Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Unexpected King

Today we remember Jesus' triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Jesus was greeted by the people as the King of Israel:

John 12:12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.
Of course this didn't last too long because in a few days the people were shouting, "Crucify him!"
John 19:14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" 15 They cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."
They rejected their King. Why? Because he wasn't what they expected. He didn't save them from the oppression they were living under, he didn't remove the yoke of the Roman government from off their necks. They expected a king like the other nations had but he didn't establish his kingdom. Instead of preparing the people to battle their enemy, he prepared them to love them. Instead of overthrowing the yoke of oppression, he told them to do more than was expected (Matt. 5:41). And instead of attacking the Roman soldiers, he attacked the religious leaders of Israel. He came to save them from a greater enemy than Rome and they did not realize it. They wanted salvation from Rome but he wanted to give them salvation from the wrath of God.

How could this be the Messiah? What kind of kingdom was he offering, not one that they expected. They expected a king like they had when they were living in a theocracy, they expected a king like David but Jesus stated that his kingdom was not of this world (Matt. 18:36). When he spoke of the kingdom it was in parables of fish, seeds, sheep, wheat and tares, and the prodigal son who was welcomed back even though he squandered his inheritance. What kind of kingdom was that?

The Jews believed that the coming kingdom would be governed by the law of God but Jesus said that he fulfilled the law, how could this be?
Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Even John the Baptist, who proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:36), was confused. If this was the kingdom in which righteous would dwell, why was he in jail (Matt. 11:2-6)? Persecuted for speaking out against the sins of the people including Herod.

The people were expecting a son of David but they didn't expect the Son of God. How could he say that he was like God when he was born of a woman? He was flesh just as they were, how could he blaspheme God that way? Why would the Messiah equate himself with God?

And if they had trouble with the teaching of Jesus before the crucification, then after the crucification it would be impossible for them to think that someone who hung on a tree could be the Messiah because the law states that whosoever hangs on a tree is cursed by God:
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"
How could this be the Messiah who would usher in a time of holiness and righteousness:
Zechariah 14:20 And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, "Holy to the LORD." And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.
They did not realize that though Christ was cursed for us, God accepted his payment for our sin because he was the Lamb of God without a blemish or a stain. He was the perfect sacrifice to be made in our stead. He bore the sins of his people and now we are free of them because the resurrection proved that his sacrifice was accepted by God. The resurrection that we celebrate next Sunday and every Sunday, is the vindication of his sacrifice. We can proclaim that we worship a risen Saviour, one who ushered in the kingdom when he ascended to sit at the right hand of the God.

After Jesus' resurrection, the disciples still didn't get it:
Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
But then he sent his Spirit and they understood and were soon proclaiming the kingdom of God to Jerusalem, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. They understood that the kingdom wasn't a matter of this world but the one to come:
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The king of Israel has arrived and we worship him. The long awaited kingdom has come and though we cannot see it, we have been transfered to it:
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
We are in the kingdom now but we await it's final consummation:
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6 And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
Once again we await the King, who has promised to come and usher in the final consummation of his kingdom:
Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
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  1. CyberCelt said...
    Awesome post. I will have to read it several times to get the full meaning.

    Here from BCs.
    michele said...

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