Sermon for Palm Sunday, 03-28-2021
Psalm 31:9-16; Isaiah 42:1-9; Hebrews 9:11-15; John 12:1-11
I remember reading the verses from Psalms this morning and I didn’t truly understand all of the groaning due to age, my eyes and body filled with grief, my life filled with anguish, my bones growing weak, etc., and thought about a worn our old man. Flashing forward 50 years, it now makes complete sense to me! Of course, this is not about an old man, it could be anyone of any age, who has been beaten down by the world view, and I like to think that it also represents Christians in general who are under attack from Satan’s minion’s, who love to make you give up on the Lord. In verse 14 (one of my personal favorites) it say’s: “But I trust in you, O Lord;” I say, ‘You are my God.;’ My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. ‘Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.’
Today’s lesson from from Isaiah is simple; yet, not one accepted by all. “The love of God is always to be the responsible service as a light to the Gentiles.” The purposes of God were to be most daringly fulfilled in the use of a servant in whom the presence and will of God resided. We are to model Jesus ministry while He was on this earth. Simply put, we are to continue to carry the message of salvation to all whom we meet. God’s Spirit resides in us not to make us feel good, but to empower us to carry His message and to reach as many people as we can. Many of the Israelites were looking for a “Warrior King,” that would slay their oppressors, instead of what the Prophet Isaiah told them expect, a “Suffering Servant.” The servant would be an instrument of revelation because God’s Spirit would direct their life. Israel refused to accept the servant role for the nation and never recognized that Messiah had to be a servant. Israel was blinded by their royal, political ambitions and did not learn to see their promised King as a suffering servant. Jesus centered His ministry and messianic understanding on the servant role, which thus became the center of biblical revelation. So what are you looking for, beloved?
In our lesson from Hebrews we find that through Christ’s death believer share an eternal redemption. His death was a ransom from our sin. Ransom is an image which has to go with a slaver or prison. It comes from ancient economic life and means payment of a price. Persons lost their freedom. They forfeited their lives and could not free themselves. Someone came along and paid the price to redeem them. A ransom was provided and paid the price to redeem them. Christ Jesus should be seen as Redeemer. He delivers His people from bondage to sin and all other matters. Jesus paid the ultimate price of His own life in he crucifixion to make possible our freedom to live life as God created and intended it to be. The Spirit empowered and guided Jesus to offer His life as a sacrifice to God to take away our sins. The Spirit had guided and led Him throughout His earthly ministry. His self-sacrifice on the cross for our benefit, revealed the love of God through His Son and the Holy Spirit, that He loves us and is always there for us.
Finally beloved, the Gospel of John gives us indisputable proof, that the signs and wonders from God, through Jesus and His Spirit did bring people to faith in God through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. A true believer (Mary, who anointed Him with oil intended to prepare Him for his coming horrific death) prepared Him for death as righteous leaders prepared to kill Him. Those who trust in Jesus trust in the Light. He came to deliver persons from darkness, but not everyone wants to see the glory of God revealed in Christ. Only faith, not miracles, leads to true trust in Christ. Faith leads to public testimony because its goal is not not human praise. The rejection of Christ was foretold in Isaiah 6:10; 53:1. As it was in the days of Isaiah, so it was in the days of Jesus, and so it is in our day now. A divine law teaches that sin causes blindness of the soul and a moral insensibility to spiritual truths. Want the truth, don’t look for a man or woman, look rather to the Word of God. It was given to us for this purpose, so that we might understand our Creator, His Son, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, to give us divine knowledge, which is truth. Amen