PALM/PASSION SUNDAY – MARCH 29, 2015
TEXT: ZECH. 9:9-12/PHIL. 2:5-11/MT. 27:11-54
REJOICE GREATLY…BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU; RIGHTEOUS AND HAVING SALVATION IS HE!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Dear hearers of the Word made flesh: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion…behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he…!  What is it that you would have King Jesus do for you this Holy Week?  If you could have anything changed in your life what request would you make of this King. Would it be for a more joyful life of faith and prayer and love for others?  Would it be for the conversion of others to Christ and your courage in witnessing Christ and your fervor in supporting Gospel proclamation? Would it be for what you have already prayed today – “that you may every hail Him as your King, and when He comes again may go forth to meet Him with a trusting and steadfast heart and follow Him in the way that leads to eternal life?”  Or would it first be for a laundry list of personal problems and material benefits in this passing world?

PALM/PASSION SUNDAY – MARCH 29, 2015
TEXT: ZECH. 9:9-12/PHIL. 2:5-11/MT. 27:11-54
REJOICE GREATLY…BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU; RIGHTEOUS AND HAVING SALVATION IS HE!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Dear hearers of the Word made flesh: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion…behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he…!  What is it that you would have King Jesus do for you this Holy Week?  If you could have anything changed in your life what request would you make of this King. Would it be for a more joyful life of faith and prayer and love for others?  Would it be for the conversion of others to Christ and your courage in witnessing Christ and your fervor in supporting Gospel proclamation? Would it be for what you have already prayed today – “that you may every hail Him as your King, and when He comes again may go forth to meet Him with a trusting and steadfast heart and follow Him in the way that leads to eternal life?”  Or would it first be for a laundry list of personal problems and material benefits in this passing world?


Recall when the people of Israel first demanded a king like all the other nations. God told the prophet Samuel – they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them (1 Samuel 8:7). God finally gave them King Saul - King David - King Solomon - the competing kings of the divided kingdom for two centuries!  Then came the fall of the Northern kingdom (Samaria) (722 BC)!  Then nearly a century and a half later (587 BC) - Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon tore down the walls of Jerusalem, destroyed the temple of God and slaughtered the sons of the last king of Israel before his eyes. He then put out King Zedekiah’s eyes and led him away childless and sightless into captivity along with his people.


Through the centuries of the kings there were better ones and worse ones in Israel. Generally, however, God sent His prophets to speak against them. Through these centuries the people of Israel kept hoping for a special king to set things right – to fulfill the Lord’s promises. Isaiah spoke of a redeemer king as the shoot of the stump of Jesse (Isaiah 9 and 11). Ezekiel spoke of the kingly tender twig (17:22). After the return from Babylonian captivity the prophet Zechariah continued to hold forth kingly hope. Amid the poverty and hardship of rebuilding - with no national political or military strength - Zechariah nonetheless proclaimed what we heard today Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion...behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.


After those words of hope centuries passed! The Persians came and went. Alexander the Great conquered Palestine bringing Greek influence and the unsettling competition of his generals after his death. Priestly Mattathias and the Hasmonean dynasty next held sway for a century. Finally the Romans conquered Jerusalem and a distant line of Caesars called the shots.

 

That brings us to Palm Sunday and the shouts of the people. They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. This is the one Herod tried to slaughter as an infant for wise men has asked - Where is he who is born King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2)?  This is the one who fed 5000 from a few fish and loaves of bread. That convinced the people He was the promised Messiah. They sought to take Him by force and make Him king. Within a day, however, all but a few left Him as He proclaimed “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”  (John 6:53)

 

He would not be made king by force!  He continued working miracles as He chose - not according to the dictates of the people. He preached words of release – of forgiveness of sins. He healed with authority – the lame – the blind – the demon- possessed. He had recently raised Lazarus from four days of death and decay. Enthusiasm for Him swelled once again. As the throngs entered Jerusalem for the Passover, they clearly acknowledged Him as King (John 12:13). It was a day of high excitement!  It was a triumphal entry!  Quoting the prophet Zechariah they shouted, “Hosanna (that is save please), Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”  It was also the day on which the Passover Lamb was selected quietly showing the wondrous and unexpected manner by which He would save!

 

That first Palm Sunday he came humbly in the flesh. In all the world there was only one city into which he rode. In all the world there was one donkey upon which He sat that day. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he.


Dear Christians Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday. We therefore heard also the very first question that Pilate asked Jesus on trial before Him. “Are you the King of the Jews?”  Jesus replied – “You have said so.”  But Jesus also said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36). Despite Pilate’s knowledge of Jesus’ innocence, it wasn’t long until he was handing Him over with notice of this charge, The King of the Jews. Soon, in all the world – there was also one cross stained with His blood.


Is He the right king for you?  As you enter Holy Week in the year of our Lord 2015, recalling His ultimate gift of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday - recalling the central act of human history on Good Friday - what is it that you would have King Jesus do for you?  He is a strange unworldly King!  He is an extraordinary King!  He will not be made king by force to increase earthly piles - to fill our stomachs - to gratify our wants. His answer to such efforts today is the same as when He fed 5000, “I am the bread of life.”  “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”


Is He the right King for you?  He knows how earth bound you are – how easily your heart and mind are imprisoned by the momentary. He knows that is true for you and me and all people. That is why He rode into Jerusalem knowing full well what was ahead.

 

Is He the King for you?


"A King who makes himself nothing…for you…


A King who was exchanged for a murderer…Barabbas…for you…


A King crowned with piercing thorns…for you…

A King with liquid flowing down his face – not anointing oil - but human spit and his own blood…for you…


Is He the King for you?


A naked King – on public shameful display…for you


A humiliated king – mocked by the elite…for you


A dying King - reviled even by robbers dying next to Him…


A King who cries out in midday darkness – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”…


Beloved – He is the King for you!


A King who humbled himself…to the point of death…even death on a cross!  A dead King whose corpse was laid in a borrowed tomb!  So what?  Do not all earthly kings and princes and rulers die – some violently?  Yes, but this King built the earth’s foundation!  This King was born to die for you!  Pour all your sins on Him!  Whatever bites you and harasses you and threatens to devour you – pour it over on Him!  He is God’s Passover – the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  In Him you need not hide from God’s holiness – now – or in the judgment.


In all the world there was only one city into which He rode. In all the world there was only one cross stained with His blood!  In all the world there is only one tomb from which a dead King ever rose to new life!  Beloved, He is the King for you!


By His royal word there is also now one Baptism by which His blood is your royal robe!  There is one holy meal by which He continues to give you His body to eat and His blood to drink!  There is one way for us sinners to dwell in God’s eternal kingdom. For God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


He is the King of kings!  He is your King for it is He who put on you the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!  He did not and does not come to do politics!  He did not and does not come to fulfill your plans and your priorities or mine. He did come to offer His spotless life for your life and salvation!  He comes even now to crown you with His royal blessings


Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope!  You are right to follow after Him and ever hail Him as your King and when He comes again to meet Him with a trusting and steadfast heart. Fear not daughter of Zion; Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he. God bless your receiving of His royal gifts this Holy Week.


In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a