Dear believers in Christ, and Baptized of God,
In November, our nation will be voting for the next president of the United States. When considering the candidates, one of the things we often ask ourselves is: who can I trust? But as children of God, one thing we keep in mind, is that no earthly election determines who our ultimate ruler is, who our God is, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Although every election is very important, we remember that God is still in control.
We never have to question His motives. Jesus doesn’t come to satisfy popular opinion. He doesn’t come to be politically correct. He doesn’t come to give in to rich lobbyists. He doesn’t come to make empty promises. Jesus came to live, die, rise again, and promise that just as surely as He lives, we too will live. Jesus comes with our absolute best interests in mind. And Jesus has given us more good than any earthly ruler ever has or ever will, granting both our bodily and spiritual needs.
So we certainly should honor Jesus, with the honor that is fit for not just for a king, but the King of all kings. When Jesus was received at Jerusalem, there were specific ways they honored Him: they acknowledged Him, they praised Him, they gave Him what He asked, and they believed in Him.
On Palm Sunday, the people recognized that Jesus was their King, sent from heaven. They recognized that He came “in the name of the Lord.” And they could see it being fulfilled right before their very eyes. It was exactly as it had been foretold many centures before: “Behold, thy king cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Jesus was their King, but He was not a proud and arrogant king. He was not looking for applause or self-centered attention, like many famous people do today.
The King of all kings, Lord of all lords, comes riding on a donkey. His big entrance into the capital city of Jerusalem, is on a donkey. Not exactly the way any earthly leader would impress. Back then, earthly kings visited cities dressed in their finest clothing, decked out with silver, gold, and precious gems. A king would have only the very best horse or chariot to ride. People would line the streets just to get a glimpse. “Behold, Thy King cometh unto thee”, but this one comes very meek and lowly.
Yet, this didn’t offend the people. They shouted and cheered for joy. “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”
They called Him “The Son of David” because Jesus is the rightful heir to the throne of David. Scripture says His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Isaiah said, “Of the increase of His government and of His peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it...from henceforth even for ever.”
They had the great honor of seeing the eternal King of the Jews in person. They knew from the prophecy - even though He came lowly, meek, and humble, that it was truly Him, because that is what Zechariah said. They recognized Him as the King of all creation. They knew He was the promised Savior. They were happy and they celebrated. They sang and followed along in the procession. They even spread their clothes and tree branches in the way. They waited a long time for Him to come. The hopes and dreams of Israel were now fulfilled.
The people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” The word Hosanna is not meaningless. It’s a cry for help. They were saying, “Save us Lord, Son of David.” Have mercy on us and save us from our sins. You are the only Savior.
This is our prayer too. We need His help. Without His help we would all be lost. As hard as we try, we keep breaking the Commandments. We may keep them outwardly, but in inwardly, in our hearts we still lust, hold grudges, covet, lie, and cheat. We fail to forgive, we lust after the opposite gender, we covet what belongs to others, we cheat God by not giving Him all that He asks for. Scripture says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” We need our Savior to forgive our sins, and to keep us in the true faith by His Word and Spirit.
The people in Jerusalem cut branches from the trees and spread them in the way. They showed that they welcomed and treasured Jesus, just as we place flowers on or around the altar for Him. This was good and right to do. But was it the parade and branches that Jesus wanted most? Doesn't He want our hearts above all? “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” He says, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
What He wants is that we pray to Him in all our needs of body and soul. He wants us to trust in Him and look to Him to be our Savior and King. If we try to be our own saviors and try to justify ourselves, then we are not honoring Him. If we take the law into our own hands for revenge, then we are saying He is a bad King. Even though He promises to take care of us, we will be our own kings. But when we come to Him in our need, and believe in Him, then we Him honor.
When He helps us, we should be sure to praise Him too, saying, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
We also honor Him by giving what He asks. When Jesus sent His disciples for the donkeys, they told the owner, “The Lord hath need of them.” The owner complied. He didn't say, “The Lord has enough already, why does He need my stuff too? Why doesn't Jesus get His own donkeys, if He is the Son of God?”
He knew, above all, God comes first. He immediately gave up his donkeys.
Today, God still has needs. He isn’t asking us for a donkey, but He does ask for our time, our talent, our devotion, our prayers. God is almighty, and there is nothing He could not do, but He also works through means. He works through people. He works through us. Believers live with the constant attacks of the evil world, the sinful flesh, and the lies of the devil. Believers need the encourgement of other believers in Christ, and so God provides by working through us. The Church is not a building, it’s not a business, it’s not run by government. Christ’s church is people just like you and me, beleivers in Christ, gathering around the true Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.
Only a few days later, and the crowd was shouting to “Crucify Him!” Even Christ’s closest friends, His disciples, forsook Him and fled. How could they dishonor their King this way?
The only way to explain it is that we all are sinners. David says, “Every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” And we all need Christ’s forgiveness.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion…Thy King cometh unto thee, meek.” There is reason to rejoice. No matter how great our sins or doubts have been, Jesus came not to bring vengeance, but to lay down his life for us all. Our King came to wear a crown of thorns and then be lifted up on the cross for us all. And the same way he came then, is the same way he comes now, meek and lowly, for the forgiveness of our sins. Our King comes in the lowly means of grace, the word, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, “for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Let us continue to honor our King then, acknowledging Him, praising Him, giving what He asks, and believing on Him. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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