Sermon title:  From Palm Sunday to Good Friday

Immanuel Baptist Church – Sunday, March 28, 2021

 

 

The original Palm Sunday was the beginning of

our Lord Jesus’ final week on earth.

 

He went to the cross that Friday,

and rose from the grave

the following Sunday morning.

And he did all of that for you and for me.

 

He put himself through all the agony of that week

because of his great love for you and for me.

 

It was just a few days,

but the events of those final days

fill between a quarter and a third of our Gospels.

 

And the events of those few days, nearly 2,000 years ago,

are of life-or-death importance to each one of us.

 

We’ll save the events of Easter Sunday

for next week’s sermon,

but today let’s look at the earthshaking events

that took place

between Palm Sunday and Good Friday.

 

The main events of Palm Sunday

were planned-out more than 1,000 years ahead of time.

 

The prophet Zechariah had written these words

hundreds of years before Christ, at Zechariah 9:9 –

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!

Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!

See, your king comes to you,

righteous and victorious,

lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

 

And the Gospels of Matthew and John

tell us that Christ fulfilled that prophecy

when he rode into Jerusalem that Palm Sunday

seated on a donkey.

 

By entering Jerusalem in that manner,

Jesus was presenting himself

as the long-promised Messianic King.

 

The prophecy said “your king comes to you

riding on a donkey,

and everyone in Jerusalem knew what that meant.

 

They knew Jesus was announcing himself to them

as their long-awaited King.

 

They greeted him, waving the branches of palm trees,

and laid those palm branches on the dusty road,

to keep the procession from stirring up dust.

 

And it was those palm branches

that give us the name we use today for Palm Sunday.

 

Matthew 21:9 tells us,

The crowds that went ahead of Him

and those that followed

were shouting:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

 

And, when they said this,

they were quoting the words of Psalm 118:26,

which was written over 1000 years earlier.

 

“Hosanna” meant “save us”—recognizing Jesus as Savior.

 

And “Son of David!” meant

Jesus was in the royal family line,

a descendant of King David,

legally entitled to be King.

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On the next day, our Lord went into the Jerusalem Temple.

 

He went in there to clean house.

 

Matthew 21:12 says,

12 Jesus entered into the

temple of God, and drove out

all of those

who sold and bought in the temple,

and overthrew the money changers’

tables and the seats of those

who sold the doves.

 

13 He said to them, “It is written,

‘My house shall be called a house

of prayer,’ but you have made it

a den of robbers!”

 

The religious leaders challenged Jesus’ authority

to do these things.

 

But he kept speaking parables

that they could not answer.

 

He spoke parables to the crowds,

exposing the religious leaders’ hypocrisy,

and continued teaching each day

in the Temple courtyards.

 

Every evening he would withdraw from the city

to spend the night in nearby Bethany.

 

And each day through that final week,

he would return to Jerusalem to teach the crowds

in the Temple courtyards.

 

His parables taught lessons about the Kingdom of God.

 

He also taught his disciples about the end of the world

and the signs to look for

to know when his Return was drawing near.

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Then came his last night with the disciples,

when he ate with them the Last Supper.

 

Our Lord got up from the table

and washed the feet of his disciples,

to teach them to serve others humbly.

 

John 13: 12 says,

12 So when he had washed their feet,

put his outer garment back on,

and sat down again, he said to them,

 

“Do you know what I have done to you?

13 You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’

You say so correctly, for so I am.

14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet,

 

you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 For I have given you an example,

that you also should do

as I have done to you.

 

16 Most certainly I tell you,

a servant is not greater than his lord,

neither one who is sent

greater than he who sent him.

17 If you know these things,

blessed are you if you do them.

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Back at the dinner table again, John 13:21 tells us,

 

21 ... he was troubled in spirit,

and testified, “Most certainly I tell

you that one of you will betray me.”

22 The disciples looked at one another,

perplexed about whom he spoke.

23 One of his disciples,

whom Jesus loved, was at the table,

leaning against Jesus’ breast.

 

This was most likely John

the youngest of the 12 Apostles—

and the writer of this Gospel.

 

He named other Apostles when he wrote about them,

but modestly referred to himself in the 3rd person.

 

He continues,

24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him,

“Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.”

 

25 He, leaning back, as he was,

on Jesus’ breast, asked him,

“Lord, who is it?”

 

26 Jesus therefore answered,

“It is he to whom I will give

this piece of bread when

I have dipped it.”

 

So when he had dipped the piece of bread,

he gave it to Judas,

the son of Simon Iscariot.

27 After the piece of bread,

then Satan entered into him.

Then Jesus said to him,

“What you do, do quickly.”

28 Now no man at the table

knew why he said this to him.

 

29 For some thought,

because Judas had the money box,

that Jesus said to him,

“Buy what things we need for the feast,”

or that he should

give something to the poor.

30 Therefore having received that morsel,

he went out immediately.

It was night.

 

With only the faithful disciples remaining,

our Lord went on to institute the New Covenant

to replace the Old Mosaic Law Covenant.

 

Matthew 26:26  says,

26 As they were eating,

Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it,

and broke it.

He gave to the disciples, and said,

“Take, eat; this is my body.”

27 He took the cup, gave thanks,

and gave to them, saying,

“All of you drink it,

28 for this is my blood of the new

covenant, which is poured out for many

for the remission of sins.

29 But I tell you that I will not

drink of this fruit of the vine

from now on, until that day

when I drink it anew with you

in my Father’s Kingdom.”

30 When they had sung a hymn,

they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

Our Lord then explained that he would soon

be leaving them,

but that the Holy Spirit would come

to finish teaching them.

 

He explained—in just a few words—

why he had to go to the cross and die,

and how this sad death

would lead to a wonderful future for them.

 

And then he separated from the main group of disciples

to pray to his Father in heaven.

 

Matthew 26:36 says,

36 Then Jesus came with them

to a place called Gethsemane,

and said to his disciples,

“Sit here, while I go there and pray.”

37 He took with him Peter

and the two sons of Zebedee,

and began to be sorrowful

and severely troubled.

38 Then he said to them,

“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful,

even to death.

Stay here, and watch with me.”

Luke 22:43 adds that

“An angel from heaven appeared to him,

strengthening him.”

 

Matthew’s account continues,

39 He went forward a little,

fell on his face, and prayed, saying,

“My Father, if it is possible,

let this cup pass away from me;

nevertheless, not what I desire,

but what you desire.”

40 He came to the disciples,

and found them sleeping,

and said to Peter,

“What, couldn’t you watch with me

for one hour? 41 Watch and pray,

that you don’t enter into temptation.

The spirit indeed is willing,

but the flesh is weak.”

42 Again, a second time he went away,

and prayed, saying, “My Father,

if this cup can’t pass away from me

unless I drink it,

your desire be done.”

43 He came again

and found them sleeping,

for their eyes were heavy.

44 He left them again, went away,

and prayed a third time,

saying the same words.

 

45 Then he came to his disciples,

and said to them, “Sleep on now,

and take your rest.

Behold, the hour is at hand,

and the Son of Man is betrayed

into the hands of sinners.

46 Arise, let’s be going.

Behold, he who betrays me is at hand.”

 

47 While he was still speaking,

behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came,

and with him a great multitude

with swords and clubs,

from the chief priest

and elders of the people.

48 Now he who betrayed him

gave them a sign, saying,

“Whoever I kiss, he is the one.

Seize him.”

49 Immediately he came to Jesus,

and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

 

50 Jesus said to him,

“Friend, why are you here?”

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus,

and took him.

 

Luke 22:49 says,

49 When those who were around him

saw what was about to happen,

they said to him, “Lord, shall we

strike with the sword?”

50 A certain one of them struck the

servant of the high priest,

and cut off his right ear.

 

51 But Jesus answered, “Let me

at least do this”—and he touched

his ear, and healed him.

52 Jesus said to the chief priests,

captains of the temple, and elders,

who had come against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?

 

53 When I was with you in the

temple daily, you didn’t stretch out

your hands against me. But this is

your hour, and the power of darkness.”

 

54 They seized him, and led him away,

and brought him into the high priest’s

house.

But Peter followed from a distance.

 

What took place there was an illegal night-time trial—

a “kangaroo court,” where a “guilty” verdict

was the goal, even before any testimony was heard.

 

Peter was intimidated by the hostility.

                                                       

Mark 14:66 says,

66 As Peter was in the

courtyard below, one of the maids

of the high priest came,

67 and seeing Peter warming himself,

she looked at him, and said,

“You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus!”

68 But he denied it, saying,

“I neither know, nor understand

what you are saying.”

He went out on the porch,

and the rooster crowed.

 

69 The maid saw him, and began again

to tell those who stood by,

“This is one of them.”

70 But he again denied it.

After a little while again

those who stood by said to Peter,

“You truly are one of them,

for you are a Galilean,

and your speech shows it.”

71 But he began to curse, and to swear,

“I don’t know this man

of whom you speak!”

 

72 The rooster crowed the second time.

Peter remembered the word,

how that Jesus said to him,

“Before the rooster crows twice,

you will deny me three times.”

When he thought about that, he wept.

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The religious leaders

knew that their night-time trial was illegal.

 

So, first thing in the morning, they held a

formal session of the Sanhedrin high court.

 

Luke 22:66 says,

66 As soon as it was day, the assembly

of the elders of the people

was gathered together,

both chief priests and scribes,

and they led him away

into their council, saying,

67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.”

 

But he said to them, “If I tell you,

you won’t believe, 68 and if I ask,

you will in no way answer me

or let me go.

69 From now on, the Son of Man

will be seated at the right hand

of the power of God.”

 

70 They all said,

“Are you then the Son of God?”

 

He said to them,

“You say it, because I am.”

 

71 They said, “Why do we need

any more witness? For we ourselves

have heard from his own mouth!”

 

Then they took Jesus to the Roman governor,

because the Jewish court did not have authority

to crucify anyone.

 

Pontius Pilate recognized

that Jesus was not guilty of any crime,

but that the Jewish religious leaders

accused him out of jealousy.

 

He washed his hands to signal his disapproval,

but for political reasons, he granted their request

to have Jesus executed by crucifixion.

 

The standard procedure was to have the prisoner

beaten first with scourges—whips

with jagged pieces of bone or metal attached.

 

And this began our Lord’s intense physical suffering

for us—for you and for me.

 

1 Peter 2:24 quotes the prophecy Isaiah 53:5,

which says

“by his stripes we are healed.”

 

The scourging left him bleeding with open wounds.

 

No wonder he was barely able to carry the cross.

 

So, the soldiers commandeered a bystander,

and drafted him to carry the cross

to the hill of Calvary, also called Golgotha—

Hebrew for “the Place of the Skull.”

 

Mark 15:20 says,

They led him out to crucify him.

21 They compelled one passing by,

coming from the country,

Simon of Cyrene, the father

of Alexander and Rufus,

to go with them, that he might

bear his cross.

 

22 They brought him to the place

called Golgotha, which is,

being interpreted,

“The place of a skull.”

 

Luke 23:32 says,

32 There were also others,

two criminals, led with him

to be put to death.

33 When they came to the place

that is called The Skull,

they crucified him there

with the criminals, one on the right

and the other on the left.

 

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,

for they don’t know

what they are doing.”

 

Dividing his garments among them,

they cast lots. 35 The people stood

watching. The rulers with them also

scoffed at him, saying,

“He saved others. Let him save himself,

if this is the Christ of God,

his chosen one!”

 

36 The soldiers also mocked him,

coming to him and offering him vinegar,

37 and saying, “If you are

the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

 

38 An inscription was also written

over him in letters of Greek, Latin,

and Hebrew:

“THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

 

 

39 One of the criminals who was hanged

insulted him, saying,

“If you are the Christ,

save yourself and us!”

 

40 But the other answered, and

rebuking him said,

“Don’t you even fear God,

seeing you are under

the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly, for we

receive the due reward for our deeds,

but this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 He said to Jesus,

“Lord, remember me

when you come into your Kingdom.”

 

43 Jesus said to him,

“Assuredly I tell you,

today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

 

John 19:23 tells us,

25 But there were standing

by the cross of Jesus his mother,

and his mother’s sister, Mary the

wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

26 Therefore when Jesus saw

his mother, and the disciple

whom he loved standing there,

he said to his mother, “Woman,

behold your son!” 27 Then he said

 

to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”

From that hour, the disciple took her

to his own home.

 

Mark 15:33 says,

33 When the sixth hour had come,

there was darkness over the whole land

until the ninth hour.

 

 

34 At the ninth hour

Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,

“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”

which is, being interpreted,

“My God, my God,

why have you forsaken me?”

 

Those were the opening words of Psalm 22,

that prophetically speaks of Christ on the cross.

 

Jesus knew, of course, that he was forsaken by the Father,

so that he could ‘become sin for us,’

and take away the burden of our sins—

taking upon himself, the burden of our sins,

and the penalty.

 

John 19:28 says,

28 After this, Jesus, seeing that all

things were now finished,

that the Scripture might be fulfilled,

said, “I am thirsty.”

29 Now a vessel full of vinegar

was set there; so they put a sponge

full of the vinegar on hyssop,

and held it at his mouth.

30 When Jesus therefore had received

the vinegar, he said,

“It is finished.”

 

Luke 23:45 says,

45 The sun was darkened, and the veil

of the temple was torn in two.

46 Jesus, crying with a loud voice,

said, “Father, into your hands

I commit my spirit!”

Having said this, he breathed his last.

47 When the centurion saw

what was done, he glorified God, saying,

Certainly this was a righteous man.”

48 All the multitudes that

came together to see this, when they

saw the things that were done,

returned home beating their breasts.

49 All his acquaintances, and the

women who followed with him from

Galilee, stood at a distance,

watching these things.

 

Mark 15:42 says,

42 When evening had now come,

because it was the Preparation Day,

that is, the day before the Sabbath,

43 Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent

council member who also himself was

looking for God’s Kingdom, came.

He boldly went in to Pilate, and

asked for Jesus’ body.

44 Pilate marveled if he were already

dead; and summoning the centurion,

he asked him whether he had been

dead long. 45 When he found out

from the centurion,

he granted the body to Joseph.

      

 

46 He bought a linen cloth, and

taking him down, wound him

in the linen cloth,

and laid him in a tomb which

had been cut out of a rock.

He rolled a stone against the door

of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and

Mary, the mother of Joses,

saw where he was laid.

And so, our Lord’s body lay in the tomb

until the 3rd day—until what we now celebrate

as Easter morning—Resurrection morning.

 

Our Lord Jesus went through all of this

for you and for me—

to set us free from enslavement to sin,

and to give us everlasting life.

 

If you’ve never thanked Jesus for what he did,

now is the time to do it.

 

Now is the time to acknowledge him as your Savior,

and to become his follower—

inviting him to be Lord of your life.

 

Do so in your own words, now, as we pray.