Roger's Postings

Friday, April 03, 2009

Mark 11:1-10. Your King comes! 5/4/09

(1) As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, {2} saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. {3} If anyone asks you, 'Why are you doing this?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.'" {4} They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, {5} some people standing there asked, "What are you doing, untying that colt?" {6} They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. {7} When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. {8} Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. {9} Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" {10} "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!"

Praise God! Your king – your true leader – our Lord and Master comes. That is the reminder that we are given here today. Our King – the true leader and Lord, ‘has come to town’ - into our world to reign over his kingdom. Jesus has and is coming constantly to us, seeking to give and lead us into a life of peace, hope and contentment. He wants to bring us back into touch with God so that we can have and be a part of the great things of life. He wants us to live with our gracious, loving God.

But the question is, do we want him? Do we really want Jesus as our Lord and King, every day? To answer these questions, I want you think about what your expectations of Jesus are. We hear and know that he is the King of a great kingdom, of which we are a part. We see ourselves as Christians, and the Lord as our God. But what are our expectations of him. I wonder if we do not look to Jesus as we do, say, to our political scene today, where we expect our politicians to give, give, give me: to solve all our problems and make life easy for us, while at the same time letting us do as we please. As long as they do not expect us to pay too much tax or to give up anything.

Yes, too often, we are no different today, than these people of Jesus’ time. These people around Jerusalem had seen many healings and how Jesus provided food for 5,000 people from next nothing; and they had even heard that he had raised a dead person back to life. They heard the way he could speak with authority about all the great things of God. Yep, here was one who could fulfil their dreams; and he even fits many of the Old Testament prophecies about the great Messiah who was to come. So here now comes our king who will drive out the Romans, remove all of our problems and provide us with everything we need.

But where were many of these same people a few days later, when Jesus stood before Pilate? In fact, many of these same people were crying out for his blood: they wanted him put on a cross - wanting him out their lives. When he failed to fulfil their expectations of seeking to get rid of the Romans and setting up their kingdom once more the way they wanted, they pushed him aside as of no value. How fickle we human beings are! How stupid can we be! We do not recognise true greatness when we see it. We do not understand the true nature of our world or of God's kingdom. We far too often simply want our own way in life, to hang with the consequences; and God had better see to it that he does, or we will go looking elsewhere.

Yes today we are no different. We want a king who has the power to zap evil from our lives: who will heal us at a moments notice; who will remove all our problems, at our whim and wish: who will give us gifts to do great and wonderful deeds that will be noticed: and who will give us an easy run through life. In other words, we want a king who fits our terms of reference, rather than accepting him as Lord and King. Sadly, we just do not understand – we just do not want to understand.

Here I would like to remind you again of our reading from Philippians this morning.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus was God. He was divine. He had all glory and power. But he put all of that aside. He never once used his own godly power: even when he performed the miracles that he did. He called on his Father for this. When he walked this earth, he did so as one of us in every way - except that he did not sin. As King, he sought to identify himself with us - without exception. He came to serve and to give of himself for our benefit: not by handing out a few lollies; a few goodies and by simply being a good bloke; but by getting right down to earth and dealing with our real problem - that of sin: taking the punishment on himself, for what you, I and everyone has done wrong; so that we can again be a part of his kingdom. He deals with God's glory and justice so that we can be a part of God's family forever, instead of going to Hell.

The price, had to be paid, for what we so wilfully and blatantly do and have done by our disregard of God and his Word. So he, being our King, went to the cross on our behalf, willingly and obediently, so that we can be a part of his kingdom. That is our Jesus – that is our King – our Lord and Master. That is why we are here today. For here, now, we have a true and lasting King: one who is above and beyond all our fickleness and who ‘gets his hands dirty’ dealing with the important issues of life; not just the popular and the easy.

As a result; God has raised him high and given him the name which above all other names. That, is also why he now stands as the only door to heaven: the only source of salvation and true meaning and purpose to living. Here, we are again, reminded that everyone will acknowledge Jesus Christ as the great King sooner or later: either to their benefit or destruction. For those who trust that he died on the cross for their sins and who look to him as their Lord and follow him and his ways; theirs is a life of sharing eternity with God in paradise. But for those who choose to ignore him now and think that they can live as they please, or who simply choose to look to him as one who should give to them what they think they need, they will find that they will have to stand before Jesus on Judgement Day and acknowledge after-all that he is the only way; and then go to their destruction in hell.

But even now, he seeks to come to us as Lord and King, to lead and guide us as we live out our daily lives. Here also he has come right down to where we are: week by week; day by day, as we hear, read and meditate on his Word he continues to remind us of the important things in life that we need to know as his people. There he leads and guides as to how we are to live as people who belong to his kingdom, and to warn us of the dangers that are ever present around us. Through Baptism, he comes to each of us and brings us into his kingdom, assuring us of our adoption into his family. Then again, week by week as we gather at the Altar Rail he gives himself to us so that we can know for sure that he has forgiven us and accepts us as his very own. He comes to us in our brothers and sisters as we support and care for one another as fellow Christians.

But again, we need to remember that this Jesus and his kingship is far different from what the world sees as power and glory. His throne and might hangs on the cross. His coming is on a donkey: in the very simple and ordinary of life. Yet within that cross; the Word, the Sacraments, comes life and salvation to each and every one of us. In connection with him, we are sons and daughters of God almighty himself. All made possible by his humbling himself and becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This Jesus is the King that has and is coming into our world. This Jesus is the One who comes to bring blessing and peace to us who trust in him. Let us continue to look to him now and everyday as our Lord and King. Let us seek from him those important things that he has to give: that which cost him dearly, so that we can be a part of his kingdom. Let us this coming week recognise the importance of what this great King has done for you and me; and celebrate it. Let us hail Jesus as our true and lasting King, now and always. Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the coming kingdom. Praise God! AMEN

Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


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