Today Christians around the world celebrate Palm Sunday. If you come from a traditional church background, you probably know what that is all about – but for those who maybe didn’t have that traditional church upbringing, Palm Sunday might be a little more unfamiliar to you. It typically doesn’t get as much publicity as Easter or Christmas – but it’s a significant event on the church calendar none-the-less.
So this morning, I’d like to take some time just to explain what Palm Sunday is all about. What happened on that first palm Sunday – and why were those events so significant – and why is it important that we remember and celebrate that today?
As we all sit at home, slowing the spread of the coronavirus, what can we take away from Palm Sunday that gives us hope, that stirs our love for each other, and that builds our faith in God?
That’s what I hope to share with you this morning! You’ll remember last week we looked at 1 Corinthians 13:13 which says…
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
We were encouraged to know that the coronavirus will not last forever. Social distancing will not last forever. But faith, hope and love will. These three things will last forever.
In particular, we talked about faith last week. We looked at the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – and how their absolute confidence in God (that is to say, their faith in God) was a tremendous example for all of us. No matter what our situation (whether its a fiery furnance, an angry king, or COVID-19), we can trust the Word (and the character) of God!
And our faith in God will last forever. God will never break our trust. Even throughout eternity – we will be able to have absolute confidence in the faithfulness of our God. Hebrews 13:8 says…
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
And Isaiah 40:8 tells us…
The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.”
Everything else and everyone else in the world, at some point, will fall short, will disappoint, will fail. But the Word and the character of God – will last forever – and we can fully put our faith in Him.
Now today, as we examine the story of Palm Sunday, we’re going to look at the second of these three words, but we’re not going to go in order. The verse lists faith, hope, and love as the three things that will last forever – and certainly we could talk extensively about hope as we look at Palm Sunday, but we’re going to save that one Resurrection Sunday next week. Christ’s resurrection from the dead is really the foundation of our hope! So today, we’re going to talk about love – which is certainly a very key element in Palm Sunday!
Now Palm Sunday is actually one of the few events that is recorded in all four Gospels – we find it in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – which I think speaks to how significant this event is. I mean, Jesus birth is only recorded in two of the Gospels, and so if all four of the Gospel writers include the details of this event – It’s got to be significant.