Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021
Sermon for Palm Sunday (2004) – March 28, 2021
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace to you and peace from God who is our father by faith in His Son Jesus Christ, a gift worked by the Holy Spirit, that God alone might be glorified for the Salvation of Mankind. Amen.
15 But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant 16 and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”
In the Name of the Son of David,
To whom we also cry out – Hosanna, Save Us!
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Precious Blood --
I once asked a student in one of my classes, “Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?” only to be given the answer, “Jesus?” That’s right, sometimes kids say the funniest things; and sometimes they speak without thinking.
We don’t always accept or believe all the things that our children say – and for good reason.
We may dismiss some of the things they say because they betray a lack of understanding and knowledge. More simply put, they don’t really know or understand what they are talking about.
Perhaps more frequently, we ignore what our children say simply because we are preoccupied or too busy. We adults can get so self-absorbed that we don’t pay attention to our children.
It wasn’t uncommon to have children in the Temple of the LORD. It wasn’t uncommon for them to sing praise to God right along with their parents.
But, when they began praising Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the Religious Leaders of the day finally noticed them, and they were not happy. They dismissed the content of their praises as false, and called on Jesus to tell them to stop.
They made a mistake, and we would be making a mistake too, if we were to dismiss their words as nothing more than the foolish talk of children. Those children had something incredible to say…and it was true.
We should – Listen to those Children and join them to praise Jesus Christ as our one Savior. This isn’t kid’s stuff – it’s important.
May God the Holy Spirit guide us and bless us as we meditate upon these words. Amen.
We have all heard and understand the expression “Seeing is believing.” Usually when people use the expression they mean to say, “If I can see, touch and examine something, I’ll believe it. They are basically saying what Thomas did (John 20:25):
“Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
Thomas did see Jesus alive and by the grace of God, He believed. It wasn’t merely what He saw that convinced him either, but all that he had heard from Jesus. Moreover, Jesus said that those who do not subscribe to the ‘seeing is believing creed’ with regard to Him, are blessed.
In fact, Jesus chided Thomas for his skepticism (John 20:29):
“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
There is no doubt that your faith in Jesus Christ isn’t the result of what you’ve seen with your eyes, but what you’ve heard from the Scriptures. Those who trust in Jesus Christ do so because of the work of the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament.
For many of you that work began when you were baptized. In the Sacrament of Baptism, the Spirit of God used the Word of God in connection with the water to wash away your sin and guilt. God also gave spiritual life to your spiritually dead hearts. God the Holy Spirt has, since then, continued to build your faith through the Word and Sacrament, using different men to accomplish His purposes.
Still, when we look around us, it seems for every Thomas, there are 1000 others like the Chief Priests and the scribes.
…the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant
These men were blessed to have seen, with their own eyes, the marvelous, remarkable, wonderful miracles that Jesus worked. They witnessed Him heal the blind and lame. They interviewed people who were healed or who had demons cast out of them. They were well aware of the fact that a short time earlier Jesus had raised up Lazarus from the dead in Bethany, less than 3 miles from Jerusalem!
“Seeing is Believing…right?”
They did not, they would not accept as true the things that they saw or as having been done by God. They did not worship Him. In fact, they persecuted those who did follow Jesus, and mocked them as ignorant (John 7:47-49).
They had already made up their minds about Jesus. He was – in their minds - healing and casting out demons with power from the devil (Luke 11:15ff). They refused to marvel at His miracles. They instead made plans to have Him killed along with Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead (John 11:46ff; John 12:10-11). They wanted to erase any and everything that might lead someone to follow Him.
How could they not believe? Were they just like some people today, always contrary, always knowing better even when they are wrong? I’m sure that pride and envy had something to do with it.
In reality, they came to the only conclusion that human beings can (without the work of God the Holy Spirit in their hearts) – they rejected Jesus. After all, faith is not an act of the human will, but an act of God.
So, it happened, that when they heard the children praising Jesus the day after Palm Sunday, that they were offended, angry. They didn’t even notice the noise, the chaos and disorder of those who bought and sold in the Temple of the LORD. The smell of the cattle, the bawling and bleating of sheep, the haggling and dickering of salesmen – was acceptable to them.
BUT when children began praising Jesus – that was too much for their pious ears. It wasn’t that the children sang off tune. It wasn’t that they were interrupting worship. It was that they were praising Jesus as the Promised Savior, the Messiah, the Christ!
They self-righteously demanded that Jesus stop this praise.
How could Jesus stand there and let this go on? How could He accept their praise? How could allow the children to be misled into thinking He was the Promised Christ of God.
This wasn’t the first time they objected. On Palm Sunday a great multitude of people welcomed Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem, praising him in the same way. On that occasion, the Pharisees also called upon Jesus to silence and correct them, saying (Luke 19:39):
“Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”
They were asking the same thing the next day. They were indignant when they asked Jesus:
“Do You hear what these are saying?”
Do you hear what those children were saying? Do you understand what they are saying?
Hosanna means, “Save us we pray!” They were calling on Jesus to save them. We do the same thing nearly every communion Sunday. We address the LORD God of Sabaoth, the LORD who commands the Host of Heaven, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; Heav’n and earth are full of Thy glory; Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He, blessed is He, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.”
On that day the children called Jesus the Son of David. In doing so they were naming Him as the Promised Savior. After all, God had promised to send the Messiah out of the family of King David.
In days gone by our children have stood before you to sing praise to Jesus. They also stand beside you and sing his praises. On Christmas Eve they help to bring the Word of God to you.
So, do we hear them when they speak God’s Word? Do we listen to them or do we only marvel and beam with pride that they look so grown up, so cute, so nice?
When they speak the Words of Life to us, do we take those words in and receive them and honor them in our hearts…or do they go in one ear and out the other?
Listen to the beautiful sound of children praising their Savior! Listen and rejoice because it is an act of faith to praise Jesus. Rejoice, not only because they are your children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, but because by faith they belong to Jesus.
Moreover, be like children when you bring your praises. Sing praises to Jesus because you love Him and treasure Him. Don’t do it to be heard or praised or recognized.
Jesus would have us be like children in this respect. He would have us gladly hear, receive and store His Word in our hearts and minds. He doesn’t want that word to be a dusty artifact, but something we take out and show and give to others.
When we have opportunity to listen to Jesus in His Word, we should set everything else down, set it aside and listen; whether we hear it coming from the mouth of children, in sacred music or read in a devotion or heard in a sermon. We should trust Him, that what His Word relates is reliable.
Did Jesus hear what they were saying?
Yes, absolutely did…and He received their praise. He also had a question for those who thought the children didn’t know what they were saying or didn’t understand. He directed them back to Scripture.
“Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”
The Chief Priests and the Scribes thought the children spoke empty words out of their own ignorance. Jesus accepted their words of praise because they were true and were not empty words. They were not just mimicking what the others had said the day before.
Their praises were prompted by God Himself who blesses children with faith, with the desire to worship and praise Him.
Jesus directed them to the words of Psalm 8. In that Psalm, God directed David to declare that He Himself prepares and prompts (perfects) His own praise, even out of the mouth of infants and young children. Therefore, their praises were not examples of ignorance; they were examples of praise that was an expression of faith.
Those praises prompted by God in faith are also accepted by Him.
The next time you sing the Sanctus in the communion liturgy, remember the one to whom the children sang. Let your singing be an act of faith, asking that the same Lord Jesus come and save! Know that He still hears your childlike faith.
May the same God grant that we pray these words from the heart in faith, knowing at the same time that GOD has saved us by sending His Son in His Name to be our one Savior. Then the same Jesus, who once received their praise, will receive ours.
He will also energize our faith in HIM, by assuring us that He has given His body and shed His blood – to save us.
Then having our faith confirmed and built up through the sacrament, we will be moved again, to joyfully offer up our praises to glorify His Holy Name. Listen to the Children and join them in praise of Jesus.