Spiritual Palm Branches


The palm branches bent in worship as they were laid before Him on His way into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Today may we all offer spiritual palm branches as our hearts bend in surrender and obedience as they are laid before Him as we cry out Hosanna in worship from our hearts on our pilgrim way to the heavenly Jerusalem.

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Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you”.

Isaiah 29:13 This people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me.

A Devotion for Palm Sunday

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As we celebrate this coming Palm Sunday, as Jewish congregations prepare to celebrate Passover, may the Old Testament types add to the dimension of our faith and understanding of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Having just returned from Jerusalem I stood in awe at the Eastern Gate knowing this was the gate that Jesus entered on Palm Sunday as it was the gate closest to the Outer Court of the temple.

Consider for a moment that on that same day thousands of lambs were being ushered into Jerusalem through the same Eastern gate, also known as the Golden Gate, as Our Passover Lamb. But I wonder how many who were enthusiastically waving palms, saw with spiritual eyes the Lamb of God among all the other lambs, the sacrifical Lamb who would take away the sin of the world, 

The lambs were being brought into Jerusalem five days prior to Passover, to be examined by the priests. They were to be examined for blemishes or disfigurement, as only perfect lambs were found worthy to be sacrificed for the sins of the people. It is interesting to note that the priest did not examine the sinner who brought the sacrifice, rather the priest looked to see if the sacrificial substitute was worthy.

Likewise Our Lamb was brought into the city five days prior to Passover, to also be examined. He was brought before Pontius Pilate, Herod, Annas and Ciaphas, the high priests, and the ultimate judgement was made by Pilate when he declared, “I find no fault in Him.” Praise God for our Lamb who was found worthy to be sacrificed for our sins.

As we worship this coming Sunday let us with a loud voice declare with the heavens

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!” Rev. 5:12

 

Why Was His Crown Made Of Thorns?

This is one of the most familiar images of the crucifixion but have we ever considered the symbolism of those thorns? Think about it, a crown  which is a symbol of royalty, power, kingship and wealth, yet not made with gold or jewels, but thorns. Why?

The first thing that probably comes to mind is that it was a way of mocking His claim as a King but when viewed through the lens of the whole of Scripture, the crown of thorns has another deeper symbolic meaning, It was a crown of curse to be worn by the One who took our curse.

This immediately takes us back to Genesis, reminding us of why Jesus went to the cross, to take the penalty for sin on our behalf. The thorns of His crown were a sign of the curse, the sign of the fallen world since the disobedience of Adam and Eve in Genesis.

He became Our King of thorns. Thorns speak of pain and tears. So this crown means He bore the pain and tears of fallen man.They speak of piercing, so He was pierced. They are linked to the curse which is linked to death. He bore the weight of that curse upon His head as He gave up His life.

This crown was not just a twisted garland of prickly barbs, like that of a blackberry bush. Rather, it was a brutal instrument that caused much anguish. The crown is said to have been made from the branches of a Jujube tree, a deciduous tree found near Jerusalem, with thorns measuring an inch long or more.

He had the burden of the sins of the whole world on His mind as they jammed that makeshift crown of one inch twisting thorns on His head, each thorn pressing into His temple as the blood flowed from His brow.

Willie Nelson has written a song “You were always on my mind” but you were always on Jesus’ mind even from the book of Genesis. A gospel song penned the same sentiment “When He was on the cross you were on His mind”

He became the King of the pierced and wounded, the King of the rejected and King of tears. But The One who bore this crown has authority over these things…. to turn sorry into joy, death into life and thorns into blossoms.

Isa 53:4-6 Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows:yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isn’t it significant that while bearing the sins of the whole world, Jesus wore on His head this crown of piercing thorns, a symbol of the curse brought about because of man’s sin in Genesis 3?

The soldiers did it to amuse themselves, but the Gospels include this as a significant part of Jesus’ trial. While intended to be a mockery, the crown of thorns was, in fact, an excellent symbol of who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish. I suspect that all the gospels include it because it has an ironic truth — Jesus is the King, and yet His rule would be preceded by rejection, ridicule and suffering. He has a crown of thorns because He is the ruler of a world filled with pain, and as the King of this corrupt world, He established His right to rule by experiencing pain himself. He was crowned with thorns that He might have authority over pain and death.

The crown of thorns has meaning for our lives, too — it is not just part of a movie scene in which we are overwhelmed with the suffering that Jesus went through to be our Savior. Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we must take up our cross each day — and He could just as easily have said that we must bear our thorns. For example look at the life of Paul’s thorn in the flesh 2 Corinthians12:7 We are joined to Jesus in the crucible of suffering. Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Those wanting to be a part of his Kingdom must be joined with the crucified Christ, even in His suffering.

We all experience our crowns of thorns. We all have our crosses to bear. We all live in this fallen world and take part in its pain and sorrow.

It is no surprise that humanity, still alienated from God, rejected Him and expressed it with thorns and death at the time of His crucification

Jesus embraced that rejection — accepted the crown of thorns — as part of His bitter cup of enduring what humans endure, so that He could open the door for us to escape with Him from this world of tears.

But the crown of thorns and the cross of death have met their match in Jesus. Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

The Roman soldiers unknowingly took an object of the curse and fashioned it into a crown for the One who would deliver us from that curse. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’”Galatians 3:13. Christ, in His perfect atoning sacrifice, has delivered us from the curse of sin, of which a thorn is a symbol.

And yet, though Jesus suffered for a time beneath that curse, His death and resurrection paved the way for those that believe on Him to be set free from the power of sin. At His ascension, Jesus took His rightful place, seated at the right hand of God. The Roman soldiers may have inaugurated him in mockery, but Jesus truly is the King of Kings.

He will one day return as King of Kings and Lord of lords. But he will not be wearing a crown of thorns. Rather, Jesus will be crowned with glory and honor, gathering to Himself those who suffered with Him, and offering each a crown of life.

CHALLENGE: So did you ever wonder why Jesus wore a crown made of thorns?

See also “The Beauty of the thorns”http://margaretmearnsbass.com/2013/04/23/beauty-of-the-thorns/

Reflect This Holy Week

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This coming week between Palm Sunday and Easter morning is known as Holy Week.

The most somber and reflective week on the church calendar. Perhaps the only time, during the year, that as believers we actually reflect on the awesome cost of our redemption.

1 Peter 1: 18-19 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Surely we should all ask God, especially during this holy week, to take us back to the place where we first believed, to the foot of the cross. To the place where we can identify with his sufferings that we might be partakers of His resurrection. 1Peter 4:13

He was betrayed, humiliated, spat upon, mocked, abandoned, not believed, wept in the Garden in prayer until he sweat blood, denied, lashed until He was almost dead, nailed to a cross He had to carry, forsaken by His Father because He became sin for us, yet while hanging in excruciating pain between heaven and earth, He could cry out “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!”

Isa.53: 2 -10 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.

The level of our meditative reflection during this holy week, will determine and intensify the fullness of our joy come Sunday morning when the stone was rolled away to reveal an empty tomb. Joy unspeakable and full of glory!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Meditation for Your Lenten Season

There are over 300 prophecies concerning Jesus in the Old Testament. The chances of just one man fulfilling all these prophecies is 1 in hundred quadrillion! that is one in one 1,000,000,000,000,000. (1015).

Could it be that Jesus is just one of many throughout history who have coincidentally fit the prophetic fingerprint?

Not a Chance in this World (But then, Jesus is not of This World…)

For further study watch my video teaching “Our Passover Lamb”  http://margaretmearnsbass.com/2015/03/30/our-passover-lamb-2/

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John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.