Like many of you, I believe the Easter story shares this incredible truth of the most inclusive, welcoming, amazing message the world has ever known: the message of Jesus. Everyone is invited. Everyone is welcome. Everyone gets in the same way. That’s why we are calling this new series Easter For Everyone.
Some people think Jesus is disappointed with them, and so they stay away. Our goal as a church is for people to clearly understand the message of Jesus and to know Him as their Savior. This week provides us with one of the best opportunities as a church to do this. It’s why Palm Sunday and the week ahead is so important. We want people to know that Easter is for everyone.
1. Set Your Face
Luke 9:51 - As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
NKJV - Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,
Jesus knew what was going to happen. Yet he set his face.
>>> Be excited about Easter. Because Jesus, knowing what awaited him, set his face and because he did you and I can celebrate the freedom the empty tomb has bought us.
2. Pour Your Oil
John 12:1-3; 7 - Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. 7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
To prepare for Easter it is time to pour out what matters to you.
Nothing says more about where you are with Christ as your attitude about giving.
>>> We prepare for Easter by giving up our treasure. To lay our lives at His feet. To untie ourselves from our treasure and show he is our treasure.
3. Untie Your Pride
Matthew 21:1-12 - As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.” 4 This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said,5 “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.’”
Little did these two disciples know that their task was critical to the Palm Sunday event This donkey was born for Jesus’ wonderful work. It had not been used or ridden by anyone else. This donkey was tied up so that it could not wander away or be taken by someone else. It was waiting for Jesus’.
Zechariah 9:9 - Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.
To modern readers the donkey seems to be an unlikely and surprising device for Jesus to use but the truth is...In the ancient world, however, donkeys were used for ceremonial purposes. Whereas horses were symbols of war, donkeys were symbols of peace and often used to enact treaties.
A king on a donkey represented peace a King on a horse represented war.
There is one more significance to the donkey in this story. The donkey was tied up and had to be untied.
We cannot fully commit to God when we are tied. We must be released. We must surrender our burdens and our weights to God, much like the owner who surrendered his donkey.
Without letting go of our own burdens, How can we praise and worship God freely.
We do that by acknowledging humbly that we need him.
Luke 19:38 - Blessed is He who comes in the name of Lord! Peace in heaven and glory [to God] in the highest heaven.
When we are untied, we can live a life of faith free from the pressure of trying to hold things up. When we are free, we can praise God without any hindrance.
>>> Palm Sunday frees us to prepare to experience Holy Week in way that does not hold us back from truly singing loud “Hosannas” and “HAllelujahs” on Easter morning. Prepare for Him. 1. Set your face toward Easter. 2. Pour yourself out for Him. Empty it! 3. Untie and unite with the king of kings this week.
II. Through the Cross
John 12:12-16 - The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
“... coming to you…” -- Jesus went through the cross to get to you.
“… on a donkey…” -- This imagery is of a humble king. Not only is God NOT disappointed in you, He has made His way to you, in humility!
“...His disciples didn’t understand…” -- Jesus loves the current version of you, not a future, cleaned-up version of you.
This message is for you, but it’s bigger than you. What Jesus has done is so big we believe it should extend way beyond you and me. It’s why we want to lock arms together and share this message throughout our city. We believe our city can be a tipping point for the Gospel. As goes our city, so goes our region, and beyond.
We want people in our city to know that Easter is for everyone.