Roger's Postings

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Luke 19:28-40             Your King has come??                                                24/4/13

(28)  After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. {29} As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, {30} "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. {31} If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.'" {32} Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. {33} As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" {34} They replied, "The Lord needs it." {35} They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. {36} As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. {37} When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: {38} "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" {39} Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" {40} "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

Tell the world her King has come! The King has come to save his people! Even if you keep quiet, the stones will cry out." And two thousand years ago the world rushes to and fro in an attempt to jump on the bandwagon. Back then they were desperately looking for a way out of the mess they were in. They knew things were not the way they should be or the way they were meant to be. So they were looking for a leader who would get them out trouble; who would provide them with miracle after miracle; and who would drive out the Romans and set up their own nation once again.

So at the first cry that a saviour has come they all rush out to shout their accolades to the one they think might be able to help them. Here hopefully, is a glimmer of hope: Thinking of course, primarily in the short term, of personal gain and a reduction of hardship and pain: Hoping for a better and easier future ahead: Looking for powerful leadership, without too much commitment, difficulty and service on their part.

Today, are things any different? People are still looking for an easy way through life; for quick-fixes; and for any sort of saviour that might get them out of the mess of life. And our saviours that we have heralded in recent times are technology, the environmentalists, and the economists. And in the churches it is the church growth gurus and the proponents of ten easy steps to whatever in our Christian life, all of which focuses on me and what I want and feel, and must do. And people all over the place have been jumping on the bandwagon; shouting the importance of this new thinking: Desperately hoping that this will now ensure us a long, happy, and easy life, and maybe a better future ahead.

Now if we go back a few years, nuclear power was heralded as the way ahead, and at another time and place communism was held up as being the saviour of the human race. Throughout the years mankind has looked for its heralded saviours, and have too often only been disappointed when that one they looked to fails to produce the desired hope and results, and so they soon lose interest and start looking for another way out, or they give up altogether.

Sadly, too often, the same thing has happened in Christian circles. People have given up on their churches, because they have failed to deliver. But here it is not God and the Gospel that has failed, but too often, it is either that the truths of the Scriptures that have not been presented correctly or that people have chosen not to believe that message; that Good News. People have or are given the wrong idea as to what the world and the church needs.

But in that regard, very little has changed over the years. In this reading, when we look to the one who was and is the true saviour of mankind; to the one who truly had power to bring about a new and better world, we see peoples attitudes are little different. The people had heard and saw how Jesus healed the sick, gave food to thousands by a miracle, and how he even raised Lazarus from the dead. Suddenly there is a rising surge of feelings. Here we have one who would be really good to have as our king. He could take care of all our earthly problems, by giving food, and taking care of any physical ailments. And surely he could even drive out the Romans.

Then there would be no more hassles of having to work hard for a living. No more fear and worry of sickness and death, and hopefully just lot of pleasure, leisure, and an easy way through life. So when they hear that this Jesus is coming to town, the multitude rush out with great expectations, and a growing swell start to sing the praises of this one they would like to make their king. And the chant is taken up long before they even catch a glimpse of their great hope. A huge fanfare arises to greet him.

Then their king comes riding in. Humble, gentle and riding on a donkey. No grand heroic figure. No mighty conqueror, mounted on his fiery steed. No strong, imposing, charismatic figure. Humble and riding on a donkey. Here was a man who was not full of his own self importance, but knowing very well what he is on about. A gentle man, who was not wanting to hurt anyone, even when the crowds turn against him. When he was confronted by the Roman governor, even there he didn’t defend himself. He was single minded in his priority to make things right with God for us, and was prepared to give his life in order to achieve it.

So here was a man not interested in himself and his own welfare. His kingdom was not of this world. He had more important things on his mind than food for the stomach and a free Israel. He wanted to give life to people beyond the three score and ten years or so that we have here on earth. He wanted us be a part God’s family forever, and he knew that the only way he could help in this regard was to give his life, so that we could have life.

But of course this was not what the people wanted. It may have been what they needed, but it was not what they wanted. So the praises of Palm Sunday soon turned to cries of,  crucify him’, ‘crucify him’. When he doesn’t produce what they had in mind they soon rejected him and went looking elsewhere to find that which would make them feel good.

So also today, many reject Jesus as King because he doesn’t fit what they want from him. He doesn’t fit the sort of saviour they think he should be, and they fail to accept that this is God’s way for us. The only way! And they also reject that the truths of the Bible are relevant for their lives. So they change things to suit themselves and the ways of the world: Trying to be popular, and hoping to find a saviour and king there. But it doesn’t work!

However, here we need to remember that Jesus is still King. He is still the King of kings and Lord of lords, even though most people around us might not acknowledge him as such. He is still God’s only Son who has come to us to give us what we need. He is still the only real saviour who can help us out in the important areas of life. And all who believe in him; who receive him as the Son of God, and their Saviour and King, are assured that he does give them what is essential for us, both for this life and the next. That he has, and does, make a difference to the lives of people who look to him in faith and accept his ways and Words as the truth.

So let us first and foremost, continue to acknowledge Jesus as the only true King and Lord. Let us not impose our desires and wants onto our saviour and King, but humbly accept what he has to give and to say to us about himself and his kingdom. Let us also encourage others to see Jesus as the only true saviour. The only one who can really help them in the important areas of life, even if it may not look that way on the surface.

 His entry into Jerusalem and subsequent death on the cross is crucial for us all and for our salvation. His offering of forgiveness is power for life. His Word and the Sacraments; the ordinary things of life, do offer reassurance, strength, life and hope. And there we have the real important things for our life and our future. So let us focus on him and these wonderful gifts he offers to us, and let us continue to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and King. ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest.  AMEN.

 Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish



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