Bible lesson on the true meaning of Palm Sunday by Daniel Pac, followed by a song by Kristalyn Pac.
Track is 43:56 minutes. Transcript below.
First four verses of song, fading into prayer and Bible lesson …
Heavenly Father, we give you praise and glory today, Father we thank you for this opportunity to draw so close to you and to draw so close to our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank you that there‘s one mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ whom we serve. And we just give you praise and glory today, Father. We pray that you would impart your truth into every heart and every mind today, and renew us and cleanse us. We pray, Father, that every word of truth that would come forth would be sealed up and would bear much fruit for you. Father, we just thank you that you are so good and so kind! We thank you for your word and for the opportunity to be in your presence and to serve and to be healed and to be corrected and to be guided and to be part of all that you have created! Father, we just give you glory and praise and honour and thanksgiving today, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
One of the scriptures that features in Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem is actually Psalm 118. What I’d like to do is, as a devotional right now, read the first six verses of Psalm 118. Something that I’ve learned from Paul, and that we do quite a bit in the youth group, is we’ll take sections of the Psalms, much of which are prayers ~ devotional prayers ~ and actually pray them ourselves too. So I was wondering, would you mind doing that for us, Gordon? Would you read the first six verses of Psalm 118 as a prayer, an offering to our God?
1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
2 Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
3 Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
4 Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
5 I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.
6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? ~ Psalm 118:1-6
Amen. Right, so this is a scripture that’s starting to set the stage for our understanding of Jesus coming into Jerusalem. Another one that actually I’ll read right now from Matthew 21:
1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. ~ Matthew 21:1-11
So this is one section of scripture that starts to explain some of the features of Jesus coming into Jerusalem, and when they’re cutting down from the trees, those are what people call palms. [That’s what they’re referring to in tradition when they call this day Palm Sunday.] And the scripture that we first read, Psalm 118, predates this scripture in Matthew by at least five hundred years, maybe more. Okay? And we’re gonna read more of Psalm 118 later.
But a few of the features that are happening, as we read in the section of Matthew, [are] things that God has revealed in the past [regarding the future that are now] being fulfilled as Jesus comes into Jerusalem.
But a few of the features that are happening, as we read in the section of Matthew, [are] things that God has [prophesied] in the past [that are now] being fulfilled as Jesus comes into Jerusalem.
Okay? And [another thing] that we have to understand is that from God’s perspective, Jerusalem is the center of the world. It’s the seat of His government and of His power. And at the time of Christ, that power had been corrupted. The Jewish establishment had fallen away from Jehovah God largely. Not exclusively. But largely. And, as a punishment, Jerusalem and Israel had been invaded by Rome.
So there are two occupying forces in Jerusalem at this time. There [are] those that are corrupted within the Jewish establishment and the invaders of Rome. So Jesus, as the rightful king, is coming in to occupy enemy territory. Okay? And it says in John chapter 1 that He came unto his own, but yet His own received him not. The Jews were chosen by God to bring the Messiah to the world. And largely, they rejected Him at that time in history. So it’s very significant that Jesus, the rightful king, is coming into Jerusalem, the rightful seat of His power. He actually has the right to assume all power and to rule the world from Jerusalem. But, the world at large is against Him.
So it’s very significant as we read here, because the people that are praising Him and laying down the palms and laying their own clothes down so that the asses that He’s riding can walk on their clothing, those were all things that were done in that era to signify a king: a tribute to a king. They’re taking off their own nice clothes so that His donkey doesn’t step in the dung and all the stuff, the dust in the road. It’s an incredible homage. And it was a very small minority of people that [had] recognized that Jesus [was] the rightful king. So that’s one of the things that we’re celebrating today.
And I’m gonna read one more very short scripture for you. And like when it says here in Matthew 21:4[-5], All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass, Alex and I have talked about this quite a bit, this is another situation where God has already said this would be one of the signs of the Messiah coming. And in the prophet Zechariah, five hundred years before Jesus, he wrote this. I’ll read it. This is Zechariah 9:9:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. ~ Zechariah 9:9
So, Jesus riding on an ass and [specifically] the colt of an ass is a very significant sign that God already promised the faithful, that when the Messiah comes, this is how He’ll enter. So, their response by laying down their clothes and the palms and praising Him as the rightful king is a great act of faith.
In Zechariah 9:9, the Lord’s coming into the temple, and the prophecy is being fulfilled that your Saviour, the Messiah, the Lord, from heaven, is coming in, and He’s going to come riding an ass as a symbol of His humility, that in this particular coming, He’s coming humbly, He’s coming in the form of a man. He’s coming for many humble purposes that we are gonna study later in the lesson.
But there is a ~ it’s a double fulfillment in that the fact that He’s also riding on the colt, the foal, the child, the offspring of that ass is a miracle unto itself. We know from other scriptures in the New Testament that the colt that He rides in on has never been ridden by any man. So it is a wild, untamed, young animal, which is a miracle unto itself. And if you remember, God throughout history has done this very type of miracle over and over again, where He’s showing that the person who’s coming in the power of God, the power of the Creator, has been given dominion over the wild beasts.
Picture Noah, having completed the ark, and the unbelieving world watching every single species on earth, two by two, coming into the ark. Noah and his ministry was in that same power of God. God the Creator put His stamp on what was happening by giving Noah dominion over the animal kingdom. Daniel in the lion’s den: the faithful man of God in slavery in Babylon, punished for worshiping Jehovah, the true God, put in the lion’s den as his punishment. And he spends the whole night in the den, and the king comes to check on him in the morning, and he says, “My God has shut the mouths of the lions.” Right?
So this is a miracle unto itself. Not only is it fulfilling prophecy that God had already said five hundred years before, that the Messiah would come in this way ~ it’s also a double fulfillment, because if He was not coming in the power of God, he couldn’t ride the wild colt. The untamed colt.
So, again, another piece that I wanted to say about what we already studied is to understand how dangerous this expedition was. You remember that not long before this, Jesus had brought Lazarus back from the dead. Many people believed on Jesus after He did that, because no prophet, until that point, had brought back somebody who was considered dead. In the Jewish tradition, you had to be unconscious for three full days before you were considered dead. And prophets had brought back people to life, within that window of three days, as a miracle. I mean, it’s a legitimate miracle. But Christ the Lord from heaven, the Creator, brings Lazarus back from the dead [after] four days. In fact, He waited ~ He waited until Lazarus was fully dead four days before He did the miracle. Which is amazing to me, because I know if somebody called me up and said, “Lazarus died, will you bring him back to life?” I would get there as quick as I could! Because in my mind, it seems as time passes, it’d be harder, or more would be required, or something. But the Lord purposely waited, again confirming that He was Messiah.
And, again, to give you the idea of how dangerous this situation is, remember that much of the Jewish leadership has become corrupted. Not all. But much of it. The majority. The controlling powers are against Christ and all that He represents and the changes that He’s gonna bring. Even though they are the right and good changes for the people.
When Lazarus was brought back from the dead, many people went out to Bethany to witness that and to see him and just to be around somebody who had been brought back from the dead, which caused them to believe on Jesus. Those same people that have been conspiring to kill Jesus, and that Jesus has publicly been preaching about, that He will die, that He will be killed, that He will suffer at the hands of the elders and the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin ~ He’s been saying that for months now … when Lazarus is brought back from the dead, those same people start plotting to kill Lazarus. That’s in the book of John.
Okay, so understand that anybody associated with the Lord was also putting themselves in danger of destruction. So having all of these people seeing Him coming into Jerusalem ~ the very center of the power that is against Him ~ going out and publicly proclaiming that He is the rightful king, the heir of David, the Lord from heaven, come to earth to bring salvation [was exceedingly dangerous].
So now, another incredibly key element in this story ~ when we read earlier Matthew 21:9 and the multitudes went before, and followed, and they cried, saying Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
And what they’re doing is they’re actually referencing a Messianic Psalm, a scripture from the Old Testament, just like what we read in Zechariah 9:9: something that God has already given to humanity to signify the Messiah.
So what we’ll do now is we’ll turn to Psalm 118. And remember that all the Psalms [were] written at least five hundred years before Christ. Some of them may be a thousand, some of them even more than that. So, hundreds of years have passed between the writing of Psalm 118 and Christ on earth. Okay?
So, the part that they’re referencing is the end of Psalm 118. But there’s a lesson in this that I want us to get, so we’re gonna look at a little bit of what precedes the part that is considered Messianic. Okay?
So, we’ll start at ~ Gordon already read for us verses 1-6 ~ so we’ll start with Psalm 118, and we’re gonna read verses 7-14. And I’m wondering, would you read that for us, Kristy? 7-14?
7 The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
10 All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.
11 They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
12 They compassed me about like bees: they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
13 Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. ~ Psalm 118:7-14
Amen. So Psalm 118 is twenty-nine verses written before Christ. Most of those verses are in the vein of what Kristalyn just read. So, what we just read is praising the Lord for the work that He’s done on behalf of the person that’s writing this or, corporately perhaps, on [behalf of] all of Israel, for the ways that God Himself has fought for Israel and has protected Israel and has delivered Israel and has brought salvation to them in their very real and physical problems. Okay? Much of Psalms is praising God for what He’s done for Israel in this experience of life. Okay? Like tangible, physical things.
This is verse 7: The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. And in this context, hate is not so much the emotional hate but actual enemies: the people who were trying to destroy whoever the author of this Psalm is. So God Himself has stepped in and fought on behalf of the person [who] was in danger.
In verse 10 it says, All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them. So again, that’s referencing, like we talked [about] earlier, in the name of the LORD ~ [meaning] actually in His power. It’s not magic words, it’s the fact that God who is Spirit ~ God the Father, which is a Spirit ~ is working through people on earth ~ certain people. And in this case, working through Israel, or certain people in Israel, to bring about their protection and their defense and their rescue in times of trouble.
In verse 13, Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall ~ he’s talking directly to his enemy. Thou hast thrust sore at me (as in, sword play) that I might fall: but the LORD helped me. Again, very real, very physical things that have happened.
In verse 14, The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation, is actually a reference to Exodus 15:2, which is the song of Moses, which is the main identifying experience of the Jewish people: that Moses led them in the power of God, in the name of the LORD, Moses led them out of Egypt, out of their slavery, through the Red Sea in which Pharaoh’s army was destroyed. Okay? The main identifying experience of all Jews is having been saved by God out of slavery. The salvation that God brought to them was a very real and present and tangible salvation in this life. Okay? So much of this Psalm is in the context of real-life, tangible salvation from danger and trouble and destruction.
And the reason that I’m speaking so much about this is because everything that God does in the physical world is to demonstrate something in the spiritual world. So, when we hear about the word salvation, ~ the Lord is become my salvation, it can have at least two applications. Just like last week, when we were looking at the word righteousness, righteousness can have two applications. There’s the righteousness which is by faith, the imputation of what the Lord Jesus has done, by living a perfect life and then through faith imparting His righteousness unto me. There’s also my own righteousness and what I do day to day. So there [are] two kinds of righteousness in that situation.
In the Bible, there [are] two kinds of salvation. If you don’t realize that, then you can get kind of confused and make up funny doctrines or things that don’t quite add up. But what we’re gonna see is that Psalm 118 is talking about the Lord’s salvation and giving it in two perspectives: the physical and the spiritual. Many people stop at the physical. Many Jews throughout history, Old Testament and New Testament, stopped at the physical. They were satisfied with the physical; that’s all they wanted in some cases! And they didn’t recognized that what God was doing physically was a description of what He was offering spiritually.
So, when we look at that passage from Matthew, and those faithful Jews are recognizing their Messiah and singing Hosanna, they’re referencing the end part of Psalm 118, in which God’s salvation that has been taught physically is now being revealed spiritually. And like much of His revelation, it can be symbolic, or it can be tied to other scripture, so it’s not like He’s saying, “Guys, what I’m doing in the physical is also spiritual.” It’s there for those who have the heart to seek it and to grab hold of it. And then, the people that don’t want it won’t see it.
So we’re gonna look now at Psalm 118:21-29. So continuing in the same vein of praising God for His salvation, in verse 21 the scripture says:
21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. ~ Psalm 118:21
Verse 21 is continuing out of all the other verses we’ve already read, talking about the physical. But then it switches, and we hear, in verse 22:
22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
255 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
27 God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
28 Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
29 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. ~ Psalm 118:22-29
So this is the part where the spiritual heart needs to be applied. This is what was happening as those faithful Jews were praising Him coming into the city, they were recognizing what this scripture is about and that it was all being fulfilled. So I’m gonna go verse by verse and share with you what I’ve drawn out of it.
We know from much [scripture] in the New Testament that Jesus Himself is the stone which the builders rejected. We know from much scripture in the Old Testament that God/Jesus is described also as a rock: as the unchanging, foundational element of all creation and all experience. So, The stone which the builders refused ~ that refusal is His crucifixion, His coming in as the Messiah and being rejected by the builders. The builders are the Jewish establishment that has been overseeing the religion of Jehovah God on earth since the time of Abraham. So the Pharisees and the scribes and the elders that are going to try Jesus, they are the builders. At this time, they are the people that God has put in charge of His affairs on earth. And what they’re doing is: their King is coming; He is the head [i.e., the head stone of the corner, v 22]; and they’re rejecting Him. But, what’s gonna happen is that He is still going to be made the head of the corner. He is still going to be placed in a position of power and honour; although it will be a spiritual seat, rather than a physical seat, in Jerusalem.
So, This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. So that day that they’re rejoicing in is actually the day that Jesus Christ was made head of the church.This is a prophecy that the Messiah would come, that He would be rejected, that He would be killed, and then He would be resurrected, and that resurrection would signify who He truly was, and then He would be placed spiritually at the head of the church, [at the head] of all that God is doing on earth.
So, in the scripture we read from Matthew, the people that are praising Him, quoting from this Psalm, are recognizing what’s happening. Even some of Jesus’s closest disciples didn’t understand. If you read about this same scenario in the book of John, it explains how the people spontaneously were expressing their belief and understanding of who He was, even before some of His closest disciples. So this is a spontaneous recognition of who Christ truly is.
In verse 25, it says, Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD. That Save now, in Hebrew is Yasha`. That beseech ~ I beseech thee is ‘anna’. Yasha`’anna’, transliterated into Greek, which is what our New Testament has been derived from, becomes the word Hosanna. So when they say, Hosanna [to the] son of David, they’re quoting Psalm 118, which all of the Jewish world recognized at that time as being a prophecy of Messiah. So they’re publicly proclaiming Jesus Christ is the Messiah by saying, Hosanna to the son of David.
That Hosanna is an appropriate praise for the God of creation who prides Himself in His salvation. All through the Old Testament, as we discussed, are examples of God’s salvation, His rescuing His people out of trouble. And it’s an appropriate thing to praise Him for and say, Hosanna. It’s like praising Him for His ability to save and asking Him to save us now.
So Christ is coming in, and they’re saying, Hosanna [to the] son of David: they’re saying that this prophecy is being fulfilled. And we are blessing you, the Messiah, and we want you to achieve what you’ve come to achieve. They’re also recognizing that He will be rejected, cause He is the stone that the builders have rejected.
And then, there’s even more ~ I mean, a lot of people would actually stop there and be satisfied, regarding this as prophecy of Christ. But I discovered that there’s even so much more. Because when we get down to verse 27 where it says, God is the LORD, which [hath] showed us light, I remembered from much previous study, especially in the book of John, how much Jesus Christ is associated with light. And I’ll read you a couple passages from the book of John. In John 1:4, speaking of Christ on earth, it says:
In him was life; and the life was the light of men. ~ John 1:4
In verse 9:
That was the true Light, [speaking of Christ] which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ~ John 1:9
So, the prophecy is saying that God has showed us light; it’s also referencing Christ the Messiah, because we know that in Jesus Christ, He is the express image of God. He is God that is Spirit, presented to humanity in a form that they can touch and understand and interact with. So, when it says God has showed us light, it’s saying that Christ Jesus on earth is God showing light. He’s showing salvation, He’s showing hope, He’s showing the life. When Jesus would do miracles and heal and bring people back from the dead, it was demonstrating over and over and over that the power of life was in Him. So God is showing humanity light in the person of Jesus Christ. And this was written hundreds of years before He was on earth.
Then it says, bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. So, the horns of the altar in the temple of the Jews was the place where blood was applied in their sacrifice, the sacrifice for sin, for atonement. And all of that, we know from the book of Hebrews, was a picture for the ability of Christ ~ the sinless Lamb of God, the only person ever to live with no sin ~ [to offer] Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. So, it’s an incredible thing to recognize that this is what the people were saying as they praised Jesus publicly. They’re recognizing that the Messiah is come to bring salvation, and that the salvation that He is offering is coming through His death. Not through His triumph over the political powers of the day. But through His being a sacrifice, through what His blood is going to accomplish at the horns of the altar.
Jesus has also been teaching this for some time. He’s trying to explain to His disciples that He has to suffer and die. And, the first time in the book of Matthew that He tells them that, Peter confronts Him. He says, “Not so.” His first reaction, Peter, [to the assertion] that the Lord’s gonna be killed was to rebuke the Lord, was to get between Him and what He was trying to do and say, “It’s not gonna happen. I’m not gonna let you die.” This is what Christ says to him:
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. ~ Matthew 16:23
So, what we’re seeing in this Psalm 118, and in the public proclamation of it, is that what God is accomplishing in the physical is a demonstration of what He’s doing spiritually. They’re recognizing the Lord bringing them salvation, and it is the ultimate salvation. It is the salvation from their sin, [which] will allow God to do what He wants to do with humanity: to draw them close to Him again, in spite of how humanity has initially rejected God. So what they’re doing in those moments, even when the Twelve were unable to, these faithful people were savouring the things of God and not the things of men.
In Mark 10:44-45, Jesus is teaching His disciples, and He says,
44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. ~ Mark 10:44-45
So when you see Jesus coming in on the donkey, and it says in the scriptures that your King is coming lowly, meek, humble, it’s an example ~ it’s showing us what God is doing in the spirit realm. He’s demonstrating God’s gesture to humanity. God Himself, at this point in time ~ this dispensation, this period of His relationship with humanity ~ His gesture is as a servant to all. Christ is coming to suffer for our sins, and He’s showing the good will of God: that God is making provision for each person who wants to relate to God, to come to God again to be cleansed and to start anew with God. God has made a provision for it, in the person of Jesus Christ. So Jesus on the donkey is coming as servant of all.
I’ll leave you with a few words from 1st John. We were studying 1st John just two weeks ago, studying about the love of God, that the love of God is in deed and in truth. God is always loving in action: the way that God loves the world is to send Jesus Christ, is to send the sun and the rain. God’s expression is very physical ~ in deed and in truth. He truly loves us, and He is truly demonstrating it moment by moment. In 1st John 3:16 we read:
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. ~ 1 John 2:16
The part about the brethren is what we were studying two weeks ago. The part that really applies to today is that Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us. So that is the gesture that God is offering to humanity through Jesus Christ.
1st John 4:10:
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ~ 1 John 4:10
And propitiation, as we studied two weeks ago, is the appropriate, acceptable payment. Humanity sinned, and God made a provision in the person of Jesus Christ to cleanse that sin. So Jesus is willingly suffering so that those who would could be redeemed, simply through faith in Him, in His shed blood.
So, those are the thoughts that I wanted to share today. There’s plenty more, but we could leave that for discussion later or another time.
I just thank you, Father for your presence with us. I give you praise and glory today. We just pray that every word of truth imparted here would be to your purposes and your glory. Amen.
Hosanna to the Son of David Song Lyrics:
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD:
we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD:
we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light:
bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God.
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever and ever.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD:
we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD:
we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
Hosanna to the son of David
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD
Hosanna in the highest
God hath showed us light
Yasha`’anna’ to the son of David
Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD
This is marvelous in our eyes!
Hosanna to the Son of God!