Palm Sunday

Isaiah 49:1–6

 “You are My Servant . . . in whom I will display My beauty.” (Isaiah 49:3)

  • In chapter 9, Isaiah also writes about this Servant: “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (v. 6). And in chapter 11: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (v. 1). And in Isaiah 11:6: “A little child shall lead them.”
  • A son who has just been born, a shoot from a stump, a branch from roots, and a little child. Who gets excited about these kinds of things? Who gets excited about a penny? Isaiah does.
  • How about us? Not so much. Most of the time, you and I ignore what is little, small, and insignificant. 
  • We spend most of our life looking for twenties, fifties, and hundred dollar bills. 
  • Who wants pennies? Rioght now the school kids do!! After LSW!
  • We want the big bucks, the big time, the big league. Lord, make me a glistening black stallion in daily parades!
  • We dream about landing the big job with the big bonus with the big office in the big building. 
  • We want a big house, a big yard, a big car, a big boat. 
  • Powerful forces, in our world and in our hearts, drive us to be all about B-I-G. Big.
  • Hear me out on this. There is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed, to do a good job, or to be successful. 
  • The danger comes, though, when we become obsessed and consumed with “big” to the point that we begin to despise small things, small lives, small days, small people, and small jobs. 
  • Many “small” people protect their own turf, delight in the latest gossip, and belittle others to prop up their small little lives—but not Isaiah. 
  • He stands in a long line of believers who revel in finding just a penny. 
  • All Moses had was a staff, and this conquered a kingdom. 
  • Giddy-up, git-along Gideon defeated the Midianite hoards with three hundred Abiezerites who lapped water like dogs. 
  • And a sling and a stone were all David needed to kill Goliath.
  • The most awesome person in this long line of penny finders is Jesus (Mark 12:42). 
  • He found great pleasure in five loaves of barley bread and two small fish. 
  • The Savior once said, “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground” (Matthew 13:31). 
  • Passing through Jericho on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus picked out little Zachaeus and said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:9). 
  • And then these words for the ages: “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
  • “My FAVORITE egg is empty just like Jesus’ tomb!” 
  •  “You are My Servant . . . in whom I will display My beauty” (Isaiah 49:3). 
  • God didn’t send an NBA all-star, 
  • a polished politician, 
  • an investment banker, 
  • a cracker-jack attorney, 
  • a successful general,
  • or a high-profile actor. 
  • No. He sent a Servant! And most people missed it!
  • But through this Servant, God says, “I will display My beauty.”
  • To display His beauty, it would have to get ugly—really, really ugly. In Isaiah 49:7, we learn that the Servant will be “deeply despised, abhorred by the nation.” 
  • In Isaiah 50, we learn that the Servant will give His back to those who beat Him and His cheeks to those who pull out His beard (v. 6). 
  • In chapter 52, the Servant’s appearance will be so marred that people will be appalled at Him; His form will be disfigured behind human likeness (v. 14). 
  • And in Isaiah 53:2: “He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.”
  • It was on Good Friday that God’s beauty was on display, ironically, through an ugly and horrific crucifixion. Look again. Blood and spit are caked to His cheeks. His lips are cracked and swollen. His enemies revile Him. His friends forsake Him. And He hangs there alone, in three hours of God-forsaken darkness.
  • What’s beautiful about that? I’ll tell you . . . .
  • Jesus did it all to find a penny. He suffered, bled, and died to find and cherish you.
  • Who gets excited about a penny?
  • I get excited about THIS ONE 
  • In 1871, Jeannette Threlfall composed a hymn for Palm Sunday, calling it “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” (LSB 443). Stanzas 1 and 2 describe how children (children, not adults; the adults were looking for something BIG to conquer Rome) responded during Christ’s procession into Jerusalem, while stanza 3 invites everyone to sing—that is, everyone who gets excited about a penny. 
  • “ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ That ancient song we sing; For Christ is our Redeemer, The Lord of heav’n our King. Oh, may we ever praise Him With heart and life and voice And in His blissful presence Eternally rejoice!” Don’t miss it! Amen.