The Lamb of God A "Palm Sunday" Message by Rev. Robert B. Brown*
I T is my belief that the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the first “ Palm Sunday” was indeed a tri umphal entry, although nothing in our Lord’s ministry seemed to fail in a more dismal way. True, to the cas ual observer this might appear to be an illustration of the saddest verse in the Bible, “ He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). All the city was moved at His entrance; a great multitude laid palm branches before Him, and His dis ciples spread their garments on the colt on which He rode and in His way. The throngs cried out, “ Hosan na to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest . . . Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the name of the Lord . . . Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.” Yet above these praises we hear the harsh voices of the white- robed Pharisees calling to Jesus to rebuke the unthinking multitude for their wild shouting. There was the command of official Judaism, “ Master, rebuke thy disciples.” Jesus quickly answered them, “ I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” I hear some one object, “What is so glorious about a triumphal entry that was marked by the tears of the King of the Jews” ? When the proces sion which started in Bethany and grew as the crowds surged out from Jerusalem, swept to that place in the road where Jerusalem stretched out before the eye in magnificent pano rama, Jesus “ beheld the city, and wept over it.” He foresaw the city under an iron siege that would result in utter destruction and cruel mas sacre “ because,” as He stated sadly, “ thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Does not this prove that the day was a failure and not a tri umphal day at all? Not at all. Let us dig deeper into the mine of God’s Holy Word. Re member “ Palm Sunday” took place on the tenth day of Nisan. In Exodus we read: “ Speak ye unto all the con gregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month [Nisan] they shall take of them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fath ers, a lamb for an house . . . Your * Pastor of the First United Pres byterian Church, Everett, Wash. M A R C H , 1951
spoiling by open violence the common people of their revenues.” Annas was high priest for only six or seven years, but five of his sons, his son- in-law Caiaphas and a grandson all occupied the office after him. Jesus disrupted the business which was supplying sacrificial lambs. Ac cording to Dr. Alfred Edersheim, the Court of the Gentiles was turned over to the sons of Annas for this busi ness. According to Jewish tradition it formed a square 750 feet on a side. It was not a small thing that Jesus did on this tenth day of Nisan. I believe He drove out those who were selling paschal lambs and pre sented Himself as the Lamb of God without spot and blemish. We know that at the Passover feast on the 14th of Nisan He said, “ Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Christ is our Passover. Let us not lose sight of the tri umphal entry of Jesus Christ into the temple. It is true He came to His own and His own received Him not. It is not to be forgotten that He wept over the city. Notwithstanding, let us not--forget that the King of the Jews “ came not to be ministered un to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10: 45). Should not we who are saved by the “ blood of the lamb” rejoice in His entry to present Himself in the tem ple as that passover lamb without spot and without blemish? Annas and Caiaphas, who were not only in the office which typified the high priestly work of the Messiah, but who also gained their revenue from the sale of the paschal lambs which typified Christ, were the ones who in sisted upon His death. What a ghastly scene when men who should have known the meaning of salvation by the blood clamored for the crucifixion of Christ and were guilty of the blood of the Jewish Messiah! Perhaps their very greed for monetary gain and their anger when Jesus disrupted the “ booths of the sons of Annas” made their desire to crucify Jesus Christ more intense. Shall we not at this Easter season consider again the tremendous price paid by the Lamb of God to “ take away the sin of the world” which in cluded yours and mine? Page Eleven
lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the four teenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congrega tion of Israel shall kill it in the eve ning” (Ex. 12:3-6).
Rev. Robert B. Brown In three Gospel accounts of the tri umphal entry the entrance of Christ into the temple is mentioned. In Mat thew and Luke we read of the second cleansing of the temple and of the casting out of all them that sold and bought in the temple, the overthrow ing of the moneychangers’ tables, and the seats of them that sold doves. What was this selling in the tem ple? Whose business was being dis rupted ? Annas was the owner of the tem ple booths. The examination of the passover lamb was a very particular business. One official spent eighteen months with a farmer to learn what flaws in a lamb were temporary and which permanent. An animal brought to Jerusalem had to be inspected and a fee was charged for the inspection. There was much chance for corrup tion. But all trouble and possibility of rejection could be avoided by buy ing within the temple market. Pig eons sold for a Roman gold denarius ($3.50) in the temple and two cents on the open market. In an ordinary passover 265,500 lambs were offered. The Talmud records a curse on the family of Annas as “ a great hoarder up of money, very rich, and as de
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