Matthew 21:1-11

24 Mar 2024

Matthew 21:1-11

Passage Matthew 21:1-11, Exodus 40:34-38

Speaker Roger Hoyle


Passage: Matthew 21:1-11
Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Our first reading today is taken from Matthew 21 111.

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethpharge on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples saying to them, go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away. This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet. Say to daughter Zion, see, your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, Hosanna to the son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest heaven. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, who is this? The crowds answered, this is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.

Thanks so much.

Our second reading is taken from Exodus 40 34 to 38.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out. But if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night.

In the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels, this is the word of the Lord.

Good morning.

Such a privilege to be able to share with you what God has said in these scriptures that we've read.

Three weeks ago yesterday, quite a number of you were in London doing exciting things at the British Museum. Those of us who didn't go, some of us were in the rain outside the Cricket Inn in Totley because it was the start of our s 17 prayer walk. So we started at the Cricket Inn and walked up the hill, that penny Lane, and then it became Strawberry Lee Lane. And we paused and prayed outside some of the houses there and the farm. And then we got to the highest point and we looked out over the view of Dorr and Totley and Bradway.

And one of the people in our group prayed, Lord, let your glory settle on this area.

And I said to her, that's interesting. What do you think it might mean for the glory to settle on the area? And she said, well, actually, I've been meditating on this whole idea quite a bit. It's something to do with the presence, the splendour, the movement of the Lord. And then she went on and told me all the Bible passages she'd found with references to it.

Different story. About 40 years ago, Margaret and I were at a conference celebrating Pentecost at Cliff College in Derbyshire. And the speaker was a very famous scholar of Hebrew, the Reverend Doctor Norman Snaith. And he said, you'll not get to heaven unless you know Hebrew. He had a twinkle in his eye and his tongue in his cheek, but he went on to talk, because it was Pentecost, to talk about the Holy Spirit and the Hebrew ruach.

Now, it seemed to me that just in case there was a word of truth in you'll never get to heaven if you don't know Hebrew. I ought to tell you a hebrew word, and it's going to come up on the screen now. There it is, kabod, and it means glory. So now you know that you can breathe again. You're safe.

The word glory, actually, the word kabod itself is a rather strange word, because it's to do with heaviness, to do with weight, the idea of substance, if you like. And we picture the scene we've been watching as Moses, obediently to the Lord, put all the bits of the tabernacle together, the outer fencing, all the decorations, the coverings, the holy of holies, as the Lord commanded Moses. We were reminded that a couple of weeks ago, as we looked at so many instances in Exodus chapter 39 and again last Sunday. Exodus chapter 40, as the Lord commanded Moses, Moses was listening to what God was saying and doing as he was told. And eventually the tabernacle and all the dressings for Aaron the priest were ready.

And at that moment, the glory descended. The glory descended. There it is. The words are on the screen. The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

The cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and the fire was in the cloud by night. In the sight of all the house of Israel. During all their travels, have you ever been in a church or a cathedral or maybe even an open place where you had that sense of the weight of the Lord?

It sometimes happens, perhaps, when you've heard a preacher who was really fired up and you sense he'd moved or she had moved into a different dimension and the word was having its immediate impact on your life.

The cloud was over the tabernacle, the glory of the Lord. And at night it was lit up by fire so that any time of the day or night, the people of the house of Israel could say, where's God? Ah, yes, it's there. There's the cloud. There's the fire.

We know where God is.

And of course, it was during all their travels. You can see that at the bottom of that quotation there from Exodus 40, in the sight of all the house of Israel. During all their travels, wherever they went, the cloud, the glory of the Lord, went with them.

And I guess our prayer has to be that this church, this congregation, will always have that sense of the glory of God as we worship.

I mentioned the word kabod. There's another hebrew word that you probably already know that goes with it. And thats the name Ichabod. And thats a word that means no glory. And it was the name given to a tiny baby.

Imagine going through life with the name Ichabod. That means no glory. No glory. Eat up your porridge. No glory.

Have you cleaned your teeth? No glory. Have you finished your homework? And going through life? No glory.

And that's so very, very sad. We find more of that in the book of the prophet Ezekiel. So let's look at that one.

The glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple. The next chapter, Ezekiel eleven. The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.

So much of Ezekiel's prophecy is saying God spoke to you, but you werent listening. God gave you his instructions for the way you should be living, and you went the other way. And so the glory departed and lifted and stopped above the mountain east of it. Interestingly, the mountain east of it is the mount of olives. Ooh, does that ring a bell?

Yes. We'll look at that in a moment or two as well. Let me read you this story. A good driver was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy main road. Suddenly the traffic light turned yellow just in front of him.

He did the right thing. He stopped at the lights, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through. The tailgating woman hit the roof and hit the hooter. She screamed in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the crossroads. As she was still in mid rant, she heard a tap on the window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer.

The officer ordered her to get out of the car with her hands up. He took her to the police station, where she was searched, fingerprinted and photographed, and then placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, the policeman came to the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk, where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. He said, I'm very sorry for this mistake.

You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn and yelling and swearing at the driver in front, and I noticed you'd got a choose life sticker, life licence plate holder and a what would Jesus do? Bumper sticker and a follow me to Sunday church sticker and a chrome plated christian fish on the boot. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car.

The glory departed. And sadly, as we acknowledged in our prayer of confession, there are so many things where we ain't doing it right. We're not doing what God asks. Psalm 139 has the words, search me, o God, and know my heart. See if there's any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

Living Bible says, search me, o God, know my heart, test my thoughts, point out anything you find in me that makes you sad and that needs to be our prayer. Lord, I'm sorry. Im sorry for those things that when you look at me who say, im a Christian, things that make you sad and im sorry, Lord, that the glory has departed.

So the glory descended. The glory departed. But thirdly and excitingly, we have the glory displayed. John's gospel, chapter one of verse 14. These are so familiar words.

The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory. There it is. We've seen his glory. The glory of the one and only who came from the father, full of grace and truth.

Ah were in the New Testament now, and we see that we dont need just to have the temple where God is. Wherever Jesus is, we have the glory. The glory displayed. Interestingly, the word became flesh and dwelt among us. King James Version made his dwelling among us.

New international version in the Greek, it's tabernacled. Ah, there it is. The old comes into the New Testament. The word tabernacled, which was the place where God was found, is in Jesus. In Jesus.

I can see some of you smiling. You're as excited as I am, and that's as it should be.

And then the reading that we began with from Matthew 21, the verses twelve to 14. Take us just a little further. Jesus having arrived down the Mount of Olives. Yes, down the mount of olives and then crossing the Kidron into the temple of Jerusalem. What did he do?

He first of all cleansed the temple. He found the money changers. The people doing deceitful business. Should have been a house of prayer, he said, but you've turned it into a den of robbers. Jesus comes to cleanse.

But then Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling the blind. And the lame came to him at the temple and he healed them.

Jesus still does. Let me tell you another story. Some of you will have heard this already because it was told by Ben Woolard, who is, I suppose you'd call him the head honcho of together for Sheffield. You know, the arise Sheffield things. And a couple of years ago, there was a get together for all the people, Christians across the city together for Sheffield.

And Ben Woolard told us this story.

He told us he was travelling by train from Rotherham back to Sheffield. And he was doing what everybody in the train was doing and that was playing with their smartphones. You can always tell it's a good party when everybody gets their smartphones out. So. Oh.

But God spoke to him and said, I really think you ought to be praying rather than tapping on your smartphone. So, obediently. Yes, obediently, Ben put his phone away and started to pray. And as he prayed, God gave him a picture of a man, a man who is obviously in need. Okay, thank you, Ben.

Thank you. God arrived at Sheffield station, got out onto the concourse and saw that same. That very same man who he'd seen in the picture. And it was obviously a man in need because the man said, can you give me some money? And Ben said, well, no, I won't give you money, but you're probably hungry.

I'll buy you some food. Come with me up to the Sainsbury's, just up the road. And the man said, well, no, I can't. I can't walk. Ben said, I'll help you.

And so very haltingly, slowly, strugglingly, they got to Sainsbury's and Ben bought him some food. And the man was very grateful. And Ben went on to say, I'm a Christian and I believe Jesus wants to heal you. Can I pray with you? All right.

And so Ben prayed in the name of Jesus that this man would be healed. And as Ben prayed, the man felt strength coming into his limbs and he stood up and he stood upright and he said, jesus has healed me. He started running down Fargate. I've got to tell people. I've got to tell people Jesus has hailed me.

Jesus has healed me. That's the glory displayed. That's the glory displayed. And that's when you and I are listening to what Jesus tells us and obediently dare to pray.

So on that first palm Sunday, Jesus came into the temple. He cleansed that which was sinful. He healed and he still does.

Very shortly, we're going to be taking the bread and wine of holy communion.

And I would like, as we prepare to do that, to use it as a means of opening ourselves to the cleansing and the healing, the re energising that Jesus offers to each one of us.

In a moment, we're going to sing. Be still. Before we sing it, I'm going to read the words, particularly of verses two and three.

If you'd like to receive prayer for your personal needs while we have our communion or afterwards, why don't you ask Ben or one of the leaders of the church to pray with you? And I'd be happy to pray with you if you would like that. Just so that you can know that touch, that cleansing, that healing, that restoring, that Jesus comes to offer to each one of us.

Be still for the glory of the Lord is shining all around. He burns with holy fire, with splendour he is crowned. How awesome is the sight. Our radiant king of light. Be still for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place. He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace.

No work too hard for him in faith. Receive from him. Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.


You may like to stand to sing or remain seated to say.