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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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,
“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,
“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,
“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.