An Earnest Call To Public Worship

This Sunday, March 24th, is Palm Sunday in the Christian tradition. On this day we celebrate the day that Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem to shouts of, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Palm Branches

[photo by Wallula Junction on Flickr]

It’s called Palm Sunday because the crowds cut palm branches to lay in the path of Jesus as a sign of joyous welcome. You can read two of the historical records in Matthew 21:6-11 and John 12:12-15.

Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem this way was symbolically significant because:

  1. Five hundred years earlier, the prophet Zechariah had foretold that Israel’s victorious king and redeemer would come to her riding on a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
  2. Riding a donkey instead of a war-horse or chariot was what conquerors did to signify “I come in peace.”
  3. It had “I am the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God,” written all over it.
  4. It marked the close of Jesus’ public ministry, his rejection by the Jewish elders, and his last supper, betrayal, trial and crucifixion. Of this Jesus said,

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified… Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.”John 12: 23-33

Friend, I have placed my hope and trust in this man’s purpose. I believe He was and is what He said: the eternal Son of God. I believe He and the Father pre-planned his life and death (and resurrection) for the salvation of many. My hope in him anchors my soul as I live my average life. And I will join with others on Palm Sunday in public worship to confess,

Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world. — Martha in John 11:27

During the worship service I won’t be interested in learning three easy steps to becoming a better man. I don’t need to hear how to be a better global citizen, or parent, or spouse. My ears will be tuned to hear the gospel: What Jesus has done to rescue me from being the average man I am. I need to be reminded that He is the King and my King, that he guards me as a citizen-child of His Kingdom, under His rule, protection and provision.

I know there are many people (perhaps you) who aren’t in the practice of joining the local, public worship of Jesus as our God and King and Redeemer. If this is you, please let me offer this earnest call to join me in public worship this Sunday wherever you are:

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
Psalm 34:3-6

Please join me, won’t you?

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