Sunday, March 20, 2016

What kind of King? Clues from Luke 19:28-44

Palm Sunday is the time of year we celebrate the procession into Jerusalem--a royal procession declaring that Jesus is king.  But what kind of king is Jesus?

There are a number of clues in the text that can give us insight into just what kind of King Jesus is.

Our text is  Luke 19:28-44.

The first clue is that Jesus asks his disciples to find him a donkey or a young colt.  The symbolism in this choice of how to ride into Jerusalem was deliberate and calculated--designed to reveal just what kind of king Jesus would be.  Most kings would ride in to their royal city on a horse with his army in tow.  But a king who rides in on a donkey is one who would bring peace.

He did not come with a sword, or an army or on a horse nor did he come in a chariot.  Jesus came riding on a donkey in humility defining himself as a king of peace.

Our second clue is the emotion displayed by Jesus.  I find it interesting that he is not riding in with a look of triumph or even with a joyous expression welcoming the worship being offered.  Jesus comes riding on a donkey weeping tears of sorrow--perhaps intercessions for what he knows is going to happen.

Jesus is not like the rulers of this world who capture through power and might.  He is a man of peace who weeps in compassion and prayer.  In the Greek expression of the word, it is more than a tear trickling down but a full out display of tears falling down his face--weeping.  Today by our leadership standards, we would consider him weak.  (think about that for a moment)

And he says this, "if you had only known what would bring peace" going on to describe the full out destruction of the temple.  Not one stone would be left upon another--not even a pile of stones stacked up as a memorial.

While the people were cheering, Jesus weeps because they did not understand the way of Jesus; the way that would bring peace.  And the result would be heart-breaking.

Finally, Jesus came to eradicate sin from the inside out.  His governance is of the heart transforming us by the work of the Holy Spirit.  He is teacher, and comforter, guide and friend.  We are invited to reflect the image of Christ--just as Christ did in the world.  His reign is marked by changed people and changed hearts that will in some way begin to look like the Jesus shown to us in the scripture.

And we become agents of healing and peace and restoration.  Following in the way of Jesus until Christ's final return when all will fully be made right.

I wonder if today, we have missed our way as well.  Do we seek a military deliverer who by power and charm and might will deliver us from whatever fears we might have?  What would Jesus be doing if he were riding into our royal city?  I think, time and time again, humans fall into the same trap of thinking that power and might and strength will save us forgetting that Jesus marked out for us a path and a way that would bring peace to the world.  It is a peace that is beyond a mere feeling but a peace that makes space for others and ourselves to flourish.  This peace offers dignity and honor to the lowest and the least inviting the powerful and the mighty to relinquish their might to follow the humble way of Jesus.

While nations govern with the sword, believers live by the Spirit, in the way of Jesus according to the love shown and the life given.  We form new communities of people who follow in the Jesus way spreading not through channels of power but networks of communities.

Jesus did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but became a servant to the smallest and the least.  That is the way of Jesus--the way that will bring peace.

My prayer today is for eyes to see and for ears to hear and for us all to journey on the way of peace.   The deception of this world is great--but truth comes as we gaze at Jesus and seek to walk in the ways of Jesus.    

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