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Worship Message - Palm Sunday - For Thine Is Lead Us Not...


For Thine Is Lead Us Not...

We have, in this Lenten season’s messages, been thinking about the Lord’s Prayer, each

Sunday highlighting a various phrase of the prayer. We are considering what the words

mean and how Jesus put the words into action.

This season, we have, so far, thought about all but the very last phrase of the Lord’s

Prayer. A phrase that has an interesting twist to it, which it seems important to spend a

moment discussing. The twist is that the phrase - “For Thine is the kingdom and the

power and the glory forever” - is not recorded in every translation of the Bible. Including

the Revised Standard Version. There the phrase is just in the footnotes, with the

explanation that while some authorities, some of them ancient, attribute it to what Jesus

taught, those who did the Revised Standard Version were not sure of that.

Other translations, including the King James and New American Standard versions, do

include the phrase, which we use when we say the Lord’s Prayer. But some do not.

Knowing that, I did a bit of study on why some translations have it while others do not.

Here is a bit of what I found.

It seems those who do not include the last phrase of the Lord’s Prayer contend the

words were actually a doxology - a short hymn or expression of praise - added by the

early Christian church when the church began to use the Lord’s Prayer for its liturgy.

Their contention is the doxology was added to kind of round out the prayer.

However, those who do include the phrase point out that Jews of the time of Jesus

virtually never closed a prayer on a negative note. The phrase right before this one ends

with the word “evil.” The phrase is,”deliver us from evil.” Because of the tradition,

almost certainly something positive would follow. Hence the last phrase.

Plus, the final phrase certainly ties the prayer together.

For Thine - for Yours, o God - is the kingdom. That means God is the king and the

kingdom is His. In the first part of the Lord’s Prayer, we ask for His Kingdom to come

here on earth, as it has in Heaven. Therefore, this part of the ending brings our thoughts

back to what was prayed at the beginning.

For Thine is the power. That suggests God is all-powerful. That He has the power to

accomplish anything. Including answering the requests we make when we pray the

Lord’s Prayer - requests for daily bread and forgiveness and help in times of temptation.

For Thine is the glory. That means that all glory is His. Glory He is due, now and

always, because of the power of His kingdom.

The Lord’s Prayer begins with praising God. It would seem appropriate to end it the

same way. Plus, in at least some Old Testament passages, prayers end with similar

doxologies. So it is that today we are thinking about the phrase with which some

translations end the prayer, which is, “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and

glory forever. Amen.”

Again, God is king. He is all-powerful. He is due glory. But as with all the other phrases

in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus did not just teach those words. He acted them out. He

displayed them.

Which brings us to what we are celebrating today, which is Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

The point being that Jesus allowed praises that day. Praises He taught should go to God.

Praises He accepted as a sign He is God.

Here is what happened.

Toward the end of His ministry, Jesus, who the night before had been on the Mount of

Olives, just across a narrow valley from Jerusalem, knew it was time to enter the city.

The main city - the capital city - of the homeland of the Jews.

It must always be remembered Jesus knew what was going to happen in and around

that city. That He was soon going to be arrested and tried and tortured and crucified.

That is so important because He could have gone the opposite direction, away from the

coming trouble. But no. That day He went to Jerusalem.

That day, Jesus was not the only one on the road. It was about time for the holiday of

Passover to start, so many, many others were in that area as well, some of them along

the road Jesus was on.

That day, in the midst of a huge crowd of people - some historical records suggest there

could have been as many as two-and-a-half million people in the area, many of whom

would have been in the space between the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem - Jesus began

His journey. His journey taken on a donkey that had been secured by two of His

disciples.

By the way, the animal on which Jesus rode is significant. You see, a horse would have

communicated a military-type importance. But that was not what Jesus wanted to

portray. A donkey was a more humble animal, thereby signifying Jesus’ humility. A

donkey is also a very sure-footed animal, suited to the steep hills on either side of the

valley between the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem. That was a message of Jesus being

steady. And of course, there is this. Old Testament prophecy predicted that the Savior,

when He came, would come on a donkey. Jesus riding on such an animal was one more

proof Jesus is the Savior He claimed to be.

On the first Palm Sunday, Jesus got on a donkey His disciples, at His instruction, had

secured for Him. Once on the animal, Jesus left the Mount of Olives, descending the

steep hill beside it. He crossed the narrow valley at the bottom of the hill. He then

started up the steep hill on His way to and into Jerusalem.

All along the way, the road was lined with at least thousands of people. People who did

not quietly observe who was passing by, but who became actively involved in celebrating

that one, which is a wonderful indication of how well-known Jesus was.

I mean, there were lots of other people on that same road that day. Other people who

did not attract any attention. But for Jesus, there was excitement, so apparently He was

very well-known. Known as a very good teacher. Known as a healer. The healings He

had performed were apparently known. Knows as a doer of other miracles. All the way

from turning water into wine very early in His ministry to His multiplying of a little bit

of bread and a few fish into enough to feed thousands of people, which He did twice.

And what about the love Jesus showed to so many people, including the sick and the

suffering and children.

All of what Jesus had been doing in His ministry was well-known. Jesus was wellknown.

On that day, there was a sense of excitement that He - someone that skilled and

powerful - was so close. An excitement that was displayed in a number of ways.

For instance, some of the people in crowd laid palm branches on the road Jesus was

traveling. Palm branches, were, in that culture, symbols of liberty, victory, and joy.

Those who laid palm branches on the road were proclaiming Jesus had come to offer all

three of those things.

Actually, I suppose some of the people along the road did what they did simply because

they were caught up in the excitement. I suppose some of them did what they did

without thinking about what it meant. That will become evident in a question many

people asked when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem.

But others - most - no doubt did know what palm branches represented. They knowingly

praised Jesus by laying such branches on the road Jesus traveled.

Others in the crowd spread their garments - pieces of their clothing - on the road. That

was a sign in that culture of a willingness to be subject to or subservient to the one

riding past. It was a sign of willingness to be involved with the one riding through the

area. If a person’s garment was touched by the animal being ridden - in this case, the

donkey ridden by Jesus - there was, when the clothing was picked back up, a feeling of

connection to the one riding by. That was a common thing to do when victorious kings

rode through crowds. Now it applied to Jesus.

And just about everyone in the crowd began shouting.

They shouted, “Hosanna,” which we usually think of as a word of praise, but was

actually a word of request. In this case, a request made of Jesus. A request that He save

them.

“Hosanna. Save us. Save us now, we beseech You. We beg You.” That is one of the things

the people shouted to Jesus as He rode over the palm branches and the clothing on His

way to Jerusalem.

Hosanna,” they shouted, “to the Son of David.” “Son of David” was, for them, another

way of saying “Savior.”

They added, “Blessed [to be specially favored] is He who comes in the name of the

Lord.” That indicates they knew Jesus had come from God. That is the truth they were

proclaiming.

“Hosanna in the highest,” they added, which means they proclaimed that Jesus’ name

and Jesus’ throne were higher were above - more important than - any other name or

any other throne. That phrase was an expression of their intent to rely upon Jesus rather

than anyone else.

All of that can be summed up, can it not, with what Jesus taught in the last part of the

Lord’s Prayer? What the people shouted can at least be summarized with the words,

“For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” That is exactly what the

words being shouted were meant to communicate.

And get this. The shouting was so loud - the throwing of the garments and the palm

branches built up the excitement, but the whole scene became so loud and boisterous

that some of the religious leaders along the road began to encourage Jesus to rebuke the

people. In fact, they ordered Jesus to insist the people be quiet.

There are two possible reasons for the religious leaders asking that of Jesus.

Those leaders were no doubt among those who disliked Jesus so much, they wanted to

kill Him. They most assuredly did not want to keep hearing Him praised and honored.

Or maybe it was their knowledge that if a riot broke out, the Roman army would be sent

to the area to calm the crowd, which would have been done in very violent ways.

Either, or maybe both those reasons, may have been the cause of the religious leaders’

interest in quieting the crowd. But Jesus refused the order, explaining that if the people

were silent, the stones along the road would cry out. That would happen because Jesus

deserved to be called Savior. He is the only one who can save anybody. That would be

proclaimed that day, no matter what.

So it was there was excitement. Which lasted until Jesus entered Jerusalem, at which

time two things happened. Two things that immediately changed the mood. A change

from joyous excitement to a negativity that, five days later, resulted in the death of

Jesus.

What were those things? First, once in Jerusalem, a question started making the rounds.

“Who is this?” was asked, “this” referring to Jesus. “Who is this?”

What an interesting question since those along the road just moments before certainly

seemed to know who was getting all the attention. But in the city, “Who is this?” was

asked. Like suddenly His teaching skills and His healings and His miracles were

forgotten.

The answer? Very significant. The answer was, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth

of Galilee,” which was actually an insult.

Prophet. That refers to a messenger for God. So, no longer, “Savior,” which had just

been proclaimed, but now, “prophet.”

“From Nazareth of Galilee.” From a small, insignificant town in the disrespected part of

the Jewish homeland, which was a put down since the common thinking was nothing

good ever had or ever would come from such a place.

Upon Jesus arriving in Jerusalem, there was a question about who He was. The answer

was no longer glowing and positive, but negative.

Then Jesus went to the Temple. To the Temple of God. He went into the Temple. And in

a fit of anger - righteous anger, but anger - Jesus started to overturn tables and drive out

some of the people.

The tables were those which money-changers and sellers of pigeons used. Those who

changed money from regular coinage to that which was to be used to pay Temple taxes.

Those who sold what was needed for sacrifices.

It is important to know that money-changing and the selling of sacrifices were both

needed. Both were acceptable, if done properly. But in this case, on that day, there were

some problems. Such as those money-changers charging an exorbitant exchange rate,

thereby cheating people who were trying to be obedient to God’s instruction to support

the Temple. Such as those sellers of sacrifices charging exorbitant prices - prices much

higher than what was right - thereby cheating people who were trying to be obedient to

God. Such as both those businesses being conducted, not outside the Temple, where

honest business would have been legitimate, but inside the Temple, where the

businesses were interfering with prayer, which is for what the Temple had been built.

And there is this. The businesses we have just talked about were owned and controlled

by the High Priest and his family. By those very influential people. Because they were

hurt economically by what Jesus did when He drove out the dishonest changers and

sellers - as He overturned their tables - their opposition to Him grew even stronger.

And He shouted. The wording is He said these words, but I hear Him shouting. That is

how excited He was. Excited with anger. He shouted, “It is written, My house shall be

called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers!”

“My house.” Was Jesus claiming the Temple to be His? What a concept that was for the

High Priest and his family. “A den of robbers.” “What did You call us?" they might have

asked.

Yes, very quickly the mood changed from great joy, honor, and respect shown to Jesus

as He went from the Mount of Olives to a very negative, threatening feel - a feel of

confusion - as soon as Jesus entered Jerusalem. A feel of anger when Jesus cleansed the

Temple of cheaters. A feel that continued to devolve as the next few days came and went.

And hey, there were still some positive moments.

For instance, right after the cleansing of the Temple, when the people who had gone

there to pray were actually able to do so, Jesus had opportunities to heal people who

were blind and lame.

For instance, right after that, some children gathered around Jesus. They repeated what

they had heard on the road a short time earlier. “Hosannah to the Son of David,” they

cried out.

For instance, later Jesus had some more chances to teach. Crowds of people, some of the

religious leaders, and the disciples were recipients of His lessons.

For instance, on Thursday, Jesus and His disciples had an evening all to themselves.

That evening they shared a meal together.

There were some positive moments in the few days after Jesus entered Jerusalem. But

then, what He knew was going to happen did happen.

Late Thursday night, He was betrayed. The betraying led to His arrest. For the next

several hours, Jesus was the defendant in three trials.

After the last trial, Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion, after which He was

beaten and whipped and mocked and mistreated in other ways before being given a

cross to carry for as long as He able to do so. To carry it through crowds of people who

were no longer praising Him, but now insulting Him.

A cross on which He was nailed and raised up. A cross on which He died as the perfect

sacrifice for our sins.

A sacrifice that assured that for Him, the last part of the Lord’s Prayer came true. For

His was - His is - the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Those three things

proved by His sacrifice.

So, one more time. I say that because we have this same challenge each Palm Sunday.

One more time, may we be like the people along the road as Jesus traveled to Jerusalem.

People who praise Jesus and honor Him by what we say and what we do.

But may we then be better than them. Better by refusing to turn negative, instead

staying positive - staying true - continuing to follow Him.

Including in obeying how He taught us to pray. Obeying by saying the words of the

Lord’s Prayer and obeying in our actions. That what we do will show we understand

what we are praying.

Let’s one more time pray the Lord’s Prayer together.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

The closing song for this service is Lead Me to the Cross. As we begin Holy Week, may

the thought of Jesus’ sacrifice inspire us to praise Him, this day and every day. May we

each day be led to the cross. To His love. The song will also serve as today’s benediction.

Savior, I come; quiet my soul.

Remember redemption’s hill, where Your blood was spilled for my ransom.

Everything I once held dear, I count it all as loss

Lead me to the cross, where Your love poured out.

Bring me to my knees; Lord, I lay me down.

Rid me of myself; I belong to You.

Oh, lead me. Lead me to the cross.

You were as I, tempted and tried. Human.

The Word became flesh, bore my sin and death. Now You’re risen.

Everything I once held dear, I count it all as loss.

Lead me to the cross, where Your love poured out.

Bring me to my knees; Lord, I lay me down.

Rid me of myself; I belong to You.

Oh, lead me. Lead me to the cross.

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