VIDEO Palm Sunday: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry, Christians Today, Life Lessons from a Donkey Ride

Palm Sunday: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry and Christians Today

Today is Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate Jesus’ return to Jerusalem. It’s traditionally called the Triumphal Entry, but do you know why it is called ‘triumphal’ or what message that sends to Christians today?

The account of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem is found in all four Gospels (Matthew 21:1-17Mark 11:1-11Luke 19:29-40 and John 12:12-19). For those who are not totally familiar with the entry narrative, before entering Jerusalem, Jesus sent 2 disciples ahead to bring him back the colt of a donkey, a colt that never been ridden. Then Jesus sat on the colt and rode it into Jerusalem. The people heard of his coming and believed that He was the promised king come to deliver them from the tyranny of their Roman rulers. Hailing Jesus as their king, the people lined the road and placed palm fronds down on the road in front of Jesus and the donkey colt, an honor only given to a king. This is why we celebrate the day – Palm Sunday.

Jesus entry into Jerusalem is referred to these days as the Triumphal Entry because the people hailed him as their promised king. Jesus didn’t correct the people, but He rode in not as their promised king but as their promised Messiah. The people thought He was there to save them from the Romans, but Jesus knew that He was there to save them from eternal damnation and that it would cost Him His life. He knew He was not going to sit on an earthly throne and rule the Jewish people, but that He was going to endure an excruciating and humiliating tortuous death on a cross.

Jesus’ mission was very different from what the people were expecting, but was the most important act for all of mankind, ever since Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden.

So, what message does the Triumphal Entry have for Christians today?

Knowing the consequences for doing the right thing and what His purpose was, Jesus didn’t stray from that purpose and He did the right thing. Knowing the cost of doing the right thing would lead to being beaten, whipped, spat upon, having a crown of thorns embedded on his head and then suffer the slow and agonizing death on the cross, Jesus still did the right thing, even though His human part asked God if at all possible, to remove that cup (duty) from Him. Jesus, however, knew that God would not remove the cup from Him and that He was definitely going to be brutally killed.

Today, Christians are facing a lot of persecution. Democrats are working hard to pass laws that make preaching some of the truths about sins a criminal act. They mock Christians and go out of their way to try to silence TRUE Christians.

I emphasize TRUE Christians because a great many people who claim to be Christians have compromised their faith by abandoning parts of what the Bible teaches. They have compromised to the sinful ways of the secular world, such as living together before or out of marriage and accepting homosexuality instead of condemning it as an abominable sin (Leviticus 18:2220:13). Many of today’s so-called Christians are afraid of being confronted for their faith or they find themselves embarrassed by their faith – kind of like Peter denying Christ 3 times.

Just as Jesus did not back away from the truth and doing what He knew was the right thing to do, even though it cost Him everything (from an earthly perspective), TRUE Christians should be prepared to do the same.

Standing up for Jesus and the truths of the Bible could cost you your relationships with family and friends as Jesus said would happen. It could cost you your job, your home, your finances and even your freedom.

Are you prepared or willing to lose everything in the name of Jesus? If not, then you need to question your faith. After all, Jesus warned about people like that when He said:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’.” Matthew 7:21-23.

When I read or hear about Jesus’ Triumphal Entry, I see it as an example to follow – to do what is right in the eyes of God, even knowing the consequences could be dire.

 

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Life Lessons from a Donkey Ride – John 12:12-19 – Skip Heitzig

Almost half of the gospel of John is dedicated to Jesus’ final week on earth. With that much Scripture dedicated to the topic, we must pay attention. In this Palm Sunday message, we look at Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and discover the difference between practicing a religion and having a relationship with Christ.

What if Christians Were in Control?

Never underestimate an opponent.

That was a lesson I learned early in my athletic career.  The easiest way to get your hind-end kicked was to assume that you were going to win simply because you were better.  History is lined with the stories of upset victories and every one of those upsets occurred because the favorite was either overconfident or deceived.

Both attitudes will eventually lead to defeat.  Have you ever heard of Goliath?  He was superior to the little shepherd boy in every measure except for the one that really mattered.  David was committed to victory while Goliath was focused more on his own abilities.  It is hard to defeat a prepared, focused, and committed opponent.

We, those who carry the Name of Christ are on the verge of squandering a game that we never should have lost.  In the battle of the ages the American church has greatly underestimated the skill set of our opponent.  Even though we were warned in Scripture that we were “not to be ignorant of his devices,” we have been.  Failing to comprehend the seriousness of the battle we have given into apathy.  What has caused our unwillingness to “earnestly contend for the faith?”

Even though the Bible clearly spells out the game plan of “our adversary” we have failed to taken him and “his devices” seriously.  We are losing the battle, not because we are not well equipped, but because we are oblivious to how diabolical and how committed our opponent truly is.

Satan, Diablo, the Devil, is a worthy opponent.  He is so powerful, and so effective, that he has been able to convince most of the Christian world that he doesn’t really exist.  For those who DO believe in Satanus, America’s Christian leadership has tricked us into thinking that the Devil is nothing more than a personal agitator who designs are set on making individual life miserable.

The Devil, the tell us, is after your health, or your finances, or out to “steal your joy”, as if he was nothing more than a supernatural mosquito whose main goal was to keep the individual Christian from living a comfortable life.  The Devil is real, they told us, but they sold us a Walt Disney version of the fallen cherub…you know what I mean…red tail, horns, pitchfork…a comic-book character who comes out of hiding around Halloween.

Our failure to understand his purpose, his power, and his techniques have left once-great, once-Christian America gasping for breath.  While the Church sat around and counted our blessings, the enemy of our souls was raiding our houses destroying everything good.   As long as he could keep us focused on ourselves we would miss the greater battle that was raging around us.  Satan was not after “our stuff.”  He had his sights set on control of the world.

We have underestimated the dark side.  Satan has pulled a reverse David and Goliath on the Church because we have lost focus of what he was really after.  The battle we are engaged in is a battle for the world.  Yes, it is partly a personal battle, but it is more importunately, a corporate battle.  The battle is against the two seeds.  The seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman…found in Genesis 3.  Most dumbed-down Christians STILL do not understand it.

Imagine with me how GOOD Jehovah must be.  He is the Creator and Giver of life.  The Bible teaches us that He was perfect in every way and that our “eyes have not seen, nor our ears heard, neither has it entered into our hearts, what God has in store for those who love Him.”  Our feeble minds cannot even conceive of how vast and complete His goodness is.  Real Christians serve a Real “all powerful” God.

But my high school science classes taught me about Newton’s law and that “for every action there is an equal and OPPOSITE reaction.”  If God is ALL good, how deep and how dark must the dark side be?  Christ conquered all of that darkness, but the prayer He taught us to pray states “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in Heaven.”  The earth is not yet perfected…and will not be until His coming…but in the meantime he adjured us to “Occupy, Til I come.”

Occupy is an action verb.  It connotes the idea that someone else is intent on taking over.  Help me out here, if the battle has been won why did He command us to hold the ground?  Could it be that the “adversary” is not yet under His feet?  Could it be that “God’s team” was placed here to actively oppose the evil one?

Look around America.  Think back to the days of Father Knows Best and ask yourself what has happened to 1950’s America?  Could it be that while we were fighting a cartoon-character opponent, the Devil and his minions were actively at work fighting to pull off the greatest coup in the history of the world?  Could it be that his greatest strength was convincing us that he was not really very strong?

Focus your eyes for a moment on every major institution that influences the culture and name for me ONE the Christians are in charge of?  Media, Education, Finances, Entertainment, Government, Family, even the Church has fallen into the hands of the enemy.  While Christians have been dressing up like the Devil to celebrate Halloween, the Devil has been eating all of the candy out of our sacks.  Our churches have lied to us.  They have taught us to look to the coming Kingdom while ignoring the one right in front of us.

Just a warning.  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  The darkness spreads through deception.  So much of what we see, hear, and are taught simply is not true.  Lies rule the day and Satan is the father of them.

If, as Jesus said, “all power has been given unto me both in heaven and earth” what would it look like if His disciples actually lived as if HE was supposed to be in control?  What if HIS people occupied those gates of power?

I John 3:8 says “For this purpose was the Son of man manifested that he might destroy the works of the Devil.”  What if He meant it?  What if the Devil really WAS a defeated foe?  What if our job was to “go into all of the world…and teach all that He commanded us?”  What if God’s people are supposed to put the Devil under the feet of the Lord?

What if what we did here on earth really mattered HERE ON EARTH?  What if the Devil was a defeated foe HERE AND NOW?  What if Jesus was counting on us to help build His Kingdom ON EARTH?   What if the Lord was waiting on us to act?

What if we really believed that Jesus was King of Kings HERE AND NOW?

What if the gates of hell really could not prevail against His church?  What if HIS CHURCH was His plan to conquer the darkness?  What if we stopped under-estimating the Devil and started conquering him?

If the Church actually believed Jesus controlled “all power in Heaven and on earth” would it change the way we responded?

What would it look like if Christians were actually in control?

 

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The Value of Seeking the Lord

Psalm 119:1-8

We all have ambitions and desires. And while these are not necessarily wrong, we should analyze our priorities by asking, Where do I invest my time and energy? What or who occupies my thoughts? As important as our earthly pursuits, responsibilities, and relationships may be, they cannot compare to the value of a life spent seeking the Lord.

First of all, consider what it means to seek something. The word connotes a strong desire and an energetic quest to achieve it. Suppose you discovered a very productive vein of gold on your property. You wouldn’t just stroll out and look at it occasionally. No, you would get proper equipment and diligently chip away at the rocks and collect the precious metal.

In the same way, seeking the Lord is not a quick or occasional encounter but a wholehearted effort to know Him more intimately and follow Him more closely. Those who unreservedly pursue this kind of fellowship with God are determined to spend time with Him. They also want to forsake anything that could hinder growth in their relationship with the Lord. God’s committed followers boldly claim His promises and trust He will fulfill His Word. Their experiences with the Lord bring amazing satisfaction yet cause them to hunger for more of Him.

The Christian life is meant to be a pursuit of God. To walk through the door of salvation and stand still, never drawing any closer to Him, is to miss the treasures that are available in Christ. Those who seek Him soon discover that knowing Him is the greatest reward of all.

When Christ Is Really Welcome

“Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:26)

This is the climactic verse of Psalm 118, one of the great Messianic psalms. It was fulfilled, at least in a preliminary way, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a small donkey just one week before His resurrection, thereby acknowledging that He was fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy: “. . . behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding . . . upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9).

As He rode into the city, many “took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13). Many Christians even today still commemorate that occasion on what they call Palm Sunday, one week before Easter.

But most of the people—now as well as then—doubted and soon repudiated Him altogether, crying out for Him to be put to death. He knew, of course, that this is what would happen, and He had already said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . . ! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: . . . Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Luke 13:34-35).

The prophecy applied especially to the nation as a whole, but the principle certainly applies also to individuals. When anyone sees in his mind’s eye the Lord Jesus coming, if he will welcome Him gladly rather than turn Him away, then Christ will indeed come into his heart, “having salvation” and bringing “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8), and he can say with deep thanks: “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD.” HMM

Please Teach Me to Listen

And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

—1 Samuel 3:10

Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.” Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking voice. Amen.   POG078

“Speak, for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.

 

Do all to the glory of God

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31.

 

Thy glory alone, O God, be the end of all that I say;

Let it shine in every deed, let it kindle the prayers that

I pray;

Let it burn in my innermost soul, till the shadow of self

pass away,

And the light of Thy glory, O God, be unveiled in the

dawning of day.

Frederick George Scott.

 

It excepts nothing, “do all”; it instances only the very least things, what our Lord includes under “daily bread,” that so we may stop at nothing short of all, but our whole being, doing, thinking, willing, longing, having, loving, may be wrapt up, gathered, concentrated, in the One Will and Good Pleasure of our God. Does any again ask how can such little things be done to the glory of God? Do them as thou wouldest do them if thou sawest Christ by thee.

Edward B. Pusey.

 

The time of labor does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and, in the noise and confusion of the kitchen where I am at work, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.

Brother Lawrence.

 

Let My Choice Be His Choice

“He shall choose our inheritance for us.” Ps. 47:4

Our enemies would allot us a very dreary portion, but we are not left in their hands. The Lord will cause us to stand in our lot, and our place is appointed by His infinite wisdom. A wiser mind than our own arranges our destiny. The ordaining of all things is with God, and we are glad to have it so; we choose that God should choose for us. If we might have our own way we would wish to let all things go in God’s way.

Being conscious of our own folly, we would not desire to rule our own destinies. We feel safer and more at ease when the Lord steers our vessel than we could possibly be if we could direct it according to our own judgment. Joyfully we leave the painful present and the unknown future with our Father, our Saviour, our Comforter.

O my soul, this day lay down thy wishes at Jesus feet! If thou hast of late been somewhat wayward and willful, eager to be and to do after thine own mind, now dismiss thy foolish self, and place the reins in the Lord’s hands. Say, “He shall choose.” If others dispute the sovereignty of the Lord, and glory in the freewill of man, do thou answer them, “He shall choose for me.” It is my freest choice to let Him choose. As a free agent, I elect that He should have absolute sway.