Palm Sunday is an amazing reminder of the importance of praise. As Jesus drew near Jerusalem there was an incredible enthusiasm expressed by those along the road. “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowed of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (Luke 19:37-38)
Praise glorifies God for who He is. In this passage we see that God is King. In Revelation 19:16 we read, “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” So Jesus is not a king in competition with Caesar and the other leaders of nations. Jesus is Sovereign ruler over all the earth. It was Queen Elizabeth I who said, “I wish I could be alive when Christ returns because I would like to be the first earthly monarch to take my crown and lay it at his feet.” Our praise should remember who God is.
Praise glorifies God for what He has done. For the past three years, miracles of healing and deliverance had come through Jesus. Lives have been changed. Those who have journeyed from Jericho with the Lord have recently witnessed the conversion of Zacchaeus the tax collector. They have seen the change that resulted in a man that Jesus chose to spend time with. While the Lord was in his home Zacchaeus stood up and said, “‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’” (Luke 19:8) Our praise should remember what God has done.
Praise glorifies God for what He has said. People praised God along the road, using the very words of Psalm 118, one of the Hallel Psalms, (Psalms 113-118). The word “Hallel” means praise. These Psalms were shouted by people when they approached Jerusalem in anticipation of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Passover. Our Lord’s ascent into the city reflects the words of the prophet, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9) Through His word God is meeting us. Daniel Baumann once wrote, “Worship is a stairway on which there is movement in two directions. God comes to man, and man goes to God.” Our praise should remember what God has said.
The gospel tells us that the Pharisees objected to the words of praise, but Jesus had the perfect response. “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet the stones will cry out.’” (Luke 19:39-40) In the Psalms we read, “Praise him, sun and moon, praise him all you shining stars. Praise him you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.” (Psalm 148:4-5) Creation is praising God!
A.W. Tozer once said, “God being who He is must always be sought for Himself, never as a means toward something else.” Our praise should be offered because of who God is, all that God has done, and all God has said. On Palm Sunday, and every day of the year, let’s give praise to God!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.