Exeter Temple Message notes – Palm Sunday 20th March 2016
Bible Reading: Matthew 20:29-21:1
Theme: A cry for hope
Examples of loud cries to God.
- Jacob. (Genesis 32:22-32)
- Jesus and Lazarus. (John 11:38-44)
What kind of things do people cry out to God about?
1. Personal help for their need
“Evening and morning and noon I cry out in distress and he hears my voice.” Psalm 55:17
- Hannah (1 Samuel 1-20)
“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.”
(1 Samuel 1:10)
- Two blind men (Matthew 20:29-34)
“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (v 30)
The key to the lifting of despair and the beginning of hope is direction. Hannah pointed her bitterness of soul towards the Lord.
God heard her cry and granted her what she asked of Him. Jesus was not just moved by the depression or self-pity of the two blind men. He moved because of their willingness to come to Him.
Both Hannah and the blind men cried out persistently. It isn’t that we need to badger God into helping us but that our persistence reveals commitment and faith in God’s ability to meet our need or we would go somewhere else for an answer!
What have you prayed about persistently?
What is your one prayer?
What is the one thing that you go back to time and time again?
2. A cry for salvation
A people in slavery longed for freedom and looked to God to send a Saviour.
“The Egyptians mistreated us and our fathers but when we cried out to the Lord he heard our cry and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt.” (Numbers 20:16)
Moses was told that God is acting because He has heard the cry of Israel. The simple act of their crying out to God provoked the Lord to action.
“I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel, whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.” (Exodus 6:5)
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the crowds shouted Hosanna, like their ancestors in Egypt they were crying for salvation.
Hosanna means save now! In the Hebrew "Hosanna" always comes from one who is desperate, about a problem which can only be resolved by the intervention of the King. The crying out of Hosanna was a cry to God not only to save but to send them the Saviour promised by the prophets. The people didn’t fully understand how Jesus would fulfil His role as Saviour, but they were incredibly aware of their need to be saved.
While many on Palm Sunday probably cried out for political salvation we now can make an even more accurate application, and cry out for deliverance from oppressive regime of the evil one, Satan.
Is this not a time when it is right for us to shout Hosanna? Save our marriages, save our families, save our children, save our communities! In the midst of the biggest migration of people in Europe because of war and persecution, since the second world war, is it not time to cry Hosanna? But rather than articulate the cry Hosanna, we often stay silent.
"In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering." Howard Hendricks
We might not have all the answers about the many problems in our world but we can cry out to God.
3. A cry for revival
There is a cry that comes because we see ourselves and we know that it is us that needs to be changed, to be free. The cry is for our own revival as the people of God.
In the face of the pilgrims of Jerusalem, shouting and crying out for salvation, Jesus went to the Temple, the centre of Israel’s identity, faith and worship and turned it upside down.
When we cry out to God, we must never be surprised if the first thing he does to bring change to our circumstance or to our world is to challenge us to change.
Jim Parisi states that we need revival when any or all of the following things are true.
- When there is complacency, self-satisfaction or satisfaction with the status quo.
- When we become a self-serving and not a God serving people.
When there is a lack of concern for the lost.- When we are hiding or covering secret sins, doing things that we think no one else sees.
- When we have an unforgiving spirit.
- When we are fill of pride.
- If in any way were are spiritually less that we were.
“It doesn’t require us to be courageous or wise, pure or particularly holy. We don’t have to be smart, or eloquent. Crying out only requires one thing of us, honesty. Our cry to God, just like Israel’s, flows from an honest assessment of who we are before God. It requires us to be honest about our flaws and weaknesses, about our limits and sins. When we cry out we confess ourselves, we confess who we are and what we cannot do on our own. And so, it requires us to be honest with ourselves as we speak to the one who already knows the truth about us anyway.”
“Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love O Lord and grant us your salvation.” Psalm 85:6
Alan and Carol