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Going and Coming

March 29, 2015

By John Partridge
Scripture: Psalm 121:5-8

Mark 11:1-11

How many of you have ever left the town that you were born in?
Have you ever left town to go on a vacation?
Most of us have left town a great many times.
But has anyone ever come home from vacation before you left?
I suppose the closest that I ever got was when I used to travel to business meetings in Chicago. With the time
change between there and Cleveland you could arrive in Chicago ten minutes before you left Cleveland, but
there is no possible way, short of science fiction time travel, for you to return home from anywhere before you
Because all of our arrivals depend upon us leaving first, much of our lives are filled with going and coming.
But wherever we go, whether its around town, or on vacation, or halfway around the world, we know that we
are not alone. Psalm 121:5-8 says:

The LORD watches over you

the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm

he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Wherever we go, in all of our goings and coming, God is there.
And the story of Jesus triumphal entry, the story of what we celebrate on Palm Sunday, there is a great deal of
going and coming. (Mark 11:1-11)
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of
his disciples, 2 saying to them, Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied
there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, Why are you doing this?
say, The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing
there asked, What are you doing, untying that colt? 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the
people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many
people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who
went ahead and those who followed shouted,

Hosanna! [Hosanna means Save us]

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!


Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was
already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Jesus and his followers had gone out from one place and came to the Mount of Olives. From there he sent two
of his disciples to go into the village. They went, and found everything just the way that Jesus said that it
would be. The people asked them why they were taking the colt, they answered, and the people let them go.
As Jesus goes into the city the people shout, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
And then Jesus enters into the city, and enters into the temple courts, but since it was already late he went out
and came to Bethany.
The action of the entire story revolves around going out and coming in, but in reality, most stories do.
In this story the people of Israel had been expecting a guest. They were expecting a messiah, a savior, a
rescuer, and they had been expecting him for over a thousand years. As Jesus enters the city, the people think
that maybe, just maybe, Jesus is the one. They have heard the stories about Jesus teaching and preaching.
They had heard about, and many had witnessed the miracles that Jesus had performed and as he enters into the
city they being to cry out for Jesus to save them.
But the salvation that most of them are seeking is not the kind that Jesus has come to offer.
The people cry out for Jesus to save them. They spread their clothing on the ground ahead of him and they
wave palm branches in the air. But at least two out of three of these things, and in reality probably all three,
are political and not religious. Spreading clothing on the ground was something that was done for kings and
returning military heroes. The waving of palm branches is even more complicated. The palm branch was the
political symbol of Israel much as our flag and the American eagle are for the United States. During Israels
revolt against Rome, some of its coins had a palm leaf stamped on them. But between the religious
prohibitions against graven images, and the Roman occupation, there was no such thing as a flag. And so,
waving a palm branch in the air, while crying out for salvation or rescue, was very much a political
demonstration. What the people wanted was for Jesus to be a political and military messiah who would raise
an army and overthrow the Roman government.
But that is not what Jesus came to do.
Although scripture tells us that day will come, one day Jesus will come to earth leading an army, at this
moment that is not the kind of messiah that Jesus had come to be.
Jesus had come.
Jesus had come to seek and to save the lost children of Israel.
Jesus had come to save the world.
Jesus had come. And although he was indeed the creator and king of the universe, he had not come into the
world to be crowned as king. Yet.
Jesus had come. And although he was the commander of the Armies of the Lord, he had not come to lead
troops into battle. Yet.
At this moment in history, Jesus had come as a servant.
At this moment, Jesus had come to suffer and die.
In the next few days, Jesus would suffer and die. He would become for us the sacrificial lamb of Passover.
Taking the place of that lamb, Jesus would shed his blood for the forgiveness of our sins.
On this amazing day there were several different stories being told.
The people hailed Jesus as king. And he was. But not the kind of king that they thought that he was.

The people proclaimed that Jesus was their savior and rescuer. And he was. But not the kind of savior that
they thought he was.
In a few days the people would discover that Jesus had no intention of being the kind of savior and king that
they wanted and they would turn on him and turn him over to the Roman soldiers to hang on a cross where he
would suffer, and bleed, and die.
But despite that, Jesus would become their king anyway.
Despite their loss of faith, and despite his death, Jesus would become their savior anyway.
Jesus had come to Jerusalem on a mission.
Jesus had come to rescue Gods people, and he wouldnt leave, he wouldnt go, until his mission had been

You have been reading a message presented at Trinity United Methodist Church on the date noted at the top of the first
page. Rev. John Partridge is the pastor at Trinity of Perry heights in Massillon, Ohio. Duplication of this message is a part
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