Sunday, March 20, 2016


Sunday, March 20, 2016, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 76

PRAYER for Today:

Heavenly Father, We know we are all broken and in need of your grace. Only You are able to heal our hearts and souls of all of our brokenness and bring light to the darkness in our lives. Help us Father to accept your freely given gift of grace bought on the cross by Christ so long ago that we might be reconciled to You. We ask that Your will be done and that we may act saintly towards our fellow sojourners who around the world are hurting so that they might see a little of You in our daily lives.  It is in Your Son’s name we pray. Amen.


Mark 11 King James Version (KJV)

 And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.
4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.
5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?
6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.
19 And when even was come, he went out of the city.
20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
27 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,
28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?
29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.
31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?
32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.
33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

SERMON for Today:

Today is known as Palm Sunday. This weekend may not be special to you because of the story told about it in the Gospels.  You may love it because of March Madness or because Spring is here.  This weekend may not have been much more than shopping trips to get the outfit you are going to wear to church next Sunday for Easter.  You may not be interested in any of this, but what is told about in the 11th chapter of Mark is important to your life regardless of whether or not you are paying attention to it, believe it happened or are a Christian living a redeemed life because of it.

Mark 11 is full of important insights into the life of Jesus.  

Yes it tells about his entry into Jerusalem which is what this Sunday is named after because in the Gospel of John the writer says the people laid palms on the road in front of him.  In other Gospels like here in Mark it says they laid branches from trees.  Therefore in some countries it is called Branch Sunday because that is the word used in some of the Gospels.  

It also tells about the only recorded violent act by Jesus towards others.  Running the moneychangers out of the temple is recorded in all four Gospels.  It should be pointed out that there is no evidence in any of the four accounts that Jesus actually tried to hurt anyone. However, his actions in the temple were part of what brought the leaders of the Jewish community down on him and eventually got him nailed to a cross.

The way Mark handles the cursing of the barren fig tree in this chapter can only leave one to assume one of the reasons it was inserted was to remind folks that God judges how God judges.  We cannot judge others because we do not understand God’s way of judging.  Look.  The fig tree was not even suppose to have figs, but yet Jesus cursed it for not having figs.  When you think you know enough about how God and His Son Jesus is going to judge us to go around judging other folks around you, think about the mystery of what happened to the fig tree.

Then Mark ends with Jesus in the temple teaching.  Jesus says our prayers will be answered if we believe, but then He throws a wrench in the works by saying only if we forgive those we are holding something against will God forgive us.  The first part sounded great.  The second part impossible.

Mark Chapter 11 is full of important insights into the life and ministry of Jesus.  Read it more than once.  In any version of the Bible you prefer.  Make this Palm Sunday the day you let Jesus triumphantly enter your soul.
May God Richly Bless Your Life This Week and For Evermore. Amen.

© Ed Cooper, March 20, 2016, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was a teenager there with his parents in the early 1960’s. Ed recognizes he is a flawed sinner needing God’s grace and your prayers.)

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