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The Most Horrible, Wonderful, Holy Week of All

April 2, 2023 Speaker: Allen Snapp Series: Palm Sunday

Topic: Palm Sunday Passage: Mark 11:4–10, Luke 19:35–40

Palm Sunday

Allen Snapp

Grace Community Church

April 2, 2023


The Most Horrible, Wonderful, Holy Week of All

I’m reading from Mark 11 beginning in verse 4.

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna!”“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Mark 11:4-10

And from Luke 19 beginning in verse 35

35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”


Luke writes in chapter 9 that [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem.” What lay ahead for Jesus in Jerusalem wasn’t something Jesus wanted to go through, but he knew he must face it in order to accomplish the mission for which he was sent. So he set his face towards Jerusalem – he was resolute and determined to go to Jerusalem to endure the most horrible, wonderful, holy week in history.

Jesus had entered Jerusalem many times before, but this time was different. As Jesus approached on the foal of a donkey, everyone thought of the prophecy in Zech 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

They knew Jesus was the King and Messiah the Jews had been waiting for for thousands of years and the crowd got big and it got loud as they began to shout Hosanna! (Save, please!) Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.

This, of course, offended the religious leaders – the Pharisees, the chief priests, and the scribes. Ironically the ones who knew the Bible best couldn’t see the OT prophecies being fulfilled right in front of their eyes. How can that be? They weren’t dumb men, they were well educated. They knew the Bible. I think the reason is that they were blinded by their own personal agenda. They envied Jesus’ popularity – the crowds never came out for them. They were afraid the Romans might hear the crowds calling Jesus a king and strip them of their position and power. They had an agenda that blinded them to the great things God was doing because it focused them on all the wrong things.

  • When Jesus caused a blind man to see, they said, “it wasn’t the right day to do it.”
  • When Jesus healed a paralyzed man they couldn’t get over Jesus telling him his sins were forgiven.
  • When sinners were turning to God in repentance they’re wondering why Jesus is associating with them.

They were blind to all that God was doing because they were squabbling over their rules being broken. As I said last week, they knew God’s word but missed God’s heart.

Finally the excitement and the shouting gets to be too much for them and they demand that Jesus shut it down. Jesus answered them, if the crowd were silent, the very stones would cry out. Even rocks have more spiritual insight than these religious experts did.

The crowds knew that Jesus was the King they had been waiting for. They didn’t understand what this King had come to do so as the week went on many of them would lose their enthusiasm for him, but right now, in this moment, their shouts of praise are so right that if they were quiet, God’s nature would sing out.

Jesus is the King of heaven and the One promised from Genesis forward who would sit on the throne of David forever and ever. Let’s spend a few minutes considering Jesus our King.

  1. Jesus is the King who came to bring peace

In those days when a king approached a city to make war, he rode a warhorse. That’s what Jesus will ride at his second coming. Listen to this description in Revelation 19:

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed infine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:


When Jesus returns he’s coming on a white war-horse as the conquering King, to destroy the antichrist and all those who follow him! But on that Palm Sunday, Jesus didn’t come to bring war, he came to bring peace. Not world peace, not peace between nations – that won’t happen until he returns to set up his kingdom on earth. The peace he came to bring is peace one person at a time. One heart at a time.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. John 14:27

The wars that rage between nations and tribes is an outgrowth of the inner war that every human has raging within them. There is a shortage of peace on the earth today.

This past week we once again read about a tragic school shooting, this time in Nashville. We don’t know all the details, but there is nothing that can truly make sense of the senseless killing of 3 children and 3 educators. One day this 28 year old transgender’s manifesto will be released, so until then we know little about what was in her mind and heart, but we know this: her mind was in torment, not peace. Hatred, violence, resentment, despair, and suicidal ideations mixed together until it became a ticking time bomb that went off, leaving a wake of death and destroyed lives behind her.

Our hearts and prayers especially go out to the parents and families of those three precious children whose lives were senselessly cut short. It is another reminder that the world is broken. We need peace.

But the wars rage closer to home than Nashville or the Ukraine. All of us struggle to find inner peace in one way or another. Fear, pride, greed, anxiety, insecurity, illness, conflict, misunderstanding, betrayal, disappointment, regret, sleeplessness and a host of other things rob peace from our hearts.

Jesus says, ‘peace I give to you…” Jesus can speak “peace, be still” to the wind and the waves of our storm-tossed hearts. Even while the storms rage on the outside, he can give the peace of comfort to the hurting and broken heart. He can give the peace of calm to the troubled heart. He can give the peace of love to the lonely heart. He can give the peace of faith to the fearful heart. He can give the peace of humility to the proud heart. He can give the peace of contentment to the greedy heart.

If we try to derive our peace from being well-liked, or famous, or wealthy, or we try to get peace from entertainment or from physical health, or good looks or financial security or anything other than Jesus, than what we derive our peace from will eventually fail and fade. Our looks or health or popularity will fade. Our finances might be taken away, but even if they aren’t money can’t give peace. And as we get older, we start to realize that age will loosen our grip on all these things. What can give us peace that’s enduring? Jesus, the prince of peace, who will rule and reign forever.

Jesus is the king who came to bring us peace.

  1. Jesus is the King who came to save

The word “hosanna” means, “please save!”

Some years ago I came across a book about English kings complete with portraits. As I looked at the faces of these men, most of them I wouldn’t trust to sell me a used car much less entrust my life to their absolute rule. (By the way, I used to sell used cars so no offense).

But I’m looking at their faces and trying to assess their character. There is no portrait of Jesus. Mary didn’t paint a picture of Jesus feeding the five thousand. But scripture gives us a portrait of his character and that’s far more important. Jesus isn’t the king who comes to step on people to get higher up the rung. Jesus is the one who sacrificed his life to save ours.

There have been many despots willing to sacrifice the lives of millions of their people in order to consolidate their power and live in self-indulgent luxury. King Henry the VIII divorced his first wife to marry Anne Boleyn, only to tire of her after three years and have her executed. The truth is most of these men wouldn’t sacrifice a dollar for your life, but they would gladly sacrifice your life for a dollar.

Jesus is the king who gave his life in order to save ours.

I have often wondered where these crowds who cried “hosanna” went when just a few days later a smaller crowd cried “crucify him!”? I think many of them were disillusioned because Jesus wasn’t the king they thought he would be, and he didn’t come to save the way they thought he would.

Let’s think about the week after this triumphal entry. The horrible, wonderful, holy week.

Immediately after entering Jerusalem, Jesus wept over Jerusalem. That’s not what you’d expect after such a triumphant entry! If I ever got one tenth of such a welcome I would be flying high all week replaying it in my head over and over. But Jesus knew what lay ahead for him and for Jerusalem. Palm Sunday was a great day, but it didn’t represent Jesus’ success. That was yet to come.

On Monday Jesus drove out all the money-changers from the temple which caused quite a controversy and made the religious leaders hate him more. It was on Tuesday, that one of Jesus’ closest disciples, Judas, met with the chief priests and scribes in order to betray Jesus. On Thursday Jesus shared the last supper with his disciples, went to Gethsemane and was arrested. On Friday:

  • Jesus was tried in the middle of the night and found guilty.
  • Roman soldiers whipped him and pounded a crown of thorns on his head
  • He was forced to drag a cross through the streets, stumbling and falling from pain and exhaustion
  • Then 4 or 5 inch nail was driven through his hands and feet.
  • There on the cross the sun went dark for three hours as God turned his face away from Jesus and poured on Jesus all the punishment our sins deserved.

This horrible, wonderful, holy week doesn’t end on Good Friday. Thank God there’s an Easter Sunday! But we’ll stop here for now.

Jesus didn’t come to succeed with the crowds, he came to succeed with the cross. The cross is the pinnacle of success for it was there he made it possible for everyone who believes in him to be saved.

Jesus came to bring us peace and to save us from our sin and save us for eternal life. Jesus bore our sins on the cross so that we can wear his righteousness when we stand before God the Judge. Jesus came to save us from hell and save us for heaven. He came to save us from condemnation and to save us for complete acceptance by God. Jesus offers forgiveness and eternal life freely to everyone who comes to him.

He alone is the perfect King who gave himself for us. Let’s bow our hearts in allegiance and worship of him.

I don’t know that everyone who cried out hosanna also cried out crucify! More likely, most of the crowd on Palm Sunday was caught up with the momentum and excitement of the day, and then they were caught up with the momentum going against Jesus and went with it or shrank back into the crowd and acted like they never praised him. They became like Peter: “I don’t know the man!” The gospel of John in particular records that a lot of fair weather disciples left Jesus when the weather got rough.

Let’s not be people who follow Jesus when the weather is fair but abandon him when storms come. Let’s not be the people who are quick to let the momentum carry us towards Jesus when everyone else is singing his praise but just as quick to let the momentum carry us away from Jesus when he’s not popular with the crowd.

Let’s praise Jesus in good times and bad. When there’s pressure to keep our faith quiet, not tell anyone about Jesus, not thank God out loud for His goodness to us, let’s refuse to bow to that pressure. We shouldn’t be obnoxious about following Jesus, but we shouldn’t be ashamed about following him either. Without shame let’s let the world know that Jesus is our King, our Savior, and our Peace and we owe everything to him.

He alone is the King who can put back together this broken world and give it peace.

Let’s pray.