Posts Tagged ‘Theology of the Cross; God of opposites’

He Entered As A King

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Mark 11:1-11

Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018
Rev. Brian Henderson-pastor of
Trinity Lutheran Church,
7210 Lisbon Street
San Diego, CA 92114

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INTRODUCTION: Jesus rode into Jerusalem the Sunday before His betrayal, before the thorns and the nails, as a King; as Christ the Lord. A Roman leader would have ridden in a chariot pulled by magnificent white stallions… Jesus entered the city on a donkey, and a borrowed one at that!
1. A political leader would have been surrounded by security guards who would have kept crowds from close physical contact to prevent any personal harm to him… Jesus was surrounded by his disciples representing many walks of life and rode into the midst of the people, almost at their level.

2. A military leader would have galloped along the road, passing the crowds with perhaps a wave of the hand or a nod of the head if there were any recognition at all… Jesus on a donkey moved slowly with the people, accompanying the people, as well as accompanied by the people.

3. A religious leader in traditional, appropriate priestly robes would have moved sedately through the crowds surrounded by an orderly contingency of other religious leaders who would’ve prevented anyone who was unclean from touching him… but Jesus, dressed in his usual attire, moved humbly through the crowds, surrounded by his diverse band of disciples, not shrinking from the touch of anyone.

Summary: So, He did not come on a war horse in a great procession. He was not met by heads of state and dignitaries. He did not go to a palace or sit on a throne.
His Kingdom isn’t adorned with those things. No, this King came in humility. He wore clothes of the common man and was cheered on by children. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey; He came in that day to fulfill scripture and as an answer to the crowds prayers: “Hosanna” save us Lord, God. He wasn’t lured into the city by Jewish treachery or by Roman hatred, but instead He came because of His love for sinners, even for us. He came to do His Father’s will and save His people.

I. God always comes in a way we do not expect.

A. He always works in a way this fallen world won’t recognize. He is a God of opposites. Jesus comes to suffer and die, not to prosper and live.

B. His suffering and death is called “the Passion” because it was His deep and active love that led Him to the cross. The cross is the place for murderers and thieves, but God says that it is the place for His Son.

C. The cross was the appropriate penalty for Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit, and it is the appropriate penalty for sinners like us; the cross is the way of death that leads to eternal life. Someone had to die once and for all for our sins.

D. In this way, the King submitted to His own Law. The King would breathe His last breath and die a real death for those He loves; for us. He would die for men and women who in God’s eyes, in their own eyes are lawless rebels. He would die, for us, we who mock His royalty and His divinity by our sinful lives. He would die for us, we who thought we knew better than He, in regards to what makes us happy; we who drank too much, who were sexually promiscuous, who have lusted with our eyes and have told lies; we who have gossiped and been lazy, we who have been racist and desiring vengeance upon those who have hurt or insulted us; we who have viewed pornography and stolen, who have neglected our children and pretended to be things that we’re not.

TRANSITION: Jesus, the King came to die for us.

II. For us He is King. For us He came, He died, and He rose.

A. We had no other help, no other hope. We were struck down in our guilt and dead in our trespasses. But remember, His love for us the unlovable, is intense. So intense, that He would obediently walk on towards a certain, tortuous, and agonizing death with the full guilt of sins of the world upon His shoulders; sins that He did not commit were weighing upon His soul.

B. Ride on, ride on to majesty Lord, to the shameful execution reserved for rebels who try to force away the Kingdom from the King. That was our crime, our sins He was riding on towards. But He took it upon Himself and voluntarily paid the penalty. The charge over His head (INRI, which is the Latin abbreviation for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) was true on several levels, but never as the joke they meant it to be. For us He is King. He came, He died, and He rose.
Jesus rode on that day unwilling to compromise.

ILLUS: Perhaps some of you saw Mel Gibson’s movie that came out a few years ago called Braveheart. In the movie William Wallace (a Scottish commoner) attempts to unite the feuding clans of Scotland in their fight against England in the 13th century. He attempts to elicit the help of Robert the Bruce, the leader of the most powerful clan. Bruce refuses to help and in retrospect he says: “Wallace is an uncompromising man. Uncompromising men are admirable. But only a compromising man can be king.”

We can affirm that on Palm Sunday an uncompromising man became King of all history. Of course, there are many things that we do have to bend on. On strategies we can compromise, but not in regards to both the Word and will of God.

TRANSITION: There must come a time when we ask ourselves: Shall I compromise on the Word of God—Yes or No? Palm Sunday challenges the notion that all of life is but a part of the compromising process.

III. Jesus Kingly love was so intense that first Palm Sunday that it would bring forgiveness for all of our sins.

A. It removes every not-so-nice thought, every bad deed, and every shameful, despicable act we hope our mothers never learn of. The ransom has been gladly paid. His Kingly love has declared you worthy of the price of His life. He gives as a gift to you what Adam sought to steal. He gives Divine knowledge of good and evil that flesh and blood has not revealed. He makes you like Himself, a son of His Father, who enjoys life everlasting and eternal reign in heaven.

B. Jesus passion is about His love and the extravagant lengths He’s gone to in order to rescue you from death. It would be counter to God’s will for us to feel guilty about His death for us or to be sad about the story of His life, suffering, and death as it is read this Friday. For He did all of that to remove guilt, to heal wounds, to bind up hearts, and bestow joy. He has laid down His life once and for all, of His own will, on purpose, to set you free. He knew the cost and He did it anyway. It was His desire to do it for you.

C. The cross is His glory. For the cross is where His love is seen by men, women and children; its the place where He draws all people unto Himself. It is your glory, too. For you were born there out of His side. From your mother’s womb you came forth in water and in blood. From the side of Christ flows the birthing waters of Baptism in which you have been drowned and from where you have been raise. From the side of Christ flows the sustaining life poured out and into the the cup of which you partake. From the cross you are a new creation, beloved of the Father as His child where the Holy Spirit lives and dwells, in the Grace of the Son. You have been joined to Christ’s holy death. So now, His cross is your glory. And one day soon you will also be joined to His resurrection.

CONCLUSION: So now we begin our most holiest week, our most solemn celebration. We commemorate the beginnings of the New Covenant in Christ’s Blood, the destruction of Hell and its power in His holy death, and the justification of His Kingship one week from today. Please do not be sad or feel guilty. For behold, Daughter of Zion, your King comes to you in love. Ride on, ride on in majesty Lord, as we follow you for eternity…

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.