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  • Pastor Jeff Needleman

"Palm Sunday - Christ our Passover" Text Version

Christ Our Passover

We’re living in times that are sure different then what we are used to! I’ve been told to only use paper plates because the virus comes from China. And to only use pots to cook with because it’s a pandemic. And we now have 2 new expressions that have become common-Social Distancing and sheltering in place. That means that for some, husbands and wives are working from home. Here are some of their twitters:

1st: My husband and I are both working from home and he's just sent a memo rescinding the ban on office relationships.

2nd: My husband and I realized that we need a 3rd coworker around the house to blame for things! So meet Delores Pugdog. We had to write-up her up because she left unwashed coffees in the sink.

3rd: My husband is now my “co-worker. I keep trying to call “meetings” about the dishes in the sink. He got mouthy about it and I said I’d write him up for insubordination. I think he’s really enjoying working from home and his extra time with me.

I’m sorry… these times require, if you’ll excuse the expression, “inside jokes and groaners”. Sadly, the next 2 Sundays will be the 1st time that we can’t shelter in place together as a congregation. For me, this will be the 1st time I haven’t been “in” church for 2 momentous occasions in decades. P.S. and Easter. But we can celebrate together even though we’re apart.

I’m not sure when you’ll be viewing this video, so just let me say that Sunday, April 2nd 2020 is Palm Sunday! Palm Sunday is the day that we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. So why is it called Palm Sunday ? Palm branches or fronds were a symbol of goodness and victory and waved over Conquering King and heroes to welcome them home.

The Jewish people were expecting the Messiah to be a Conquering King who’d bring them victory over their cruel Roman overlords. So they welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as they would any triumphant hero! The people hoped for a Conquering King but instead got a Suffering Servant who brought victory over sin, not the Romans!

Let me mention also mention the Jewish Festival of Sukkot or Booths. Sukkot celebrated God’s protection, care and provision for His people as they wandered in the desert for 40 years after He saved them from their cruel Egyptian overlords.

The Hebrew people celebrated by waving leafy branches and reciting words from Ps 118:25-26 NIV O Lord , save us; O Lord , grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord . Save us in Hebrew is hosianna, or Hosanna, which became a praise and is what the people cried out as Jesus entered the city.

Before Palm Sunday, Jesus traveled from town to town ministering to people. He gave them hope; He gave them comfort; He gave them warning. He healed them Spiritually, Emotionally and Physically. He fed the multitudes and He raised the dead. But most of all He taught the crowds about the Kingdom of God and God himself. The people awaited his arrival w/ great expectation.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of P or HW, the final 7 days B4 Jesus’ suffering, torture, crucifixion, and resurrection. It was a busy, stressful and brutal time for Jesus that was filled with symbolism and fulfilled prophecy and purpose! What was Jesus’ purpose? The answer is found in:

Lk 19:10 NLT For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost." For us, this was the time, this was the place, and this was the person to secure that salvation.

Palm Sunday is the day that Jesus arrived in preparation for Pesach. Pay who? Not pay who, but Pesach, the Jewish holiday of Passover which begins this coming Wed night! Palm Sunday and Passion Week are best understood in light of Passover.

Now if you’re unfamiliar with Passover, the easiest way to learn about it is to watch Charlton Heston in the 1956 film Exodus. Actually, they took some theatrical liberties, so let’s got to the source. We start in the real EX, the 2nd book of the OT.

Ex 12:21-23 NIV Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not 1 of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. God told the Israelites to sacrifice a perfect blemish-free lamb and mark their doorposts with its blood. Then the Angel of Death that God sent to pass thru Egypt would pass over their households. The blood of the sacrificial lamb saved the Jews from death. Later, God gave them instructions for its future observances in Dt 16:2-3 NLT Your Passover sacrifice may be from either the flock or the herd, and it must be sacrificed to the Lord your God at the designated place of worship—the place he chooses for his name to be honored. Eat it with bread made without yeast [Matzoh]. 3 For 7 days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, as when you escaped from Egypt in such a hurry. Eat this bread—the bread of suffering—[Affliction] so that as long as you live you will remember the day you departed from Egypt.

Growing up, my family celebrated Passover and for many years we ate only Matzoh as commanded by God. Every supermarket on every corner carried Matzoh… it was that important! Now we were a multi-national bread loving family- but we gave up our Italian Bread, French Croissants, English Muffins, Greek Pita bread, Polish bagels, SF Sour Dough, and of course good old American Wonder bread.

I remember eating matzoh with my lunch at school. Once there was a blind kid sitting next to me so I offered him some. He took the Matzoh, fingered it for a moment and asked; who wrote this? But even as a little boy I understood that the Passover Meal, called a Seder, was rich in symbolism commemorating what God did for the HB people. But it wasn’t until I was a Xian that I learned of the incredible imagery of Passover that foretold the coming Messiah and confirms the Jesus is He! C, our Passover.

We’ll only look at a couple of the symbolic parallels, but you can Google it, YouTube it, or look up Christ in the Passover on the Jews For Jesus website. OK, Let’s begin at the beginning. OT law required observing Passover to be in Jerusalem. We read in:

Dt 16:16-17 ESV "3X a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.

Jesus arrived on the Sunday B4 Passover. This was selection day- the day that the blemish-free lambs were chosen for the Passover sacrifice. and on this day, the people chose Jesus, not understanding it would be as a sacrifice!

Let’s read: Mt 21:6-9 NIV The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the [palm] trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!"

On Palm Sunday - selection day, Jesus was given the red carpet treatment, a royal welcome! The crowd chose Jesus to be their savior, but a savior whom they wanted, to usher in political freedom from the cruel and brutal Roman occupation. The yelled “Hosanna”- words of praise that in HB that means Save I pray!

What the crowd was really yelling was "Save us from these ugly Romans, we’re sick of ‘em! Give us freedom! The palm branches weren’t symbols of peace and love but of the hope of Jewish independence, triumph and victory. The palm fronds were branches of desire for physical, political, and economic freedom.

The people wanted Jesus as their Savior! He was…but just not in the way they wanted or expected. and so just 5 days after Palm Sunday these same people whom had chosen Jesus with joy and adoration were crying out for His death.

Yet all of this fulfilled all of God’s prophecies concerning the Messiah coming at this time in History. You see God is Active and Participatory throughout History and throughout His creation. If you read His Word thoroughly, you can’t help but really absorb the truth and depth of this.

Later on this week, I’ll post some more videos in preparation for Resurrection Sunday. We’ll grab a look at the symbolism of the 1st Passover, and then at Jesus’ last Passover. We’ll look at the significance of the elements of the Passover meal or Seder, from then and now that point directly at Jesus.

As I close, please remember, nothing can stop Easter from coming… We may not be together physically, but we can be together E and S. Thank you HS! If you need prayer, or need to talk… just give me a call!

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Palo Cedro Community Church                 9387 Deschutes Rd, Palo Cedro CA. 96073

Across from Holiday Market

P.O. Box 1148

530 547-3271

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 Matthew 6:33 & 28:19-20

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Serving: Shasta County, Anderson,    Bella Vista, Cottonwood, 

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