And So We Shout...

Text: Zechariah 9:9-12

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

It is tough to shout for joy when we have not had much to rejoice over lately.  As you already know, we have come through several very difficult sermons in the Season of Lent.  Furthermore, since Ash Wednesday, we have had Lent with its theme of sorrow, repentance, and somberness hovering over top of us.  Besides this, as you know, mankind is at war with God.  God is our natural enemy.  Our sin and guilt make us hate Him, and He is utterly offended by us and by our sin.  He is HOLY, and we are not.  That is why we look over our shoulder when we are engaged in activities of which we are clear that we ought not to be involved, and we silently blame God when things seem to go wrong one after the other.  When trouble comes, we often feel that we have done a particular sin for which God is now dealing harshly with us. 

Indeed, our sins are an awful offense to the righteousness which is the very nature of God.  We deserve anything and everything that God can throw at us!  We deserve pain and misfortune in this life and eternal condemnation in the next.  Our guilty consciences know that!  So much for joy; so much for shouting for joy!   

And yet, Zechariah calls for us to shout aloud in joy in our Old Testament reading.  And in our Gospel reading, we hear the people going out to meet Jesus and shouting! 

Now, all of this shouting may catch you and me a bit off guard today since we have seemed to be in the quietness of Lent for the last six weeks.  Indeed, since Ash Wednesday we have been in the spirit of Lent with its theme of sorrow, repentance, and somberness.  But today, it is as if we have switched the light on and we have gone from sorrow, repentance, and somberness to shouting and joy! 

To make sense of all of this, we need to understand why our Old Testament reading calls for great rejoicing and shouting!  And that reason is that the King comes with salvation.  Indeed, the calling is to shout and to rejoice for the King comes with peace and freedom and double restoration.  In other words, this Old Testament prophet spoke some 500 years before Jesus about the Messiah that would come upon a donkey.  And that King is none other than Jesus Christ entering into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday where people went out to meet Him and shouted out,
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”   

What all of this means is that because of King Jesus riding into Jerusalem, we can know that all the sin that was uncovered, all the guilt that we confessed, all the tough sermons that exposed our sin during the Season of Lent – all of this – is what Jesus came to deal with upon the cross of Calvary.

Dear friends, Jesus did not leave humanity in the pit of sin and the prison of death – He did not leave you.  Indeed, like Jeremiah, Daniel, and Joseph of the Old Testament, we need to be rescued out of pits of our choosing.  We have dug our pits and from these pits, there is no escaping.  We hear that the Messiah comes to us.  He comes to set us free.  He comes to grant us peace.  He comes to release us from these hopeless pits of sin, death, and the devil.  He comes to give us everything we have lost twice over. . . . And so we rejoice this day, and we cheer, we may even shout because the King comes to us. 

We are not left to fend for ourselves!

We are not alone!

He comes for those of us who have tilted halos; He comes for sin-sick people such as ourselves.  He comes to sinners – to die for sinners – so that we might be forgiven.  And this is why we shout and rejoice this day! 

Please keep in mind, though, that this Palm Sunday is not just some emotional exercise where we are to get worked up into an emotional frenzy.  No, that is not the point.  I am not interested in trying to manipulate your emotions or in trying to go the way of theatrics. I also do not mean to create the impression that today we must rejoice and shout because somehow this Palm Sunday makes our Christian lives become blissful walks on the beach.  I am not calling you to rejoice and shout aloud because somehow marriages are going to blossom or health is going to flourish, or careers are suddenly going to soar.  This shift from sorrow, repentance, and somberness, to shouting and rejoicing, is not because miracles and conversions and victory are about to happen in your lives.  But rather, the point is that when Jesus rode into Jerusalem that Palm Sunday long ago, the church would forever remember Jesus’ faithfulness and Jesus’ triumph.  The church would forever remember and recall like we are doing right now, that the great King Jesus rode into Jerusalem bringing not temporary victory, but eternal victory of salvation, peace, freedom, and double restoration. 

And so, today we rejoice, and we shout aloud!  We rejoice and shout aloud because the King of the Palm Sunday coronation ride endured the fear, the sorrow, the pain, and that horrid death in our place.  He took our sin so that we might share in His righteousness.  Indeed, Jesus ended the war – He silenced the sounds of battle and laid the apparatuses of war to rest. 

Dear Blessed Saints, God is no longer angry with us, and we are to be terrified of Him no longer!  God has reconciled us to Himself by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ - shed for us on the cross.  Therefore, this day rejoice with me and shout aloud,

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the Lord Jesus Christ who comes to redeem and forgive a poor miserable sinner like me!” 

There is more too this as well.  There is another aspect.  As we heard from Zechariah about the King coming and as we heard from the Gospel of Matthew about the King coming into Jerusalem, we also think about the great truth that this Jesus Christ has promised to come again.   

Christ Jesus went to the cross to conquer sin, death, and the devil – to bring down the forces of evil to unconditional surrender.  He rose again from the tomb – which we will hear about next Sunday – and He promises to come again for you and for me.  But when He comes again in His second coming He will not come quietly on a donkey.  He will not come in meekness!  Oh, no, He will come upon the clouds of heaven to claim His undisputed rule.  He will come again and stand upon the earth in which every knee will bow to His authority. 

And so, we will cheer on that day as well.  All Christians will rise that day when the Lord comes for His people.  We will rise and shout ourselves hoarse in exploding enthusiasm, for our Lord God – Jesus Christ – will have resurrected us from the dead and will usher us into the new heaven and the new earth.       

Indeed, we will shout until our voices become hoarse.  Just like we shout at sporting events when that last second buzzer shot is made or when that Hail Mary Pass is caught, we will shout in joy because we will be in the presence of the resurrected Jesus – freed from sin, death, and the devil.  Yes, there will be shouting and rejoicing.  It won’t be contained. 

Christ Jesus rode into Jerusalem to conquer sin, death, and the devil, so we shout aloud and rejoice this day with all the people that Palm Sunday, saying,

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”   

And we will shout with joy someday with all the saints in glory,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our
God, the Almighty, reigns.”

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

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