WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
April 02, 2023
TOPIC: THE ENEMIES OF PALM SUNDAY!
BY T. O. BANSO
“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out’” (Luke 19:39-40 New International Version).
Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. The four canonical Gospels record this event with varying details. On that day, Jesus rode on a colt as prophesied by Zechariah saying, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9 New International Version).
When Jesus rode on the colt with the cloaks of the disciples thrown on the colt, people spread their cloaks on the road. Luke 19:37-38 says, “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (New International Version).
However, amid this joyous celebration, there was a group of people who were not happy about what was going on. I call them the enemies of Palm Sunday! Of course, the phrase “Palm Sunday” was not used at that time. These people were the opponents of the triumphal entry. It is not surprising that they were because they had always been against the ministry of Jesus and always looking for something to use against Him. Luke 19:39-40 says, “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out’” (New International Version).
Did you see their attitude to the joyous mood? Did you see their complaint? The New Living Translation says, “But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, ‘Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!’” (Luke 19:39). They didn’t like what the people were saying about Jesus: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Instead of joining the people to celebrate Jesus, they were against Him.
In the past, Jesus wouldn’t have allowed this kind of public praise from the crowd because He didn’t want everyone to know yet that He was the Messiah (Matthew 16:20; Mark 8:30; Luke 9:21). But on this occasion, He purposely rode on a colt to fulfil Zechariah’s prophecy and confirm that He was the promised Messiah. As Zechariah said, He came gentle and riding on a colt, not on a horse as a king who had conquered would. He was not accompanied by an army because He had none. Yet the Pharisees were angry. They wanted Him to silence the people who were praising Him.
But Jesus knew that He had only a few days more to finish His earthly ministry. He told them point blank that if those shouting and praising Him kept quiet, the stones would cry out. Jesus didn’t mean that the stones would cry out literally. He spoke figuratively. He meant that nothing could stop the praises for the Messiah at that time.
The Gospel of Matthew records a similar opposition by the chief priests and scribes when they saw the wonderful things that Jesus did and the children crying out in the Temple after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:15). They were angry and asked Jesus if He heard what the children were saying. But Jesus answered, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?” (Verse 16b New King James Version). Jesus was referring to Psalm 8:2.
Instead of rejoicing that the Messiah had come, the Pharisees and the chief priests and scribes opposed the celebration. It was the same attitude that made the scribes and the Pharisees to be asking Jesus if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. Matthew 12:10 said, “And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’ — that they might accuse Him” (New King James Version). These were enemies of healing!
But Jesus wouldn’t allow their ridiculous question to stop Him from healing the sick. Matthew 12:11-14 says, “Then He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him” (New King James Version). Instead of being happy that someone had been healed, these Pharisees were plotting how to destroy Jesus. They didn’t like that He healed on the Sabbath but on what better day should someone be healed? Hypocrites!
Also in Luke 13, after Jesus had healed on the Sabbath a woman with infirmity for eighteen years, instead of the religious leaders to be rejoicing with the woman, all that the ruler of the synagogue could say with indignation to the crowd was, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day” (verse 14 New King James Version). He was an enemy of Healing!
But Jesus gave him the right answer. “The Lord then answered him and said, ‘Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound — think of it — for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath? And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him” (Luke 13:15-17 New King James Version).
The attitude of the Pharisees on that Palm Sunday – the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem – was the same. They had always been like that in their relationship with Jesus. They didn’t like that the people celebrated Him as king, even though Jesus was not the kind of king they thought He was. He wasn’t a political king who would deliver them from Roman domination.
Part of the accusations against Jesus during His trial was that He called Himself the king of the Jews. In Mark 15:2, Pilate asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews and He answered, “It is as you say.” When He asked the crowd if they wanted Him to release to them the King of the Jews, the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask that Pilate release Barabbas, a notorious robber, instead. And when Pilate further asked what he should do to the one they called the King of the Jews, they shouted that he should crucify Him (Mark 15:9, 11-13).
While Jesus was on the cross with a twisted crown of thorns on His head, the soldiers bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:29). Placed over His head was the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS (verse 37).
Despite the opposition of the enemies of Palm Sunday, the commemoration of Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem has continued for many years. The enemies have been put to shame as people all over the world worship the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Don’t keep quiet. Keep praising Him. The stones will not replace you.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall continue to praise and worship Jesus. The stones shall not replace me. Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! I pray that those who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour will do so today. They will not continue to be the enemies of Christ.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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