Looking for a King
April 14, 2019 Pastor: John Palka
Scripture: Matthew 21:1-9
Have you ever waited for something a long time…waiting and waiting, longing for the day when it was finally in your hands? And then finally that day comes, BUT you quickly find out it’s not what you expected. My first Big-Boy job out of college was like that. I was so excited to finally have that job and live in Chicago. But then the daily grid became a reality and it was not so glamorous.
Sometime we find ourselves wanting something, but in reality we only want part of something. I’ll take that high paying job, but I’ll leave all the stress and long hours that come with it. Good luck with that! I’ll take the boyfriend or girlfriend, but I’ll leave the commitment it takes. Aint going to happen! I’ll take the cute little babies, but I’ll leave the sleepless night. They call that being a grandparent.
The people of Israel wanted a king. They wanted to be out from under the rule of Rome. They wanted national power and status, but they didn’t want to embrace God’s King and God’s Kingdom and God’s rule in their lives.
It’s tempting to treat our faith in Jesus like that. I pick and choose the aspects of Christian spirituality attractive to me TODAY and I leave behind that those that don’t work for me. I’ll take the grace and forgiveness, but I’m not so sure about that confession and repentance thing…way to judgmental. I’ll take God’s peace, but I’m not so sure about that thing called obedience. I’ll take Jesus as my Savior, but I’m not so sure about Him being my King and Lord.
As we look at the story of Palm Sunday we’re going to gain a better understanding of who Jesus is and why he came. And we’re going to be challenged not to cherry-pick our relationship to Jesus, but to embrace Him our Savior and our king.
The people of Israel had been waiting a long time for the coming of their king. That day had finally arrived. The Israelites knew their Holy Scripture. They knew Zechariah 9:9 that foretold of a King who would come to re-establish the glory and power of God’s people and they were God’s people. Zechariah wrote, Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt. The Israelites knew of an even more ancient prophecy that foretold the mighty of the king. Gn. 49:10-11a, Jacob prophetically spoke to his son Judah… The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor. 11 He ties his foal to a grapevine, the colt of his donkey to a choice vine.
Jesus was that long-awaited king who would hold the king’s scepter and staff and the people of Jerusalem were ready welcome him with honor and glory. To honor Jesus they laid palm fronds and their cloaks down on the ground to form a royal carpet. Mt. 21:8-10a, 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!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up…
Can you imagine the celebration and joy? But something was not right. Events rapidly went wrong. Rather than taking his rightful place in a position of power, the religious officials were trying to kill him and soon enough they would succeed. This was not the king they wanted.
• Kings rode on horses. King Jesus rode on a donkey.
• Kings were adorned in royal apparel. King Jesus wore the clothes of a humble peasant.
• Kings were accompanied by an entourage of fighting men. King Jesus rode in followed by only by a few ragtag friends.
• Kings had many servants. King Jesus served many.
• Kings ruled over the people. King Jesus ministered to the people.
• Kings feasted on sumptuous foods prepared for them. King Jesus multiplied fish and loaves of bread to feed others.
• Kings wore crowns of gold and precious gems. King Jesus soon wore a crown of thorns.
• Kings made loud proclamations and the people were silent. King Jesus stood silently when the people yelled, “Crucify Him.”
• Kings were protected at all costs. King Jesus soon gave His life paying the cost of all sin.
This is not the king the people of Israel wanted.
It’s all too easy for us to walk down the same path. I am quick to confess Jesus to be my Savior. Without hesitation I say Jesus is the forgiver of my sins.
But then there’s this other thing of Jesus being my King and my Lord. I’m not so sure about that. I’ll take Jesus as my conveyor of grace, as my Savior, but I’m not so sure about my Lord and King.
The day Jesus arrived in Jerusalem was very foretelling of exactly what kind of a king was riding on a donkey. On the Jewish calendar it was the 10th day of Nisan, a very important date. This is the day when the people of Israel would select the lambs to be sacrificed for the annual Passover sacrifice. Do you see what was going on? Jesus, humbly riding in on a donkey was being selected by God the Father as the perfect, sacrificial Passover lamb who would take away the sins of the world.
In Rev. 1:5-6 we see Jesus as both sacrifice and forgiver and King and Lord. Revelation 1:5-6 … To him [Jesus] who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood…to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
In this verse we see exactly who came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey’s back. Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God who shed his blood to forgive our sins AND he is the King who possesses all dominion and power forever and ever.
Jesus wants to be your Savior, your forgiver, AND he wants to be the Lord and King of your life.
One day, Jesus knocked on the door of a house. The owner opened the door. Jesus asked to come into the house. The owner was please to have Jesus as his guest and invited him onto the front porch. Jesus sat down on the porch and said “It’s great to be with you, but I really wanted to sit inside your house.” They owner said “Sure, come into my living room.” They sat down in the living room. Jesus said “I’m glad to be in your house, but I really would also like to go into the kitchen.” The owner invited Jesus into the kitchen. Sitting in the kitchen Jesus finally said, “This is even better, but I came to be in all the rooms of your house.” The owner finally relented and gave Jesus free reign to all the rooms in the house except for one. For years, this is the way it remained. Jesus sat in the house and the owner would often spend his time in that forbidden room. They may have lived in the same house, but they were virtual strangers.
As Jesus rides into our hearts through the water and word of baptism or through the Bible, He comes as Savior, Redeemer and Forgiver, BUT also as Lord and King. That Savior and King is the one who calls out, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls