Yesterday we celebrated Palm Sunday. In many ways, it just didn’t feel the same, though. (I trust you were able to get tuned into our service yesterday and that you worshiped with the worship team and found something of value in our ongoing series of “Purposes for the Cross.”)
have always liked Palm Sunday. It signifies the beginning of Holy Week. Over
the years, I have tried to look at that historic entry into Jerusalem from
every angle that I can think of. We’ve considered the people in the crowd: the
skeptics, the faithful, the antagonists. We’ve looked at the expectations of
the people who cheered. We’ve considered Jesus’ tears over Jerusalem. We’ve looked
at the irony or tragedy of the fact that less than a week following this grand
celebration, some of the same people who shouted, “Hosanna!” were
yelling, “Crucify! Crucify!” I’m sure, somewhere along the way, we’ve
even looked at the donkey. This year, God showed me something different. This
year, He showed me that this entry into Jerusalem should not only remind us of
what was but that it should also point us to what will be.
order to make this point, I was prompted to consider Revelation 7. My first
response was to run. The book of Revelation can be a very intimidating Book.
Many so-called “end-time experts” are quick to tell us what every symbol in
that Book means. I don’t think it’s that easy. All week long, I have struggled
with various interpretations until I began to feel I was simply getting more
confused. Then it seemed like the Lord whispered, “Forget the theories. Just
tell them what it says.”
Look with me as we read Revelation 7:9-15:
this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from
every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the
throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their
hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our
God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels
were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living
creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped
God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and
thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever!
one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes,
and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.
They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple;
and He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence” ESV.
you see why I call this The Next Triumphal Gathering? There are Palm
branches, cheers, and Jesus is in the center of it all, once again. But there
are some differences too. The first crowd was a mixture of people, the future
group will be made up of only believers and the angels. The first group looked
forward to what might be, the second looks at what is. The first group focused
on the hope of temporal deliverance, the second group will look at eternal and
would suggest that the reason the second triumphal gathering will be far
superior to the first Triumphal Entry can be summarized in three statements.
will Understand the Greatness of God and His Grace Toward Us.
Perhaps you have talked about how great it will be to hold your child in your hands for the very first time. But I’ll tell you this from my own experience: talking about it and experiencing it are two very different things.
In the past, we may have talked to people who have experienced deep grief. We have been compassionate and sensitive. But when we experience a grief like that ourselves, our tone suddenly changes. We become softer, our empathy becomes greater, now we truly understand.