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  • Writer's picturePastor Curtis A. May

The Triumphal Entry

Sermon for Palm Sunday April 2, 2023

John 12:12-15 12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;

behold, your king is coming,

sitting on a donkey’s colt!” [1]

We celebrate the Triumphal Entry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What are you expecting to see? A great Prophet, a King, the Son of God? He only looked like a common everyday man. There is no glorious look of a king or a heroic soldier riding in on a gallant stallion. Just a plan looking man called Jesus who they hoped to be the Christ, the savior they waited so long for and through many generations.

Instead of speaking of valiant deeds that He will perform to defeat their enemy, He speaks of losing one’s life to gain it forever. The example Jesus is giving us is a seed that only produces fruit after it dies and lays in the ground for a season. Should we die, get buried, and then produce fruit too? Or, is Jesus asking us to lose our worldly life that dies for a spiritual life that lasts forever?

Jesus is telling us to leave this world behind and lose the life we lived for the world. Once our life in the world ends the fruit we bear will be of good fruit as we now follow Jesus. It is a hard lesson to swallow as we were brought up in the world that now we must leave it to die its own death. God made us to live and yet we choose each day to follow the world to its eternal death.

Some say, “Oh, the world is not that bad, certainly there is good in it.” But the world is that bad, and the good that it thinks it does is not from God. Our life is a seed that needs the proper nourishment to grow and bear the fruit of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the good fruit, this is glorifying God, that we bear the fruit of life that is in Jesus Christ.

John 12:27–30 27“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine.

Like Peter some would have rather that Jesus had not died on the cross. Instead, we wish Jesus was still around healing the sick and wounded, and comforting the hurts and sorrows of mankind. Sometimes like Peter our selfishness comes out and we fall to the worldly will of our sinful nature. We fail to see that our savior is still with us and with each and every one of us.

Some heard thunder while others heard what they wanted too. But those who believe will hear the word spoken by God. Our unchanging God will do it and He will do it again. The Father glorifies the Son, and the Father will always glorify His Son. The cup Jesus must drink from is not for His sake, but it is for our sake.

Jesus came for us the sinner, the forsaken, the downtrodden, and what many call the low life. For it is we who bear these titles who need to know of the salvation that makes us richer, healthier, and clothed in the finest of linens which is the righteousness of Christ Jesus Himself.

John 12:31–34 31Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”

Jesus is glorified but not by great celebration but rather by His sacrifice given to all peoples that they might be saved through Him. Jesus was not looking for an audience to cheer His being like a man, but that we might be in awe of His great love for God’s creation that was created in His likeness. That would be all believers who follow Jesus.

John 12:35–36a 35So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

The light of God is powered through His word giving knowledge of a great Savior who not only died for our sins but defeated death, the pangs of sin, and the evil one. The evil one who separated himself from God and wants to separate as many of God’s creation as he can will die an eternal death. But reserved for those who believe and follow the light of the world will become the sons of the light. Thanks be to Jesus Christ who suffered and died and was resurrected for our sake whom we glorify in worship and with knowledge of His salvation for us. Amen.

Written by Pastor Curtis A. May

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 12:12–15.


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