There's nothing like a
good parade, marching bands, floats, fire engines, big
balloons, clowns, all kinds of fun things to watch. Well our
Lenten journey has now brought us to a parade of sorts. Jesus
is entering Jerusalem to the praise and adoration of his
disciples. Those many people who saw the miracles of Jesus
were celebrating his entry into Jerusalem to celebrate the
upcoming Passover feast.
It seems that everyone coming to
Jerusalem for the Passover knew Jesus, and the overall mood
was favorable towards his arrival. People lined the road,
praising God, waving palm branches, and throwing their cloaks
in front of the colt carrying Jesus, as he passed by them.
The crowd was excited shouting, "Long
live the King," because they knew Jesus was fulfilling the
prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9, which says, "See, your king
comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and
riding on a colt." The people were filled with enthusiasm;
they were excited because it was a time of joy, and it was a
moment of possibility. Might this be the Messiah who would
usher in the blessing of the age, to come and return all
children of God who had been scattered around the countryside?
This was the moment on which the wheel of history would turn.
Either God's kingdom would be established on earth, or the
people's hopes would be shattered forever.
Yet what the people quickly learned
was that the parade didn't live up to their expectations. Have
you ever gone to a parade and walk away saying, well that was
ok but I would have like to seenů I can remember attending a
Memorial Day parade down in Rockville about 25 years ago. I
had high expectations about the parade, marching bands, baton
twirlers, fire engines, military vehicles, and so on.
But as the parade began and went on
and on, there were no bands, there were no twirlers, there
were no fire engines, and there were no military vehicles. The
only thing the parade had was a few clowns, and a bunch of
politicians who were running for office in the fall. I was
extremely disappointed. My expectations were shattered, and I
have never again attended a Memorial Day Parade in Rockville.
Well those who were welcoming Jesus
into Jerusalem were also quickly disappointed as they learned
that Jesus was not going to become the national leader they
had hoped for. Jesus was not going to restore their nation to
prominence, at least as they had it scripted in their minds.
What quickly became apparent was that Jesus was not going to
fulfill their hope and dreams, so, like I turned away from the
Memorial Day Parade, they turned away from Jesus.
Jesus was a king, but no ordinary one.
Jesus was the king of tax collectors, fishermen, Samaritans,
prostitutes, blind men, cripples, the oppressed and suffering.
Jesus was a king who shared in the hardships of his followers,
relieved their suffering, accepted them when others would not,
gave them hope, and embodied God's love for them in real and
tangible ways. Yet, Jesus was not the king the people had been
looking for, a triumphant military kind of king riding into
Jerusalem on a white horse, reading to take on the existing
Jesus' entry into Jerusalem was a
moment filled with possibility. Mankind's last hope, riding on
a colt. Oh, what might have been? Everything was just right,
if only Jesus had seized the moment; if only the people of
Jerusalem had responded as they should have; if only God had
fulfilled the dreams of those who followed Jesus.
Life is filled with moments of what
might have been, moments when everything seems right, but then
it just doesn't work out the way we hoped. It's in times like
this that it can sometimes be hard believing in God, when life
doesn't give us what matters so dearly to us.
Well the truth is God was about to do
something powerful and wonderful, but that day the disciples
were not looking for a different kind of king. They were
hoping for a more limited kind of kingdom, a kingdom that
would disrupt the current governing and political structure, a
kingdom that would return power (temporal power) to the Jews.
But God had a different way.
It's clear to me, just by watching the
news every night or reading the newspaper, that business as
usual isn't working, and hasn't for 2000 years. I keep asking
myself why? Why can't we, the intelligent human beings we are,
find a way to live and work together? Some days the hate in
this world becomes overwhelming, to the point I just want to
say, God I've had enough.
But then Holy Week begins. Jesus
enters Jerusalem offering a better way, a way that will
restore wholeness to humanity and the whole world. Later this
week we will experience the Love of God in a way that can't
truly be described. And them next Sunday we celebrate God's
victory over sin and death, a victory that brings all the
possibilities of hope to fruition. What is it you yearn for?
Do you yearn for a different kind of king? Do you yearn for a
king of sinners and outcasts? Do you yearn for a king of the
poor and oppressed? Or do you yearn for a king that will
maintain the status quo, focused on power and control?
As God's children we are called to
join with the disciples in the worship of the one who has
brought down the powerful from their thrones. We are called to
praise the One who lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry and
quenched the spiritual thirst of those with dry souls. We are
called to give thanks to the One that has looked favorably on
his people and redeemed them, the God who gives light to those
who live in darkness, the God who will guide our feet into the
way of shalom, a true peace that removes all restlessness from
Jesus is entering Jerusalem knowing
his destiny. Jesus is entering Jerusalem knowing that cheers
will quickly turn to shouts of "crucify him." Jesus is
entering Jerusalem so that you and I might live.
Today we remember Jesus' entry into
Jerusalem as the Messiah who gives hope to all who serve him.
This is a parade that all of us should attend with cheering
The Messiah is coming! Don't let the
parade pass you by, throw down your cloak and wave your palms
out of praise and thanksgiving for the one true king who
ushers in life eternal for all who believe!
Let us pray. Almighty God, you sent
your son, our savior Jesus Christ, to usher in a new kingdom,
a new way of life. Grant us the courage and fortitude to be
obedient to his will, so that we too can share in the glorious
victory of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who now lives with you and the Holy Spirit, One God now and
Read other messages by Pastor Wade