April 5 – Devotional
It is Palm Sunday today and one of the words most associated with this day is the word “hosanna”. We often think of this word in terms of celebration, used to show our joy, praise and adoration toward Jesus. It certainly is this, but the more literal meaning is “save us now”. You see the praise and adoration we show to Jesus when we sing hosanna is directly tied to the saving work of Jesus in our world and in our lives.
Doesn’t this seem so right as we find our world in the midst of a pandemic, that we are declaring our praise to the one who saves us?
As we step into our worship this Palm Sunday, let’s take time to watch/sing along with this YouTube video rightly declaring Hosanna to the one who saves us. (sorry for any ad pop ups you may get)
The scripture we are going to look at today is from John 12:12-19. We know this passage as the triumphal entry of Jesus as he went to Jerusalem. Even the people of the day viewed it this way as they were the first to shout “Hosanna” for him. They saw this entrance as the start of their salvation. They waved and laid out palm branches for him which was common to do for an approaching king; for one who, by might and force, would establish a reign and save the people. They saw the coming triumph, but in the end, it would look very different than they expected.
Honest Question Time:
- What does triumph look like in your mind?
Let’s read John 12:12-19 now…
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
The people expected a powerful king, one who would ride in on a war horse, over throw the government and set the people free. They expected triumph to be a show of power and might, as they were accustomed to. What they got was a man riding on a donkey, humbly towards his pending death at the hands of the ones they sought salvation from.
The question I posed before we read the scripture is really dependent on what we need to triumph over. Let’s use the sports world for instance. In the sports world we typically think that the ultimate triumph is winning the league championship. To walk away as World Series Champion, Stanley Cup Champion, or Super Bowl Champion is the pinnacle of victory. However, it is not the only victory. A player coming back from a career threatening injury is a victory. A player moving up through the different development levels is a victory.
The triumphal entry of Jesus is much the same. We need to know what we need to triumph over. What is it that we need to be saved from? Jesus was not all that worried about the political climate of the day because the triumph we needed him to realize was over sin. This is the ultimate triumph, the pinnacle of our Hosanna praise.
But the triumph isn’t meant to be a one day, down the road, I will experience this salvation. The triumph of Jesus is meant to be a daily reality in our lives. This isn’t about us taking the issues of the day like COVID-19, economic troubles, stress and anxiety and attaching Jesus to them, assuming he is viewing things our way. We have to realize that we are called to join him in his triumph, not the other way around.
What I mean is that, just as those who declared Hosanna as Jesus entered Jerusalem were expecting a warrior king who would do things their way, we can run the risk of assuming that Jesus will do things our way in our life situations. Isaiah 55:8-9 says,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Honest Question Time:
- We all need saving from our sins, but what are some of the personal triumphs you need to bring to Jesus?
- Are you willing to follow him even if he does not handle them the way you think he should?
- What if Jesus chooses to use a tough situation in your life to bring an eternal triumph for someone else, is it worth it?
- Talk to God about the areas you feel you need to realize his triumph in today
- Ask him what he wants to do in you, for you, and through you
- Commit yourself to walking in the eternal triumph he has earned for you
As we continue, take time to watch/sing along with this YouTube video.
I was in a prayer meeting earlier this week and most of the prayers were for God to eradicate COVID-19, to literally wipe it off the earth and allow things to go back to the way they were. Then someone else questioned if that is really the best thing. Seems like kind of a crazy thing to question, doesn’t it? I mean, who wants to be cooped up at home, worrying about sickness, money, etc.? The point is, that we cannot always see what God is going to do in a situation or what he knows we need to draw us closer to him.
This isn’t unique to us, in verse 16 we are told…
“At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.”
Even those literally walking with Jesus were not always understanding of what was going on, so why should we be surprised when we are confused? The old saying that hindsight is 20/20 is pretty accurate, but even if it is not, is Jesus’ triumph on the cross enough for us to keep following?
- To consider what the “why?” questions are that you ask Jesus
- To consider why these questions seem so important to you
- Ask God if he is going to answer the “why” questions you are asking
- Ask him to help you lay those questions down and to empower you by His Spirit to walk in his triumph during confusing and uncertain times.
One last thing I want to touch on comes from verse 17 and 19b which say…
17 – “Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.”
19b – “Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
These may seem like secondary facts that are included to round out the narrative, but I believe they are very important to us as they remind us that this triumph is meant to be shared. It is meant to be shared with everyone we meet that Jesus has died to save them from their sins and bring victory in their lives every day.
This is crucial in days like this so that we don’t just hunker down and wait this thing out. We still have ways to communicate with people and when we do, we know that we will hear about their fears because most things that our world has put its hope in has now been stripped away. People need to know of the victory of Jesus; they deserve to know!
- To consider who in your life needs to know about the triumph of Jesus?
- To consider how you can reach out to them during this time.
The triumphal entry of Jesus was just a start. It was a start of the journey he was on to the cross, to die, to save you and I from our sins. A journey that continues today as we humble ourselves before Jesus acknowledging our daily need for him, that we might live in his victory and that we could be salt and light to the world of the triumph that awaits them when they place their trust in Jesus.
Before the benediction, I just want to share a few announcements:
- Although regular office hours are suspended we continue to work. If you need anything please contact myself (email@example.com) or Pastor Greg (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Feel free to share this and other email communications with others. Some from the church are not on the email list and we have had a few that have not received it even though they are on the list. Please help us make sure that people are keeping connected.
As you give, remember that our generous response back to God with our offering is a part of our worship.
- Do your giving each week as part of this devotional/worship time. I know it is not exactly the same thing, but it does help us view our giving as worship rather than simply a financial transaction.
- Take time to pray as you give. Thank God for what he has given to you, acknowledge your trust in him for tomorrow, and tell him why you give to him and the work of his church.
- Best – E-Transfer (no fees)
- email@example.com is the email address you will need to make an e-transfer
- Please include your first and last name in the memo box
- If you know your envelope number please include it in the memo box (*Do not include the # sign as it will not accept that)
- Still good, but with fees – Canada Helps
- https://bayridgealliance.ca/give-with-canada-helps/ and click on the donate button to give
Thank you for honouring God by supporting the Church.
Now, let’s close with one final song and our benediction…
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’