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二○一九年四月十三日/四月十四日                                                                                         Click here for English version

從棕樹主日到終極得勝

潘建堂牧師

在受苦節前的一個主日,傳統上稱為「棕樹主日」(Palm Sunday),是受難週(或稱「聖週」,Holy Week)的開始。

根據聖經記載,耶穌在進入耶路撒冷的時候,民眾是拿著棕樹枝來歡迎祂,並以祂為王(約十二 13)。棕樹枝代表得勝,耶穌騎著驢子進入耶路撒冷,其實是以王的姿態出現。古時君王在得勝時都是策馬而歸的,但耶穌騎驢的行動卻應驗了舊約聖經的預言:「錫安的民哪,應當大大喜樂;耶路撒冷的民哪,應當歡呼。看哪,你的王來到你這裡!祂是公義的,並且施行拯救,謙謙和和地騎著驢,就是騎著驢的駒子。」(亞九 9)而當時的民眾可能是因為聽到耶穌叫拉撒路復活的消息,就認定祂是他們所等候的彌賽亞。

諷刺的是,幾天之後,民眾就喊著要把耶穌釘十字架。然而,這種矛盾只是出於人的限制和軟弱,而非因為耶穌不是王、不是真正的彌賽亞。耶穌的十字架上面寫著祂的罪狀:「猶太人的王」(太二十七 37),審問耶穌的彼拉多也問祂說:「你是王嗎?」耶穌回答說:「你說我是王。我為此而生,也為此來到世間,特為給真理作見證。凡屬真理的人就聽我的話。」(約十八 37)

因此,棕樹主日所帶出的信息,是真理的主預備為我們受苦,祂是真正的王,並且祂要得著最後的勝利。棕樹枝所代表的得勝,及後在啟示錄也再次被運用:

「此後,我觀看,見有許多的人,沒有人能數過來,是從各國、各族、各民、各方來的,站在寶座和羔羊面前,身穿白衣,手拿棕樹枝,大聲喊著說:『願救恩歸與坐在寶座上我們的神,也歸與羔羊!』」(啟七 9-10)

從棕樹主日到受苦節,再到復活節主日,是救恩信息的高峰。一方面,我們要回想耶穌基督的寶貴救恩,在節期中透過相關的聚會思念基督捨己的愛和得勝的榮耀。另一方面,如果啟示錄所述說的屬天敬拜是我們今天敬拜的藍本,那麼,棕樹枝誠然是長久的得勝記號。

棕樹枝的象徵意義告訴我們,得勝的盼望永遠是我們向上敬拜的動力,是我們人生向前邁進的鼓勵。耶穌基督的救恩已經成就,我們要重溫救恩的歷史和基督的心路歷程,因為聖經寫下這些內容,最終是叫我們倚靠那坐在父右邊、為我們代求的復活主。






Pastor's Sharing
From Palm Sunday to the Final Victory
Rev Pun Kin Tong

The Sunday before Good Friday, traditionally known as Palm Sunday, marks the start of Passion Week, or Holy Week.

According to the Bible, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the great crowd took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! … Blessed is the king of Israel!" (John 12:13) Palm branches stand for victory, and Jesus entered Jerusalem as king, on a donkey. In the old days, the kings returned to their cities in triumph on horses, but Jesus' entry on a donkey fulfilled the Old Testament prophesy: "Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). The crowd at that time might have got news that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and thought Jesus must be the awaited Messiah.

Ironically, the crowd made an about-turn a few days later. This time, they wanted Jesus crucified. Nevertheless, such contradiction only arose from human limitations and weaknesses. It was not because Jesus is not king or the Messiah. Above Jesus' head on the cross, they placed the written charge against him: "This is Jesus, the king of the Jews" (Matthew 27:37). Pontius Pilate, who conducted the trial of Jesus, also asked Him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me" (John 18:37).

As such, the Palm Sunday message is this: The Lord of Truth is prepared to suffer for our sake. He is the real king. And His will be the ultimate triumph. Victory as signified by palm branches appears again later in the Book of Revelation:

"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'" (Revelation 7:9-10)

The week from Palm Sunday to Good Friday to Easter Sunday forms the climax of the salvation story. We need to reflect on the Jesus Christ' precious redemption and, through seasonal gatherings, commemorate His sacrificial love and victorious glory. Meanwhile, if the celestial worship in Revelation is to be the blueprint of our worship today, then the palm branches must be a mark of eternal victory.

Symbolically, palm branches reveal the hope of victory, which will always motivate us in worship and encourage advancement in our lives. Redemption through Jesus Christ is accomplished. Let us re-visit the history of salvation and the heart and mind of Christ on His way to the cross. After all, the Bible has recorded all of this to help us depend on the One sitting at the right hand of God – the risen Lord who intercedes on our behalf.