Ginrich's Devotional Blog

April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday

Filed under: Bible,Christ,devotion,God,Jesus — by ginrich @ 6:20 pm
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I have never used any of me sermons for a devotion but I was asked by several people to post this that I shared at our evening service. Usually I have no notes but since this topic required my research I did.

The Triumphal Entry
John 12:13. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him. They began to shout, “ Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Palm tree. Under this generic term many species are botanically included; but we will only talk about the date palm. While this tree was abundant generally in the eastern Mediterranean, it was regarded by the ancients as peculiarly characteristic of Palestine and the neighboring regions, though now it is rare. The palm tree frequently attains a height of eighty feet, but more commonly forty to fifty. It begins to bear fruit after it has been planted six or eight years, and continues to be productive for a century. Its trunk is straight, tall and unbroken, terminating in a crown of emerald-green plumes, like gigantic ostrich-feathers; these leaves are frequently twenty feet in length, droop slightly at the ends, and whisper musically in the breeze.

The palm is, in truth, a beautiful and most useful tree. Its fruit is the daily food of millions; its sap furnishes an agreeable wine; the fibers of the base of its leaves are woven into ropes and rigging; its tall stem supplies a valuable timber; its leaves are manufactured into brushes, mats, bags, couches and baskets. Palm oils have been made into both butter and soap. The seeds of palms were boiled into a medicinal drink or were dried and used as nuts. If they were allowed to dry a long time, they became hard and transparent and made durable beads and trinkets. They even used them to make huts for special religious celebrations.

Many places are mentioned in the Bible as having connection with palm trees; Elim, where grew three score and ten palm trees, (Exodus 15:27 ) and Elath. ( 2:8 ) Palms are in the Bible 38 times. Jericho was the city of Palm oils known for making both butter and soap. Many names in the Bible come from the word palm: Tamar, “the palm.” ( Ezekiel 47:19 ) Bethany means the “house of dates.” The word Phoenicia, which occurs twice in the New Testament — (Acts 11:19 ; 15:3 ) –is in all probability derived from the Greek word for a palm.

There is in Psalms 92:12 the familiar comparison, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree.” which suggests a world of illustration whether respect be had to the orderly and regular aspect of the tree, its fruitfulness, the perpetual greenness of its foliage, or the height at which the foliage grows, as far as possible from earth and as near as possible to heaven. The elasticity of the fiber of the palm and its determined growth upward even when loaded with weights.

The passage in (Revelation 7:9 ) where the glorified of all nations are described as “clothed with white robes and palms in their hands,” might seem to us a purely classical image; but palm branches were used by the Jews in token of victory and peace. Date palm is a symbol of resurrection. The people didn’t know they were heralding the resurrection as well.

Its principle of growth: it is an endogen, (grows from the inside and in height); its usefulness; the Syrians enumerating 360 different uses to which it may be put; it bears its best fruit in old age.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the trees were in bloom, so in covering the way with palm branches, the people were offering a symbol of great value and luxury. But palms were a symbol of necessity, too. To the Jews, palm branches represented a gift from God because of their many uses in the people’s lives. The palm was so important, this one tree supplies almost all the wants of the Arabs or Egyptians that when countries in the area went to war, they cut away the enemy’s palm branches, causing their enemy to suffer from the loss of food and other necessities. This is why all the palm trees were burned by the victors in a defeated country. That’s also why they’re scarce now.

Strewing palm branches at Jesus’ feet, then, was a symbol of the giving up of worldly goods, both necessities and luxuries. The people loved and honored Jesus, and they showed their love and honor by lining His path with something very important to them.

The significance of Jesus riding a donkey and having his way paved with palm branches is a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Zechariah some 450-500 years earlier, (Zechariah 9:9). “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. In biblical times, the regional custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey (or domesticated ***) was a symbol of peace; those who rode upon them proclaimed peaceful intentions. Matthew 21:7-9 records the fulfillment of that prophecy: “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 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!” We’re still talking about the events which took place on the Sunday before Jesus’ crucifixion. The laying of palm branches indicated that the king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph.

After Palm Sunday the palm leaves are burned and the ashes are saved for Ash Wednesday the next year.

Palm Sunday ranks as one of Christianity’s holiest days, second only to Christmas and Easter. Palm Sunday falls on the last Sunday of Lent (the Sunday before Easter) and marks the beginning of Holy Week. In the simplest of terms, Palm Sunday is an occasion for reflecting on the final week of Jesus’ life. It is a time for Christians to prepare their hearts for the agony of His Passion and the joy of His Resurrection. John 1:11 tells us, “He (Jesus) came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” The same crowds that were crying out “Hosanna” were crying out “crucify Him” five days later (Matthew 27:22-23). Do we honor Him one day and deny Him with our words or actions another day?

So what do we get from this information? Besides knowing the significance of what the palm represented, there are lessons for our own spiritual growth. We are to grow in the inside and it will show on the outside. We are to grow in height toward our God, straight towards Him, nor taking any turns away. Be elastic, stretchable for growth through challenges and difficulties without breaking, We are to be flexible in the winds of His Holy Spirit. All of our being, all we say, do and think should be useful to God for His glory and the building up of His kingdom.

Think about it. What represents the most to you that you would waive to celebrate and welcome the coming of your King, Jesus when He returns in triumph for His Bride? How will you commemorate this Holy Week? Thursday for the Last Supper, Friday for the crucifixion, Easter Sunday for the resurrection, maybe at sunrise?

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March 24, 2013

Stones Cry Out

Filed under: Bible,Christ,devotion,God,Jesus,Lent — by ginrich @ 1:00 am
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Luke 19:39-40. But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!”

The palm branch has long been a symbol of victory, triumph, peace and eternal life.  It’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Near East. In The Jewish culture the palm is associated with the festival of Sukkot. A palm branch was awarded to victorious athletes in ancient Greece and a palm frond or the tree itself is one of the most common attributes of victory in ancient Rome.  For Christians the palm branch is associated particularly with Palm Sunday, when palm branches ate waved in memory of the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem.  This is a day for us to rejoice and praise Jesus.  No one on that first Palm Sunday realized what would happen a few days later.  The religious leaders demanded Jesus keep the crowd from praising Him but He responded the stones would shout praises if the crowd was silenced.  Our question is are we less able to shout praises to our King than the stones are?  Let us sing with full voices and hearts.  Let us pray with full voices and hearts.   Let ua put our all into worship and praise of Jesus, our Lord and our King.

March 23, 2013

Preparation

Filed under: Bible,Christ,devotion,God,Jesus,Lent — by ginrich @ 1:00 am
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John 11:56. Thus they were looking for Jesus, and saying to one another as they stood in the temple courts, “What do you think? That he wont come to the feast?”

Today is the day before Palm Sunday.  In the past I prepared by obtaining palm branches for our church to wave in celebration.  We don’t have access to them here.  But we still can wave our hands and rejoice.  On the day before our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem the people were all talking about Him.  They wondered if he would come.  They were sure He was the one who would save them com the tyranny of the Romans.  They wanted to crown Him their king instead of Caesar.  This added to the excitement of the Jewish people coming together to their temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, the celebration of their freedom from the Egyptians.  What better time to be free from the Romans than on this anniversary of their Egyptian freedom.  We have the opportunity of celebrating freedom from the sentence of death for our sins.  Our preparation for tomorrow should include a time of confessing our sins of commission and omission.  Our question is are we willing to admit our sinful actions, attitudes and inactions?  Let us prepare to rejoice tomorrow with free and clean hearts.

April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

Filed under: Bible,Christ,God's Word,Jesus,Lent — by ginrich @ 1:26 am
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Luke 19:40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (The Holy Bible, New International Version)

Today is Palm Sunday. This is the day we celebrate the Triumphal Entry. We have read some of the things Jesus did and taught as He was headed to Jerusalem. Now He is here. He already has everything ready. The disciples were sent ahead to get a young donkey never ridden before. A warrior goes into the city on a white horse. A King goes in to the city on a donkey (David did this also). The people are excited. They are praising Him. The religious leaders are jealous and don’t like what they hear. They tell Jesus He should make the people be quiet. Jesus shows His power and His Sovereignty by saying the stones could cry out if the people were quiet. This encourages me to cry out as to Who Jesus is. If He can speak through stones or an ass (Balaam) He can speak through people like you and me. We’re not to keep quiet. We’re to cry out. We’re to let all know Who Jesus is. Our question is will we open our mouths? God won’t speak for us but He will speak through us. Our goal is to go home to heaven and see how many people we can take with us.

April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

Jn 12:13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the King of Israel!”

 

First a few then gradually more and more joined in the excitement.  Most didn’t know who He was; they were just joining the crowd.  Those who thought they knew who He was didn’t understand.  We can’t fault them.  We tend to praise and sometime adore and worship people or things we don’t really know.  Look at various politicians, sport’s stars and movie stars.  We are quick to be excited about being in their presence but we don’t really know who they are.  Then, when they fall off the pedestal we’ve put them on we are shocked and disappointed.  Today, on Palm Sunday, the question is, who is on your pedestal?  Is it some movie star or sports star or is it you?  There is only one Who will never disappoint you.  That is Jesus.  He alone should be on our pedestals.  He alone is worthy of our praise.  Are you going to church on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday because it is the thing to do – others are doing it?  My prayer is for all of us to really know Who Jesus is.  He is our only link to God the Father, the Creator of all that was and is and is to be.  It is only through God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that we can have eternal life with God.  But, just saying we know Who Jesus is doesn’t do it.  We must get to know Him on a personal relationship.  As we get to know Him we find we love Him more and more and want to worship and praise Him more and more.  Welcome the King of Kings today.

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