A warm welcome to Brooklands Digital Church on this Palm Sunday!
We have another packed service, of worship and teaching with content for all ages.
The message is given by our Pastor Karl Stanfield, and can be listened to as audio using the LISTEN button above. An audio MP3 is also available via the SAVE button.
The Bible readings are taken from Matthew 21:1-10 and Matthew 27:11-26 and Matthew 27:54.
The service starts with a 15 minute countdown, where we share some news and announcements. Please use the scroll bar to skip straight through to the service/message if desired.
If you would like to support our ministry, all donations are thankfully received.
The in-word these days is ‘social distancing’; I have to say you are doing well – I haven’t ‘bumped into you’ for such a long time! It certainly is a time of crisis when we see people dropping a bag of shopping at someone’s front door, ringing the bell and standing well back.
At first, we all thought it odd, didn’t we – but after two weeks of serious warnings from the media and rising death figures, most of us are observing ‘social distancing’ with a serious purpose in mind. Perhaps this morning, we can make up for the ‘distance’ by being ‘one’ in Spirit and Prayer and Fellowship.
People might readily agree with me that we are living in a time of global crisis, but I think some might challenge my suggestion that God’s Purpose might have something to do with it. I am not saying that God planned this Pandemic.
Surely the Lord only has the best in mind for us. There is a fine line between saying that God planned this and saying God can bring something really good out of any national or global crisis! God works with us – one crisis at a time.
I want to tell you this morning that faith in the Lord means believing that God will help us handle every dilemma that comes along.
I read recently that Isaiah 41:10 was the most read scripture in 2018 [according to the YouVersion Bible app]. This verse “was shared, bookmarked and highlighted on its platform more than any other that year”! The verse reads, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God”. God isn’t observing social distancing; He is not afraid to draw close to us, especially in…
1. TIMES OF CRISIS:
The Crisis occurred between Palm Sunday and the Thursday of what we call ‘Holy Week’. The trouble brewing in those three days brought about a Crisis for Jesus, and a long- planned Purpose from God the Father.
We had the traditional reading for Palm Sunday from Matthew chapter 21; by the time we get to Thursday on this last week of Jesus’ life, it’s chapter 27! There is so much going on here. One-third of the gospels focus on these seven days…
On the first day of the week, Jesus had been welcomed into Jerusalem like a triumphant King; but by Thursday he had been betrayed and arrested and is being questioned by Pilate, the Governor of Judea.
Here is the succinct conversation; “Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes, it is as you say,”
The religious leaders had handed Jesus over to Pilate expecting him to be crucified. The whole travesty of justice imploded! Amazingly, Jesus puts up no defence to save his life. The only thing Jesus says to Pilate is, ‘Yes! I am indeed the King of the Jews!”
Remember the words above the Cross… ‘Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’. Pilate, the politician, who wanted to release him, but the people chanted the lie, ‘We have no King but Caesar’, and that is why, speaking of Jesus, they ‘Shouted, Crucify Him, Crucify Him!’
So while Pilate hands Jesus over to be crucified, he washes his hands of any sense of blame. Tell me, how many times did you wash your hands yesterday? The good side is that it’ll help to keep you safe during this deadly Covid-19 virus.
I wanted to say today that you can wash your hands one-hundred times a day for the rest of your life but it won’t change the fact that Jesus died for your sins! I need to tell you that ‘clean hands and a pure heart’ only come when we place our faith in Christ!
2. The Real Drama!
You perhaps have heard the saying, ‘Don’t make a drama out of a crisis!’
I do not want to lessen the importance of our all-too-often crises – especially this present ‘Corona’ one. Soon, some of us will know a family who has lost a relative!
There is One Drama that rises above all others – not by ignoring them but by Jesus taking ALL of our personal crises and unfolding them in the Drama of his own life, sacrificed for us on the Cross! We find our present trauma is bound up with His.
We see this drama alluded to again in Isaiah 53: ‘Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer…’ (V.10)
Why would He do that? Everyone in the story that week is in crisis! Someone listening to this is in the middle of a crisis right now! Your nightmare scenarios were caught up in His that week! That is why the Drama that engulfed Jesus’ life holds Purpose for you and me this moment! It wasn’t the people or Pilate or even Caesar calling the shots – it was the One who sees all and knows all, and is in all!
Last week I said that God can turn our Problems into Prayers! Today – in the middle of a Crisis, God has a purpose for you! There was a reason for you reading this just now – to hear Good News!
‘The grace of Christ be with you all’