March 28, 2021 – “It’s Sunday…But Friday’s Coming!”
Grace and peace to you!
We welcome our online worshippers, as well as those here in the sanctuary.
It’s a beautiful Palm Sunday here at West Tulsa UMC!
Today we’re going to experience a wonderful service of music, prayer, and God’s Word, so we’re very happy that you are here to to worship the Lord with us!
Did Jesus just randomly decide to make a trip into Jerusalem one day, and a parade broke out?
Or did He deliberately chose and plan to make a statement at this specific time?
To be honest with you, we won’t know the answer to that until we sit at His feet in heaven and learn answers to many of life’s questions.
But we do know that the Jesus who spent the first part of the Gospel of Mark telling people not to tell who he was…to keep it all a secret…all of a sudden makes a big announcement.
He rides this colt into the city of Jerusalem, and his followers walk with him and shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Neither of those were random acts. When a king is going to war, he rides a horse.
When he is proclaiming himself a king of peace, he rides a donkey and only enhances that statement of peace by choosing an unridden colt.
That is hard to miss, really. It was a slap in the face to all those who thought they were in charge. It was an in the face declaration of authority and power to those who saw Jesus as an outsider…and felt that they held all the power and authority.
That led to the most important event of human history…We call it Good Friday.
It’s Sunday…But Friday’s coming!
As we gather to worship the One who is highly exalted and whose name is above every name, Jesus the Christ.
Let us worship the Lord—not just with our voices, but also with our entire being.
Let’s dedicate minds and hearts, and our worship to God through prayer before we sing our first hymn, “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates.”
“It’s Sunday…But Friday’s Coming!”
Psalm 118:19-29, Mark 11:1-11
March 28, 2021
One of my favorite story tellers is Dr. Tony Campolo from Philadelphia. One of his stories revolves around a Good Friday service in which he and 6 other pastors preached back-to-back sermons at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.
Mt. Carmel has been Dr. Campolo’s home church since he was young, and he kept attending there through the years as the neighborhood and church transitioned from white to black.
He writes that he was really rolling in high gear during his turn in the pulpit, and the congregation was responding, which made him preach even more passionately.
The women were saying, “Well, well,” as they waved a hand in the air. And the men shouted encouragement, saying: “Keep going, brother! Keep going!”
Tony was thrilled to hear the hallelujahs and cries of joy at the end of his message.
He was pretty impressed with himself as he sat down next to his pastor. So he asked, “Pastor, are you going to be able to top that?”
His pastor smiled at Tony and said, “Son, you just sit back, ‘cause this old man is going to do you in!”
Tony says that he didn’t figure anyone could do him in that day, but his pastor did.
With one line. For an hour and a half Tony’s pastor stood that crowd on it’s ear with the line: “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’!”
He started his sermon real softly, by saying, “It was Friday; it was Friday, and my Jesus was dead on the tree… “But that was Friday, and Sunday’s comin’!”
One of the deacons shouted, “Preach brother! Preach!” and it was all the encouragement he needed. He spoke louder as he said:
“It was Friday and Mary was cryin’ her eyes out. The disciples were runnin’ in every direction, like sheep without a shepherd…They were hidin’ and Peter was denying…
“But that was Friday, and Sunday’s comin’!”
People were starting to pick up the message. Women were waving their hands and saying, “Well, well.” Men were yelling, “Keep going! Keep going!”
The preacher kept going. He picked the volume more and said, “It was Friday. And on Friday, those forces that oppress the poor and make the poor to suffer were in control. But that was Friday, and Sunday’s comin’!”
It was Friday and Jesus was beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s comin’!”
It was Friday, and on Friday Pilate thought he had washed his hands of a lot of trouble. The Pharisees were strutting around, laughing and poking each other in the ribs. They thought they were back in charge of things, but they didn’t know that it was only Friday! Sunday’s comin’!”
It was Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the Cross crushing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load…
“But that was Friday, and Sunday’s comin’!”
Tony Campolo’s pastor worked that phrase for a half-hour, then an hour, then an hour and a half.
It was Friday, and Jesus is hanging on the Cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming!”
It was Friday, and Jesus is hanging on the Cross…Heaven is weeping and hell is partying.
At the end of his message, the old preacher yelled at the top of his lungs, “IT’S FRIDAY!”
And everyone in the church yelled back with one accord, “BUT SUNDAY’S COMING!”
That’s the Good News…But…Need I remind you that we have to make it through the coming week to get there?
This is Palm Sunday, and you’ve heard the story before.
And maybe you thought like I did that the Palm Sunday story is the exact opposite of the story of Good Friday…Because, this is Sunday, Palm Sunday…and Good Friday’s coming.
It was a parade, and everyone loves a parade! The crowd cut palm tree branches.
They were waving the palms, and laying them on the cobblestones in front of Jesus as He approached on the foal of a donkey.
People had thrown so many cloaks on the road in front of Jesus that it looked a lot like a department store changing room the day after Christmas.
People were cheering, “Hosanna! Hosanna!…Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hooray for Jesus! You’re the messiah. Yay Jesus! We saw you raise Lazarus from the dead! Now you’ve come to save us! Hosanna! Hosanna!”
But that was Sunday…and Friday’s coming.
On Friday many people in the same city would stand and scream, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” The loud “Hosannas!” would would turn into “Hang Him!”
“Nail Him to a cross!” they screamed.
Does that shock you? If you were a disciple like Peter, James, or John…or any of the others…wouldn’t you be possibly surprised…certainly dismayed…and definitely discouraged?
They shouldn’t have been…and neither should we.
Jesus gave us all plenty of warnings. Many came in word pictures like Mark 4:3-9.
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus warned His followers on how it was going to go down. He told them who He was. He revealed that He was the Messiah, the Christ. He sowed seed to show that the Messiah had come.
He performed miracles to prove it…But, some people were like the hard ground of a garden pathway…These people were so hardened, so calloused to the truth that it bounced off of them.
The seed just laid there along the path, prime for the Great Deceiver to sweep in and do everything he could to steal it away before it germinated, took root, and grew.
A handful of Jewish religious leaders were standing in the crowd that formed along Jesus’ triumphant entry route. They were Pharisees, and they were not happy that popular opinion was swinging Jesus’ way among the general public.
This man was dangerous to their way of life! The whole city was in turmoil!
They knew they had to do something!
Why, if this rabbi didn’t get His disciples under control…it could be disastrous!
Who knew what the Romans might do if this disruption weren’t stopped by the ruling elite? The world’s superpower could bring all their might down on their heads and with it the comfortable lifestyle, power, and prestige presently enjoyed by an elite few!
You can almost hear Author of Lies whispering in their ears with his venomous voice: “It’s Sunday…But Friday’s coming.”
There was another group along the Palm Sunday parade route who yelled, “Hosanna, Hosanna!” These were the ones that had watched and listened to Jesus.
Some had witnessed Jesus call Lazarus from grave. They watched as the stone was rolled away and the dead man came forth from his grave clothes.
Some of these people might have been eye-witnesses when Jesus made dinner out of five loaves and three fish for a crowd.
A few may have seen Him bring sight to the blind and heal a leper. At the parade they were shouting with great fervency, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Unfortunately, these people though were like the seeds that fell among the rocks. They sprouted quickly. They saw a miracle here and miracle there and believed this was what the ministry of Jesus was all about.
They jumped on the bandwagon quickly but once the heat of the hot sun, the pressure of the Pharisees, came down on them then they withered. The religious leaders pressed hard upon their congregations. They lobbied, coaxed, and threatened those they pastored.
Yes, on Sunday these folks screamed for Jesus the King and then on Friday they screamed for him to be crucified.
You can almost hear the community leaders spreading the word among the common people: “It’s Sunday…But Friday’s coming.”
They’re saying: “On Friday you won’t be hollering ‘Hallelujah!’”
“On Friday you won’t be throwing your coats at His feet. On Friday you’ll scream bloody murder, and the soldiers will toss dice to see who gets His clothes.”
“It’s Sunday now, and you’re on the Jesus team…But Friday’s coming and you’ll switch sides!”
There was a third group mixed in along the parade route. They ran into the street stripping off their cloaks, grabbing palms, and throwing them at Jesus’ feet…
But they were like the seeds that feel among the thorns. The thorns, or pressures of life grew up and choked them out. On Sunday they joined the party, yelling: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
But that was Sunday. On Monday reality would set in. There were bills to pay.
There was the Passover lamb to buy, the mortgage to pay, and the kids needed new clothes.
Then on Tuesday, the priest stopped by the house to say that if they continued to follow this Jesus they would be excommunicated and shunned by their beloved fellowship. They would have no friends. They would have no center to their spiritual and social lives. They would become outcasts.
On Wednesday, as the family walked through the marketplace to get the supplies they needed for the Passover meal, they were ridiculed and mocked. They were called Jesus Freaks and people wouldn’t wait on them.
Finally, by Thursday when the man of the house came home early from work and said he had lost his job because his wife was at the Palm Sunday rally yelling out “Hosanna, Hosanna!” she lost her cool. She couldn’t take the pressure anymore. She was distraught.
When Friday came, she was part of the crowd’s chorus shouting at the top of their voices: “Crucify Him!”
Sunday’s parade transformed the lives of all the people who sincerely cheered, “Hosanna, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
They saw hope for a better future. They found relief and salvation in this man who claimed to be the Messiah. These were the seeds that fell on good soil.
Then on Friday they saw Him be judged and tried like a common criminal in front of Pontius Pilate…. On Friday they saw soldiers beat Him with a whip and press a crown of thorns into His head until blood rolled like tiny rivers down His face.
On Friday they saw Him carry His heavy cross through Jerusalem and up Skull Hill.
On Friday they watched as He was nailed to that cross. On Friday they watched Him die a cruel death.
On Friday…their lives had been ruined. On Friday their faith had been ripped right out of their hearts… On Friday their trust and belief was rocked as they watched Him placed in a tomb.
On Friday…they wept bitter tears as the stone that was rolled over the mouth of the tomb also…slammed the door shut on their hopes and dreams.
Yes…they were crushed on Friday. All hope was lost on Friday…
Everything they yelled for on Palm Sunday could have become true…But now their faith in what-could-have-been was pierced by the three nails, and dashed by the doom of the tomb.
On Palm Sunday they believed He came in the name of the Lord. On Palm Sunday they believed He was the Messiah.
On Palm Sunday they believed everything they yelled as they tossed palms at His feet.
On Palm Sunday they believed they believed it all as they stripped off their coats and threw them down for Him to cross.
But that was Sunday.
Now, Friday had come…and on Friday seemed as if the dream had become a nightmare….Hope was lost.
They huddled in dark rooms and back alleys talking in hushed voices and asking, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”
Another would ask, “Were you there when they nailed Him to the Cross?”
And through a tear-soaked voice another would ask, “Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?”
Yes…That was Friday.
On Friday…it seemed as if it was all finished.
Then…like a soft wind, or a gentle breeze…a voice, somewhere from the sky, or maybe from within…but it was a voice.
A voice as powerful and as soothing as if it came from God Himself…
It was if the voice of God whispered:
“IT’S FRIDAY…BUT SUNDAY’S COMING!”
Psalm 118:19-29 NRSV
Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord ‘s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Mark 11:1-11 NRSV
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.