Celebrating King Jesus while Sheltering-in-Place

Well, here we are, celebrating King Jesus on this special Palm Sunday, while locked down in our homes, helping to “flatten the curve” of the spread of this COVID-19 virus.

Of course, we are not alone. It seems half the world is observing the “shelter-in-place” orders of the “authorities” over them. Paul told Pastor Timothy that such submission “is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:3).

As my own “Pastor Timothy” (Pastor Tim Clark, of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California) has said, we are to submit to authorities but surrender only to our Lord Jesus.

That was the problem in Israel on that first Palm Sunday and the triumphal entry of our Lord Jesus into Jerusalem. Throngs of worshippers joyfully acclaimed Him as the promised Messiah but just five days later they were a terrifying mob calling for his death! They shouted their “Hosanna to the Son of David!” but did not surrender to His Lordship.

 Hosanna means “Save now!” More than a mindless acclamation, it was a messianic plea for deliverance from the oppressive, Roman authorities. The people were publicly acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, “who comes in the name of the Lord!” However, His lordship requires our submission, surrender and obedience.

Praise to the King

The book of Revelation speaks multiple times of the heavenly praise given to our Lord and King, on whose very robe and thigh are declared His exalted name: “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16). Previously, in verses six and seven, He is praised by “the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings.” 

Chapter 5, verse 13, says that “every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea” will declare praise to their Creator-God. In fact, Jesus told the Pharisees, who demanded that He rebuke His disciples, who were rejoicing and praising God “with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen (v.37), that if He silenced the crowd from praising Him “the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).

I recently noticed the following “Worship Sequence” in a hymnal, among the pages of high praise to our King Jesus. The worship leader is urged to proclaim this compilation of verses from Revelation (19:16, 6-7; 5:13 [NIV]) before leading the congregation in singing the modern hymn, “All Hail King Jesus.”

Hallelujah!

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.

Hallelujah!

For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!

Hallelujah!

To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb

Be praise and honor and glory and power 

Forever and ever!

Hallelujah!

Palm Sunday Praise to our King

On this special, memorable and significant Palm Sunday, let us seek to celebrate with a new sense of praise and adoration of our Great King, Jesus our Lord! 

Some of our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing more challenges than others. Yet, we all can seek to find increased faith, hope, and joy in the middle of the world’s muddle–today! This day can be triumphant, as we are reminded of our peace with God, the love of the Father and the fullness and fruitfulness of the Holy Spirit working in our lives!

We can welcome our King into our lives in new and fresh ways. Let me close by suggesting three ways to make this Palm Sunday more meaningful:

First, 

REVIEW the scriptures I have referenced in the above paragraphs and those used today by your pastor in the online teachings from your church. Actually, look them up. Read them aloud for yourself. Underline them for future reference. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that Scripture is given “…that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (NKJV).

Secondly, RENEW your commitments to the Lord and your fellow believers. Have you ever made a “quid pro quo” with the Lord? We’ve heard that Latin phrase a lot in the recent impeachment hearings. It literally means “this for that” or “something for something else.” Maybe you said, “God if you’ll heal me, I will….” Or, “if you get my family out of this mess we are in, we will…” Or, how about commitments to your brothers or sisters in the Lord, “I’ll pray for you!” 

Any of these well-intentioned promises and commitments left unfulfilled become deceptive hindrances to our full surrender to our Lord. Don’t waste the extra discretionary time this “shelter-in-place” has given you. Call, write or pray today–as you may have promised and committed previously!

Finally, REVIVE devotional habits, which may have slipped in actual practice. Bible reading schedules may have been allowed to slide. Prayer practices may have lessened or been excused by pretexts. Let’s revive these devotional practices! Family communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-32) may be even more meaningful during this time of crises and trials. Revive the commitment Josuha made for his family: “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15 (NLT).

Today, Let’s Triumphantly Re-Declare the Victory of our Living Lord!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because He lives, all fear is gone.

Because I know He holds the future,

Life is worth the living, just because He lives!

Words by Bill and Gloria Gaither (1971)

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About His Way with Gary Curtis

Gary Curtis served for 27 years, as part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the Van Nuys, California Foursquare Church. He directed Pastor Jack Hayford's radio and television outreach and, later, the church’s not-for-profit media outreach. Now retired, Gary continues to write a weekly blog at worshipontheway.wordpress.com and frequent articles for digital and print platforms. Gary and his wife live in southern California and have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
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