Description: The basis and purpose for real marriage. Listening to and trusting in God for His will for you in finding the right person.
What Jesus’ Victory Means to Us
Sermon transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
The whole Palm Sunday is so plain to us in our day because we’ve seen so much outward show and so
much empty talk about God and about Christ that we can see that the Palm Sunday is in a way part of
that. You remember that the Jews were always thinking of deliverance from their oppressors, they
were so often either under the Assyrian or under the Babylonians or under the Romans and later on
under the Greeks. They were always oppressed by some other people.
So as the whole vision of the messiah began to take hold in their national consciousness they all
tied it up with deliverance from the oppressor. It was almost impossible for them to see it any
other way. Just as they had a very vague idea of heaven and of the hereafter, so they had a very
vague notion of the messiah and always tied it to a conquering general who would come and deliver
them from the yoke of in this case the Romans.
So when Jesus came of course they recognized his power and his wisdom and they recognized that he
was somebody that was different but they were of course preoccupied with their own vision of what he
should be and they were determined to make him that if they possibly could. That’s of course what
lies behind the entry into Jerusalem and to Palm Sunday. It’s them making another more obvious
attempt to get him to proclaim himself the King of Israel, to proclaim himself the deliverer who
would free them from the yoke of the Roman rule.
Jesus really by God’s wisdom and will went so far with them. Probably to let us all see that that
was not the truth and was not the reason for his life. In fact that would never bring anything but
death and destruction. So he allowed them to put him on the donkey of all things and to ride into
Jerusalem and of course they used the palm trees and tried to proclaim that he was the coming
deliverer. You can see how it all kind of fizzled out really. Immediately after it he made it very
clear that he had come to die and not to be crowned king of Israel at all.
So that whole idea of Christ triumphing in this physical world in some military or economic way was
put to sleep and remained asleep. Rose again you remember with Judas Maccabeus and there was a
period there in the first century where he attempted to lead the Jews in rebellion against the Roman
yoke. And from time to time it would crop up but really it died on the day in Jerusalem there.
So the idea of Christ bringing victory in that way really was put thoroughly to sleep at his death
even despite his resurrection because he came and for 40 days was seen as we know here and there but
mostly by his own followers except that time when above 500 people at once saw him. But he made no
move during the days of resurrection to bring physical deliverance from the Roman yoke.
The reason is that in fact he is the conqueror. That is fulfilled if you would like to look at it
in verses that we’ve often talked about in Ephesians. I encouraged you to memorize them and to
memorize them myself so that I would be able to bring them to my own mind in prayer. Of course it
begins at verse 15 of Ephesians 1 you remember. Ephesians 1:15, “For this reason, because I have
heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give
thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,” my prayers “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory, may give you” and this is what Paul prayed for them and obviously what we
should pray for Trish and for each other, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of
glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.”
That’s what we each need most of all. There are things that we can not see and that we do not
understand and only God can give us that spirit of wisdom and revelation in our knowledge of him.
We can share with each other as we often do, little things about God and little insights we have and
little lights we get from books and little quotations that we can appreciate and many of them are
very good and some of them we actually receive by revelation as the other person says it. We say,
“Yeah that’s right, that’s true.” That is of course God giving us a spirit of wisdom at that
More often than not we gabble away to each other, telling each other all kinds of very wise worthy
things and very true things but really they’re second hand to each of us. They are passed on by one
of us to the other and sometimes they become first hand revelation as we dwell upon them or think
upon them or we go up to our rooms or we’re driving in the car and God gives us a revelation. But
many times they’re just things that are true enough but don’t come right from the heart of God to us
and therefore we don’t see them through his eyes. What we need is a spirit of wisdom and revelation
in our knowledge of him.
That’s the most precious thing we can pray and yearn for each other and that’s what he does. “Pray
that God may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes
of your hearts enlightened.” And it’s the inside of us that needs to see these things deep down
inside. “Having the eyes of our hearts enlightened,” having our spiritual perception enlightened,
lit up to see. All of us know those moments, we know moments when we see something and we have
never seen it before or we have never seen it as clearly before. And we see it and we know that is
from God, that’s light from him to me and that’s having the eyes of our hearts enlightened.
“That you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.” That you may know what is the hope
to which he has called you and I’d just like to mention to you again the words that spring up there
that are used in another phrase. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” and that’s the hope to which we
are called. We’re called to Christ in us and it came home to me that’s it. Christ is actually in
me and at the moment of death he will be more fully formed in me and he will lift me up where he
will be the one that is seen though he’ll have my face. And I will be aware that I am being lifted
up but I’ll be lifted up as part of him and then in heaven I will be another version of him and we
will all see Christ as he really is.
This little nail of his, we will all see it and there it’ll have “MP” (initials for Martin Poehler)
on it and this little piece of skin here we’ll see Christ and it will have “CD” (Colleen Donahue) on
it and it will be you and me. It will be you and me but we’ll be seen as Christ. We’ll be part of
the great son of God. That is our hope. Our hope is not just our little selves getting into a
little corner somewhere in heaven. Our great hope is that we will be part of him and he in us will
begin to work with what you know now with our new telescopes. We don’t talk about millions we talk
about billions of solar systems, millions of planets. We talk about a whole universe that is far
more vast than we have even guessed it to be.
The hope of glory is the hope that God has planted in our hearts, Christ bursting out through us as
on the Mount of Transfiguration where they saw him almost illuminated. And Christ will burst
through us and it will be each one of us. It will be each one of us but we’ll all be part of him
and he’ll be seen in all his fullness. And that’s why you were created in him and I was created in
him because we are an integral part of him. We are a vital part of him; we are a part of him that
nobody else is. We are in that sense a bit of God. We are you’re right, derived from him. It is
because he lived that we live also but the hope of glory, that is it, that we will come up into
eternal life as part of him and therefore solid.
Our place is unbelievably solid; our place in this universe is unbelievably solid. I should not use
unbelievably, everybody is using unbelievably and I think well if it’s unbelievable we shouldn’t, we
can’t believe it. So it’s a silly word to use but our place in him is solid. We have been created
in him by God’s will. We exist because he exists. We will be in heaven as part of him. If he
loses you he loses a bit of himself. That’s how he feels, that’s how he thinks about it.
“I in you and you in me, Father you have given me these people and I will lose none of them.” So
you are not an add-on, we’re not add-ons. “Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may
know what is the hope to which he has called you.” And then “What are the riches of his glorious
inheritance in the saints,” and his glorious inheritance in the saints partly is Christ in us.
Christ in us, that’s part of the riches of his glorious inheritance and he wants us to have the eyes
of our hearts enlightened so that we may know not only the hope to which we are called but what are
at this present moment in this present life “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance,” what
are the powers and riches of Christ within us.
And in verse 19, “What is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe.” And that is
the triumph of Christ. That Christ himself is alive at God’s right hand and through his spirit is
alive in each one of us and all the power that he has is in us at this moment, all the power. He
may choose to walk in that power with people spitting on him. He may choose you to walk down a bit
of the Calvary road but the power will be there. The power will be there for you to walk as he
walked triumphant in your heart and content with what you’re facing.
He may choose that or he may choose to express it through his risen body leaving the grave clothes
and appearing so real in the garden that Mary thought that he must be the gardener. So he may
choose in you to bring obvious open plain triumph that the world can see but the power will be
within you all the time whether he manifests it one way or the other. He may manifest it as hanging
on the cross with a soldier sticking a spear into his side and the blood and water pouring out but
the power will be within you to bear that and to walk in victory and in quiet peace and confidence
Or he may through you say “Into thy hands Father I commend my spirit.” And in complete peace and
serenity you may go. Or you may go like Eric Little, concerned because the tumor of his brain had
brought him into mental confusion and he perhaps thought in some way I’m not walking in inner
victory at this moment but inside him is still the immeasurable greatness of God’s power to give him
grace to walk through that.
So that’s the triumph of Christ, not the outward walking of the palm branches obviously being thrown
at his feet and the great crowds elevating him and exalting but him at the right hand of God
continuing to live in each of us and impart to us the power that he has. That’s why it goes on in
verse 20 the “greatness of his power in us who believe” in verse 19, “according to the working of
his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at
his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and
above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has
put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his
body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
Of course the church that’s what we are, his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. And
what is the truth of it? The truth is what we’ve shared with each other often. I was saying to
Marty yesterday I’ve looked at a wave at times down there in Florida. Looked at a wave as it curls
over, it’s just gone in a moment, you know how they crest and then they break. And I thought how
many atoms are in that wave? How many infinitesimal protons and neutrons are in that wave? And
then how do they all mix up just right to break like that? And then to disappear and to flow back
into the sea and then another one come up? I wonder have those to be controlled those billions and
billions of protons and neutrons. I suppose they have. I mean how could they form themselves into
that shape and tumble over each other and then flatten down and recede. Nobody, nobody could keep
track of every proton in that wave. And then I thought well if nobody does it how does it happen?
He couldn’t count all those things and then I thought of course he could. Of course! But keep on
doing it every day and every ocean and every planet? That’s what he does.
So does he know what you’re going to do next week? Oh, maybe, maybe. So that’s it. That’s the
triumph of Jesus. He sits at God’s right hand and all things have been put under his feet and he
has already seen everything that you’ll do next week. And he has already reconciled it to his
Father’s will. He has already worked all things according to the council of his will. You’re not
going out there to meet something that you don’t know. It’s all planned.
And it’s all been reconciled, Christ has done it. That’s what happened in Christ’s death when the
world was crucified in him, your little world was crucified in him, my little world, our little
series of actions that we have done in our lives so far and that we will do, the rest of it, that’s
all been crucified in him and raised up and made new and has been reconciled to God. God has
reconciled the world to himself. That’s the triumph for us. Palm Sunday for us is every day, every
day it is the triumph of Jesus. So you remember there is that verse that we will be always led in
triumph in Christ Jesus. God will lead us always in triumph in Christ Jesus. That is the real
victory and that is the real triumph. That’s our privilege. Let us pray.