Sermon: “No Parade”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from April 10, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
Palm Sunday days frequently we think about the precession of Jesus down from the Mount of olives, from Bethany and Bethpage through the Kidron valley and up to the lions’ gate of Jerusalem, where he would have entered into the city. First of all, we have to understand the lions gate is no longer a gate you can walk. It has been closed off, walled off. And in fact, now has the cemetery right up against it so that nobody can walk through there without desecrating graves. That was done to keep the Messiah from coming because the Messiah would certainly never be made to do something that would make them unclean.
And of course, since the prophecies were that the Messiah would come through the lions’ gate. If the gates closed off, It can't happen. But when we think back to when Jesus was actually doing it, the gate was opened up and people were expecting that, Messiah. They were hoping that he would be the one, the son of David that would come and throw off Roman rule.
And they were out for a parade welcoming this conquering hero. The only problem is, is it, wasn't a parade. You see, first of all, Jesus, wasn't coming as a conquering hero who would have ridden in on a horse, a war horse. But instead, he's riding in on the foal of a donkey. Now riding on a donkey was a sign of one who came in peace.
So we don't have a conquering hero. We have someone coming in peace. Second of all, the people were out expecting this conquering hero, this Messiah to come in with great power and might. And Jesus came in with no armaments. A few followers, certainly not what you would picture as power and might. And instead of coming in to take over Jesus was coming in knowing that it was going to be coming to his own end.
So instead of being this Messiah, that would ensure the future of Israel, as the people were expecting this Messiah to be. This was someone that was coming in weakness, in peace, in humility. Knowing that the end was near. With his few followers that were willing to come along after he had told them that he was going to go into Jerusalem in spite of their warnings.
So, our whole image of this wonderful parade on Palm Sunday is lacking a whole lot. It's lacking a whole lot. We have Jesus going in and in probably one phrase from our gospel of John lesson this morning from our gospel, from Luke that throws this whole thing into a tizzy. And that's that place where the Pharisees tell Jesus to command his followers to be silent.
And he says, if they're silent, the rocks themselves are going to sing out. Now, this was long before we thought of rock stars singing.
These may be, have been the original rock stars. You know, the ones that were going to sing out if the people were quiet. Awe come on, that at least deserved a groan!
I know it's a sunny morning and it's nice to have that. And the daffodils are blooming out there. But this is a day when we are, so this is the beginning of our high holy day season here, folks. And we need to be rising up like the people that went out to meet Jesus and go, you know, put their cloaks on the ground and wave the palms.
We need to be like that. But we have to remember that it's not a parade. It's not a parade. You know, parade is something where you go to be entertained. Think about that. If you go into grand Blanc, for homecoming parade in the fall of the year, you find a place to sit or stand, or your favorite position maybe is one of the tailgating parties that's going on.
And you watch the different groups come by and you wave to the people in the parade that, you know, Hey Marty! How's it going? You know, as a school board comes through.
Or hi Zach, hi Mark as the Scouts come through or you cheer on the band. Or whichever group it is, but you're there to be entertained. And maybe one other thing, hopefully you're there to support the people that are in that parade. And in that respect, it is a little bit like a parade for Palm Sunday because we should be coming out to support Jesus' going into Jerusalem because in the long run, Jesus going into Jerusalem is the hope of our future. Just as supporting our students in the homecoming parade is the hope of our future.
You ever think about that? When you go to a parade, you're there supporting the students or others that are in those parades, you know what? I don't care whether it's our police, our fireman, out students, our staff, whatever it is, if we're there supporting them, then that in that respect, it is like the disciples and the followers of Jesus coming out and waving Palm branches.
It's just that we have a different perspective of what we're expecting as a result. You know, we go and we wave to our folks in the parade route. And if you're of a certain age or personal makeup, you're really hoping that you're going to catch some of the candy that they're throwing out. I don't think Jesus was throwing out any candy.
Maybe you're there because you want to hear some good music and you can't wait to get through the middle school marching band, so you can get to the high school band. They're working on it. They're getting there, but anybody that's ever sat through a beginning band concert understands that. You know it’s like you cheer on. Yeah. We've got the freshmen, well probably have the middle school football team, the freshmen football team, the JV football team. And it's when the varsity football team comes through that they get the biggest cheers. Of course, that's also when the people that are tailgating come actually to the curb.
But we are supposed to be at this point in our season, lifting up and supporting what Jesus actually meant and what that is, is the promise that God had made, that he was going to send a messiah. Not an earthly messiah, A heavenly messiah. One that would give us hope going into the future, not worrying about what the government is today, here and now, but the hope moving into the future, not worrying about what's going on in our lives right now, not worrying about COVID so much as how we move into a life where now that's part of life.
How do we move into the future? How do we look forward to Easter and beyond at this point, when we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem?
Now the scriptures frequently, if you pick up a Bible that has headings at the beginning of each section. The heading for this section would be Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
And here again, that kind of plays into that whole parade idea, but Jesus went into Jerusalem and the first thing he does is go to the temple and turn over the tables of the money changers and get the Pharisees and Sadducees even more upset with him.
That's not a triumphal entry. The triumphal entry is because Jesus was going and doing those things in spite of the fact that it was going to cost him his life. He was doing it because it needed to be done so that we had the hope for the future. He went into Jerusalem and upturn, overturned, everything, upsetting everyone so that we had hope. Because if he didn't do that, then the rest of the events of what we call holy week would not have happened.
You see, Jesus knew what he was doing. He knew that when he went into Jerusalem, it was going to upset the authorities even more than what they already were. He knew that they were already plotting ways to get rid of him. He knew that people were going to come out and be disappointed. Because they came out to see this conquering hero and what they saw was somebody making a statement of peace.
He knew what the end results were going to be, but he also knew that God's promise could not be fulfilled without him doing it.
Now, there are a lot of times that we also are called to walk with Jesus. A lot of times we are called to do what is necessary to help God's promise be fulfilled. And we have choice. We can either walk with Jesus or we can stand on the side of the road and maybe wave a Palm branch or two, we can either get into the procession, or once the procession has passed us by, we can go back to the way we've always done things.
So, as we are here this morning on Palm Sunday, we can choose to join the procession. We can choose to walk with Jesus and do what is necessary to bring God's kingdom about in our day-to-day lives. Or we can stand on the sidelines. But we have to choose one or the other. There is a third option, don't even go to see it. I'm not sure that I want that one either.
I want to go get in the line, get in the procession and yeah, I know there's times that that's tough. And at times you don't want to do it and time do you have to step off for a little bit and take a rest but get in the procession. It's not a parade. It's a procession of people going with Jesus up to Jerusalem to help bring about the kingdom of God and all the hope that it represents in our world.
And if we're not willing to do that, then we really can't call ourselves Christians because Christians are followers of Christ by definition. So, get in a procession, join the lineup and do what we can. Amen.