Palm Sunday - Palmarum
March 24, 2018
John 12:12-99 The Triumphant Entry
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Holy Scripture for this morning's sermon is from today's Gospel according to John. Let us hear a portion of that Scripture again. It is written in John 12:17-18.
17The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this miracle.
Thus far the text. Let us pray:
Creator Father, Your Son raised Lazarus from the dead and then entered Your holy city Jerusalem to die Lazarus' death and become the atoning sacrifice to save all sinners from death. Save us, O Father, by sending Your blessed Son, who comes in Your name, to give us His resurrected body and blood to us to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of our sins and so that our bodies may rise on the last day too, never to die again; in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem is connected to the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
Many people saw the resurrection of Lazarus. Four days after Lazarus died, Jesus showed up and wept for His friend. "Move the stone," Jesus said. Martha calmly but sincerely suggested otherwise, "It will stink." Jesus replied, "Did I, Jesus, not tell you that if you believe you would see the glory of God." So, they rolled away the stone. Jesus prayed. Then Jesus said, "Lazarus, come out."
And Lazarus come out of the grave.
And many witnessed Lazarus' resurrection.
And every eye-witness was talking and more than a few were plotting Jesus' death.
And then it was Palm Sunday. Six days before the Lord's Passover.
Jesus left Bethany to enter Jerusalem and Lazarus was with Jesus. The large crowd broke into two groups. One group walked with Jesus. The other group ran ahead to tell people that Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead and that both Jesus and Lazarus were coming to Jerusalem, so a third group formed and was waiting Jesus' arrival.
Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem is connected to the raising of Lazarus from the dead. But for the wrong reasons.
For Jesus knows the week that he is about to face. Jesus knows that is not riding in a king's triumph, but rather in a convicts final procession to the crucifixion. The crowds don't know it, the disciples don't know, but Jesus knows it: he is riding to his death.
But Lazarus is there. Jesus has power over death. And when someone has that much power...people want a peace of it. One group wants a king. Another group wants Jerusalem's glory years to return. Another group wants to see the mighty Romans paraded out of town. Other groups want Jesus dead.
You want something too. Something different than a dead and bloodied Jesus, I suppose. One group wants confirmation over with so they don't have to study the Holy Scriptures anymore. Another group wants more programs so more people can get involved so they can feel better about their unbelief.
And yet it is your unbelief that does not want to hear that faith in a dead and bloodied Jesus is your hope for the life of your soul and body.
So, repent. Repent by the Law and believe by the Gospel. Repent by studying the Holy Scriptures and believe by asking God for mercy. Repent of attaching strings and demands to your offerings and believe that our Father is taking care of you. Repent of your plan to spend the congregation's offerings and believe that their use is for distributing Jesus by His means of Word and Sacrament.
Repent and believe that Jesus loves you without any strings attached or for any other purpose that to save your from your sins and give you life, without any merit or worthiness in you.
This Thursday, Jesus will tell you again how changed the Lord's Passover to the Lord's Supper so that death will pass over you and you will be freed from bondage to your sin. This gift will be received by faith.
This Friday, Jesus will tell you again how He suffered and died as your sin, so that you will never experience the horror of death even though one day you will die. This gift is received by faith.
This Saturday, too, is a special service. Jesus will tell you of His descent into Hell and how you are now already mostly resurrected from the dead. Your soul already experiences eternal life. Only your skin and bones need the renewal. This gift is received by faith.
Faith, not in crowds or selfish desires, but in the Annointed One who has power over death because He is the True God who took on your humanity into Himself and died as your sin. This is the week Jesus accomplished the atoning sacrifice for your sin. That atonement is finished.
Now, the delivery of that Good Friday atonement by the Holy Spirit's tools. Holy Baptism, Absolution, Holy Communion, Holy Gospel for the forgiveness of your sins. And where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is also salvation and eternal life; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.