This Christ Is So Much More (Mark 11:1-10)

Text: Mark 11:1-10

Today is Palm Sunday. It is the day that we remember how Jesus came into Jerusalem. It is the day where Jesus steps into the ring if you well and initiates Holy Week, thus leading us to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. It was a day where the people traveling with Jesus toward Jerusalem for the annual Passover celebration, as well as those who were in Jerusalem, went out before Christ and laid down their cloaks in order to show honor and respect. We can imagine the cheering and the respect given to Jesus as he came into Jerusalem, not on a majestic horse, but rather on a donkey. They were choosing Him and exalting Him. They shouted “Hosanna” which means “save us or praise you.” They referenced Him as bringing in the kingdom of the ancient King David. There is no doubt about it that they were claiming Him. Their praise was definitely genuine. However, even though they were genuine, many celebrated His arrival at Jerusalem without a clear view of His main purpose or a complete understanding what Jesus was about.

You see, the people of the day longed for a Messiah. They wanted a Messiah to come into Jerusalem and throw out the earthly Roman Empire and usher in the glory days of King David where Israel was independent, glorious and self-sustaining. In other words, they certainly welcomed Christ as a Messiah, as one who would save, but the question remains, “Saved from what?”

Unfortunately, I am not able to read the minds of the people who welcomed Jesus. Though it is intriguing to see how the masses welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday only to see the masses of people yelling, “Crucify him” only days later on Good Friday. Whether or not the people who welcomed Jesus were the same people who yelled “Crucify Him” only days later, I do not know. However, there certainly is reason to believe that the people who welcomed Jesus understood Jesus as a potential political and earthly savior, but failed to see that He was so much more. He was so much more than a Messiah who would rescue them from earthly oppressions.

In our day in age, it has been my observation that many people are generally open to the person of Jesus. Sure there are those atheists and agnostics that despise the name of Jesus. But generally speaking, it has been my experience that people welcome Jesus. Who wouldn’t want a savior to be on their side in this life? In the words of a gentleman, that I visited with the other day, “I will take anything and everything to help me out in this life, and I certainly need all the help that I can get.” Unfortunately, even though there can be general reception of Jesus, that reception of Christ in our American Spirituality is often a reception of an unclear or misconstrued Jesus. For example, many will welcome and see Jesus as a good moral rabbi who taught us how to love on children, turn the other cheek in the face of opposition and pet little lambs. There are others who welcome Christ and His cross as a mere moral example of how we are to sacrificially live for others. And there are those who receive Jesus as a helper who will help them overcome their obstacles in life in order to make their wildest dreams come true. But like the people who welcomed Jesus on Palm Sunday some 2000 years ago, we can say that Jesus is so much more than the life coach, buddy, and inspirational helper that we have made Him out to be. My friends, unfortunately we tend to minimize the person of Christ to the here and now, to what we can see, feel and touch. We will welcome Jesus insofar that He will accomplish our will and accomplish our dreams for us.

The people of Palm Sunday can be commended for their genuine reception of Jesus, but it is very likely that few if any of them understood the full meaning of Christ’s coming. Although their proclamation of Jesus coming in the name of the Lord and the kingdom of David, they did not understand what they meant. They quite rightly called Jesus their Messiah, but they would not know what that meant until the coming week was over. They did not understand that Jesus was so much more than one who could deliver them from Roman Empire.

The hope was that the Messiah would come into Jerusalem and enact freedom for the Jewish people. For many the idea of a Messiah and Savior for the whole world was inconceivable. You see lines were drawn; Jews on this side and Gentles on that side. The Roman Empire was over there and Israel was over here. The idea was that the Messiah was on the side of the good guys. But little did the average person of Jerusalem know that Jesus was so much more than a mere Regional Savior.

My friends, Christ is so much more than a localized savior. He is so much more than an earthly rescuer and an earthly king. He is so much more.

What the crowds and disciples consistently failed to realize and what we continually fail to realize is that Jesus is so much more than what our own imaginations and perspectives make Him out to be. The sad reality is that you and I tend to place our understanding of who Jesus is based on our own presuppositions and our own desire. All too often we make Christ into our own puppet and a savior to our list of predicaments. Not only is this idolatry, but we inevitably minimize Christ and fail to realize that He is so much more than a savior to our projects and goals.

You see, as Christ entered Jerusalem, we know from the testimony of scripture that Jesus was entering a battle field. This battlefield was not a battle that would occur between the Roman Empire and Himself, even though from the naked eye it seemed to be this way with His crucifixion being enacted by the Roman Government. This battlefield was not a battle that occurred at a local level for localized people even though the geography of the passion narrative is restricted to the city of Jerusalem. Rather my friends, Jesus is so much more. The battlefield that He entered some 2000 years ago, as He rode on a donkey, was a battlefield of an eternal dimension.

Christ rode into Jerusalem with the intent and purpose of the cross. His crosshairs were zeroed in on Calvary. He went to the cross not only to take upon the sins of the Jewish people of the 1st Century, but to take upon Himself the sins of the whole world. In other words, Jesus’ cross was not restricted to localized sin in a certain time, but sins from the past, present and future. All of the depravity, all of the abuse, all of the animosity, all of the lust, murder, coveting, lying, injustices, idolatry; all of the evil of this world were placed upon Him. There is no sin of yours that is excluded from Christ cross. He who knew no sin was made to be sin on our behalf. On Christ, the sins of the world were judged. Your sin was judged. My sin was judged. Your sin from the past, your sins from today and your sins from tomorrow were placed on Christ and God’s righteous wrath poured out upon your sin which was upon Jesus. Then with confidence Jesus pronounced words that have echoed throughout eternity, “It is finished.” Your sins have been atoned for, it is finished for you. Thus Jesus, is not only a savior to the Jews, He is a Savior to all, a Savior for you. Jesus cannot and is not an American Savior alone. He is not a Savior to a specific time period, culture, or sex. He is your savior. He is the Savior to our Christian brothers and sisters in Africa, Russia, Australia and to the ends of the earth. The Gospel is not restricted but extends to all races, time periods and places. We are all joined together in the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus is so much more than a Regional Savior.

The Battlefield that Jesus entered some 2000 years ago was also not a fight with a mere Roman Government. Rather, Jesus went to the cross to defeat eternal death, the Devil and the world. The battlefield that Jesus came into is so much more than a fight with a mere mortal man or a governmental system made up of mankind. Rather Jesus’ battle was with the Evil Foe himself and death itself! Jesus’ mission and battle on the cross are so much more. He is so much more than a mere life coach. He is so much more than an example or buddy. Jesus is the Son of God, Lord and Savior of All and this Savior is ‘for’ you!

The Son of God took on human flesh and came to Jerusalem to experience the full guilt of your sin and take the punishment for that guilt. He came to defeat death, Satan and the world for you. Jesus came on Palm Sunday so that on Friday He could be more than a regional savior or an earthly savior but to be your Divine Savior today, tomorrow and for all eternity. Lord God grant us faith today. Amen.