Sunday, March 24, 2013

Passover Guests

     Passover Guests    
Intro.: I don't know if any of you have ever had the privilege of visiting Orange City, Iowa.
1.     Orange City is a quiet community of 6000 people in Northwest, Iowa.
2.     The community is the home of a small Christian college enrolling about 1200 students.
3.     Amazingly, this tiny has 14 churches – that is 5 or 6 more than they had when we lived there 15 years ago.
4.     The thing that be obvious as you walked around town is its Dutch heritage – windmills and tulips can be found throughout the city of Orange City.
5.     But the one thing that puts Orange City on the map is its annual Tulip Festival
6.     This year's festival includes:
a.     A 10K and 5K road race and walk
b.     Amusement rides
c.      A local beauty contest – with a Princess and her court
d.     A parade – a huge parade. Every participant has on a dutch costume – costumes are passed down from generation to generation – twice a day for three days
e.      A puppet show
f.       A demonstration of Dutch dance
g.     A musical presented at night – this year is a presentation of “Fiddler on the Roof” - last performed in 1997. The three hour show is presented on four nights – Wednesday through Saturday
h.     And, most important, this community of 6000 becomes a community of 100,000 for five or six days. In other words, it is a major event.
7.     This is the kind or event that was planned for Passover in Jerusalem as Jesus enters the city on that Sunday.

Read: Matthew 21:1-11
A.   Jerusalem, during the 1st century, had a similar atmosphere during the week of Passover
1.     Jews would take a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover
2.     Like the population of Orange City, the population of Jerusalem would grow
3.     So when Jesus entered that town it was already an event, his entry was one more event for a packed town.
B.     B. The attitude of those who saw Jesus echoed that found in Psalm 100

T.S. There were a variety of people that were in Jerusalem that day.

       I.            There were those who doubted Jesus
                           A.            As Jesus walked into Jerusalem that Sunday, he heard the shouts, but there were those who did not believe.
                           B.            Maybe they did not understand yet – for some, they would never understand.
                           C.            It would be like you or I watching a parade.
                           D.            They saw no significance to this man that all the fuss was being made.
                            E.            But there were others. There was treachery afoot.
                            F.            Though there plans had not been finalized, the Pharisees and the priests that would collaborate to arrest Jesus later that week may have already be meeting in secret.
                           G.            Judas was not yet a member of their group – but he was there, right along with the other disciples as Jesus rode into Jerusalem that day.
                           H.            I suspect they would feel strange – the people hailing Jesus as the Messiah, and they were plotting his death.
                               I.            And they had no idea there very plot fit into the very plans that God had for His Son from the beginning of time.
                              J.            Maybe even some of them would be shouting “Hosanna in the highest.” just to seem to be fitting in.

(Appl.) We still have those in our midst today who do not understand. Maybe they want it to make sense, but they have not taken the time to discover what God is really saying. They stand or sit and watch wondering what all the fuss is about. They enjoy the holiday – Though they want to fit in, they still miss its meaning.
                            K.            Just as some of those watched Jesus that first Palm Sunday. Maybe even some of them

       II.            There were those who had heard the stories
                           A.            But there were others in the city that day. In fact it might have been most of those present.
                           B.            They had heard of Jesus. In fact, some of them may have been present for one or more of his miracles – after all he fed 4000 people on one occasion, and 5000 on another.
                           C.            Maybe if you could overhear them speaking in a corner
You should have seen it. I was there – we had been following him for three days – his preaching was wonderful, but I was getting hungry. It was no secret – in fact he told his disciples about it, ““I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”

Those disciples understood – how could they feed us all? How many? Well there were 4000 men plus who knows how many women and children. It would be impossible – they thought so, who was I to disagree.

But not Jesus – he just asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” Seven loaves of bread – that was all they had. My stomach just about fell out – we were going to starve.
But Jesus, that man right there, remained calm. He had us sit down, He gave thanks, and they began to pass out the bread. Somebody handed him some small fish – and he prayed again.

And then it happened – we all got something to eat. No – that is not right, we all had enough to eat. My stomach was full. Not just mine, but everyone's. That man, that Jesus, right there, he fed us all.

And when He was done, they gathered up all the leftovers – seven baskets were filled with broken pieces. I was there, I still don't understand, but I saw it.
                           D.            There were other miracles of course – and other discussions on other street corners – turning water into wine (the first miracle), or the other time, when he fed 5000 or more people. Maybe some had seen a healing, or heard a sermon.
                            E.            Here, entering Jerusalem that day, was an amazing man who had done much to get the people's attention.

 III.            There were those who believed the stories
                           A.            Not everybody that stood and watched Jesus enter Jerusalem was an unbeliever.
                           B.            There were those who believed the stories – who had heard what he had taught, what he had done, who he was.
                           C.            We know that the 11 disciples (I'm excluding Judas Iscariot here) were present. I expect that Jesus' mother was there and Mary Magdalene. And then there was most likely Lazarus and his family – after what Jesus did for them, I expect they wanted to know more about this man from Nazareth.
                           D.            In just a few short weeks in another room there were 120 believers present on the day of Pentecost. And a few days later, after Peter preached his first sermon, 3000 believers were added to the church.
                            E.            There were believers, there were those who were very close to becoming Christians there in Jerusalem that day.
(Appl.) These are the very people we have in our communities, in our churches, and our families. Jesus loved them all – so must we.


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