Support this ministry by using the companies and products you see on this blog

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Palm Sunday Sermon March 25, 2018 - Jesus Needs You

This is the manuscript of a sermon preached on Palm Sunday March 25, 2018 at Church of Divine Guidance Los Angeles, CA 

Mark 11:2-3 (NKJV) He said to them, "Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. And if anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord has need of it,' and immediately he will send it here." - From Mark 11:2-3

What will you do when Jesus says that He needs you? Will you surrender yourself like this man surrendered his donkey?

In the Cantata His Only Begotten Son there is a scene where Jesus is coming into Jerusalem for the Passover feast. Many of the people that lived in Jerusalem and the thousands that have come for the feast are anticipating His arrival because they believe that He is the Messiah that God promised He would send to deliver His people, the Jews, from oppression and bondage.  In the scene, when the people see Him they get very excited and shout Hosanna.  Their song includes the phrase that tyrants will bow at His feet, blessing and hope to everyone He meets.    That scene is based on Mark's account of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem to celebrate His last Passover on earth.  Today we call that Jesus’ Triumphal Entry.  That was the way a conquering  king would enter a city or nation after defeating them.

Let's go to

Mark 11:1-11 (NKJV)1  Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples;2  and He said to them, "Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it.3  And if anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord has need of it,' (I want to remember that phrase, the Lord has need of it)   and immediately he will send it here."4  So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it.5  But some of those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing, loosing the colt?"6  And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.7  Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it.8  And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.9  Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'10  Blessed is the kingdom of our father David That comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"11  And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Now let's set the scene.  According to scholars and historians, Jerusalem had a population of about 20,000 to 30,000 people. But at Passover the celebration of Israel's release from slavery in Egypt  the city’s population swelled by perhaps another 150,000.1 Imagine every room filled, with campsites popping up on every available hillside, inhabited by Jewish people who had traveled from throughout the world.
Can you imagine LA which we think is overcrowded now swelling to six times its normal size? This would happen every year during the Passover in Jerusalem.
But there was something unique about this Passover. Many believed that, just as they had been delivered from Egyptian slavery, another day of deliverance was at hand—the deliverance from Roman oppression.

The people longed for a deliverer. They longed for the Old Testament promise of a Messiah to be fulfilled. Now, that day had come. Jesus of Nazareth had filled Israel with the Word of God and the miracles of God. His message was clear and filled with hope: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near", and He confirmed by His miracles.

This Passover even started differently. Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, just as one of the prophets Zechariah said. 

Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV)9  "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

This was, in the minds of those shouting Hosanna, the beginning of the end of Roman oppression.  Unfortunately, the celebration didn’t last. The crowds were looking for a Messiah who would rescue them politically and free them nationally, but Jesus had come to save them spiritually.  For Jesus it was first things first, and that was the need for spiritual freedom, not political, cultural, or national salvation.

So this Triumphal Entry was a paradox. On one hand, it was a time of praise and anticipation. On the other hand, it was a time of disappointment when Jesus failed to be the Messiah they wanted—one who would take on the Roman government. Within a week the crowds who were crying out “Hosanna!” when Jesus entered Jerusalem, were crying out “Crucify Him!”, before the end of the week.

Let’s look at everything that happened that week. 


On that Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem and ended the day with a visit to the temple.

Mark 11:11 (NKJV)  And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve. 

On Monday, on His way back to the temple, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it didn’t have any figs, that’s in Mark 11:12-14.  When He went back to the temple and saw what was going on He cleaned it out. 

Mark 11:15-19 (NKJV)15  So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.16  And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.17  Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.' "18  And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.19  When evening had come, He went out of the city.

Tuesday was a busy day.

On His way back to the temple, on Tuesday, He used the fig tree that He had cursed on Monday to talk to the disciples about faith, verses 20-25.

Because He raised such a ruckus on Monday the Chief Priests, the teachers, and the elders, in other words the religious leaders, confronted Jesus challenging His authority, to order folk out of the temple and,  stop them from doing business 27-33.

He answered them with a parable about a man who had rented a vineyard he owned to some farmers who refused to pay the rent.  These farmers eventually killed His son when he sent him to collect the rent.  He was talking about the scribes and Pharisees.  He said that actually they were hypocrites and phonies. 

Mark 12:38-40 (NKJV)38  Then He said to them in His teaching, "Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces,39  the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,40  who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation."

He even questioned their giving.

Mark 12:41-44 (NKJV)41  Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.42  Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.43  So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;44  for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."

On the way back to Bethany Jesus told his disciples that the temple that they so dearly loved would be destroyed.  When they asked Him about it He gave them a discourse on what to look for in the last days. That's chapter 13.

Mark 13:32-37 (NKJV)32  "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.33  Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.34  It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.35  Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming--in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning--36  lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.37  And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!"

Then on Wednesday the chief Priests were trying to figure out how to get rid of Jesus

Mark 14:1-2 (NKJV)1  After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death.2  But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people."

While He was at Simon the Leper’s house a woman came in and poured an expensive jar of perfume on his head, which upset a lot of folk,

Mark 14:3-4 (NKJV)3  And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.4  But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted?

 But Jesus said she was preparing for His burial. 

Mark 14:8-9 (NKJV)8  She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.9  Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."

Then Judas went and made the deal to betray Him.

Mark 14:10-11 (NKJV)10  Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them.11  And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.

On Thursday there was the Last Supper, Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane,  Judas’  betrayal, the arrest and, the trial before the Jewish authorities, and. Peter’s denial Mark 14:12-72.

On Friday, Good Friday, there was the  trial before Pilate, the crucifixion, and burial.  All of that is in Mark 15.

The only thing that happened on Saturday, since it was the Sabbath was the tomb being guarded by the Roman soldiers.

Then on Sunday The Resurrection!  That’s in Mark chapter 16.

That’s a pretty full week that started with a big celebration and ended with a body in a tomb.  Of course we know about the glory of the resurrection with took place on Sunday but I want to go back to that first Sunday.  The Sunday of the Triumphal Entry.

That Sunday the people lined the street by the thousands, waving palm branches in praise and celebration, declaring, "Hosanna!" The word Hosanna is a cry for help and deliverance, meaning "Save now!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" they proclaimed as they hailed Him their Messiah.

That phrase "He who comes" is a phrase they used for the Messiah and it comes from Psalm 118:26

Psalm 118:26 (NKJV)26  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

The people would sing this psalm at the Passover, and other great celebrations. It is a psalm of conquest and victory.  Remember they thought that Jesus was going to overthrow Rome as the warrior Messiah. 

Among the celebration that day was the man who gave his donkey for Jesus to ride. Jesus sent two disciples into town with instructions that they would see a donkey tied up at a certain home. They were to take it and bring it to Him. If anyone asked them what they were doing, they were to reply, "The Lord needs it”. 

What will you do when Jesus says that He needs you?  

Will you surrender yourself like this man surrendered his donkey?

Listen to what he told people who wanted to become His disciples.

Luke 9:23-26 (NKJV)23  Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.24  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.25  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?

Paul said it a little differently.

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

You may be saying to yourself, "I have so little to offer Him." Well God has been taking our little and doing a lot with it since the beginning of time.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)20  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

That power is the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NKJV)26  For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.27  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;28  and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,29  that no flesh should glory in His presence.D."

God needs you. That really sounds  presumptuous doesn't it? And if you said about yourself it would be very arrogant.   Let’s change that statement to God wants and needs you.  Doesn’t sound so bad now does it?

2 Corinthians 4:7 (HCSB)7  Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.

This scripture tells us that God's power depends on us, these jars of clay full of imperfections.  Amazing isn’t it?

God really doesn’t need us but by His grace He has chosen to use us.

He has always worked that way. From Adam and Eve, to Noah, to Abraham, to the disciples, to Paul, and to you and me. 

Think about it! The Creator of the universe wants, needs, and uses us.   He is all-powerful and doesn’t need to depend on any creature yet, He has chosen mankind to carry out His plans.  If He didn’t need us He could have taken us to be with Him as soon as He saved us.   He wants, needs and uses us to show the way of salvation and eternal life with Him through His Son Jesus.   We call this the “Great Commission”

Matthew 28:18-20 (HCSB)18  Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Apostle Paul calls it our “ministry of reconciliation”.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (HCSB)18  Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:19  That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.20  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”

God Wanted and Needed Man for Specific Assignments

He needed man to take care of His creation.

Genesis 1:26 (HCSB)  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

He needed a man to speak against  against the godlessness of His people.

One time He said He needed a man then didn't find anybody.

Ezekiel 22:30 (HCSB)  I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one.

Another time He needed a man to warn His people and this He found one. 

Isaiah 6:8 (HCSB) Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Who should I send? Who will go for Us? I said: Here I am. Send me.

Jesus Wanted and Needed Men 

Matthew 10:2-4 (HCSB)2  These are the names of the 12 apostles: First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;3  Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;4  Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Jesus told His disciples to ask for help from other men because there was a need for more men to help harvest the lost thus accomplishing the “Great Commission”..

Matthew 9:36-38 (HCSB)36  When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.37  Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.38  Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” 

Workers are what God wants and needs.  He doesn't need spectators.  Although He can do it all by Himself He wants us to work with Him. 
When God Needs You He’ll Call You

Just as Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, John, and His other apostles, He will call you when He needs you.  When He calls you don’t hesitate because you don’t think you you’re qualified because He will equip you with whatever you need in order to accomplish what He needs you to do.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 (HCSB) 4  We have this kind of confidence toward God through Christ.5  ⌊It is⌋ not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God.6  He has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life.
When He calls you He’ll equip you first with the Holy Spirit;

Ephesians 1:13(HCSB) When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

Then with Spiritual Gifts;

Ephesians 4:7 (HCSB) Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift.
What an amazing thing that the Lord would need anything from us. God is self-sufficient. His name, Jehovah, means "God is self-existent" He doesn't technically need anything. He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord our provider. Yet, He says to us, "I need you." The Lord needs your resources, talents, abilities and availability. Christ calls us into partnership with Himself in the building of His kingdom. God works in partnership with His people. The Holy Spirit is saying to you today, "The Lord needs it."
What talent, resource, financial strength, possession, or leadership gift is the Holy Spirit telling you to give to God in dedicated service? Once you give yourself totally to Christ, you will have no hesitancy giving up anything you possess for the kingdom of God.
2 Timothy 1:9 (TLB) “It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began — to show his love and kindness to us through Christ”

God says you’re necessary in the church.  That’s why He gives us spiritual gifts. 

Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

You’re an essential part of his family.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 NIV Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Look at it this way: If I don’t use my gifts, you get cheated. If you don’t use your gifts, I get cheated. And either way, everybody else in the Body of Christ gets cheated.

We’re all important! We’re all needed to do our part as we fit together.

You may be small in your own eyes, but God needs you!
Yours is a mission you alone can fill,
Whether it be to build or teach or till;
Your goal may still be hidden from your view,
But somewhere God has urgent need of you. —Thayer

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live
All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at His feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me, Jesus, take me now,
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

All to Jesus I surrender
Make me Savior wholly thine
May Thy Holy Spirit fill me
May I know Thy power divine
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

God is looking for ordinary people for extraordinary work.  He’s looking for you, Jesus needs you!

Sermon Audio