before Jesus’ crucifixion. We call it Palm Sunday because the people of Jerusalem came out to meet Jesus on the road from Bethpage leading into Jerusalem. It is important to understand some background to get the full impact of the story. The Jews are celebrating Passover. Passover is during the Jewish month of Nisan, which typically is in early April on our calendar. It is spring time in Jerusalem, and the atmosphere is festive. Passover is on the 14th of Nisan, that year is on Friday. Passover is celebrating God’s deliverance of His people from bondage and bringing them to the Promised Land. God commands they celebrate the Passover feast in the Law of Moses. Everybody loves to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. For the Jews to spend Passover in Jerusalem is like us spending Easter Sunrise Service next to the grave where Jesus was buried. It is the place to be! Many travel to Jerusalem early, so they may prepare for the Passover feast and purify themselves at the Temple. Normally, Jerusalem had a population of about 20,000 to 30,000 people. During Passover, the population grows five to six times and is as high as 150,000[1] people. Not everybody stays in Jerusalem during the night. The Gospel of Mark tells us Jesus and His disciples are staying in Bethany and travel the two miles into Jerusalem during the day time. Jesus journey to Jerusalem begins on the other side of Jericho, beyond the River Jordan. It is there He got word from Mary and Martha that Lazarus is sick. Lazarus is in Bethany. After waiting two days, he tells His disciples He is heading to Judea again. Last time He was in Jerusalem, the Jews were trying to kill Jesus because He claimed to be God, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:39). The disciples remind Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” (John 11:8). But, Jesus is on a mission, so off they go to Bethany. They cross the river Jordan, and while passing through Jericho, Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus. After being healed, Bartimaeus and some others join the already growing crowd of people following Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel tells us a large crowd is following Jesus (Mt. 20:19). Perhaps they too are going to Jerusalem for the Passover. Jesus is very famous. Everybody is talking about all the sign and wonders that He has done. Think of what the people have seen in just a few years.
  • Jesus clears out the moneychangers in the temple with a whip.
  • His teachings draw thousands of people as they listen to Him speak with authority.
  • Twice, people are fed miraculously with just a few loaves of bread and some fish.
  • Demons are cast out on a regular basis.
  • Hundreds of people are healed, sometimes entire towns. Lepers are cleansed, the lame walk, deaf hear, and the blind see.
  • There are claims of Jesus walking on the water and calming storms.
Remember, Jesus is on the way to Bethany because He received word Lazarus is sick. 15 miles and a few days later, He enters Bethany. When Jesus reaches Bethany; He calls Lazarus from the tomb. The raising of Lazarus is no small event. There are many people present because of the upcoming Passover Feast. Jesus performs a very public miracle of calling Lazarus out who had been dead for four days (John 11:39). The Gospel of John says that many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus had done (John 11:45-46). Imagine how the religious leaders, who want Jesus dead, feel like when they find out that Jesus is in nearby Bethany raising people from the dead. Their job becomes even more difficult. They become more jealous of Jesus, and they even want to kill Lazarus. The chief priests and the Pharisees give order that if anyone knows where He is, he is to report it so that they might seize Him (John 11:57). After raising Lazarus, Jesus and His disciples stay in Bethany which is only two miles from Jerusalem. While the religious authorities are looking for Jesus, so are the rest of the people of Jerusalem. John’s Gospel tells us that the people were saying to one another in the temple courtyards, “What do you think; do you think that Jesus will come to the feast?” (John 11:56). It’s the perfect storm! It’s springtime, and we know what that is like after going through winter. We are in THE center of Judaism, Jerusalem to celebrate the greatest and most joyous holiday on the Jewish calendar, Passover. The chief priests and Pharisees are hunting for Jesus. The people love Jesus and can’t wait to see what He will do next. He is the talk of all of Judea. The miracles of Elijah are nothing compared to the signs and wonders of Jesus. The Israelites have not seen anything like Jesus since the days of Moses. Mark’s Gospel tells us what happens on the Sunday before Passover. The first reason why we should cry out to Jesus alone to receive salvation and forgiveness of sins is:

1-   Jesus Alone Fulfills God’s Word

1 As they approached Jerusalem, at Bethpage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, 2 and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ you say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.” 4 They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they untied it. 5 Some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave them permission. (Mark 11:1-6) Jesus has a plan. He is going to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. His entrance is specifically orchestrated to send a message. In the ancient Middle Eastern world, leaders ride horses if they ride to war. However, a leader who is coming in peace will ride a donkey. First Kings 1:33 tells of Solomon riding a donkey on the day he is recognized as the new king of Israel. (Other instances of leaders riding donkeys are Judges 5:10; 10:4; 12:14; and 2 Samuel 16:2.). Everything Jesus does is for a purpose, including riding a colt. The miracles verify His authority and His teachings. John the Baptist asks Jesus, “Are you the one?” and Jesus responds, “the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5). Jesus deliberately, perfectly, and obediently, works according to the plan designed by His Father. Jesus asks for His disciples to get the colt as part of the plan. He is fulfilling prophecy written 500 years earlier by the Prophet Zechariah who wrote the Messiah will enter Jerusalem riding a donkey. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9) The disciples are unaware of Jesus deliberate action to fulfill the prophecy in Zechariah. It is not until after the resurrection that they realize the fulfillment of prophecy (John 12:16). The Bible is the Word of God. For 4000 years, God communicated to men His plan of salvation. God’s elaborate plan details the way He will deliver His people and save them from sin. During the revealing of His plan, God recorded 300+ prophecies about the Messiah. The window of opportunity for anyone to fulfill any of the Bible’s Messianic prophecy is closed. The prophecy dictates that the timing of the Messiah is during the time of the second temple in Jerusalem. Solomon’s temple is the first temple. Herod’s Temple, the one during the time of Jesus, is the second temple. It is destroyed in 70ad. Earlier in His ministry, when the Jews tried to capture Him, He escapes because He knows His time to be captured is not yet come (John 7:30). Jesus is intentionally living every moment of His life, so there is no question He is the Messiah. When Jesus calls for His disciples to bring Him a colt to ride upon, He is deliberately completing another prophecy written to prove He is the Messiah. Even on the cross, He knows Psalm 69:21 speaks of His revilers offering Him vinegar to drink when He is thirsty. The history of mankind consists of billions of people. Only one person may be the Messiah. The elaborate and intricate detailed plan of salvation is fulfilled by Jesus Christ. When reading the Old Testament and the Gospel accounts with details of His lineage, the place and circumstance of His birth, the predecessor of John the Baptist, the miracles, His betrayal by Judas for 20 pieces of silver, and over 300 more prophecies of Jesus life and ministry, our faith is established. This morning, as we read these beginning verses of Mark 11, a calm assurance should fill our soul. Yes, Jesus is the Messiah. He can save us. He is purposefully fulfilling every jot and tittle of prophecy. He knows that, around the corner; God the Father has a colt waiting. He tells His disciples to say, tell them the Lord has need of it, and everything will work according to plan. God the Father made sure the owners will let Jesus ride the colt that has ever been ridden. Jesus knows that when He sits upon the colt, it will receive Him and carry Him into Jerusalem. Rejoice greatly, people of Christ Community Church! Shout in triumph! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Our faith is placed rightly. Rejoice Jesus alone fulfills God’s word. The second reason why we should cry out to Jesus alone to receive salvation and forgiveness of sins is:

2-   Jesus Alone Brings God’s Kingdom

7 They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it; and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. 9 Those who went in front 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!” (Mark 11:7-10) The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is a magnificent display. He is not an elected official nor is He considered part of the ruling class. The people want new leadership and they are looking to Jesus. He is the people’s candidate to overthrow the current regime. Put yourself in the shoes of the people of Jerusalem. The people want new leadership because the economy in Jerusalem is horrible. People are living in poverty under the rule of Rome. Taxes are heavily imposed which create an economic hardship for the Jews. The demand for paying tribute to Rome and taxes to Herod in addition to the tithes and offerings to the Temple and priesthood is a very heavy burden. Many village families are falling into increasing debt and are faced with the loss of their land inheritance. If taxes are not paid, the property is confiscated. The tax collectors, like Matthew and Zacchaeus, get rich. The religious leaders are in cahoots with the Romans. The Sadducees and the families of the priests collaborate with the Romans to receive land holdings. Jewish property falls into the hands of the lenders because of high-interest loans are too difficult to repay. The people become tenant farmers, who hand over at least of half of their crops to their landlords. Jesus fed the thousands because they have no food. Most people work each day for their food. So, each day they follow Him around, they don’t work for their daily bread. Jesus tells His disciples He has compassion for the people because are with Him three days and have nothing to eat. He knows if He sends them home hungry, they might collapse on the way (Mark 8:1-3). In addition to the taxation, the Roman government imposes the worship of Caesar Augustus, as a God. Governing authorities order the Jews to make sacrifices on behalf of the emperor and government in the Jewish Temple, which is fittingly named, Herod’s Temple. To maintain their position of power, the chief priests and Pharisees cooperate with the Romans. They are well-clothed and well-fed. These conditions are going on for decades. We often hear Jesus addressing the concerns of poverty, hunger, and debt in the Gospels. Knowing the background of the economy and the leadership in Jerusalem, explains why the people are so quick to welcome new leadership. The people see an opportunity with the Galilean, the miracle-working Rabbi who teaches with authority, heals people, casts out demons, and even raises people from the dead. He is the perfect man to sit on the throne of David. People cut palm branches and other leaves from the nearby fields and laid on the ground in front of Jesus. Some people go so far as to take off their coats and allow the donkey carrying Jesus to walk on their coats. Laying coverings on the ground is an act of homage for royalty (2 Kings 9:13). The people call out, Hosanna, which in Hebrew is hoshiya na, meaning, “save please.” They are shouting a phrase from Psalm 118. Psalms 113-118 are sung every Passover, so this is very appropriate for them to cry out. O Lord, do save, we beseech You; O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord (Psalm 118:25-26) They want salvation from the tyranny of the Romans. They desire prosperity and an honest pay for honest day’s work. They want a new Kingdom. Mark doesn’t tell us, but Luke’s Gospel mentions the presence of Pharisees in the crowd near the entrance to Jerusalem. Imagine standing next to them knowing they are looking for Jesus and want people to report His whereabouts. “Hey priest, I think I found the guy you are looking for; isn’t that Him on the donkey?” Not only would Jesus ride in the open, but He will teach daily in the Temple. There is no better way for Jesus to enter Jerusalem than to have the people shouting out words of adoration and praise. There is no way the Pharisees are going to lay hands on Jesus in front of this crowd. They, of course, tell Jesus to make His disciples to be quiet to which Jesus replies, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40) Since the beginning of His ministry, Jesus told His disciples that He is the Messiah. In the past, Jesus told His disciples to be quiet about Him (Matthew 12:16, 16:20). No longer does He tell His disciples but to shout His praises and worship Him openly. Jesus is openly allowing people to proclaim He is their King and the Messiah. The people want a new king for their kingdom. If we were in the crowd that day, we would likely think Jesus is going to reign immediately. We know the people lining the road to Jerusalem didn’t have the full picture of Jesus kingdom. Jesus alone brings God’s Kingdom. But, Jesus doesn’t conquer in the way the people expect.Jesus will defeat the ruling parties of Jerusalem. Jesus triumphs over His enemies, He defeats the vile Roman government, and He conquers every government and ruler who exists; even the mighty power of Satan is overthrown. But, Jesus conquering of the kingdom doesn’t involve drawing swords or forming battle lines as King David. His ways are so much better. Jesus conquers with the power of holiness and obedience. For us, hindsight is 20/20. We know the Kingdom Jesus is bringing is not the kingdom the people are seeking. Jesus will ultimately ride to earth on a white horse to wage a final war against evil. He is bringing in a Kingdom of perfect righteousness, justice, prosperity, holiness, and goodness. Jesus is bringing in the Kingdom of God with perfect peace for eternity. He will sit on His throne and reign forever and ever. He is the fulfillment of the angels’ song in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” The government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). The Gospel writer wants us to know that there is no other person who brings in the Kingdom of God. Only Jesus Christ is proven to have the power to defeat all our enemies. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and makes a public display of them, having triumphed over them on the cross. Jesus proves good overcomes evil. Love overcomes hate. Holiness defeats sin. And life conquers death. There is no other person with a name worthy of sitting on the throne of the Kingdom of God. Jesus alone brings God’s kingdom. Nobody else brings us eternal peace and comfort. He brings joy to our sorrow. He brings life to our death. Nobody else rescues us from the domain of darkness and brings us into the Kingdom of Light. People of Christ Community Church. Cry out Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!” O Lord, do save, we beseech You. Bring us salvation. Bring us Your eternal Kingdom. Jesus alone brings us a Kingdom which cannot be shaken. The third reason why we should cry out to Jesus alone to receive salvation and forgiveness of sins is:

3-Jesus Alone Is the Sacrifice

Mark finishes his commentary on Jesus’ triumphal entry with this sentence. 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late. (Mark 11:11) The temple is very, very big. If you are going to visit Jerusalem, the temple is a must visit for the Jews. It sits at the main entrance from the road to Jericho. It easily is the size of about 15% of the entire city. It is a magnificent structure. Mark doesn’t tell us what Jesus was looking at or why Jesus entered the temple. He leaves us to speculate. We do know that the next day Jesus cleanses the temple of the money changers. Perhaps Jesus is there to scope out the situation. There is enough that we do know. The temple is the place of worship. God’s seat of mercy is in the temple’s Holy of Holies. The temple is where people purify themselves for the Passover. The temple is the gathering place of the Jews, and many rabbis teach in the courtyard. The most important truth about the temple is that it is the place where the priests, who are the mediators of the covenant, make sacrifices. Jesus enters the temple this Sunday, but the use of the temple is limited. In other words, the days of the temple are numbered. After Friday, no sacrifice made in the temple is pleasing to God. After Friday, there is no longer a need for Levitical priests. As of Friday, the Mosaic covenant and the Law are abolished because they are nailed to the cross. The temple, even though it is a magnificent structure and beautifully made, is no longer of value. Jesus is looking at the structure, the priests walking around, the people buying sacrifices, and He knows all of this is coming to an end. There will be a perfect sacrifice made to God in Jerusalem on Friday, but it will not be offered at the temple. Jesus is on a mission. He is on a mission to be the once for all sacrifice. 32They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, 33saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. 34“They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.” (Mark 10:32-34) The reason Jesus is in Jerusalem to go to the cross. He willingly sheds His blood and lays down His life as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus looks at the Temple knowing that no longer is God satisfied with any sacrifice of goats, or bulls. There is no more need for incense offered by the priests. No more Day of Atonement is needed. The final Passover meal is being prepared. The Temple is no longer the where God meets man. Jesus will go outside the gates of the city and offer Himself as the final sacrifice for sins. He will be the perfect High Priest, who takes His blood and sprinkles it on the altar before God in heaven. On that Friday, He becomes the only acceptable substitutionary sacrifice for sins. Jesus takes our sin upon Himself and gives us His righteousness. This is the only acceptable sacrifice God accepts. On that Friday, Jesus makes the Temple and the sacrifices obsolete. The veil to the entrance of the Holy of Holies is to be split from top to bottom. The separation between man and God forever removed. There is only one way to approach God. Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man goes to the Father except by Me. The only way to have a right relationship with God is through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We can give all our money to the poor. We can sign our life away to work at an orphanage and receive only rice and beans for food. But our good deeds are of no value because they will not purchase the forgiveness of sins which we need. God is not satisfied with any good deeds to take away our sins. We may lay our body on an altar and spill our blood and beg God for forgiveness, but even that will be rejected by a holy and just God. He will turn His eyes away. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. The sacrifice God requires is a perfect lamb. Jesus is sinless which means Jesus is alone is the acceptable sacrifice.


Three reasons why we should cry out to Jesus alone to receive salvation and forgiveness of sins: Jesus alone fulfills God’s Word, Jesus alone brings God’s Kingdom, and Jesus alone is the sacrifice. How are we to think of Palm Sunday? Let’s put ourselves on the road at the base of Mount Olive on the day Mark describes in his gospel. As we picture Jesus approaching Jerusalem receiving all the adoration, do we think He is happy? Is our picture of Jesus riding on the colt one in which He is smiling at the people? Luke’s Gospel tells us when Jesus approached Jerusalem, He sees the city and weeps. He weeps because the people do not know what is taking place before their eyes. The people are crying out for salvation, but it is not a salvation He is going to provide. They want a kingdom, but not His kingdom. They want to be free from the slavery of the Romans, and He seeks to save them from the slavery of their sin. Jesus said that the things which make for peace are hidden from their eyes (Luke 19:41-42). These same people who cry for Him to be king will cry to release Barabbas. Picture ourselves on the road to Jerusalem knowing what we know today. Jesus is approaching. He is on the way to fulfill God’s word. We see the colt. We think of the prophecy in Zechariah. We see His enemies and His disciples. We know He alone will usher in the kingdom of God. We know Jesus alone is the sufficient sacrifice for our sins. Will we gladly put our coats on the ground for our Savior? Of course, we will! We will gladly sing and shout Hosanna in the highest. We will shout and cry to the One who saves us to the uttermost. But, we are not born in a time to stand on the road to Jerusalem and wave palm branches before the coming King. We are born today. What shall we do today? We may still praise His name and shout for joy. We may still cry out Hosanna in the highest. Today, we have the opportunity to go before our city and tell the people salvation is here. Tell them of Jesus who fulfills the Word of God. Tell of Jesus who brings in the Kingdom. Tell of Jesus who is the one true sacrifice for sins and who is our Savior. Hosanna! Urge people to cry out to the Lord, “save us please.” Lord, save our neighbors. Save our loved ones. Lord have mercy. Don’t be silent. Don’t let a rock praise Him more than the people of His church. Wave your palm branches and shout Hosanna! We are to be a city set on a hill letting our light shine. We don’t have the opportunity to welcome Jesus to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. But, we will have an opportunity to welcome Christ in the future. Not all the prophecy is fulfilled. He fulfills the prophecy of the past, and He will fulfill the prophecy of the future. There is a day, we will cry Hosanna, as Jesus approaches on a white horse. He is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, He will judge and wage war. His eyes shall be as a flame of fire, and on His head, there will be many diadems. He wears a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Following Him on white horses will be the armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. From His mouth, will come a sharp sword which He will strike down the nations and rule them with a rod of iron; as He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. We will look, and on His robe and thigh, we will see His name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:11-16) How are we to respond to the gospel’s narrative of Palm Sunday? We are to respond by telling of His salvation today and by hoping and looking for His coming again tomorrow. Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! [1]