Sermon: Wednesday in Holy Week

The podcast is available here.

When Jesus came into Jerusalem the people cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna in the highest!” Hosanna is a Hebrew expression which means “save”, so the people were calling Jesus, Savior, thinking he was a warrior king that would release them from the bondage of the Romans. But Jesus, when he road into town, wasn’t riding a war chariot or a tank or an F-15. Jesus was riding a donkey, which was not only a fulfillment of prophecy, but a sign of peace.

The people forgot that earlier Jesus had taught them by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the merciful. The pure in heart. Peacemakers. Persecuted.”

Not only this, but the people forgot the words spoken of the Christ by the prophet Isaiah, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”

Love. Mercy. Meekness. Righteous. Purity. Blessed. Peacemaker. Wonderful. Counselor.

What part of this would make them think that Jesus was a revolutionary, intent on overthrowing the government? What part of this said anything like that? Yet, when Jesus did not fulfill the peoples desires, their hearts turned against Him. Among them was one of the twelve, Judas son of Simon Iscariot, who would later regret his actions, but because of his great disappointment, betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

If he is not going to be our warrior king, then what good is he? He can’t even save himself, so how could he possibly expect to save us? What kind of king is this? To heck with mercy and peacemakers! What good is all this talk of loving your enemy, when your enemy has got a sword in your back?

When Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem the people forgot what Jesus was truly about. They forgot that his kingdom was not of this world. They forgot that not only would he eventually give them true freedom from those who oppressed them, but that he would also give them freedom from death itself.

When Jesus stood before Pilate and the crowds, the people forgot the teachings, miracles, the raising of Lazarus, and all the rest. So they cried out, “Crucify Him.”

I won’t try and answer these questions for you, but what expectations have you placed upon Jesus? He has given you eternal life, do you expect more? And, if He does not meet your expectations, will you abandon Him? If He doesn’t give you what you desire, will you betray Him? I don’t for a second believe that any of you would, but I think we should recognize that there is probably a little bit of Judas in all. So, we must remember to never look to Jesus simply for the “gifts” he gives. Instead, we look to him, we love him for who he is – God – and for what he has already done – saved. My friend Thomas à Kempis writes, “A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.” Our relationship with Jesus is not about what he does. It is about His love for us and our love for Him. Everything else is truly irrelevant.

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