You better recognize. We all crave recognition, right? But what is recognition? It’s the idea that someone else would have knowledge and appreciation of who a person actually is. So maybe you didn’t think your pastor was an awesome basketball player in his youth but then he drives past you for a seemingly impossible move to the hoop. He might look at you and say you better recognize. At work you strive for recognition – your sales numbers employee retention rates all cause others to recognize your abilities.
Palm Sunday is the great “you better recognize moment” for the Jews in advance of Good Friday. But if we are going to recognize who Jesus is we gotta go through this lesson and see 4 identifying traits of our Savior.
Right at the start, you see that Jesus has disciples. Now maybe you have workers – but do any of us really have disciples loyal to our cause? That’s identifying factor of who Jesus is number 1. He tells two of his disciples to go into the village ahead to find a donkey that has never been ridden on. And just take it. Doesn’t belong to us but just commandeer that thing. If anybody responds just say the Lord needs it! What if I went to your house and took your dog off his leash and said hey I need this. How’s that going to end? The owner of the donkey simply agrees. Back to the donkey – maybe some of you have ridden horses before. It’s kinda odd that an animal that isn’t broken yet just lets him sit on his back. Jesus gets this donkey, the owner doesn’t care, and the donkey listens. Identifying action number 2.
Jesus rides into Jerusalem. You ever come into work and people start shouting whooo! There’s the man himself! They shout Hosanna for Jesus! They throw their outer garments on the road. They climb up trees to saw off palm branches so the feet of his mount don’t touch the ground. They identify him ever so clearly in their words “peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” Jesus came to bring peace to the world. The reaction of the people identifying factor number three.
Jesus rides on. The Pharisees don’t like it and they say rebuke your disciples stop this parade. And now Jesus identifies himself. If the donkey, the parade, and the shouts of the people didn’t do it…then his acceptance of their praise and this phrase surely do “if they keep quiet even the stones will cry out.” Identifying trait 4.
Look at all these recognition points to help people see who Jesus is – Given so that when they see their king die they don’t lose focus. So when they see him seemingly lose they still recognize why he came.
Palm Sunday is a day when I think that we don’t have too much trouble seeing Jesus as our king –You see the kids smiling the palm branches waiving the peppy hymns everybody’s excited.
You know when you watch a parade usually people are pretty pumped up. But the longer the day goes on the further you get away from the start and end of the parade maybe you don’t get as excited.
The Jews got just five days after Palm Sunday and they exchanged Hosanna for Crucify him. The further you get away from Palm Sunday it happens to you and I too.
Are you honestly living as though Jesus was the recognized king of your life? We spend a lot of time freaking out over who is the government and king in our political scene. As though God isn’t in control its particular rulers that we elect that will destroy or save us from difficulties. We should know better.
It’s hard to recognize the king when shouts of praise turn to shouts of why God is this happening? Seriously, Jesus, you rule over life. Well then why does my life stink? Why am I broke, alone, and angry all the time?
Your lack of recognition is dangerous because it clouds you from seeing Jesus as he is. It makes you forget he’s in control and it makes you doubt every step of your life.
Those issues though do not change who Jesus is. The Pharisees said stop recognizing him and Jesus said the stones will cry out. Jesus is who he is all day every day. And who he is…is the king who made this peace in heaven for you. He is the king that our OT lesson says is our deliverance and strength. He is the king who puts our enemies to shame sin death and the devil. Jesus rides on to trample Satan’s hold under his feet. Friends see who your Savior is – he’s the king of heaven who exchanged his crown of gold for a crown of thorns so that you could rule for eternity in heaven. There is nothing that can overpower his love, protection, and grace in your life not even your greatest sin. He beat it all. Today Jesus rides into Jerusalem so that you can see the king who defeats your sin and guilt.
And he also rides on so that you can serve him as he is.
Want you to think for a second about the kind of service that you see in our lesson. A guy gives up his brand new donkey to Jesus. People climb up palm trees to cut branches off for Jesus to walk on they don’t even want the donkey’s feet to get dirty – and they even give up their coats for Jesus. Broke people who don’t have walk in closets full give up their most important garment.
Friends when you recognize the Savior as he is – and you have you have seen his love and his rule for your life. There is no other desire in your heart than to serve your king.
We have some confirmation students up here. You guys are going to be making some promises today. You all have been blessed with talents – think about it how are you going to use them in service not just to self and family but to him?
What coats are you taking off my friends – what palm branches are you cutting down and laying at Jesus’s feet?
You know this lesson for our culture kinda loses its luster in a way because we don’t like kings. We like to think we have a say in politics for our lives right. But I think all of us would say that if you had a perfect king who did everything absolutely right who blessed his subjects who cared for them and gave them mansions you’d want to serve that king right?
Well…that’s what you got. So let’s recognize it. Let’s ask ourselves the question how do I lay my coat on the road for my king always remembering what my king did for me.
Let every inch of our lifespan – my money, my job, my family be dedicated to service to the crown. Because that crown is what my king Jesus gave to me freely. AMEN