Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church
Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

Palm Sunday

March 28, 2021
Mark Chapman

Matthew 21:1-17  As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethpage at the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of the disciples on ahead (2)  with these instructions: "Go to the village there ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied up with her colt beside her. Untie them and bring them to me.  (3) And if anyone says anything, tell him, 'The Master needs them'; and then he will let them go at once."  (4)  This happened in order to make come true what the prophet had said:  (5)  "Tell the city of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you! He is humble and rides on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."  (6)  So the disciples went and did what Jesus had told them to do:  (7)  they brought the donkey and the colt, threw their cloaks over them, and Jesus got on. (8)  A large crowd of people spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  (9)  The crowds walking in front of Jesus and those walking behind began to shout, "Praise to David's Son! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise be to God!"  (10) When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was thrown into an uproar. "Who is he?" the people asked. (11)  "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee," the crowds answered.  (12) Jesus went into the Temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the stools of those who sold pigeons,  (13)  and said to them, "It is written in the Scriptures that God said, 'My Temple will be called a house of prayer.' But you are making it a hideout for thieves!" (14)  The blind and the crippled came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. (15)  The chief priests and the teachers of the Law became angry when they saw the wonderful things he was doing and the children shouting in the Temple, "Praise to David's Son!"  (16)  So they asked Jesus, "Do you hear what they are saying?" "Indeed I do," answered Jesus. "Haven't you ever read this scripture? 'You have trained children and babies to offer perfect praise.' "  (17)  Jesus left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

Palm Sunday March 28 2021


May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your

sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen


Imagine we are on the outskirts of Jerusalem with Jesus.

The road is full of people

making their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the festival;

men and women living under the rule of Rome

and wanting desperately to be free

and be their own people.

Men and women about to celebrate the great festival

in this famous of all cities, the city of David.


Jesus has sent some of his disciples to the home of a friend.

A colt—a donkey had been secured and held for him

until the day he would need it—

and they have gone with the message

the Master has need of it now.


For those of us who have journeyed with Jesus these past months

again another hope has been shattered.

Why? with all the people

with all the national fervour that is possible

why a donkey?

Certainly ridden by kings but only when they come in peace

only when they come in mercy—

never when they come in war

never to declare a great victory.

And before this day if Jesus had only planned for a warhorse

any kind of horse

then—well we have a few swords

and maybe just maybe

we could turn the tide against the Romans

and establish God’s kingdom this very week.

We could overthrow the Romans

and with Jesus as our leader

with this power he has

nothing could stop us.


But he has chosen a donkey—


Now we are moving towards Jerusalem.

We have laid cloaks before him

people have joined in by laying their cloaks down—just like they used todo in the days

when Israel was powerful

some are waving palm branches.

One of the disciples has taken up the cry “Hosanna,”

“God Save now,” “God deliver your people now”

crying to God to break in and to save his people—

a cry that means the Messiah has come and God will

restore the kingdom.

Others have taken up the cry “Hosanna, Hosanna”—God save now

God save now!


So we have great hopes as we are coming up the hill just before we seethe city. The

crowd is with us—some Pharisees are complaining to Jesus about what we are all

calling out. And want him to stop us—

For once it seems he has done the right thing

he has actually waved them off

and said something about the stones beginning to sing if we stopped.


We are on top of the hill now and there is Jerusalem

and a cheer went up as we saw it.

The crowd is spilling ahead of us

Jesus has pulled his donkey to a halt—

James and John are right there with him

and Peter.

With all this positive affirmation, something seems to be wrong with Jesus.

The word has come to us that he is crying.

Peter says Jesus is crying for Jerusalem

something about wanting to gather them as a hen gathers her chicks

and holds them safe

and how they would never allow it to happen.


John is saying that he is back on his strange pictures of God again

that Jesus is suggesting that all God has ever wanted to do was to gather people to him

so close they could hear his heartbeat

so close they could feel his protection and love

so close they would know always a place of protection.


I was happy to follow this Jesus back here in AD 32

while I thought there was always a possibility we could win

so to speak—

we had a chance. For a while it seemed we did.

The crowd was with us

That was before he started crying.

But not just crying—deep guttural sobs are coming from him.


If he had used this moment to proclaim his party manifesto

if he used this moment to rally the people

to talk about his reforms

to perhaps use some show of power

something to convince people that he is a king

—but kings don’t cry.

And as for the rumor that he and God are one

can you imagine for an instance that God cries over his people

can you imagine God wanting to hold us so close

God wanting to gather us under the shelter of his wings

God caring when there is division between people

God hurting when we hurt?

Why the way he talks some time

you would almost think

that the God he calls “daddy”

the God he claims he is so intimate with

you would almost think that he feels

that this God would even die for people.


And that worries me you see—

what sort of a kingdom of God would we have

where God allows himself to die?

What sort of a leader is he who would allow himself to be put to death?


Jesus wants to look around the temple

and we are reminded some of us that some twenty or so years ago

remember when his parents thought he was lost

he had called this very place “his Father's house.”


It’s dusk as we head out heading back to Bethany

to the home of Mary and Martha—

It’s been one of those peculiar days.

The light is fading

and the shadows in the dusk seem almost frightening

Jesus is quiet—almost as if something is on his mind

Roman soldiers are everywhere and they bring a smell of death with them.

I am thinking about what he has been saying about Jerusalem over the last months,

and the sight of soldiers

and swords and spears—I am reminded that Rome kills people

who are a threat, by nailing them to crosses and letting them

hang until they strangle—

A coldness sweeps across as we make our way—

Another picture has come to my mind—that picture

he spoke of —of a chick running for cover at any sign of danger

any threat—running when darkness is about to descend

running for the shelter of its mother’s wings

running there when life is threatened

running there when it comes against those things

those events of life

that it has no answers for;

because I think and I am sure we both know that at times

things happen to us

things have happened to us

and we couldn’t stop them

and we had no answers that would help or change things

and the thought of running and hiding under the shelter of the “wings”

of Jesus—the wings of God

hearing his great heart…


And I realize as we approach Bethany now, the lights showing us the way

that before my life is gone

there will be times when I will need such wings

and such a heart to beat for me

and such a one to hold me—

and if not before I die—surely after then.

And I wish he would establish his kingdom.


If only we can keep him safe over this next couple of weeks

because despite my misgivings about him here in AD 30 —and you have probably felt

this as well as we journey—

as much as I would like to opt for some more-powerful career

yet his words speak deeper and truer

to my heart than any other. Almost as if in him there is some kind of life

life that is found in no other.

And I would like that life to be found in me—


If only we can keep him alive over this next week.


Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and

glory, world without end. Amen

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