by Tony Nester

Triumph Before Tragedy
Tony Nester
Mark 11:1-11, 15-19

When American astronaut Neil Armstrong visited Israel after his trip to the moon, he was taken on a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem by an Israeli archaeologist. When they got to the Hulda Gate, which is at the top of the stairs leading to the Temple Mount, Armstrong asked his guide whether Jesus had stepped anywhere around there. His guide answered, "These are the steps that lead to the Temple, so he must have walked here many times." Armstrong then asked if these were the original steps, and the guide confirmed that they were.

"So Jesus stepped right here?" asked Armstrong again.

"That's right," answered the guide.

"I have to tell you," Armstrong said to the Israeli archaeologist, "I am more excited stepping on these stones than I was stepping on the moon." (1).

Today is Palm Sunday and there are many in Jerusalem today who are following in the footsteps of Jesus. There are many more who, like us, are remembering what happened there in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.

This week is holy for Christians. It is holy because we remember this as the last week of Jesus' life before his death on the Cross. It is a week first of triumph, then of tragedy.

Let's focus this morning on the triumph. We'll have Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to focus on the tragedy of the Cross. All of this prepares us for the good news of Jesus' Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

The triumph of Jesus is summed up in one of his titles: King. The Bible calls Jesus the King of kings and the Lord of lords. On Palm Sunday we get a glimpse of his Kingship.

It begins with Jesus instructing his disciples to go into Jerusalem and take a colt which Jesus will ride into the City. Without the disciples knowing it, Jesus has prearranged with its owner that when he needs the colt, the owner will offer it to him. The disciples are sent to find the colt. When they locate the animal they are questioned about why t ...

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