Sermon for Palm Sunday, 05/04/20

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Theme: The Victorious

“And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt. 21:9). Dearly Beloved, Greetings in the Lord! Today is Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week. For us Christians, this is the time to reflect upon the last days of our Lord, the Last Supper, His crucifixion, and then the joy of His resurrection that follows on Easter Day. Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem the last time before His death. The crowds in the city of Jerusalem busted into jubilation and greeted Him with loud shouts of Hosanna, spreading their cloaks and palm branches on the road for His colt to walk on as a “king”. The celebrating crowds caused a stir upon their arrival in Jerusalem, leading others to ask who was at the centre of this spectacle. A king? And the answer was Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee. Politically speaking, a king is the one who has supreme authority over a territory. And for the people of Israel, it is only God who anoints kings to rule over them. Kings are supposed to be warriors, brave, and fight for his people to deliver them from the hands of their aggressors. And the people of Israel longed for that Messianic-king who would come to deliver them from the aggression and oppression of the Roman government at the time and make them great again. As you may know, Jerusalem was conquered by the Romans in 63 BC, and its people oppressed by the foreign military and political powers and systems of Rome. The word Hosanna literally means ‘God save us’. And it was used by the crowds to cry out to their “king” to deliver them from the oppression of the Roman government. Today, like the City of Jerusalem, which was invaded aggressively by the Romans, and its people oppressed by foreign military and political powers and systems, our world is, and continues to be under the oppression of the COVID-19 pandemic. And like the crowds on the day of the triumphal entry who shouted Hosanna, we are also crying unto the Lord day-by-day for deliverance from this deadly coronavirus that plagued our world aggressively. Even though, not in the way the crowds in Jerusalem understood it, Jesus is indeed a king whose kingdom does not belong to this world (John 18:36). And with his presence on earth, he announced the kingdom and the reign of God in our hearts so that we may have peace and justice in the world. He, therefore, exercised his royal office by serving us with love. In this bad time, we also need to serve others, especially the vulnerable and the elderly in our communities with love by providing a helping hand to them whenever we are able to do so. As you may know, Passover was the greatest of the annual festivals in Jerusalem. And at this time of the year, the population of Jerusalem swelled up as many Jews from all over the world crowed into its streets to commemorate the “passing over” of the angel of death prior to the exodus from Egypt. This powerful act of God which led to the redemption and deliverance of the people of Israel from the captivity of slavery in Egypt replicates Christ’s victory over sin and death. And as God used the blood of the land to bring deliverance to the Israelites, our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed for our salvation and deliverance from sin and death (1 Cor. 5:6-8). Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was for the redemption of humanity once and for all. This gives us the hope that we shall experience victory over every unpleasant situation of our lives including the COVID-19 pandemic. In this moment of COVID-19 when we continue losing people dear to our hearts day-by-day; when many of us continue to struggle with mental health issues; when our lives are being affected in every way; just like the troubled Jews, this is the time for us to intensify our shout of Hosanna – God save us! I pray that like the celebrating crowds in Jerusalem at the triumphal entry, we too shall cause a stir in our nation with prayer and fasting for God to deliver us now from COVID-19. I also pray that God will continue to comfort us in these troubling times, and grant us His everlasting peace! As we continue to ‘enjoy’ whatever God blesses us with today, let us not forget to share with those who have nothing – the homeless, the orphans, the refugees, etc. This day is holy to our Lord. And even though we are grieving because of the devastation COVID19 has brought into our world, we need to continue trusting God for His mighty hand to deliver us just as He delivered the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. May the joy of the Lord remain your strength even in this difficult time! Stay blessed! Amen! Rev. Confidence Bansah (Ph.D.) Minister of St. George’s and Christ Church

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