Palm Sunday Sermon: What is the Messiah You Expect?
By Karen Luo, March 30, 2018 20:03 PM
Nanjing Mochou Lu Church held an English service on the afternoon of March 25, 2018, to mark Palm Sunday.
In a short play, a boy who starred as Jesus rode on a "colt," played by another boy, entering into Jerusalem. The congregation were given palm branches and placed the branches on the stage to welcome the arrival of the real King.
Citing Mark 11:1-11, Rev. Timothy MacDonald preached a sermon titled "Blessed Is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord". The verses told of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. For generations, Israel eagerly expected the Messiah to come and read all the findings through Prophets like Jeremiah, Hosea, and Daniel. The people shouted "Hosanna" which meant crying for help, but the pastor asked what they wanted to be saved from. They simply wanted to be right with God.
Rev. MacDonald gave the example of the Holocaust, similar to the Nanjing Massacre. Many years ago, he visited museums in Germany, learning that hundreds of thousands of Jews were stripped and even showered with poison gas. Opening their eyes, they saw Jews coming in to set them free. Like them, the Jews were captive for centuries and yearned for the salvation of the Son of God.
Teaching his disciples the Lord's Prayer, Jesus prepared them for salvation. But Israel expected a savior to rule the earth. Before the crucifixion, Jesus barely told his disciples a bit of what was really coming: "He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.(Matthew 16:21)"
Jesus added that any who would follow him would deny himself and lose his life. The pastor recalled that he met a beautiful girl at university who he thought to be his future wife. But God's picture was totally different. He was disappointed and stopped believing in God, but his experience proved that God's picture is always perfect.
After entering into Jerusalem, Jesus cleaned the temple due to the inward filth of God's people and claimed that His house would be called a house of prayer for all nations. Seeing what He did, the leaders of the temple at the time obviously thought he was not the Messiah. However, God's path for the Lord was different. He didn't come to make friends or gain a seat but to give His life for us and do what no other could do: to pay for our sins as the sacrifice. All of us can be set free from sin only because of what Jesus did, regardless of nationality.
In the end, MacDonald asked where the followers were when Jesus was crucified on the cross. They said nothing to defend their Lord. So for us today, what path would you choose when you get God's picture that's different? Rev. MacDonald urged the congregation to choose God's way. God would say, "Give me your picture and I will give an amazing picture."
The church's English fellowship started from two university professors and a sister in the early 1990s. They gathered in an afternoon worship every month that developed into the English worship. Regarding social service, some members taught English in a camp in 2008 and ten members volunteered in the 2013 Asian Youth Games held in Nanjing. An English Bible study is also conducted on Wednesday evenings in Mochou Lu Church.
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