KING OF KINGS 3-25-18
King of Kings
March 25th, 2018
By now most of you are quite familiar with the events that unfolded the Sunday before Christ was crucified, which we now celebrate as “Palm Sunday”. You heard them again in our second Scripture reading (Matthew 21:1-11). Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey – something that irreverent folks have made many jokes about, due to what donkeys are also called. But have you ever really thought about why Jesus entered Jerusalem this way?
My husband sometimes likes to pick on me for my little car, a Chevy Spark. He has said to me several times that a pastor needs to drive something more befitting of a pastor, like maybe a Cadillac. But I quickly remind him that Jesus chose to ride a donkey – not a regal stallion that a king of that day might choose.
I am quite certain that the Jewish leaders wondered about Jesus’ choice of rides as well. After all, they were looking for a king that would save them from the Romans, not from their sins. They wanted a warrior, not a gentle Savior. Not that Jesus’ didn’t have the power to destroy the Romans if that would have been His mission. He did quite a number on the moneychangers in the temple after He entered Jerusalem, which we read in the next two verses of Matthew 21 (vs. 12-13) “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers’”. But, of course, this was hardly what they had in mind.
Even Jesus’ followers were confused quite often about His true mission. One in particular became very disillusioned when he realized that Jesus’ wasn’t what he personally wanted him to be. But then I will go into that more in my message on Maundy Thursday about betrayal.
How many times do we try to make someone be what we want them to be, instead of what God has created them to be? Our idea of the ideal boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, doesn’t always line up with the person we are in a relationship with. Do we love them for who they are, or for who we would like them to be? Judging by the divorce rate in this country, I would venture to say that far too often we think we can mold someone into who we would like them to be, and when we can’t, we look for an easier lump of clay to work with. But the Bible says that God is the potter who creates us for His uses (Romans 9:21). We are not to try and mold someone else for our own purposes. And we are not called to fit into someone else’s mold, either. We are simply called to love each other, and to be what God has called each us to be.
Children often follow paths other than the ones their parents had hoped they would follow. What do mean my son doesn’t want to take over the family business? How could my daughter even consider that person for a husband? Or in my case, “You can’t be a pastor”. But while parents are responsible for directing their children in the fear of the Lord, it is the Lord who we need to trust to guide them on the correct path for their life.
What about government leaders? I know there are many, many people that are not happy with those we have in office. They voted, but the person they thought would have made a better leader didn’t win. Have they forgotten that it is God that ultimately has the final word on who leads each country? Daniel 2:21 says that God “…changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning”. Sometimes it is to bless a country and sometimes it is to judge it. Regardless of the reason, we are wise to remember that God doesn’t make mistakes, but He does call us to honor whomever He has lifted up. The apostle Paul said “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2). And that doesn’t just go for government leaders, that goes for the shepherds of God’s flock as well.
But we also must remember that human leaders are just that – human. They are not perfect. They will make mistakes. They have feelings just like everyone else. And they need our prayers.
So what about Jesus? Is He the sort of king you want Him to be? One that was willing to die – not to save you from the Romans, or the Republicans, or Democrats, or higher taxes, or whatever you deem evil in today’s society – but to save you from YOUR sins. One that is humble and gentle, except when it comes to those who would make a mockery of His Father’s house or who malign or misuse God’s Word? He even forgave the ones who nailed Him to the cross! Is this your idea of a king? Or are you looking for a king who will grant you your every earthly desire and ask for nothing in return? You aren’t going to get that in an earthly leader, and even less in a heavenly king. Selfishness and greed will ultimately rob you of everything of value. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. Neither are true and lasting riches. We are called to “seek the kingdom of God above all else” and then “he will give you everything you need”. (Matthew 6:33). We are promised that “The LORD will not let the godly go hungry, but He refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked” (Proverbs 10:3).
So as Jesus’ made His entry into Jerusalem on that day, would you have been shouting “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” to Jesus the true King of Kings? Would you have laid your coat down in His path, and waved that palm branch you are holding as an extension of the worship in your heart?
Remember, the day is coming when Jesus will return. Except this time it won’t be on a donkey. He will be riding a white horse, and the armies of heaven will be with Him, as it says in Revelation 19:11-16 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Amen. Come quickly Lord Jesus.