Palm Sunday and Lord’s Supper
April 10, 2022
Palm Sunday: Jesus in the crowd
Jesus was a Crowd Favorite!
-Read Matthew 11:7-11
-they were welcoming a king, their savior
-He rode in on a donkey- came peacefully
-Their expectations did not match what Jesus came to do
-They wanted Jesus to overthrow their earthly oppressors
-Jesus came to set them free from their own oppressive sin
-Result over the next week: Their Loyalty Was Short Lived
Thursday Night: Jesus and His Disciples
The Lord’s Supper: Affirmation Of Loyalty
-Jesus established an enduring practice of remembering His death
Mark 14:22-26 As they were eating, He took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them, and so they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many. I assure you: I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it in a new way in the kingdom of God.”
The Lord’s Supper is…
A Symbolic Reminder
-Jesus used elements from the Passover Supper
-Bread symbolized his broken body
-The Cup symbolizes his blood shed for our sins
For Christ’s Followers
-We invite fully committed followers of Christ
-Are you a Palm Sunday or Thursday night follower?
-We declare Jesus died for our sins
-We declare He is coming again
Come carefully to the Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:28 “A man ought to examine himself before he eats the bread or drinks the cup.”
-Confess your sins and Receive Forgiveness
-Submit again to Christ’s Authority in specific areas of your life
-Restore broken relationships “as much as it depends on you”
The Lord’s Supper
Take your time- pray about your heart attitude first
Come forward to receive the elements
Pray before eating and drinking
Keep Worship Area Quiet- let others partake in peace
Use Connection Card- to declare your spiritual commitments
Come for Prayer- Prayer Team members are ready to help you
My Next Steps
Connection Card in Offering Box
-everyone can do this
-be sure to mark your spiritual commitments, pledges, prayer
Good Friday Worship at Noon
Easter Sunday Worship
-This is the best time to invite friends and family to worship
After singing psalms, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
-We can’t stay in the “upper room”
-Jesus is leading us to a life of sacrifice and victory!
To the cheers and adulation of the crowd, they were putting Palm branches, leafy branches, Palm branches down; they were putting their coats down. They were signifying that this Royal King deserved a coronation. That He was coming in, in such a way that they were like, "Yes, this is him, Hosanna!" They were just singing the praise. He was the rockstar of the morning. I just want to clarify for those of you, and this came up this week in our elders meeting, that some of you might have been offended when I called Jesus a goat. And I just want to remind you that culturally speaking, when you call somebody the goat, it is an acronym for "greatest of all time". So, I was not defaming Jesus by calling him a goat. That would be bad, don't do that. Don't do that. He was the goat. He was the greatest of all times.
So just in case, if you're listening, maybe that was you. I don't know who it was, but there was a comment back that maybe that wasn't appropriate, and I didn't mean in any way to offend, especially Jesus Christ. Let's give Him honor to whom honor is due. But guess what? This crowd, as excited as they looked, had an agenda for Jesus Christ. Jesus is in the crowd and here He was being welcomed in as the King, their savior.
Now, Jesus was not meeting their expectations. In fact, the way He was entering was not like He should have in order to match what they wanted Him to be. He was riding in on a colt, so you know which team He roots for. Anyway, that was... See the second service, I get a little excited, you know, I get a little... my wife says, "Tamp it down, Pastor Greg. Tamp it down husband." Anyway, He wrote in on a colt; He was coming in peacefully. He was making sure that the Roman authorities and anybody who thought they were in charge, that He was making it very clear that He was not trying to [unclear02:31] any earthly authority. If He was going to be put to death, it was not because He was a rebel who is trying to incite an insurrection. His death would be the result of His own people, condemning Him for no other reason than that He claimed to be equal to God; that he claimed to be God.
He's in this crowd, and He's not meeting their expectations. He's not going to meet their expectations. They wanted Jesus to overthrow their earthly oppressors. Jesus came to set us free from our own oppressive sin. And the result over the next week would be a very short lived popularity where this same crowd would be converted into a mob that would cry out, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him. Put Him to death in the worst way possible. He's not our king."
You think, how can a crowd be so fickle? I'll give you an illustration. You have someone who is starting a new company; maybe they're a politician and they are starting a new term as a newly elected official. Or in my case, I work with a lot of church planners. And of course, I was part of the beginnings of planting St. Joe Community Church. And this next Sunday, we traditionally celebrated, it's the 20th or the 21st of April, but we celebrated on Easter Sunday will be our 19th anniversary. And I think back on how we said, "This is how we're going to do it. This is what we're going to do. This is the way in which this is the mission and purpose, the vision of our church." And many church planners will do that, and they'll gather a crowd of people and they'll move that crowd to move forward. And God will be working in the middle of all that, and there'll just be this swell of people that will come.
And then about year two or three, as they begin to implement the vision that God had given them that they clearly said, this is where we're going, this is what we're doing; a few of the people in the crowd will go, "Well, that's not what I signed up for." They didn't read the bulletin. They didn't read the fine print. They didn't really hear what they wanted. They heard what they wanted to hear. And they joined the crowd of people doing a new thing in town with their own agenda and their own version of what they wanted to happen in that new company or that business or that church or that politician. And when that person was true to what they said they would do, they weren't so happy about it and they faded.
And bar none, every new church, every new organization, every political leader, or any kind of leader who says, I'm now the new leader, who everybody champions at the beginning; there will always be a few people that didn't really hear what they wanted to do. And when they actually did it, they get mad and leave. It just happens. And so Jesus, I mean, case in point, this crowd said, "This is what you are to us. We hate the Romans. We want him out of our lives. Oh, king, get this over with." And He didn't come to overthrow an earthly kingdom. He came to overthrow in the spiritual kingdom that's behind every pagan, earthly kingdom. He came here not to overthrow Putin, but to overthrow the one who's the mastermind behind all the evil that exists in this world.
Now, he has a pure choice to do good or evil, and he is owning evil like nobody's business. And it's horrible. But the ruler of this world is Satan himself, and he wants to cause everybody to be in bondage to send until eternity when they spend eternity away and banished from God forever to pay for their sins. And he wants to drag as many people with him as possible. And Jesus came not to overthrow a temporal kingdom that was underneath a spiritual kingdom that was against the ways of God; he came to overthrow the very kingdom that had us in slavery to our own sins. He came to overcome your personal kingdom that is in charge of you that's causing you to sin and to do things that are destructive to yourself and to people around you. Jesus came to set us free. He came to die.
He was a crowd favorite in this moment, but then we see later Thursday night, we see Jesus and his disciples. We see Him in the crowd. Yay! But when he really gets down to brass tacks of what he's going to do, he's left with just a few. And even when he had the few, one ran off to continue to press Him into the vision that he had for Jesus' life. Some think that when Judas betrayed Jesus, that Judas, we think, no one knows, but there's a possibility that Judas may have thought if I can just push Jesus's buttons, if I can press against him the authorities, then He'll step forward and be the king that I want him to be. Or maybe by this time, he was so angry that Jesus wasn't the man that he wanted Him to be, that he was in spite betraying Him so that he would say, "Well, if that's what you want, you get what you deserve, and I'll just help it along by betraying you into the hands of the authorities." We don't know.
But even in the 12, there was one that stepped away and said, I'm not really into this. So, we have a much smaller group of people who are following Jesus Christ at this moment in time. And we pick up in Mark 14, where Jesus institutes the first Lord Supper and on the screen is the version that I'm going to read from out of the Christian Standard Bible, where it says, and you are welcome to read out loud along with me this morning, if you would, starting at verse 22 on the screen. "As they were eating, He took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them and said, 'Take it, this is my body.' Then He took a cup and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and they all drank from it. He said to them, 'This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.' After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives."
What's going on here? Well, this night of gathering was in keeping with what God had instituted in the Old Testament called the Passover Supper. We're not getting get into the intricacies of that. That in itself is a very unique story; a word picture of all the elements that you can tie to our savior Jesus Christ. But the two that He pulled from the Passover supper were the bread and the cup. And He took this, what they knew to be the Passover Supper, and he instituted a new supper that we now call the Lord's Supper. And He used it as a symbolic reminder. He used elements that are symbolic of His broken body and His spilled blood. And that's what we'll do today in a few moments; we'll take the bread and we'll take the cup. And as we eat and we drink, we remember His death until he comes again.
Again, this is upper room conversation, not crowd conversation. These are people who are all in following Jesus, that's who we invite to be part of what we're doing. This upper room, this room where we have to choose to belong into the family of Jesus Christ, that we choose to put our faith in Jesus as our Lord and our savior; that we're willing to even die. Take up your cross and follow me. We've talked about this in the last handful of Sundays, about the cost of following Jesus Christ.
We're symbolically remembering that this forgiveness of our sins came at a price and the price was the life of Jesus Christ. The human being, the God man, God in the flesh, divinely God who came to take our place. A symbolic reminder -when I'm working with young children, I talk to them about substitution of punishment by saying, let's just say little Johnny did something wrong. And since we're already going with little Johnny, Jack says we have a John and a Jack in his room. And says, "I know Johnny did it, but I'll take his punishment for him. I'll take time out instead all the time." All the time.
God bless you. We have a moment of forgiveness and a few moments of confession. And Jack says, "I know John deserves to be in punishment for two hours in his room by himself, not doing anything and not playing in the yard, but I'm going to, instead of John taking the punishment he deserves, I'll take his place and I'll go sit in his room and sit in timeout. And Johnny can go and hang outside with the friends and do all the fun stuff that he doesn't deserve to do, but he'll get to do because I'm replacing him in his punishment." That's exactly what Jesus did for us. He replaced us in our time out zone. He replaced us by not letting us not making us have to die and be forever separated in hell from a holy God because of what we did to offend Him. When you offend an infinitely, holy God, it takes an infinitely long time to pay that off. In other words, you'll never pay it off. And God knew that, and that's why for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever would believe in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus came to die. He came to perish physically, with his blood pay for, and the perfect sacrifice, because He knew no sin, became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. He took our place. He could. No one else in humanity could. They couldn't find anything wrong with the guy when they put Him to death, except for that he blasphemed God by claiming to be God. They couldn't find any witnesses. They had liars come up and say what He was, and they couldn't agree on enough witnesses. And even in their own human pagan court, they couldn't find a way to rig it so that He could be put to death for something He did wrong on this earth. He died for us and these are symbols of his death, reminding us that he paid our price.
And as I already said, this is for Christ's followers; not for people who are thinking about following Christ, not for people who might want to follow Christ but they're not sure yet, or for people that are just trying to figure things out. The crowd is not invited to us. Followers are invited to this. And so, if you are a follower in the middle of the crowd, we welcome you to join us at the Lord's Supper table. In other words, are you a Palm Sunday or a Thursday night follower? If you're just a Palm Sunday follower, that's not what we're talking about. Someone that wants Jesus to kind of come through for them, and then when He doesn't, I'm not so happy about Jesus. I want my way of doing things, so could you change the Bible to match what I want?
God says, "No, you got to match what I want. And when you can't, you just say, 'I'm sorry, please forgive me. I was wrong. And I ask your forgiveness so that I can do it the right way, the way you want me to do it.'" There isn't a single person here that can say I deserve to come to the Lord's Supper table. We've all blown it; every one of us in our own way, shape or form. And we've either been slapped on the hand by somebody in authority or we've had the Holy Spirit slap us upside the spiritual head to tell us we did something wrong. You know you did it wrong. And all God's asking us to do is not to say, "Oh, I'm good enough." No, say I'm not good enough, and I know it, and I agree, and I ask and I confess and I'm willing to say I want to do it your way instead of my way." I want to go to the upper room. I want to live in the upper room. I want to live to follow Jesus whatever it takes.
This table is for that kind of a person this morning. And if you're like me, you've blown it this week, somewhere shape or form; either it's a thought or an action or an attitude. And all we're saying is just ask forgiveness, say, "God, I'm not worthy to come to the table, but I know I'm a follower, and so I ask your forgiveness and will you clean me up? Will you give me strength? Will you help me to do better this week? I want to be more like you this afternoon than I was last night." I don't know where you're at or where you've been, but come as you are - leave changed.
And then finally it's a symbolic reminder, it's for Christ followers, but it's also a declaration. We're declaring that Jesus died for our sins and we declare that He's coming again. On Friday at noon, I have the privilege of bringing a brief message and that message will be, "It is finished". Jesus said that when He died on the cross. He said several things when He was on the cross. But the one thing that I thought that we ought to talk about on Friday morning that I felt impressed to talk about is that one phrase, "It is finished". Stop working for your sins to be paid off, stop trying to pay off God with works. You know, some people they give God just enough and then they think, "Well, I didn't give Him a whole lot here, so I'm going to do a lot of work around the church or I'm going to be a good person, or I'm going to donate a bunch to the salvation army, or I'm going to do all this," because you don't really want Jesus to be in fully in charge so you sort of like bargain with God. Well, if I'm a good enough person over here, that kind of balances out my not so good over here. And Jesus said on the cross, "It is balanced." No, He said it is finished. I did everything possible and necessary for you to be forgiven of your sins; stop trying to pay me off.
And so, it's a declaration that I'm trusting, not in myself, I'm not trusting in anything I did. Our righteousness is like filthy rags, the Bible says. I'm not trusting in what I'm doing. I'm trusting in what Jesus already did, so that's what this is about this morning. And so we come to the table, reminding ourselves of the symbol of His broken body and His spilled blood; as a follower of Jesus Christ, an upper room Christian, not a crowd Christian, and we come declaring that Jesus paid it all. There's a hymn, isn't there? Jesus paid it. Jesus paid it some... no, Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a Crimson stain, He made it white as snow. We're declaring that we have victory over the things that we cannot in this lifetime fully experience victory over. We're still struggling in that. But even in the struggle, we know we've already won when we're trusting in Jesus.
We invite you to participate with us as we come to the Lord's Supper in that attitude and spiritual commitment. One more thing before we actually open the table for you to come, and that is I suggest that you come carefully to the Lord's Supper table. We've already made it clear that only believers should come today and partake with us. And we're not going to sit here and be the judge of hearts. If you're a follower of Jesus Christ, I'm not going to say, 'Well, no, you're not. You're not." We're not going to do that. Nor are we going to say, "Are you fest up and are you ready to receive the Lord Supper in a worthy manner?" And so even that, I think we need to look at this morning to say, even as a believer, the Bible in 1 Corinthians 11:28 say, "A man ought to examine himself, in this way, let him eat the bread and drink from the cup." We exam am in ourselves. We don't want to come and as later the verses say, in an unworthy manner. We don't want to disrespect the table.
You see, Paul who wrote this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the Corinthian church, 1 Corinthians is the letter. They were part partying, they were having food and they weren't sharing it with poor people who didn't have enough food. There was this class prejudice moment going on. There was this total disrespect. They were getting drunk. There was just this party attitude instead of this worship respect for Jesus attitude. And Paul says, this is really how it's supposed to be. When you come to the Lord's Supper table, you need to examine yourself. See, some of you, you've gotten sick and some of you died. I've never had that happen in a worship service, but I don't want it to. I want you to come in a worthy manner. He said, in other words, there's consequences for being disrespectful of Jesus Christ when you come to the table. And a man or a woman, we ought to examine themselves. In other words, where am I at, Jesus? What have I done to offend you? How have I not asked your forgiveness in ways that I offended you?
And before you come to the table this morning, stay at your seat long enough to do business with God, and to just confess. You might need to write a name down of somebody that you need to ask forgiveness for when you leave this place. Nobody will be offended if you pull your phone out and you send a text while you're here to say, "Hey, we need to meet as soon as possible. God got a hold of me," or whatever you feel comfortable saying at that moment. But, God gets a hold of you about a relationship that's off kilter. And some people, I've even known them to not come to the Lord's Supper table until they get it right with the person that they have personally offended. That's up to you, and that person has to do their part of the reconciliation. But if you've been rebellious in reconciling and forgiving somebody, it's important for you to get that right. And as God as your witness, say that you will move forward in that way, from this day forward living for Jesus in that area of your life the way he wants you to.
And so, examine yourself before you come and just ask forgiveness. You might need to take a slip back and get a connection card if you didn't pick one up on your way in. Or on your phone, go to our website and go to our contact page and send us a note, a prayer request - "This area of my life, I got to get better. I need help. I need prayer. I need support. I need some resources, some people to come into my life, maybe a Bible study or some way I need to be connected so that I can get better."
I've heard it said before, we're only as sick as our secrets. And if you're being secretive about something, and if you're withholding something in your life that you're struggling with, and you're not getting partnership with; you're going to probably continue to struggle with it until you get someone in your life. We confess our sins, one to another that we might be healed, the Bible says. And you're in not really feeling the healing, because you're not inviting others in your journey. You're not humbling yourself in a way that, not to go get beat up, but for someone to support you and lift you up as you're teetering on the brink of disaster in that particular area of your life. So, we invite you in confidence. We have our prayer team during the ending of our Lord's Supper time; Jerry and Becky are going to be probably towards the back, right? And they're going to be receiving people if you want prayer. I'll be up front if you want to come forward for prayer. Put your connection card in the box, the offering box as you leave, if that's something you feel, somehow some way, move forward spiritually and let us know how you did it.
So, I'm going to pray, and I'm going to invite you to come forward. We'll come to the middle aisle, if you would, just kind of as you respectfully come over with each other, grab the elements; they'll be given to you or you'll pick the cup up, and I think we're going to give you the bread. And then you'll move to the side either this way or that way to the outer aisles and get back to your seat or to somewhere in this room or even out there if you feel more comfortable. Maybe come with people, if you're with a group of people or come by yourself, but we're all participating kind of at our own pace. Take the elements. If you're with a group, invite someone in that group to just breathe a prayer, say thank you, Jesus, for dying for us. Take the bread, take the cup.
If nobody's got the courage to pray out loud, say, okay, we're just going to sit here quietly and pray, and then somebody say, amen. At least have the courage to stop the prayer. And just somehow respectfully pray, and then partake, and then sit down and kind of quietly allow everybody to participate until we're all finished this morning. That's how we're going to do that today. And so let me pray, and then as we have this pause of you coming and reflecting on what God wants you to do and the way He wants you to come, you come as the Lord leads.
Father God help us to honor you with our lives as we publicly declare to the world and to the people in this room that we have trusted you completely for the forgiveness, us of our sins, that you've removed our guilt. You've set us free. You've given us a new name. You've placed us in your family forever. I thank you for that promise. And it doesn't matter how far we've gone as a believer, we can always come back. It doesn't matter what we've done, none of us, not one of us, even one sin keeps us from deserving to come before you this morning. But we trust in the blood that was shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, and we want to tell the world that we are or followers; not our agenda, but your agenda; not our vision, we want your vision; not our plan for what kind of a king you ought to be, but God, we trust you as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords to do with our lives and to work in this world however you choose to do so. We trust you, Jesus. And I pray this in your strong name, amen.
B: Bible book