Sunday, April 14, 2019

Palm Sunday and the Branch of Jesse

I have a direct message for the Church but need to remind you of a few things first: 

The fickle hearts of God’s people - with palm branches they praised the arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem and days later they were crying: “Crucify Him!” Jesus knew His mission. He came to seek and save the lost, in particular the lost sheep of Israel. He came to extend the Father’s offer of peace and goodwill to men. He was the Messiah, the prophesied Savior and Branch of Jesse. But people prefer darkness to light and choose to do what is right in their own eyes. They preferred a righteousness of self, choosing what is right as if they were God Himself, the Author of all creation, the Authority of all that is right and wrong. 

So the Jewish people welcomed the person they believed to be the Messiah, the Chosen One of God, and days later repeated the words of Satan spoken through the religious leaders of their day. “Crucify Him!” “He saved others, let Him save Himself!” 

Now, two thousand years later, we look at these people and call out their foolishness. God’s judgement came down upon them and they were scattered throughout the earth. As Biblical scholars tell us, the promise was passed on to the Church. A new testament was written describing the new covenant that God extended to gentiles. The Law of the old covenant was replaced with the gospel of grace, a new contract with the Church. The truth of God’s grace was revealed to man, and the Father showed us the peace offering realized through Jesus. Justice, Peace and Grace are all exemplified in a humble and mighty Savior. Jesus showed strength in His sacrifice, endured in complete obedience to the Father despite the extreme suffering He endured for our sake. 

While Jesus came to the lost sheep of Israel, it was through Him that the gentiles found hope. Because of Israel’s unrepentance, branches were grafted onto the vine, and the nations received scraps that had been refused by the children of Abraham. 

But what if the recipients of this new covenant refuse the reign of God in their lives? What happens if the Church, like Israel, chooses to do what is right in their own eyes? 

Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in the richness of the olive root, do not boast over the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. Then you will say, “The branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted! They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear! For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God – harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And even they – if they do not continue in their unbelief – will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?  
For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 
- Romans 11:17-25 

Who is foolish now if not the Church in America? Who is fickle if not the Bride of Christ that has decided hours of TV or smartphone screen time are preferable to even 15 minutes a day in the presence of Christ? Technology and entertainment aren’t bad, but seeking the pleasure of entertaining ourselves rather than spending time with the One Who extended this priceless gift is the sign of a selfish and fickle people. David Wilkerson pointed out rightly that we can have as much of Jesus as we want. What I wonder is: How much do we truly want Jesus? Men prefer darkness to light. We prefer our pleasure over God’s pleasure, even when His desire is for our benefit. At what point will God choose to remove the branches grafted onto the Vine and replace them with the natural branches? 

Has the full number of Gentiles come into the Kingdom? (see verse 25 in the passage above) 

When we see the nation of Israel reborn in fulfillment of prophecy with a growing openness to receive the Gospel, is that partial hardening of Israel being removed? Has this happened at a time when lawlessness increases, the love of many has grown cold and many of the bridesmaids have failed to keep oiled in the Spirit? And don’t I see scoffers from within the Church ridiculing the return of Christ our King? These are all signs of Christ's imminent return! If these thoughts scare you, consider how God may want you to respond. A good place to start is in prayer, and a good place to seek answers is in the Word of God, His Scriptures

  • John 12:13 
  • Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19 
  • Luke 19:10 
  • Matt 15:24 
  • Luke 2:14 
  • Isaiah 11:1 
  • John 3:19 
  • Deut 12:8, Judg 17:6, Prov 12:15 
  • Gen 3:5 
  • Matt 27, Mark 15, Luke 23 
  • Eph 3:6 
  • Rom 11:7 
  • Matt 15:27 
  • Eze 36-38, Isa 66:8-9, Jer 16:14-15 
  • Matt 24:12 
  • Matt 25 
  • 2 Peter 3 
copyright ©2019 Mitchell Malloy