Today I did something I have never done. I preached a sermon that was broadcasted on the radio. I know...not a big deal...but it was for me. I was the kick off speaker for the Holy Week services at Wedowee First Methodist. This is the first time I have ever been asked...and since it was Spring Break I could do it. I think I wrote a total of four sermons and kept throwing them out. God kept pushing me to this scripture...and I kept telling him that was not the scripture I wanted to use....Guess what? God won. So if you were listening to Eagle WELR in Roanoke on Monday at 12:05 then you heard me. My scripture lesson came from Luke 19:41-44.
There is a certain time of year that has always perplexed me. It is a time that shouldn’t….but it does….I am speaking of the weeks of Lent and the Holy Week. For some strange reason, I have had to defend the fact that these observances are remembrances for all Christians to reflect on what Christ has done for us. I want to focus today on the eight days that are comprised of Palm Sunday and this week. The days that fully embrace Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Day. The days that can be summarized in two words: Holy Week. Christians everywhere gather to remember what Jesus has done for them that they could never have done for themselves! So what does each day mean? Well, yesterday, PALM SUNDAY: is one of the most dramatic of days, as if it celebrates both the joy of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and his rejection and crucifixion. Jesus comes riding in on a donkey as if to say, "HERE I AM, THE LAMB OF GOD, ON MY WAY TO THE THRONE BY WAY OF THE CROSS. WILL YOU CHOOSE ME AS YOUR LAMB, AS YOUR SACRIFICE, AND THROUGH THAT SACRIFICE, AS YOUR KING?" But unfortunately, they didn’t quite get the message and they began stripping palm branches off the trees and began laying them in the pathway of Jesus shouting "HOSANNA" which means "SAVE US NOW!" They wanted Jesus to be their political leader instead of a spiritual Savior. They wanted to be saved politically from Rome. This one misconception of who Jesus really was is why, in LUKE 19:41, Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they just didn’t get it. They missed the whole point entirely. We celebrate Palm Sunday because we “get it” and accept Jesus because He is,,,The Messiah. We know that Jesus is truly the sacrificial lamb that took away our sins and we rejoice and shout "HOSANNA" because He saves us spiritually. MAUNDY THURSDAY: is derived from both Latin and French words meaning “a new commandment.” Maundy Thursday is a day of remembrance and celebration of the final supper Jesus shared with his disciples. This is the life-altering event that took place because it instituted for us a new covenant that would provide redemption. Jesus established this for us and we call it Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the. Because of what took place this night in the Upper Room we can celebrate the Passover Meal as a memorial of the sufferings and death of Christ. We therefore use bread and grape juice as symbols of Christ’s body and blood. These symbols of bread and juice are representations of our redemption and a token of love and union that Christians have with Christ and with one another as the body of Christ. But don’t forget that Holy Communion was not the only thing that happened on Maundy Thursday night. Nearing 2:30 in the morning in an olive grove called Gethsemane, a group of Roman soldiers were lead by Judas….the disciple. What a sad turn of events took place under the concealment of the night’s darkness. Jesus….betrayed by one of his own….the rest scattered….Peter claiming he would go to his death with Jesus….betrays him….not just once….but three times…and then weeps the rooster crows. Judas returns the coins and commits suicide. JESUS IS CONDEMNED. BARABBAS IS SET FREE. HE GOES HOME AND JESUS GOES TO THE CROSS. GOOD FRIDAY: Good Friday is a solemn remembrance of what took place upon the cross of Calvary between the hours of 9 and 3. It is also a time to recount the last seven phrases spoken by Christ…..from the cross.
JESUS SAID, "FATHER FORGIVE THEM" (LUKE 23:34),
"TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE" (LUKE 23:43),
"WOMAN, HERE IS YOUR SON” (JOHN 19:26-27),
"MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" (MARK 15:34),
"I AM THIRSTY" (JOHN 19:28),
"IT IS FINISHED" (JOHN 19:30),
AND "INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT" (LUKE 23:46).Jesus was a scapegoat….he had to be taken outside the city walls to die….That place was Golgotha…The place of the skull. He carried the sins of the world on his shoulders, he is nailed to the cross, abandoned by the Father…and left to die. Jesus dies on the cross, his work fully complete, and the need for sacrifices are no more. That is why we refer to it as Good Friday. HOLY SATURDAY: As the body of Christ rests within the tomb, the church continues in prayer and fasting….we find ourselves waiting with the women at the Lord’s tomb. This is a time to meditate on the redemptive suffering and death that Jesus has just endured for us sinners. On this day, as the crucified body of Jesus remains in the tomb, let us anticipate the dawning of the third day when he promised to rise again in newness of life.
EASTER: Easter morning is an occasion of great joy and renewal. Christ has risen! There is even more good news Good News because Easter is not just one particular Sunday in April. Easter is actually a season which is also known as the “Great Fifty Days.” It begins Easter Eve and continues through Pentecost. During this time we joyously and festively celebrate the resurrection of Christ, the ascension of Christ, the giving of the Holy Spirit on the very first Easter and the Day of Pentecost. We can now celebrate the promise of eternal life and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We can rejoice knowing that after Christ died and rose again, God became accessible to all who come to him through Jesus’ sacrificial death. Because of Easter the veil has been torn and we can enter the very presence of God. PALM SUNDAY, MAUNDY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY, HOLY SATURDAY AND EASTER DAY. Go, remember, celebrate, and embrace all that God has done, through His son, Jesus, for your redemption and salvation. Amen and Amen!