Sixth Stop: Going in Reverse to Palm Sunday?
Did you have a good week? Did you like the snow flurries that we got? Today, we have a lot to cover; so start your engines and buckle-up! We are heading to a parade!! But before we get there, we have to make a few pit-stops.
First, we stopped at the Upper Room. In the Upper Room, Jesus gathered with his disciples around a table and had a meal. At the end of the meal Jesus offered his disciples what we call Holy Communion. Jesus gave his disciples bread and juice to tell his disciples that he loves them. Holy Communion is our reminder that Jesus loves us and that we are to love our parents, our siblings, our grandparents, and our friends like Jesus loves us.
Second, we stopped at the Garden of Gethsemane. In the Garden, Jesus prayed while his disciples fell asleep, not once, not twice, but three times. And because some of the disciples kept falling asleep, Jesus felt alone. He prayed that God would remove this task from his life; but in the end Jesus said “this is not my will but your will be done.” Jesus praying in the Garden reminds us that with God in our life, we are never alone.
Third, we stopped to see a rooster. The rooster reminds us that Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples and friends, denied him. Peter said three times that he didn’t know Jesus. Peter in the courtyard reminds us that Jesus has a plan for us and that Jesus will do whatever he can to make sure that we follow that plan. This stop also reminds us that Jesus is always waiting to forgive our sins! Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we can say sorry to Jesus and ask to be forgiven.
Fourth, we stopped at the Palace of Pilate! Pilate saw Jesus as doing nothing wrong, but to the people Jesus was still seen as a bad person. Pilate, under pressure by the people, sentenced Jesus to die on the cross. Jesus didn’t do anything wrong, but the people were blaming him for everything. Jesus, while standing before Pilate, decided to take the punishment and didn’t say anything. Jesus reminds us that sometimes in life we will get in trouble for something we didn’t do; and when that happens we shouldn’t fight back but know that we are protecting someone else in our life and that Jesus needs us to stand up for that person.
Fifth, we stopped at the cross. On the way to the cross Jesus got hurt and the Roman Soldiers beat him up. Jesus got hurt and he didn’t even ask for a Band-Aid. Jesus got hurt because he loves you. Jesus got hurt because he didn’t want us to hurt anymore. Then while Jesus was on the cross, his pain didn’t go away. People tried to help him, but he didn’t want any help. Jesus was strong, tough, and determined. Jesus experienced pain before and after being placed on the cross. Because of his pain we are loved and saved for eternity.
Finally, we celebrate Palm Sunday. Before Jesus went to the Upper Room or prayed in the Garden or stood before Pilate, Jesus entered Jerusalem. He rode on a donkey while people waved Palm Branches and shouted “Hosanna.” The people were shouting, “Hurray! Jesus has come to save us! Hurray!” Palm Sunday was a glorious and triumphal day! It was kind of like when you do something good and your parents take you to get ice cream or they get you a special toy! Palm Sunday marked the beginning of our turn to say hurray. People were happy! But but by the end of the week, people weren’t very happy with Jesus. They decided to crucify him. On Good Friday, Jesus said, “It is finished,” and breathed his last. Although Jesus’ work was finished, our work of loving our friends, brothers, sisters, parents, and grandparents was just beginning. Jesus breathed his last so that you would be loved and saved for forever. Now that is something to shout “Hurry” for and wave your Palm Branch.
I hope you are able to join us next week as we find our way to the empty tomb! So, hop back in your car: our next stop is Easter Sunday!
Your Friend, Holy Spirit!
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