Sermon Title: Matthew 21:1-11
Sermon Purpose: What does believing in the resurrection look like?
Sermon Title: “Rebellious Passion”

Matthew 21:1-11
English Standard Version
The Triumphal Entry

21 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt,[a] the foal of a beast of burden.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Let us have a congregation participation message this morning. Yes or no, Church; there is a difference between knowing something, and believing something. Yes. There is a difference between saying we believe something and acting on that belief. Yes. Faith moves us to respond? Yes. Faith moves us to action? Yes. Faith without works is dead, but works without faith is just showing off. Amen? Amen! When we come to church are we just showing off? No. When we come to church are we here because we sincerely believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yes! Let’s recite together the mystery of faith. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. Amen? Amen! Let’s ask ourselves this question, and if it is true, and only if it is true let us respond together. Do we truly accept Jesus Christ as both our Lord, and Savior? Yes. If that is true then our passion for Jesus Christ has to be more than an idea in our heads. Sisters and brothers let us take a moment to explore what it means to live our lives with a Rebellious Passion for Jesus Christ.

There were a lot of people there that day – a lot of people laying cloaks on the ground and waving palm branches in the air. There was a feeling of joyous celebration as if a conquering king was entering the city of Jerusalem. And then just a few days later the feeling had changed from joyous celebration to rage and hatred. One of the most difficult questions about the crucifixion is how could so many of the same people show up waving palm branches one day, and then shout, “Crucify Him!” just a few days later. How does that work? How does that happen? Did they really believe what they were saying? “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest” (Matt 21:1-11)! Did they really believe Jesus was the Messiah, or was it just fun to get together and party? Did they really want to see Jesus crucified, or were they just caught up in the moment? When I started this message were you answering truthfully to the questions I asked or were you just caught up in the moment?

Brothers and sisters the appearance of Jesus riding in humility on the back of a donkey is exciting, but it is not a time for being caught up in the moment. The appearance of Jesus is a time for conviction. The appearance of Jesus is a time for making up our minds about who this Jesus person really is, and then acting on that belief. Who is the Jesus you believe in? Is Jesus just an historical figure, or is Jesus just the person we talk about in this room, once a week, for an hour on Sunday morning? Or is Jesus much more than that to you? If we are to truly welcome Jesus into our lives, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior then we have to allow Jesus to change us. We cannot just say Jesus is lord of the moment. Jesus did not die on the cross so we could be saved for a moment. Jesus died so we can be saved forever. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).[1] Jesus is not saying God sent God’s son so we could have a moment of celebration at Christmas, or Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday. God sent God’s son, Jesus Christ, so we can have life and have it more abundantly eternally – that means for-ev-ver. Our praise for Jesus’ life and death are about more than a moment. Our praise for Jesus’ sacrifice has to consist of more than just palm branches and cloaks laid on the road. Jesus cannot be our lord for the moment or our lord when it is convenient. Jesus died to be the Lord of our lives forever, and acceptance of Jesus’ lordship brings about more abundant life. Amen? Amen. Amen?! Amen!

Church, how will we respond? How will we keep from merely being caught up in the moment? Our feelings are fleeting – they come and go. It’s like allergy season. We may have a sinus head ache in the morning and then in the afternoon feel fine. Our feelings are temporary, but our commitment must be stronger than our feelings. Feelings are good and fine, but we must be on our guard and recognize them for what they are. Just look at what happens when Human feelings go unchecked.

Matthew 27:15-23
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Crowd Chooses Barabbas

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

The mob, caught up in the moment shouted for a thief and murderer to be released instead of Jesus. These same people who had shouted, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” (Matt 21:9)! are now shouting, “Let him be crucified” (Matt 27:23)! Sisters and brothers let us not be ruled by powerful emotions. Instead let us be ruled by rebellious faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot sit in our pews and say, “I don’t feel like singing today.” We cannot say, “I don’t want to give up my money for a tithe.” We cannot say, “I don’t want to serve others in missions both at home and abroad.” If Christ has called us to these things then who are we to say, “I don’t want to.”? When Christ calls us to love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our might, and to love our neighbor as ourselves then what has what we want got to do with it (Matt 22:37-39)? Nothing! Amen? Amen! Amen?! Amen!!

Oh, but what a day that will be. What a day that will be when our rebellious passion for Jesus Christ leads us to behave in ways that put us against the crowd. The crowd aint gonna understand it when we reach out to the poor and the needy. The crowd aint gonna like it when we offer programs to serve the elderly, or single moms. The crowd aint gonna like it when choose to forgive our neighbors and our enemies instead of getting even. No. The crowd aint gonna like it. They may even turn against us. Life will not look very fun at all in those moments. We may even find ourselves saying things like, “Where is that more abundant life,” when we loose our job. We may say things like, “Why am I still here when all of my family has graduated on to glory?” We may even say things like, “Life just never seems to work out for me.” Church, we must stand up tall and straight against those feelings or else they will bend us over so we drag our noses on the ground when we walk through the door. Some of you know what I am talking about. Some of you have felt that way before? You may even ask yourself in one way or another, “How can I have a rebellious passion for Jesus Christ when all the world is against me?” Let me suggest that if all the world seems against you then you may very well be doing the work the Lord has called you to do. Thank the Lord God almighty we are not expected to carry God’s rebellious passion on our own. Thank our Precious Lord that when we become tired God is there. Thank you Precious Lord that when we trip and fall the Lord is there to take our hand and lead us home. The Lord does not lead us down the paths the crowd walks. No no. The Lord leads us down the Lord’s paths – through that narrow gate – the Lord leads us home.

[1] Emphasis is mine

In the Name of Jesus Christ – Amen.