April 10, 2022

THE THINGS YOU FIND AT JESUS’ FEET

Passage: Matthew 21:8-9

8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
— Matthew 21:8-9, ESV

The original Palm Sunday was an uplifting moment near the end of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ.  All four Gospels record it as a high and holy day.  Not even the phony Pharisees could spoil it, though of course they tried (ref. Luke 19:39-40).

It was high time for the Lord.  Jesus’ popularity was high, with news of Lazarus’ recent resurrection still reverberating around the region.  Jesus’ stature was high, as He rode a donkey into Jerusalem, a kingly scene reminiscent of David the Great, and the people were prone to put Him on that Messianic throne.  Jesus' elevation was high, a rider among walkers, and from His perch He could look down at the people as they lifted up praise to Him.

It was a holy time for the people.  As the Lord looked at the path before Him, some strange things were lying at His feet.  People had paved Jesus’ way with “cloaks” and “branches,” with their very own clothes, and with leaves from palm trees.

The Galilean pilgrims who accompanied Jesus into the city for the Passover were largely poor.  They had scant more than the meager shelters they left behind and the clothes on their backs, the outer garment of which they laid at Jesus’ feet.  In other words, they gave their all to the Lord.

For the Jews, palm leaves were highly symbolic.  They represented victory, freedom, and peace.  The people wanted victory over their chief enemy, iron-fisted Rome.  The people wanted freedom from the overbearing religious rules and regulations of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  The people wanted peace, so they appealed to the Prince of Peace by laying the palms at Jesus’ feet.

I find it interesting, the things you find at Jesus’ feet, poor people’s coats and palm tree branches.  Things represent the people, people giving their all to Jesus, people praying for peace.  Here the end matches the means, as the Gospels record many troubled and transformed people who can literally be found at Jesus’ feet.

Hurting People are Found at Jesus’ Feet

And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them.
— Matthew 15:30, ESV

The Messiah came out as a miracle worker at the wedding in Cana.  Nature miracles were plenty for Jesus, whether it be changing the weather, walking on the water, or serving up the finest wine.  People miracles were more important to the Lord, however, and they abounded in His ministry.  Put a hurting person down at Jesus’ feet and Jesus would take the hurt away.

Miracles of these types are sparse in God’s economy, mostly limited to the days of Moses and Aaron, Elijah and Elisha, and Jesus and the Apostles.  They gave God’s special messengers street cred at critical times.  But the greatest power put on display in the ministry of Jesus Christ is the power of love.

Jesus healed the people placed at His feet because He loved them.  God is love (ref. 1 John 4:8) His love knows no bounds, and it is especially effective for people who bring their hurts to Jesus’ feet (ref. Psalm 34:18).

Theologically and cosmologically, the primary source of hurt in the world is sin.  Sin is Satan’s tool too often found in the hands of humans who use it to hurt one another.  The vicious cycle of sinning and being sinned against will not stop until Jesus makes His second spectacular trip to earth.  But if you are hurting because of some sin done to you, or convicted concerning some sin you have done to hurt others, the balm of forgiveness can be found at Jesus’ feet?

This Jesus you see on Palm Sunday will take away every sin from every person who gives Him their all and asks for peace.

Desperate People are Found at Jesus’ Feet

Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet.
— Mark 5:22, ESV

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
— John 11:32, ESV

It is one thing to have a wound of your own.  It is quite another to look upon the wound of someone you love.  It hurts worse.  When hurt takes them from you, there is no worse hurt.

While I’m confident it happened a whole lot more, only three times in the Gospels do we see desperate family members bring the death of a dearly departed loved one to Jesus, who promptly raises them from the dead.  Such desperate people can be found, of all places, at Jesus’ feet.

When desperation puts you at the bottom, there is no where to go but up.  If you take your desperation to Jesus, it has the potential to elevate immediately.  I cannot promise the Lord will raise your dead.  Remember, such miracles are exponentially rare.  But if you are desperate due to your own death, and by that I mean your spiritual death, your separation from God, your lostness, then bring your desperation down to Jesus’ feet.

This Jesus you see on Palm Sunday will regenerate every desperate person who gives Him their all and asks for peace.

Sinful People are Found at Jesus’ Feet

And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
— Luke 7:37-38, ESV

There was never a more hurting and desperate person found at the feet of than this sinful women.  This is not the saintly Mary, whom we will see in a moment, anointing Jesus’ feet with perfume.  Mary did this just before Palm Sunday, at the end of Jesus’ ministry.  The passage in Luke denotes a different, unnamed woman who approached Jesus’ feet at the beginning of His ministry.

That’s right, she had no name no one knew.  She is simply called “sinner” or “sinful woman.”  People in town might say, “There’s the rabbi,” or, “There’s the carpenter,” or, “There’s the banker,” but when she came into view they simply said, “There’s the sinner.”

How would you like to be called that?  Well, you are, and me, too.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (ref. Romans 3:10).  We should do with our many sins what this sinful woman did with hers, lay them down at Jesus’ feet.

This Jesus you see on Palm Sunday will take away every hurt, every desperation, every sin from every person who gives Him their all and asks for peace.

Godly People are Found at Jesus’ Feet

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.
— Luke 10:38-39, ESV

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
— John 12:3, ESV

Miriam (Moses’ sister), or Mary, is the most common name a Jewish family would give to a girl.  There are six Mary’s mentioned in the New Testament, all Jews who became Christians, all outstanding people.  They, like all women and all men, were hurting, desperate, sinful people who were lifted up by God’s grace after faithfully falling down at Jesus’ feet.

This Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, was changed at the beginning of Jesus ministry and, like all truly changed people, persevered to the end.  At both ends she can be found in Scripture sitting at Jesus feet.  She hungered for God’s word, as all of God’s people do, and she poured herself out in public and private worship of Jesus, as all Christians should.

This Jesus you see on Palm Sunday will take away every sin.  This Jesus you see on Palm Sunday will give victory over your pride, freedom from condemnation, and peace with God that lasts forever.  This Jesus you see on Palm Sunday will transform your life, like Mary, like these Palm Sunday pilgrims, like every born again Christian.  Give Him your all and ask Him for peace.

Jesus left Mary’s house in Bethany, rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, then took a weeklong walk to the cross.  He died there on a Friday, rose again on a Sunday.  Jesus gave His all.  Jesus accomplished our peace.  And when Jesus was seen outside the tomb by a few of His faithful followers shortly after the resurrection, look at where they were:

And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
— Matthew 28:9, ESV

This is where you want to be.  Give your all to the Lord, ask the Lord for peace.  Find yourself at Jesus’ feet.

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