Palm Sunday (Lent 6)
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Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
April 1, 2012
Central Passage
Matthew 21:1-9
Description

 

+ Matthew 21:1-9 +
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Lord entered Jerusalem in humility and in meekness.  Not at all like a king and great conqueror is expected to enter his city.  But then, our Lord and King, our great Conqueror is not like any other lord, king, or conqueror.  He doesn’t do things like they do or like we would expect a king and lord to do them.  If you’re frustrated because the Lord isn’t doing things your way, then you’ll be frustrated forever.  His ways are not our ways.  He doesn’t do things like we would.
 
He forgives sinners.  He doesn’t gossip about them and call them names.  He shows mercy on the merciless. He doesn’t sue them and post nasty comments about them on Facebook.  He gives food to the hungry.  He doesn’t complain about them not getting a job and spending too much money on cigarettes.  He clothes the naked. He doesn’t whine about how much the poor cost Him or bother Him, or how they might take advantage of Him.  He has mercy on you, though you deserve death and hell.
 
But unlike you, He doesn’t rub it in your face.  He doesn’t remind you how much you didn’t deserve His mercy, how evil and wicked you’ve been. He just forgives you and forgets your sin.  He counts no record of wrong against you.  Unlike us, He doesn’t hold His forgiveness over your head as a guilt trip to remind you how great He is and how insignificant you are.  That’s what we do.  When we’re kind to our enemies we play the martyr card and try to gain sympathy points for being nice to those who hurt us or took advantage of us.  We talk about how often we’ve overlooked their sins and wrongs, and how much we don’t bring it up.  And for this we think we deserve some honor, some glory, some at-a-boy from someone. But in truth, by showing kindness to our enemies, we’re just doing our duty.  We’re following our Lord who does not glorify Himself but waits to be glorified by His heavenly Father.
 
And when we follow our Lord, we will not do things the way we want to do them.  We will do things that are unexpected and wrapped in humility and meekness. Just as our Lord did when He entered the Holy City.
 
We will turn the other cheek and forgive our persecutors.  We will give our money and coat to the one who sues us.  We will put our hard-earned money in the offering plate to be given to those who refuse to work and who do not say “thank you”; many of whom are not even among us.  We will be martyred as our Lord was, for trusting our heavenly Father. If you’re looking for some other ending, for some other way, then you’re eyes are not on Jesus who is the Way, and the only way to the Father.
 
So what does the world expect?  It expects God to be grand and big and in charge. It expects God to come in thunder and lightening, in storm and tempest.  It expects Him to come in full divine regalia and pomp. Instead He comes in simple water and ritual.  He comes in words written and preached by men.  He comes in sermons from weak and sinful men.  He comes in stale bread and common wine.  He comes in the congregation of sinners and ne’re-do-wells who the world knows to be no better than they.  He comes in humility and meekness.
 
Consider your Lord who gained the crown by wearing the crown of thorns; who gained the scepter by being beaten with a rod; who gained the throne and robes of glory by being stripped and hanged naked on the tree; who gained authority over all things by becoming obedient to all things, even to death.
 
He does not force His admirers to admire Him; nor His enemies to cower before Him in fear.  He comes to do His duty; to do the will of His Father.  He comes to set men free, even if they don’t know they’re in bondage or don’t want to be set free, or don’t care.  He comes to conquer.  Not kingdoms and governments, but the wills of men.  He comes, this great Servant King, to serve and not to be served; to love and not to be loved; to lift up and not to be lifted up.
 
He comes.
 
Behold, your King comes to you.  Not riding on a donkey, nor does He come to die, that is done; it is finished.  He comes to you in life, to live!  To bring you life and to give it with eternal abundance.  He comes to live for you and among you. He comes to conquer your will and make His own, that you would do the will of His Father who art in heaven, that you should be called the sons of God.  He comes to rule and be your Lord, not in the way of men, with fear and violence, but to give you food from His table and drink from His river of living water.
He triumphantly enters His holy city, His holy Church, in the humility of water and word, bread and wine, and conquers your hearts and wills.
 
But there is more.  Much more.  The Lord, the King of glory has entered creation.  He is not a God far off that someone should have to ascend to Him to bring Him down.  He has entered creation and brought His kingdom to the sons of men.
 
That is where you are, O sons of men, you are in His kingdom.  You are here at Jacob’s Ladder where angels ascend and descend on the Son of Man.  Here is the gate of heaven, where heaven and earth meet.  And you are His kingdom.  Not you, Christian, but you, Church.  Not you, individual, but you, body of Christ.
 
You are not the Savior come down from heaven, but you are the city come down from heaven in which the Savior reigns.  You are not the Lord of heaven and earth, but you reign with Him in righteousness.  Your blood atones for nothing, but the blood you drink atoned for the sins of the whole world and is the life of the world.  Your flesh avails for nothing, but you are the Body of Christ.
 
And as your Lord and God does not enter and reign as the sons of men would do but in humility and meekness, so you do not reign in the way of men but in the way of God, in the righteousness of God.  You do not reign by the strength of men, you rule in the strength of Christ who rules from sea to sea and from nation to nation, not with constitutions, by-laws, governments, and organizations of men, but in word and sacrament, in mercy and grace.
 
Through you, O Body of Christ, the Lord conquers and rules.  Not because you are anything, but because He is Lord; not because of you but because of Him who lives in you.  For greater is He who lives in you than he who is in the world.
 
You conquer when you are beaten and bruised, bloodied and left for dead because you do the will of the Father. You conquer when you are stripped and left naked for the world to laugh at because you do the will of the Father.  You conquer when your purse is empty and your worldly friends betray you into the hands of sinners because you do the will of the Father.  You conquer when you are nailed to the tree through the waters of Holy Baptism.  You conquer when you cling to Christ alone, your salvation and your God, for this is the will of the Father.
 
Behold, your King comes to you.
 
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +