Tag: palm sunday

The Politics of Rome

The Jews of Jesus day were not an easy people to rule. They had been conquered and dominated for centuries and now they were under Rome’s power. “Pax Romana” as it was known, wasn’t really peace, it was peace through coercion and violence. That was the politics of Rome.

Each year for Passover, 200,000 pilgrims would travel to Jerusalem from all over the region for their celebration. This made for a tense time in the city as the officials feared riots and the Jews feeling empowered by their celebrations, thereby risking a revolt. So, Pontus Pilate was sent to the city at that time to keep it peaceful and maintain control. The Jews could hold their festival but military force would assure there would be no insurrection. The politics of Rome would reign supreme.

It was into this political climate that Jesus of Nazareth chose to go public.

Although he had traveled all over the region healing, performing miracles, and deeply affecting lives; and although his fame had spread oft-times ahead of him, he insisted on slipping away from crowds and warning many healed to go and tell no one. He refused the accolades, and attempts to promote him.

Palm Sunday, AD 29 was different.

On this day, Jesus chose to unravel the politics of Rome by going public with His right to claims as the Messiah. On this day, he made his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, as King of the Jews. On this day, he once again displayed cornerstones of His Kingdom, The Kingdom of Heaven.

He entered the city: (Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19; John 12)

  • riding a donkey and it’s colt
  • people put their coats on the animal and the ground ahead of him
  • people cut tree branches and spread them on the road
  • crowds shouted in front of and behind him
  • they shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David”
  • they shouted “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”
  • the whole city was stirred
  • the crowds praised Him for all of His mighty works
  • religious leaders told them to be quiet
  • Jesus told them if they kept quiet, the stones would cry out
  • He wept over the city
  • saying, “I wish that you had known today the things that make for peace”
  • but you do not know the time of your visitation
  • He entered the Temple and drove out the moneychangers
  • He reinstituted His House as a house of prayer
  • crowds followed Him because they heard of Lazarus being raised from the dead

When Jesus entered the city that day, He was publically displaying the Kingdom of Heaven in its peace, humility, and victory. He was publically receiving and encouraging praise. He was publically allowing a parade of praise, peace and His power to be linked with Him and His Kingdom. He was publically contrasting the politics of Rome with the Kingdom of Heaven.

And the city “was stirred”. The residents took notice that something different was happening. The pilgrims took notice. Pilate the governor took notice. Herod the King too, they all took notice of Jesus’ parade through the streets and His influence over the people.

Jesus was political that day. He was political because He was influencing people on a civic and individual level. He was influencing people with The Kingdom of Heaven. He was showing all of them that heaven is a way of life, it is here and now. Not just a place we go to when we die. He was going public with the Kingdom of Heaven.

With everything in me I can tell you that this is an urgent season, this is a Palm Sunday Season, and it is time for God’s people to go public with the Kingdom of Heaven. Not just for a day or a week either.

These are the days for Christians to go public, when the Kingdom of God is put on display. When Jesus’ miracles and fame fills our cities and neighborhoods. In the face of coercion and violence, of cancel culture and persecution, and in the throws of the politics of our own Rome, we declare HOSANNA – save us! Blessed is the King who is coming.

In our own hostile politics, we can no longer shrink back in fear and allow the Pilate’s and Herod’s to rule over and intimidate us. We cannot allow government to coerce us with peace that comes by violence, for that is the politics of Rome.

We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven!

In humility, true peace and total victory (by the Blood of the Lamb), we will demonstrate heaven on earth by living in alignment with The Word, and setting it as our standard in all things. We will speak up, show up, and stand up. We will declare the Truth of The Word in the hearing of those that spout lies. We will parade His greatness, show off His power, and not be silenced. (Although, I’d love to see and hear rocks cry out.)

We will pray, sing, have faith, see healings, miracles and the Kingdom of Heaven advance. We will be the passionate who advance His Kingdom passionately.

It is time to go public, my friend! The stakes are high and rising. The religious and the real are being sifted. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

You must choose with which kingdom you will identify – the Kingdom of Heaven or the Politics of Rome.

Happy Palm Sunday,


Palms, Cloaks and Artichokes

Sunday Sermon, Palm Sunday, 3.27.21

Nearly 2,000 years ago, as hundreds of thousands of travelers gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, Jesus Christ entered the city, riding on a donkey, as the victorious King of the Jews. The crowds shouted, “Hail to the King”, “Hosanna”, and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” as they waved palm branches they had cut down and carpeted the road with their cloaks.

This is recorded in all four of the Gospels in the New Testament. Without exception the crowds are characterized by waving palm branches and spreading their garments on the donkey and on the road along the procession. With passionate shouts they hailed Jesus the victorious one who they hoped would save them from Roman oppression.

In their celebration some preceded the Christ with palms and cloaks and shouts of praise while others followed in the same manner, with palms and cloaks and shouts of praise.

Here were men and women, removing not only branches from the palm trees but also their garments. Yes, their outer garments, but they willingly removed their cloak, or robe – perhaps the only clothing they owned, to pay honor and respect to Jesus Christ.

These crowds as participants in the processional, recognized who Jesus was. They acknowledged who he was with their ruckus praise and extravagant expressions. They realized this coming king was coming to bring God’s kingdom influence. They waved their palm branches in approval symbolizing His goodness, victory, joy and triumph.

The removal of their cloak too, was an expression of highest regard for Jesus Christ. This left them exposed and uncovered their lowly state. This removed their layered defenses and protections and left them with little to hide behind.

They had shed what people see in order to honor Jesus Christ and they chose to wave a palm branch as a sign of surrender to the victorious One.

This Holy Week, as we again reflect on Palm Sunday, (Good Friday and Easter,) what can be gleaned from it? We should ask ourselves these things, we should recount the events, and reconsider the fresh impact on our life. These stories are for us, for today. They have value for our everyday living, and are not just ancient history and outdated, irrelevant events.

So I offer you this, an artichoke.

Consider this thistle that we cultivate for a yummy food; it’s edible portion is the fleshy section at the base of the leaves and heart or choke at the center. Dip the leaves in butter, place in your mouth, scrape down with your teeth to remove the flesh, discard the empty leaf and start again.

Over and over and over again leaves are removed, layers peeled away, flesh is torn, and sustenance gained until the heart is revealed.

That artichoke is like those people on Palm Sunday. Like us today.

By removing their cloaks, they were peeling away at those layers that people see, their outer leaves if you will, and revealing their heart. What covers us, our cloaks must be removed, our fleshly ways must be shed to expose our heart.

Those things that we cover ourselves with and hide behind must be shed before we can join Jesus’ victorious parade. As we shed those “leaves”, a layer at a time, our heart too is laid bare and exposed, and there He finds joy in the true expressions of our heart and brings victory, joy, goodness and triumph to us.

We are living in a season of exposing the heart. He is wanting to reveal the heart of the issue, the heart of the problem, the heart of man. He is peeling away layer after layer, leaf after leaf, removing flesh and exposing the heart. Revealing what is hidden behind layers of defenses, cover ups and artificial protections.

He is revealing the heart of praise, the heart of abandon to Him, the heart of devoted passion and extravagant worship. The heart that doesn’t care what man sees, because that heart is all about reverence to the victorious king.

The heart that openly and publicly honors Him above all, lavishing praise, glory and respect to the King.

So you see, that first Palm Sunday crowd, you and artichokes share a thing or two.

I’ve heard said that God peels away at us a layer at a time, like an onion.

I submit a better analogy may be He peels away a layer at a time like an artichoke, because He wants to reveal our heart.

So, Happy Palm Sunday, and don’t forget the palms, cloaks and artichokes…

Go with God.