Sermon Notes April 5, 2009
Text from Matthew 21:1-11
Parade or Demonstration?
I’m persuaded that as Mark describes it, Palm Sunday sounds more like a
demonstration, than a parade. Rather than a leisurely, organized march
the city, picture a potential mob scene. The legionnaires did. The
and religious authorities did. Given the unrest and violence which had
marked Passover festivals in the recent past, festivals celebrating
liberation from Egypt, officials knew better than to wade into the
a spontaneous protest. Indeed they waited until dark before acting.
held off until Jesus was in an isolated spot, away from the crowds.
Start with a parade on Sunday, and you’ll never get to a reason for an
execution on Friday. But start with a demonstration in a tense city
with pilgrims marking an earlier liberation from an oppressive regime,
you have a tinder box ready to explode. Listen to the chants and shouts
the demonstrators: “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!” The Legionnaires
from yellow to orange alert. These were nonsensical claims for someone
mounted on a silly donkey. Perhaps they suppressed a smile, but they
gripped their weapons more tightly.
As this scene unfolded, as Dominic Crossan observes, “there was already
human being,” who was “accepted by millions of people as Divine, son of
God, and even God of God.” Yes the empire already had one who was
Lord, Redeemer, Liberator, and even Savior of the World – the Roman
Octavian the Augustus.” The little band going before and behind Jesus
road to Jerusalem with hopes for liberation running high was on a
course with an immovable force which imposed peace with power.
Craig Anderson, Parade or Demonstration?
Easy to Cheer, Hard to Serve
You have seen those bumper stickers that read "Honk if you love Jesus."
there was a follow up: "Tithe if you love Jesus. Anyone can honk."
loves a parade, everyone loves to get excited. Sometimes we, too, get
up in the excitement of the moment. We are filled with great
fresh burst of energy over a particular project. Unfortunately our
enthusiasm soon fades. We lose interest. It was great while it lasted
now it's gone. It's easy to shout , it's hard to serve.
King Duncan, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com
About the Donkey
People often speak of donkeys in belittling terms. You may have heard
expression, "I'm just someone who has to do all the donkey work." Or
"So-and-so is as stubborn as a mule" (a mule is part donkey).
These sayings overlook the contributions of a truly valuable animal.
have served the human race for thousands of years. They were once
symbols of humility, gentleness, and peace.
In Bible days, donkeys that had never been ridden were regarded as
especially suitable for religious purposes. So it was most fitting that
Jesus sent for a colt to perform the royal task of carrying Him into
Jerusalem. How enviable was that donkey's mission! How like our mission
A missionary in China calls herself "the Lord's donkey." She's a humble
believer, "carrying" her Lord faithfully into town after town and
others to do likewise. The Lord has need of many such "donkeys" in
world, humble people who will carry Him into their Jerusalem and make
The donkey had to be untied before Jesus could use it. We too must be
released from worldly attachments if we are to serve Christ. Are we
to be the Lord's donkey?
Our Daily Bread, March 24, 2001