When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna."


Palm Sunday
Mark 11:1-10 

Good Morning from the Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team to all who are reading this message.   What a glorious day to worship God on this Palm Sunday!  

Our Bible reading comes from the New Testament Book of Mark, Chapter 11, verses 1 through 10.  

Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday before Easter.  This is the day that the historical triumphal entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem is celebrated and marks the first day of Holy Week. 

In many churches, Palm Sunday is celebrated by the blessing and distribution of palm branches, representing the palm branches which the crowd scattered in front of Christ as He rode into Jerusalem. 

Palm Sunday is bittersweet for us because even as we read of the celebration, we know that Friday is coming. The cross is coming. We know that many in this same crowd will within a few short days exchange words of praise to words of death. Shouting Hosanna, Hosanna and then later shouting Crucify Him, Crucify Him. 

Now reading from Mark 11:1-10:
1 As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’” 

4 The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. 5 As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. 

8 Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, 

“Praise God!  Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!
    Praise God in highest heaven!” 

Let's pray,
Heavenly Father, we kneel before You with thankfulness. You gave Your only Son, Jesus, to be crucified, to pay our debts and free us from sin. We glorify You and we marvel at Your selflessness. As we celebrate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on this day of Palm Sunday, our hearts rejoice with gratitude. You knew how much Jesus would suffer in the hands of the Roman government, but You asked Him to go anyway and Jesus willingly obeyed You and went to the Cross.  What unselfish acts! We glorify You and praise You that because of this, we are now acceptable before You.  In Jesus' name, Amen. 

A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. 

The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, dad?" 

"You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got Palm Branches today." 

The little boy replied, " Aw Shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!" 

On Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem during the Passover festival. From all around, Jewish people came to Jerusalem to celebrate the great Jewish stories of the past, stories of freedom and of hope. They would meet with relatives and friends. There would be singing, prayer, dancing, feasting. Spirits were high, outlooks bright. And it wasn’t just that the Jewish people were celebrating the stories of the past, they were also anticipating the great promised restoration of Israel. This was kingdom time: the time when Passover dreams, the great hope of freedom, would be revealed in a new way! 

So, with such a backdrop of celebration and anticipation, it is really no surprise that Jesus receives the welcome He does as He rides into Jerusalem. For years now, Jesus has been traveling among them. He’s been telling them of God’s coming kingdom, the promised restoration of Israel. He’s been sharing God’s love with them and talking about release for the captives and recovery of sight for the blind. They’ve even seen Him living that out; healing people, making the lame to walk, casting out demons, healing the lepers, feeding the hungry and raising people from the dead. 

So, when Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, He becomes the center of the show. It’s like the rock star making his way to the stage. People are shouting, waving anything and everything they can find. It’s quite a welcome, isn’t it? A royal welcome, really. In fact, this was sort of a military procession into Jerusalem, a welcome reserved for conquering kings! The crowds throwing their cloaks before Jesus and waving their leafy branches fully expected that in no time at all, Jesus, in a great feat of military strength, would overthrow the oppressive regimes and establish Himself on the throne of David, restoring Israel’s glory. 

They didn’t even seem to notice that He rode in on a colt, or a donkey, as the Greek could also be translated. This was no stallion, no great war horse. Whether young colt or donkey, the animal Jesus rode into Jerusalem was the same animal princes rode when they wished to signify peaceful intentions. Jesus wasn’t there to fight. Jesus had no intentions of pulling off some unlikely military feat. In fact, He knew it was just the opposite fate that awaited Him. And as He rode into Jerusalem with crowds all around singing and shouting at Him, He might have thought, “Don’t you understand?” 

In that first palm processional so many years ago, many in the crowds weren’t worshipping the real Jesus. They were worshipping an ideal, an image that they had in their minds. It wasn’t that they really loved Jesus; they loved what they thought Jesus was there to do.  They all wanted Jesus, but they wanted Him their way.  They welcome Him as Savior, but they do not really understand what kind of Savior He is.  He has saved so many people from sickness and Satan and death—now He comes to Jerusalem to save them all!  

They are right in one sense. He is the King Who saves us all, but He will not save by performing more miracles. He will not save them by seizing Herod’s crown of gold, but by wearing a bloody crown of thorns. He will not save them by building an army to fight for their freedom—He will save them by allowing evil men to bind Him and nail Him to a Cross. He will not save them by shedding the blood of His enemies, but by allowing His enemies to shed His blood. He will not save them by demanding acceptance from others, but by being abandoned by His Father. They do not understand His secret ambition is not to take over the world by force, but to win the world by love. 

Jesus did come to make life better but not in the way they expected; perhaps not in the way we might expect either. 

Today many people still want Jesus to conform to their ideas and their life style. They desire to dictate to Him what He should do, what He should approve of, what He should be. They want Him to be a conformist to their ideas of who He should be. 

Two thousand years ago Jesus came into our world.  He was born of a virgin, tempted by Satan but lived a perfect, sinless life. Jesus died on the cross as the sacrifice for the penalty for our sins so that we would not have to be controlled by sin.  

Jesus comes to deal with the burden of sin that has infected our life, that has caused us such grief, hurting our relationships, creating distance between those we love, leaving us empty. 

Many people still don’t understand. Far too many see Jesus as a Good Man, even the best Man Who ever lived. Some sit in church and hear sermons about how much He loves us, and yet they never cry Hosanna! They either don’t think He can save them or don’t think they need saving. 

Not many today ask the all-important question anymore: what must I do to be saved? Only bad people are not saved, only people who commit horrible crimes or who don’t believe in God go to hell. I’m as good as anybody else, as good as most people, I’m good enough! 

But the Gospel tells us none of us are good enough to go to heaven, and all of us are bad enough to go to hell. It tells us we’re sinners, rebels against a Holy God, that our sins separate us from God’s love. The Bible says there is nothing you or I can do to scrub clean the stain of our guilt, nothing humanly possible to put us right with the Judge of all the earth, that our destiny is death. 

Jesus comes to change all that. He comes to erase our past and give us a new beginning. He comes to suffer and die in our place, to invite us to raise our hands to heaven and welcome Him just like this crowd did with Hosanna! Hosanna! Save me now! Lamb of God, take away my sins and wash me clean by Your blood!  

God is looking for people who can recognize that they have broken lives and can recognize that they need healing; that they need forgiveness in their lives.  

John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

Jesus is the only Savior for all mankind.  The Bible says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   And in I Corinthians 15:22 and 45:  “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.” 

The great evangelist, Billy Graham, has been quoted many times as saying that the greatest mission field in our country to today is in our local church- the people sitting already in our churches. Now I am not sure whether this statement is true or not, but one thing that I do know is that many people know what to say, how to say it, even how to act in it, but when the rubber truly meets that road, there is no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. No salvation- just empty words. 

All of us can lift up our voices and joyfully shout to the Lord. All of us can lift up out hands and heart to God, and welcome Him into our life.  But what happens after He enters our life, but does not act the way we wanted or expected?   Jesus is wonderful when He comes to make life easier to bear, but it becomes a different matter when submission and commitment come into play. 

When we commit our lives to Christ, life will not always be easy.  There will be those challenges we will be reluctant to pursue or to face.  Remember, Jesus also was reluctant to embrace the cross because He understood the cost.  He knew of the suffering ahead, the humiliation, the excruciating pain to be inflicted on Him, the separation from His Father.  He also knew that the cross was the only recourse.  He chose to obey God, to keep His eyes fixed on His Father and on the mission of love. 

This morning as we journey with Jesus to Jerusalem and experience the challenges He is about to face; as we consider the men and women who were with Him following the signs which lead to a renewed way of life, and as we recognize the commitment to service, we must point lost persons to salvation in Christ and equip them with the Biblical tools for spiritual growth and development. 

Part of following Jesus is that we love God and others in the same way He did; that we love fully and completely, even to the point that we would empty ourselves totally for the sake of another. And that’s the thing about our journey with Jesus. It doesn’t just take us to Jerusalem and a rock star welcome. We don’t just go to the cross, or even to the empty tomb. Journeying with Jesus means we love Him no matter what, every day of our lives; even when that love makes us uncomfortable, when that loves takes us to places we never wanted to go. 

The true measure of our love as Christ’s disciples is our ability to extend ourselves in real acts of love for others in Jesus’ name. We have to go beyond the parades and step into the “back alleys.” If we are really going to love Jesus and follow Him, it will force us to come out of ourselves and to extend ourselves in real acts of compassion toward the hurting in our communities.

We can’t just pick and choose what we like. We can’t “love” Him one minute and decide the next that He’s “not all that great anyway.” If we’re going to go, we have to go all the way. We have to go through the trials and the beatings, the mocking and floggings. We have to go all the way to the cross, and then we have to keep going because we are the people called to continue Christ’s work; to share Christ’s love in the world. 

Should we celebrate Christ? Definitely. Should we hail the conquering hero who will delivers us from our suffering? Absolutely. Should we sing praises and shout “Hosanna!” at the top of our lungs? Most certainly. But this Palm Sunday, and every day, as we wave our leafy branches and worship our God and King, let us always remember Who this really is. Let’s never forget just how very, very, very much He loves us. And let’s go out and love others in the same way. If we can love with even a fraction of Jesus’ love, it will change this world in ways we can’t even imagine. That’s something to celebrate! 

As we proceed into Holy Week, I pray that if you haven’t trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will do so right now.  Welcome His salvation; don’t let your pride lie to you; humble yourself and admit you need Him to rescue you. There is no shame in reaching out for His grace when you are drowning in sin. 

I John 5:13 tells us: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 

Jesus has provided the gift of salvation to us which gives us not only hope for today but hope for eternity.  

In Romans 10:9, we are told that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

We receive salvation when we:
(1) Repent of our sins.
(2) Trust Jesus Christ as our Savior.
(3) Confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, invite Him into your life right now. 

Or maybe there are those who are far away from Jesus.  Have you allowed your comfortable, personally focused desires to act as an eclipse between you and God?  Is Jesus obscured or completely blacked out of your life? Do you miss Him? 

All it takes is to open yourself and say "I want things to be different. I know things need to be different. I know what’s wrong, what doesn’t belong and I invite You, Jesus, to come and change me.” 

When we turn back to Jesus in repentance, when we ask for forgiveness, intending to live a godly life, God’s mercy reaches out to us with a message of love.   God is a God of mercy, of redemption, of restoration and of renewal. Just come by faith to the throne of grace to receive it. He is waiting for you with open arms.   Repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life. 

I’ll close with this story from “Jesus Makes Me Laugh with Him” by David A. Redding. 

“I remember going home from the Navy during World War II. Home was so far out in the country that when we went hunting, we had to go toward town. On that farm I left behind Teddy, a big black Scottish shepherd. Teddy would do anything for me. He waited for me to come home from school. He slept beside me, and when I whistled he ran to me, even if he was eating.  And when I went away to war, I didn’t know how to leave him. How do you explain to someone who loves you that you’re leaving him and you won’t be chasing woodchucks with him tomorrow like always? 

The last bus stop was fourteen miles from the farm. I got off there that night about eleven o’clock and walked the rest of the way home. It was pitch dark, but I knew every step of the way. Suddenly Teddy heard me and began his warning barking. Then I whistled only once. The barking stopped. There was a yelp of recognition, and I knew that a big black form was hurtling toward me in the darkness. Almost immediately he was there in my arms.” 

You and I are not dogs, but we could learn a thing or two from this dog. Why did this dog welcome him home so royally? Because he recognized his master.  

This morning let’s recognize our Master and give our King a royal welcome.  

In Jesus’ name