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Behold, Your King Comes Humble in Heart!
1st Sunday in Advent - November 27th, 2016
Text: Isaiah 2:1-5, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 21:1-11
Vicar Jonathan P. Jennings


In the name of Jesus, Amen!


Today, we start the beginning of a new church year. Looking at the date, you’ll quickly notice the church year and the calendar year aren’t in sync with one another. In fact, they aren’t even close. Before we hang up our new 2017 calendars, we still have another 35 [34] days to go. If you stop and think about it, how wonderful it is that these two calendars aren’t in line!  This further reveals to us that the church is intended to be set apart from the world. The church year isn’t based off of the orbit of the earth around the sun, but revolves around the Son of God, his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and second coming.


So it is we begin a new year with Matthew’s account of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Have you wondered why?  Why do we begin the year with what’s known as a prominent Passion Week event, an event that occurs toward the end of Christ’s life? Hearing this we would assume the text in the coming weeks would focus on Christ’s passion, not necessarily His conception and birth. Yet today, the first Sunday of the church year, we have Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. So, why?


Advent isn’t a season of Christian make-believe during which we pretend that we’re back in the centuries before Christ, hopefully awaiting and pleading for the Messiah to come as Deliverer and Savior as Israel once waited. Instead during Advent, we remember that Jesus has come and conquered. We look to the end of all time, and pray for the completed accomplishment of his redemptive act. Thus, we begin this season of Advent with eager expectation for behold, your King comes to you, humble and mounted on a donkey.


The humbleness of Jesus can’t be defined by modern definitions. While you could certainly use words such as modest, not arrogant or proud to describe His humbleness, this isn’t how the gospels define it. In fact, nowhere in the Gospels is this term used except in reference to Christ Himself and only through Him give as a blessing to others!  He is the humble one who is blessed (Matt. 5:5). He is the one humble in heart in whom you will find rest for your soul (Matt. 11:29). Jesus isn’t humble because He rides a pack animal into Jerusalem. Jesus is humble because He Himself is humble at heart. He is set on doing the will of the Father. The donkey is only a visible manifestation of this humbleness.  


Seeing Jesus is humble in heart indicates that your humbleness is not based off of an attitude or feeling. It’s based off of your internal condition, the spiritual condition of your heart. It means, how you stand before God, which He alone knows. He commands us to come and walk in the light of the Lord (Isaiah 2:5), yet we can’t fully cast off the works of darkness (Rom. 13:12). Where Jesus was set on doing the will of the Father - riding into Jerusalem, your flesh is set on making yourself King, calling the shots in life as if you were in control, following your own will. Your self-centered will is easily distracted, also in the rush of this holiday season with its lists, gatherings, and finances, bringing about threatening perils on account of sin. Brothers and sisters in Christ repent for the nature of your heart has not been humbly set on doing the will of the Father.


Behold, your King alone is humble in heart like no one else. In your sin Jesus comes to you, placing you and all nations under His humbleness. He was humble in heart setting aside His power and might, and taking on the form of a servant.  As the Word made flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:14), He wasn’t laid in an extravagant palace bedroom but in a humble manger (Luke 2:7).


Behold, your King Jesus comes humble in heart entering Jerusalem not with an army, but with twelve disciples. Not with countless horses and chariots, but with a beast of burden. Not to shouts of victory over a neighboring kingdom, but to shouts of, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” a prayer to God asking for salvation from the evil forces of sin, death, and the devil.


Behold, your King Jesus comes humble in heart. He is humble in heart because on this day, the day the paschal lamb would be selected (Exodus 12:3), He comes to Jerusalem offering Himself to be the true paschal lamb, to suffer and to die for the sins of the people.


Behold, your King Jesus comes days later, humble in heart, drawing ever closer to the place of His suffering.  He comes to a crowd shouting at him, “Let him be crucified” (Matt. 27:22), even as the crowd days earlier was shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David”. Your King being condemned to die, whom a lowly donkey carried, now becomes the burden carrier. Being forced to carry a cross, Jesus comes to a lowly hill outside of Jerusalem. There, He does the will of the Father, bearing the sins of the world.


Behold, your King, being humble in heart, did this for you. On account of your inability to do the Father’s will in keeping His commands, you are unable to come to Him. Yet, Jesus’ death draws you to the Father. On account of Christ, blessed are you, the meek, for you shall inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5).


Today, as you come to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob (Isaiah 2:3), that is to Christ’s gathered church, behold your King comes. Through His word, your King comes teaching you His ways and that you may walk in His paths (Isaiah 2:3). He comes to you in water, bread and wine, cleansing and forgiving you of the sins that threaten you and setting your heart toward the Father.


So it is a good and wonderful thing that we begin a new year with Matthew’s account of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The whole church year opens up to the coming and the doing of the One alone who is humble in heart!  What the prophets longed to see - is fulfilled in the flesh of this King. By the Spirit of our God was the Word of God made flesh. God the Father was His source, back to God He ran His course. In this season of Advent you can rejoice in the fact that your King, who is humble in heart, not only has come and comes to you now, but you wait in eager expectation for Him to come again. For it shall come to pass in the latter days (Isaiah 2:2) Jesus won’t come by the humble means of a pack-animal, but the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it and many peoples shall come (Isaiah 2:2-3). Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it is God’s doing that you are flowing to His Church – where faith abides. The new Church year continues to call us to daily repentance for the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. Salvation is nearer to you now than when you first believed (Rom. 13:11). Behold, your King comes to you, humble in heart to make new your heart!


In the name of Jesus. Amen!

 

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