Don’t Let Jesus Pass You By Pastor Roger Rohde April 9, 2017

Don’t Let Jesus Pass You By

Isaiah 50:4-10

Did you ever try and imagine what that first Palm Sunday was like? As I

reflected upon this thought in preparation for this message, I realized that most

of the time we look at that first Palm Sunday as a great celebratory event. Jesus

was riding into town on a donkey with a crowd of people laying down palm

branches and articles of clothes before Him shouting out, “Hosanna! Blessed is

He Who comes in the name of the Lord!” It sounds so celebratory and exciting.

Yet, while it appeared to be a time of great celebration, in reality it was an

event marked by a week of great confusion. Crowds of people thought Jesus was

now going to establish an earthy utopia for the people of Israel. They did not see

Him as a spiritual Messiah but an earthly one. Even the disciples did not

comprehend the concept of His kingdom until the time of Pentecost. Before His

ascension into heaven the disciples were still asking Jesus, “Lord, are You at this

time going to restore the kingdom of Israel” (Acts 1:6)? Only one person truly

understood the purpose of Jesus’ riding into Jerusalem that Palm Sunday and that

one person was Jesus. Jesus later on in the week told Pilate, “My kingdom is not

of this world” (John 18:36). During Holy Week, it was only Jesus Who understood

the eternal spiritual nature of His kingdom. All others were looking at His kingship

from an earthly perspective.

Confusion also existed within the crowd as not everyone was crying out,

“Hosanna” to the Son of God. Some were plotting to kill Jesus. Jesus almost a

year before this was aware of this as Jesus told His disciples, “I must go to

Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and

teachers of the law. I must be killed and on the third day be raised to life”

(Matthew 16:21). Jesus knew that in between the cries of Hosanna there were

also those who were plotting His death.

Jesus also knew as He rode into Jerusalem that His disciples would not

remain by His side. During the Passover Meal on Thursday night, when Jesus

instituted the Lord’s Supper, He told His disciples: “This very night you will all fall

away on account of me.”

The crowds that once cried out with joy, “Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday would

by the end of the week turn their backs on Jesus and call for His crucifixion, while

His disciples would deny Him. Holy Week was not filled with celebration but

confusion as Jesus passed through the streets of Jerusalem to the cross of Calvary.

Is there confusion in our hearts about Jesus today? Do we lack the joy of

Jesus in our hearts, and are we silent about knowing Him in our lives? On this

Palm Sunday the Lord through the Old Testament Reading gives us a prophecy

showing us that while people may have been confused about Jesus and His

purpose for coming to Jerusalem, Jesus never was. Jesus knew what His coming

into Jerusalem meant and in today’s text He speaks of how His coming is meant to

impact our lives.

First we see through this prophecy that Jesus’ coming is meant to

strengthen our lives. Jesus came to offer us not only physical strength, but more

important spiritual strength. In our text we told that the Messiah “would speak a

word in season to him who is weary.” That is precisely what Jesus does. Through

His Word He provides us with truths that pertain to every season in our lives.

Whether we are young or old, married or single, an employer or an employee,

facing prosperity or death, Jesus has something to offer each of us in every

situation of our lives. His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path

(Psalm 119:105). His Word reprimands us when we need it. His Word offers us

direction for our living and provides us with words of comfort, strength, and

hope. As Paul put it in II Timothy 3: 16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is

useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the

man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The One Who

passes us by on Palm Sunday is the Word made flesh. Jesus is the living truth,

eternal God, Who knows all things. Will you be unresponsive to His Word and

simply let Him pass you by?

Second, through the prophecy of our text we learn the depth of Jesus’ love

for us. It is seen in how He reacted to how we treated Him. The disciples of old

denied Him. You and I have forsaken Him. All of us have broken the heart of our

Lord by the sins we have committed and the lack of interest and commitment to

the Lord we have shown. Yet, what did Jesus do for us who turned our backs on

Him. The prophecy tells us that “He gave His back to those who struck Him, His

cheeks to those who plucked out His bread. He did not hide His face from shame

and spitting.”

What a vivid prophecy of what happened when Jesus stood before Pontius

Pilate. Pilate said to Jesus: “Don’t you realize I have power either to free You or

to crucify You?” Jesus answered: “You would have no power over Me if it were

not given to you from above” (John 19:10-11). Prior to this you might remember

Peter drew a sword and cut off a soldier’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus said to Peter: “Put your sword away! … Do you think that I cannot call on My

Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of

angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in

this way” (Matthew 26:52-54)?

The prophecy in our text states that the Messiah would give His back, His

face, His life for us. Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be tied to a whipping post

and scourged thirty-nine times. This left His back torn open and His inner organs

exposed. The soldiers spit in His face. They blindfolded Him, struck Him, and

called for Him to prophecy who struck Him in the face. Jesus did not turn His back

on us sinful people, but He allowed Himself to be hung on the cross and

encounter the wrath of God for our sins.

Are we so busy with life that we simply let Jesus pass us by, giving little or

no consideration or signs of appreciation for the depth of His love for us? What

kind of response does Jesus expect from us? The prophecy in our text not only

speaks about what Jesus did for us, but it speaks to how the Lord desires these

truths to impact our lives.

First, God wants us to respond to His instruction and love by living in

faithful obedience to His Word. A life of faith is a life lived in obedience to God’s

Truth. He Who knows and believes God’s Truth, lives by that Truth. The

prophecy points this out through the question and statement made in verse 10:

“Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant?… Let him

trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.” If we truly take hold of

Christ by faith we will not let Him pass us by, but we will trust in His Word and live

according to it.

Second, God wants us to proclaim His saving grace. In the prophecy it is

stated: “Who will contend with Me? Let us stand together.” If we truly believe in

Jesus and all He says, we will stand up for Him and His Truth in our daily living.

We will not be afraid to be counted among His people, but we will live our lives to

spread the Gospel to every person.

This is indeed how Jesus affected eleven of His disciples. For a long time

they were confused. They denied Jesus and forsook Him. Yet, when by the power

of the Holy Spirit they understood this prophecy in the light of Jesus Christ, they

were willing to live their lives for Him even to the point of death.

As we go through this period of Holy Week, may we be shaped by Jesus’

love and Truth. May we come to celebrate Easter with renewed hearts of love for

our Savior and a commitment to bring His saving work to all people. Amen.

 

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