Palm Sunday—When God Doesn’t Follow Our Script—4-5-09

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Palm Sunday—

When God Doesn’t Follow Our Script—


I have been involved in many, MANY weddings over the years

·                    Couldn’t even tell you how many

·                    I’ve been everything in a wedding that a guy could be, from ring bearer—to being groomsman—I’ve been the groom

·                    I’ve done all kinds of music—I’ve been the pastor

·                    I’ve done weddings on outdoors, indoors, on boats

And when you’ve been involved in a lot of weddings you learn a few things

·                    You have to take the day in stride

·                    It’s an emotional day—the bride—groom—parents have thought a LOT about what the day would be

·                    It can be a lot of fun

·                    I enjoy the good stuff!!

But it’s always will be a little unpredictable


·                    At my wedding—great idea—dripless candles

·                    I’ve seen a lot of UNPLANNED things happen in a wedding

o       Ring bearers throwing up

o       Grooms spilling wine on their new wives wedding gowns

o       People almost losing the marriage license

And one thing about weddings, there’s a lot of planning and thought:

·                    ‘This is how it will be’

o       There’s this dream

·                    But in reality—although come off beautifully

·                    Life has a way of surprising us—IT DOESN’T ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR SCRIPT

·                    Have to learn to roll with that

In a lot ways, the way little girls dream about their wedding day

·                    Is a lot like the way Israel had been dreaming about the day when Messiah would arrive

·                    They had heard the promises—they knew He was coming

·                    They imagined how He would be revealed to the nation

·                    But somehow, when He DID arrive—most of them missed it

It’s kind of like the bride facing something unpredictable in the wedding

·                    Things don’t always follow the ‘script’ of what they think they should be

Israel as a nation—had come to the place where they had their script thought they understood who/how Messiah would reveal Himself

·                    They had memorized the prophesies—they studied the promises

·                    But somehow GOD didn’t follow THEIR script

·                    Imagine that!

Ever have God do that for you?

·                    Not following YOUR script?

·                    And when you learn how to watch for His script

·                    And ADAPT to what HE’s doing

·                    That’s when you discover the treasure

Look at Matt 21

·                    What I’m going to do today is to look some places on Jesus’ journey to cross

·                    Places where NATION had one Expectation

o       DISCIPLES had anther

·                    But God didn’t follow their script

Matt 21 is where we’re going to pick things up

·                    Fascinating passage of scripture

·                    Backstory

o       WEEK leading up to the cross

o       All PROMISES of history pointed towards—THIS WAS IT!!!

o       But how it unfolded didn’t follow script—can learn from this

o       Hunger—curiosity—interest everywhere—where is Messiah—WHO is he—how will He come?

o       Some had thought John the B was him—but not

o       Word about this Jesus had swept the nation—

o       They heard of the miracles—they heard His words

o       Yet somehow, He didn’t completely fit their ‘script’ of who Messiah was

And now it was leading up to Passover—one of the holiest days of the year

·                    Passover time—remembrance

·                    Spotless Lamb killed—Moses—blood on door post

·                    If you stayed IN THE HOUSE where the blood was spilled

·                    THERE you would be safe—angel of death would pass over

·                    That night in Egypt—God moved throughout land—Egyptians first born died

·                    Israel FINALLY freed

·                    Passover was the VERY THING that set an entire GENERATION of people FREE from slavery

What a PROPHETIC picture

·                    The spotless lamb had to be slain

·                    Remember what John the Baptist said when He saw Jesus?

o       “Behold the lamb of God. . .’

o       John spoke the language—the culture of the people

·                    And THIS week—the HOLY week—when Jesus Christ was crucified—happened EXACTLY at Passover

·                    Jesus FULFILLED this feast in a way a lamb never could

o       Every year—every time—needed NEW lamb

o       Why?  Because we still sin

·                    Perfect lamb of God shed HIS blood for the world

o       Forgiveness for ALL mankind

So RIGHT NOW—in Chapter 21

·                    It is the SUNDAY before Passover

·                    The greatest festival of the Jewish calendar

·                    Jews from around the land flocked to get to Jerusalem for Passover

·                    This was a CENTRAL time to their year—to get to the temple

·                    To worship and celebrate Passover

And throughout the nation was a looking—a watching

·                    Has HE arrived yet

·                    This Messiah who will set us FREE from our bondage

·                    They had heard He was coming—they watched for Him

They were presently under the thumb of the Roman Empire

·                    Injustice/persecution/even death—was a common consequence of being a nation under occupation

·                    Rome’s rule terrorized their lives on a daily basis

So It’s understandable when they read scripture—

·                    Their HOPE was OVERLAYED with their look at the promise!

Most interpreted Messiah as military King overthrow Rome

·                    Smash the feet of clay

·                    Jesus did—but not as THEY had expected it

Many had heard about this Jesus

·                    Some had believed—they had heard the stories—seen the miracles

·                    But some had doubted

·                    Some had written Him off completely—He wasn’t ‘ON SCRIPT’

Read 21:1


In the ancient world when a king rode a horse, it symbolized war. When he rode a donkey, it symbolized peace. The people missed the symbolism. They expected Him to lead a rebellion against Rome, and when He did not, the shouts of “Hosanna” quickly became the cry of “Crucify Him.”[1]

·                    Not on Script—

·                    Prince of Peace

·                    So much of Jesus’ message NOT ON OUR SCRIPT

o       Love enemies

o       Pray for those who persecute

o       Want to SAVE life? Lose it!  If you save it—you WILL Lose

·                    Love enemies

·                    Develop

Branches of Palms

·                    Christ’s formal presentation as KING

·                    It was usual to strew flowers and branches and to spread carpets and garments in the pathway of conquerors and great princes, and of others to whom it was intended to show particular honor and respect.

·                    Not on SCRIPT: Where are the Important People???

But Jesus’ very presence ON A DONKEY

·                    Unrecognized


Here’s where they were ON God’s script—had a Revelation


·                    The disciples and the Galilean crowd recognized the allusion, and turned the arrival into a triumphal procession.

·                    Their shouts in v 9 made no secret of their belief that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, now coming to set up his reign in Israel’s capital.

·                    Psalm 118:26, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. To Him they shouted, Hosanna to the Son of David.

·                    “Hosanna” is from the Hebrew hôšî‘âh nā’, “Save (us), we pray,” taken from Psalm 118:25. It came to be a note of praise as well as petition.[2]

Had a revelation on script—HS Leading words

·                    And on their script—in their minds

·                    Must have imagined with great hope and joy—the KIND was coming!!!!

Interesting—they thought IN THEIR SCRIPT that they were welcoming a MILITARY KING (which they were)

But what they DIDN’T Realize:

·                    This was the SUNDAY before Passover


·                    The Day lamb set aside

·                    Choose it—develop

·                    Very important—had to CHOOSE—set aside—PREPARE

·                    Live with the fact—THIS is the one marked to die for our sin

·                    INSTEAD, God was marking the LAMB


·                    Disciples knew they were being prophetic—proclaiming praise to Jesus

·                    But they didn’t understand HOW—they saw military coup

o       Jesus saw something else (hence Donkey)

Read verse 12 after welcomed as King

What they expectedmilitary attack against Rome—moving in authority

·                    What they GOT—Jesus Addressed money changers

o       Compromise in their own worship

·                    PARASITES (explain)

o       Money

o       Robbed prayer

o       Worship

o       Also sold sacrifices

§        Wouldn’t be surprised if many who were hailing Jesus

§        Had used—after all—convenient

§        But it didn’t COST THEM emotionally

What they had expected was Jesus would address ROME

·                    Instead, He addressed THEIR polluted worship!

·                    Put them in place


o       Sacrifice

o       Intimacy

·                    Blocked/unblocked

Personal Application: 

·                    What blocks your worship?

·                    Where have you ‘phoned in’—not bringing best???

Verse 14

They Got Healing Release 

·                    After money changers set right—Worship/prayer restored

·                    HEALING released!!!

·                    They expected war with Rome—instead He came and healed the broken

·                    Greater miracle than war/death—to create LIFE

When Jesus addresses

·                    Money changes in life everything changes

·                    Healing

·                    Worship


·                    Parasites

·                    Double-minded—develop

Matt 26:17

During Passover Season—Unleavened Bread—Expected TYPICAL Passover Season

·                    Wonder if with Jesus being revealed Palm Sunday

·                    Many Wondered?? Roman coup

·                    Then destroy ARMIES

o       After all—EGYPT—oppression

o       Why not ROMAN oppressors (I know what God will do)

Don’t underestimate this expectation that they had

·                    Acts 1—‘now, Lord?’

·                    Thought the script said, ‘NOW!’????

What they GOT:—New covenant

·                    Blood/body

o       (Bread at Passover)

You thought you understood Passover

·                    It isn’t about the LAMB

·                    It’s about ME!  I am the Lamb

·                    About the cross

·                    New covenant

They expected it to be a lead up to a great victory and battle

·                    What they Got:  was what looked like greatest DEFEAT of all time

After Passover, Expected to be Heroic BRAVADO

·                    Champions at Jesus’ side

·                    Righting every wrong—bravely standing with

·                    Defending—even dieing for the cause

·                    This was to be THEIR hour!

o       Everything was building up to this moment

o       Big stuff

But What they GOT

·                    God’s script—expose their weakness

·                    Most Betrayed Jesus—failed miserably

·                    The UNTHINKABLE—the cross

·                    Failure-- hidden

And after cross

·                    Expectations crushed

o       They expected it was OVER

o       Hopelessness/fear—confusion all about them

What they GOT:

·                    Things were just BEGINNING


Ending:  God in our lives rarely follows our script

·                    Lion of Judah is wild

·                    Many times some of the best things that ever happen to us occur when we’re off our script

·                    And on GOD’s

·                    Places in my life where God didn’t follow my script (and boy am I glad!):  Develop

Who’s script are you living on?

·                    Journey to the cross reminder our scripts our incomplete

·                    Don’t work

·                    Place of total surrender at cross

·                    Not asking Jesus to ‘be part’ of our life

·                    Surrendering our WHOLE life to HIM

·                    We get to die with Him

·                    So we can be raised with Him


[1]Richards, L. (1991). The Bible reader's companion. Includes index. (623). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[2]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:67). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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