Palm Sunday 2021 Sermon
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Hosanna! The word Hosanna is an expression of great joy and praise. The word Hosanna is an expression that exclaims hooray, the Lord is coming. But the word Hosanna also means “Lord, save us now!” As we began our worship service today, it was appropriate that we shouted out our joy and our excitement as we waved our palm branches and welcomed the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
But there was another reason we shouted Hosanna. We shouted Hosanna because we too are in need of salvation. Like the people who lined up along the road and spread out their cloaks on the roadway to greet the One who comes in the name of the Lord, we too shout out Hosanna because we desire God’s redeeming activity in our lives.
Think about how often we cry out to God to save us. We call out to God to save us when we are stressed out about work, finances, and family. We call out to God to save us when we are distressed about a decision that we must make that will change the course of our lives or the life of someone else.
We call out to God to save us when we are filled with anger because of something someone did to us or said to us to cause us harm and we cannot get past it.
We call out to God to save us because there is something that we need to be saved from and we cannot do what needs to be done to save ourselves.
There are indeed countless times when we utter our Hosannas and ask God to save us now.
Scripture too is filled with instances where God’s people called out to Him to save them. There were the Israelites who were stuck against the Red Sea who called out to be saved when the Egyptian Army advanced upon them in chariots.
There were the lepers who cried out to Jesus for mercy, to be saved now as they faced being left as outcasts.
And then there was Peter who took his eyes off Jesus while walking on the water and began to sink who called out to Jesus to save him now.
There are indeed countless circumstances where people in scripture utter their Hosannas, for God to save them now.
Today is Palm Sunday. Today is that day when Jesus fulfilled His promise to enter the City of Jerusalem and save God’s people. And Jesus did this by riding on the back of a donkey’s colt. Jesus did not come into town riding a chariot, or white stallion, or at the head of a great army.
No Jesus rode on the back of a colt that before that day had never been ridden. Even so, word spread like wildfire that Jesus was coming to town. Why? Because Jesus was the man who had raised Lazarus from the dead.
So, without hesitation, the people grabbed their cloaks and laid them on the ground, and the people cut down branches from the palm trees and waved them in the air to greet Him.
And upon their lips, the people shouted “Hosanna!” Save us now. But the salvation they sought was not the salvation Jesus came to deliver. Jesus was/is not an earthly king with an agenda to overthrow the reigning Roman government.
Jesus did not enter the city with a great army behind him and an entourage of great power and might. No, instead, Jesus came in peace. As the Prince of Peace, Jesus entered the City to deliver to all people the peace that surpasses all understanding. Jesus entered the City to save humanity from something far worse than the problems that we face in our everyday day lives.
Jesus entered the City to bring about the forgiveness of sin, and deliverance from death and the devil, and to bestow upon us the gift of everlasting salvation to all who put their hope and trust in Him. For Jesus would save us not by sitting on a throne, but by being nailed to a cross and dying on that cross for us.
Today there is a lot that we need to be saved from in our world. For example… On the news each night, even the local news right here in San Angelo, there are many who cry out their Hosannas to be saved from the effects of the Corona Virus in this world.
And like Peter, who was drowning in the water of the sea, who cried out for a hand to lift him up from the water, many people today wonder if there will ever be a hand to reach out to them and lift them up from the grip the virus has on our lives.
If anything, this past year has taught us that we all are in need of help. We all are in need to be saved. But it is not only from the pandemic that we need to be rescued, but from our sinful nature as well. In fact, the pandemic is only a symptom of sin’s dark presence in our lives.
So, when we shout out our hosannas, we are shouting out to the Lord to save us from drowning in the depths of hell itself. And just like He did with Peter who was drowning in the depths of the sea, we are asking God to reach out to us with His helping hand.
And that is exactly what God has done for us in our Baptism. In our BAPTISM, God reached down from heaven and He pulled us up to safety. And not just with any hands, but with the hands that were pierced on Calvary for us and for our salvation.
And since God has reached down to us, He has promised that he will never let us go; and that He will never leave us or forsake us.
Today we celebrate the day when Christ entered Jerusalem and the people shouted out Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
And we remember the events that followed when Christ was abandoned by His disciples and the people in the crowd; and taken away to a hill far away to die for the sins of the world. And that is why we too can cry out “Hosanna! God Save us!” Amen.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, you gave your only begotten Son to take the form of a servant, and to be obedient even to death on a cross. Give us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, that sharing in His humility, we may come to be with Him in His glory. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord we pray. Amen.