April 13, 2014
In the Name X of Jesus. AMEN!
Beloved in the Lord,
Hosanna to our Coming King
It was very early on the first day of the week. The sun had barely risen and Jerusalem was awakening from a deep sleep. There was a cool wind blowing, the wind of deliverance swept through every alley, every campsite, every heart of those gathered for the Passover. It was at Passover that Israel was delivered from Pharaoh and his armies. Therefore every Passover was now full of expectation and messianic fervor. At Passover Lord will deliver His people once more.
The first day of the week was Sunday and this Sunday was also the tenth day of the month. On the tenth day of the month all Israel selected a male Lamb without spot, stain or blemish, to be the Passover Lamb, the Lamb chosen to suffer sacrifice and serve as a feast for the people of God on the fourteenth day of the month. When God delivers His people He does so through the shedding of blood and the sharing of a meal.
This Sunday, this tenth day of the month was unlike all other Sundays before it. This Sunday Jesus comes to Jerusalem. The winds of delivers blow across the landscape as the people are in great expectation. Behold the son of David approaching on a colt, all are reminded of Solomon’s coronation so long ago. Seizing the moment, recalling the past deeds of the Lord, the people line the streets to welcome their coming king. The time is now. The king they’ve always wanted is approaching. Jesus is finally coming to take His throne. The crowds wave their palm branches. The children sing their sacrifice of praise. Hosannas greet the rising sun as Jesus rides into Jerusalem. What had been expected all along is today fulfilled. “Behold, your king comes to you sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
The Kings of the Earth (our Kind of king – brings fear)
But what sort of king is Jesus to be for the Jews, the world, and you? What sort of king is really expected? Humanity has always lusted after the kings of the world. Even Israel begged old Eli for a king. “Behold, [they said] you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (1Sa 8:5 ESV). Coveting a king like the nations Israel rejected not only old Eli but also the Lord as their King. They would be governed by power and royal decree rather than gentleness and mercy. And their heart’s desire would be fulfilled. God would give them their king that Israel might learn to love the Lord rather than trust in men. Giving them a “king like the nations” God also gave them a warning. “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and . . . 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will takethe tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.” (1Sa 8:11-17 ESV) A king like the nations will not be a king like the Lord. “The rulers of the gentiles lord it over them and their great ones exercise authority over them.” (Matthew 20:25) A king like the nations will take, tax, and terrify. What Israel desired from Eli then, so they also desire from Jesus. They want Jesus to be a king like the nations, a king like Solomon, a king greater than Caesar, a king who takes from the Romans and gives to the people of Israel, a king who plunders and ravages his enemies and brings glory and honor to the nation. Israel desires the wrong king of king because this sort of king brings fear. Fear is what the kings of the nations use to exercise their power.
To ask what sort of King is Jesus is really to ask what sort of Jesus rides into Jerusalem. Like Israel we also covet the mighty and the powerful. Glory is our deepest desire and with glory comes plunder. And plunder, it is believed, does not disappoint. With Jesus as our King the expectations of our heart’s desire come to fulfillment. But the human heart desires the wrong things. Like ancient Israel we’re more concerned with bread and water; those things which sustain this earthly life, than we are with the Word of God. Like ancient Israel we wish to rise up and play before our idols rather than follow the Light of God’s Word for our lives. Like Israel we long for a king “like the nations” because we really would rather be like the nations than the Lord our God. Like Israel we prefer Solomon in all his glory to Jesus in His humiliation. Like Israel we would rather have Caesar because Caesar is a king after our own hearts. He’s a man of action, a man of power, a commander of armies, and a ruler of nations. He’s the sort of king we expect kings to be. He’s the sort of king every man wants to be. He’s the sort of king the bible warns us about – he’s a king like the nations.
The King comes as Lamb and not a Lion
A king like the nations cannot be the sort of king the people of God need. A king like the nations cannot deal with the sin except to punish it, crucify it, and put it to death. Such a king for us would destroy us because we have sin. We have transgressed the laws of the land and the law of the Lord. “All we like sheep have gone astray we’ve turned everyone to his own way.” “There is no one righteous, no not one. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
It is for this reason that Jesus comes to us as a different sort of King. Warrior kings strike fear in their subjects. Jesus is not come as a warrior king. The kings of the nations lead armies with swords and spears. Jesus is not come like Caesar. He brings no swords or spears, only the Word of a gracious God. Worldly kings take and tax and terrify. But Jesus has come to wash, sanctify and justify by water and His Word. Men die for their king. Jesus has come to die for men, women, and children.
Jesus is a different sort of King. He’s the sort of King who enters His holy city in meekness and humility riding the colt of a donkey. He’s the sort of King who receives the praise of children even as He offer Himself to Israel as a Lamb to be slaughtered. Jesus, the lion of the tribe of Judah, is come as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
In Jesus God deals with sin, death, and hell; your sin, death and hell. It is the tenth day of the month and Jesus enters Jerusalem to be for Jerusalem and all the nations a Lamb, perfect, without spot, stain or blemish; a royal Lamb to be slain on a wooden altar for you and me and the world. Jesus is the sort of king who actually loves His children, you and me and the world. He enters Jerusalem in meekness that no one is afraid to draw near to him. He does not come to bring violence or judgment but to suffer it on your behalf. Jesus draws near to die for you, to cover over your sins with holy blood, and to endure the forsakenness of God on your behalf. Sin, death and hell all ravage Him on the cross but His relentless love for you and all people fetter him to the wood more firmly than iron and spear. Jesus will not come down. He will not fight back. He will not curse. He will not call His armies. He will not be Caesar. Jesus will be the sort of King who saves His people from their sins, the sort of King who saves you and me and the world. Hosanna to the Son of David!
The King of kings
The sort of King who saves you and me and the world is not the sort of king who takes, taxes and terrifies. The King of our salvation gives, offers, and comforts poor souls like ours with the forgiveness of our sins. Where you and I have wandered and coveted and gone our own way, the one who rides into Jerusalem calls, gathers and enlightens by His Holy Spirit. He would be your king by grace through faith, not to terrify you, not to judge you, but to console you and forgive you, to wash you and sanctify you and justify you in His name. Jesus brings peace with His presence and His presence is your salvation. In order to give you eternal life and salvation Jesus gives you Himself. Giving Himself He gives all that He is and all that He has and all that He’s done to you and for you. And His giving happens in very real time at very real places through very real means. He is the sort of King who continues to come to His people with gifts of mercy and divine love. The Word gives us Jesus. Baptism gives us Jesus. Absolution gives us Jesus. The supper gives us Jesus. Wherever God would be found saving sinners from sin, death and hell, there is God giving us Jesus who has borne our sin, conquered our death, and defeated hell for us and for the entire world being raised from the dead on the third day. The King of kings is constantly giving and being given to us and for us, to you and for you right here, right now, and right there (pointing to the altar and the font). Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna to our Coming King!
God’s King gives Himself in the Supper
Beloved in the Lord, it is the first day of the week, and the King of kings comes to you this morning. Fear not, daughter of Zion, your king is coming to you riding in, with, and under bread and wine. The humble colt which bore the incarnate God to the peoples is exchanged for common food and drink. There is amongst us a Spirit of deliverance in the air. God’s Word thunders from the heavens to earth, for you and for me. Whenever God delivers His people He does so through the shedding of blood and the sharing of a meal. The Lamb has been slain but lives! Living forever He reigns! Reigning on high He offers His body and His blood for you, for the forgiveness of your sins, for life eternal, for your joy and your delight. Truly, He is king like no other. Hosanna to our coming King. Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!