Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; Palm Sunday 2015

Scriptures describing Jesus’ Triumphal Entry are: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19

You can read these Scriptures here:  NIV / ESV

I am leaning towards using the reading from Matthew.

This is Sermon # 3in the Series.

You can read Sermon # 1 in the series at this link: (Sermon # 1: Church, Community, Culture}

You can read Sermon # 2 in the series at this link: {Sermon # 2: Church, Community, Culture}

Today we will continue the conversation about church, how church relates to the community in which it lives and how the church community relates to the larger culture around it.

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In prior weeks we looked at how Jesus called his first Disciples, and how unique each of the Disciples was. We saw that although they each had different ambitions, interests, and strengths, they were of one accord. We saw that they were inspired by the common vision and worked towards a common mission. We saw that each of them had different skills, ambitions and interests, and how together they worked to complement each other’s efforts.

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Last week we saw that outreach and mission implies a certain level of risk. In order to reach BEYOND the walls of the church building, in order to bring others to Jesus, someone has to be willing to take calculated risks and step out on faith and actually interact with people who do not share their beliefs. We saw that Peter was able and willing to do that.

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It goes without saying that we cannot bring enemies to Jesus; the people whom we consider to be at odds with ourselves would not listen to our stories or follow us to Jesus. In order to bring someone to Jesus we need to be able to interact with them and consider them to be on the same level as ourselves; we need to treat them with respect. Jesus himself talked about that in the Gospel of John 10:5 where he taught that sheep only follow the shepherd whose voice they know; do people outside these walls know our voice? What is the message that the community around us hears and sees from us?

John 10: 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

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Today is Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the seven day period that we refer to as Holy Week. During this time we remember the events that transpired during the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, before his death and resurrection.

Today’s reading shows an interesting interconnection between the church, the community in which the church lives and the culture that surrounds the community. So let’s unpack it.

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Accounts of Jesus’ Triumphant entry into Jerusalem are found in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.

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As Jesus approached Jerusalem, he sent two church leaders (two of his Disciples) into town with a missional assignment: go rent a “limo” so we can ride into town in style. Only instead of a stretch limo that only a select few could afford, Jesus asked for a beat up Volkswagen bug with 230,000 miles on it that most people could afford. You see, Jesus was one of us and he wanted to make a point that he was one of us.

To make that point, Jesus asked two of his disciples to go into town and to bring him a modest donkey, not an ostentatious war horse. We see that in Matthew 21:1-3, Mark 11:1-3, and Luke 19:28-36. It is one example of how church interacts with the community.

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There was already a differentiation between the church and the community. What eventually became the church at Pentecost were the people who traveled with Jesus. That was the group of people who gathered together regularly, who heard Jesus teach and preach, who shared their lives with each other, who struggled with difficult questions of faith.

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Around that group of people there was a larger entity – a community. The most famous members of this community are Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They were not part of the inner circle of Jesus that traveled everywhere with him. But whenever the opportunity presented itself, they spent time with Jesus and with the Disciples (as a matter of fact we know that every time that Jesus was in the vicinity of Jerusalem, Mary, Martha and Lazarus opened their house to Jesus and the Disciples). I think that the donkey that Jesus rode into town came from the community that surrounded the first church. {Illustration and expanded explanation}

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Church growth comes from the community around the church. We know that the church interacted with the community as Jesus was entering Jerusalem. In Luke 19:37-40 we read, “When he [Jesus] came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he [Jesus] replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

What is our witness to God’s presence in our community? Are we sharing the good news of what God has done among us, and what we hope God will do in the future, what are we praying for? That is what was happening as Jesus entered the city.

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Excitement is contagious. In this story we also see the popular culture interacting with the community. Some who might have heard something about some rabbi from Galilee were there out of curiosity, some were there because there was a parade going on and who among us does not like to watch a parade or a show? Undoubtedly some of them learned something about Jesus and later on became part of the community and then eventually a part of the Church. We see the evidence of this in Matthew 21:10-11 where we read, “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

So what’s in it for us? What’s the “so what” in all of this?

{Illustration}

In the events of Palm Sunday we see the connection and interaction between the church, the community in which it lives, and the popular culture.

Next week (April 5) is Easter.

Holy Thursday Service at First UMC on April 2 @ 7pm.

Good Friday Service at Potter’s House on April 3, @ 7pm. Bishop Tilghman, Pastor Asher and Pastor Tonya will participate in the “Last Seven Words” Service.

Sunrise Easter Service @ Wilmer Park @ 6:15am. Breakfast at FUMC immediately following service. Bishop Tilghman will preach.

The week after that (April 12) we will have a joint service with our sisters and brothers from across the street. The service will be held at First UMC.

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3 responses to “Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; Palm Sunday 2015

  1. Pingback: Approximate Notes for Sunday Message; John 4:27-42 | Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

  2. Pingback: Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; May 17, 2015 | Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

  3. Pingback: Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message. | Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

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