Sermon for Palm Sunday – 04-10-2022
Luke 22:14:23, 56-62
The priest talked about the Gospel message for today from Luke, was included in all four Gospel accounts, yet this one has an odd note of discussion just as the Passover was to begin. I have read this many, many times and yet today I realized the significance of its location and why it needed to be brought to our attention. It begins with the title of this Gospel reading as, “The Passion According to Luke.”
Jesus brings out the cup of wine and the bread for the Passover Meal, and begins by saying, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” He took a up and after giving thanks he said, “Take this a divide it among y ourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God come.” He took a loaf o bread , and when when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for y ou. Go this in remembrance of me.” He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is one the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!”
Then the disciples of Jesus began to ask one another, which one of them it could be who would do this. A dispute also arose among hem as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest! See what I’m saying? They switched from who would betray the Lord, to which one of them would be regarded as the greatest! Here in the middle of the Passover Meal, they have taken the focus off of Jesus and placed it squarely upon their own shoulders. Were they to be crucified on the cross? Were they to take away our sins in the past, present and the future, no! Yet this is where these who had been closest to Jesus for three years, and they are now worried which one of them was the greatest? This is one of these times when Jesus must have looked upon them and just shook His head and thought, “They just don’t get it, not yet!”
Jesus said to them, “The greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who I is at the table or the one who served? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. ‘ou are those who have stood by me in my trials, and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like whet, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.” Jesus said to them, When I sent you out without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” The answer was simply no, not one thing. And they left the upper room where they had the Passover Meal and moved to the Mount of Olives and once there, Jesus moved away from His disciples and prayed to God, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”
A short time later Judas arrived with the Temple and Roman guards to arrest Jesus and Judas approached Jesus and kissed Him on His cheek. One of Jesus’ disciples struck the slave of the High Priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said no more of this!” He touched the ear of the man and his ear was healed completely.
The disciple’s were scattered, afraid probably of what might happen to them. They entered a court, and Peter was following a short distance away and a servant girl seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.” Peter denied the charge, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, “Yo also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I an not!” Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, “Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!” At that moment, which he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, two had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, yo will deny me three times.” Ad he went out and wept bitterly.
During the Passover Meal, Jesus’ closest friends were shocked that one of them would betray Jesus, and then it turned into a contest of who would be considered the greatest among them, and finally that Peter, whom Jesus had declared he would be the rock upon building his church, denies even knowing Jesus.
Through all of this, we learn that the greatest is the one not with the most money, the biggest house, the most resources, but the one, willing to humble themselves in order to serve those with the greatest needs. A movie in the 1960’s called, “The Robe” had an cast of great actors, though many were from England and sounded nothing like a first century citizen. He played the part of Peter and in one particular scene a Roman centurion told Peter he had been the one to crucify his Lord and that he could not be forgiven his sins. Peter responded, “I was one of his closest disciples, yet at time when He needed me most, I denied knowing him three times. I didn’t deserve His forgiveness either, yet He gave it to me and you will now receive it from Him through me, and you must then serve Him as surely as I do.
In this world today, we have so much anger and animosity towards people who do not believe as we do about a political candidate; we openly have people attempting to hurt police officers for no particular reason; we have a country in desperate times, but seem to turn away from the Lord instead of turning towards Him. These events I have described, came from the Bible and also some quotes from Fr. Cameron Nations, that challenge us to look beyond what’s going on and look toward our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. People question so many things that can be proven, yet they don’t want to look them up, they would rather believe some talking head that has an agenda to take you away from the truth of God’s Word.
Beloved, today is the day to begin acting like adults and to question things you hear that don’t sound true, and respond with the truth of the Bible, to counter those who try to convince you that following Satan is the right thing to do. Follow the One who died on the cross for our sins, because He had no sin, and did so out of love for our soul’s. Next Sunday is Easter, and it’s not about bunnies or candy or any of a myriad of other things that distract us from the truth of our Savior. It takes less effort to love others, than to hate them for some of the silliest reasons. Try love, because Jesus died on a cross for you and on the third day he arose, defeating death for all times, setting the stage for eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. I pray this message is received well and understood even better. Amen