Palm Sunday - the emotional walk - Luke 19:28-44
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The Emotional Walk
One of our constant temptations as human beings is to treat Jesus as a consultant and not as a king.
It’s a problem faced by those who are thinking about becoming Christians, by those who are new to the Christian faith and by those who have been Christians for many years. Our constant temptation is to treat Jesus as some sort of spiritual consultant.
Now consultants are certainly very popular in the 21st century. Schools use them. Businesses use them. Even governments use them. Groups of people who are drafted in to give your organisation an outside perspective, to analyse your current position and then to suggest possible ways forward.
But here’s the thing: consultants never command. They may show you the options, but they never order you. They advise but they have no authority. They will certainly talk but they will cannot tell you what to do.
Whereas a king is different. A king is in charge. They command and it should be done. A king has authority. They don’t merely advise. No, a king is the one who calls the shots.
So who is Jesus? In your estimation? In your life at the moment, who is Jesus? Is he your king or is he your consultant? Do you do what he tells you or do you pick and choose what you like?
I think the big message from this section of the Bible is that Jesus is king.
Look at vs 37. Read verses 37 and 38.
Notice what they didn’t shout. Blessed is the spiritual adviser who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the spiritual guru or the spiritually enlightened one. No, blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. The Messianic King promised in Psalm 118.
Were they right? According to verse 39, some of the Pharisees wanted Jesus to quieten the crowd. But don’t you just love Jesus response in verse 40.
Non-Christians gathered this morning. Considering whether Christianity might be for you. So far. It’s all about Jesus. Who he is. What he has done. Following him. How does he want me to relate to him? Can I pick and choose what I like? Can I stay in charge and then choose to hang out with Jesus when I need a spiritual fix?
How would Jesus respond to you? Hang out with the crowd in the Luke 19 and listen to what they call me. I’m the king. Relate to me as the one in charge.
This doesn’t mean you have to get your life sorted before you follow him. Come as you are. And then I will change you. Not going to stay as you are. But you need to realise that you are being summoned by a king not enticed by a consultant.
If you speak to the many Christians they will tell you that this change doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, I’m sure they will tell you that on many occasions they have disobeyed King Jesus good instructions. And often we have treated him as a rather over zealous and extremist spiritual consultant.
And so let me ask you, if you are a Christian, how much of your life is Jesus ruling? Where do you allow him to call the shots? How far do you allow him to go before you say, that’s enough?
Or in other words, in the castle of your heart, which rooms are locked to King Jesus?
· From our brains to our bedrooms.
· From our cars to our cash.
· And from our day dreams to our diaries
…Jesus needs to be king.
Will you allow him to be King in those areas?
The reality is that if we are to change the status quo in our lives, we need motivations. Either to become a Christian or to continue to surrender.
So what I want to do now is show you two motivations from this section of the Bible that will either help you to embrace Jesus as your king for the first time or will help you to continue to embrace his governance in more areas of your life.
First, Jesus is the divine King (Vs 28-34)
You’ll see in vs 29, Jesus sent out two disciples to find a colt, a young donkey. He knows where it will be. It’s never been ridden. He knows exactly what needs to be said to the owners to stop them calling the police. The disciples find everything exactly as Jesus said. The crucial question is, why?
Like many men I am very bad at finding things. Fridge. I will be given instructions by Vicky where things are. Where the Thomas Yogurts are and the cheese. I don’t think, “Goodness me, I think my wife is divine.” She has been there before.
However, this is not the reason Jesus’ disciples find the donkey in Luke 19. And we can be sure of this because of what Jesus is called in verses 31 and 34.
This is why he was able to know all about the donkey. As he approached Jerusalem, why could he give such clear instructions and guarantee such a precise outcome? Because he was the divine King. Perfect knowledge and perfect power. Knew what it was like at the moment and could guarantee future results.
That truth is wonderfully motivational.
Not yet a follower of Jesus. What is holding you back? One of the reasons people delay becoming a Christian is because they fear the unknown future. What will your family think? Work mates? Other half? What changes? Well, hear this truth – Jesus is the divine king. You can trust him to bring the future that is best for you and best for him. Your good and his glory. So in the meantime, obey his command to follow him.
Christians. Likewise, there are many times when we don’t obey Christ either because we fear the future or doubt how the future might work out.
What decision for Jesus are you dithering over because you don’t know the future?
· Sacrificial giver of money – what about the future? Whoever loses their life for me will save it.
· Sacrificial giver of time.
· Committed person – what will that mean?
· Young mum with children. Do you have any gainful employment? Should you go back to paid work? If you don’t, will you miss out on life? Will you have less significance? Trust Christ.
· Climbing the career ladder of responsibility. Will you turn down the extra course so you can do gospel work in church?
This doctrine allows us to make courageous gospel choices now and trust Jesus, our divine King, to work out what is best for us and best for him.
So friends don’t be a ditherer! And don’t be one of these Christians that endlessly goes around saying this is really difficult and doesn’t change anything. No, believe that Jesus is your divine King and trust him for the future consequences.
Another reason we sometimes don’t obey Christ is because we doubt how the future might work out.
Take evangelism, for example. We become weary in doing good because we often don’t see the fruit we long for.
Is evangelism still on your radar? We know our lack of planning and passion for evangelism is wrong. How can we be motivated to restart?
Here is one motivation. Remember that Jesus is the divine King. Therefore, he has the power and the wisdom to use our words, our invitations and our gifts to expand his kingdom. When and where he will do this. We may not often see the final footsteps being taken. You might not even see one. But keep on doing.
The Easter Special at Parkstone.
Do not allow your doubts about the effectiveness of evangelism to stop you obeying the clear command of Jesus to spread the gospel.
And if you are becoming weary – keep going with joy and creativity as you remember that Jesus is the divine King.
Second, Jesus is the peace-making King (Vs 35-44)
So far in the story Jesus has simply asked for the donkey but he hasn’t disclosed what he wanted it for. But in these verses we discover something shocking - he wanted to sit on it.
Shocking - because when you think about it, riding on a donkey is a very odd form of royal transportation. Fine on the beach with the children but for royalty?
Millions watched the royal wedding – can you imagine the shock if Kate and William emerged from Westminster Abbey in 2011, walked down the steps and then the camera zoomed in, not on a lovely carriage pulled by the most powerful and resplendent horses, but on two donkeys from the promenade at Blackpool.
Why is Jesus riding on a donkey? This isn’t a lower division royalty like Prince William or the Queen. This is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
Basic answer. This was predicted in Zechariah 9.
A deeper answer. Why a donkey at this point?
I stress at this point – because later on in the bible’s story in Rev 19 Jesus is presented as riding on a white battle horse. Context - that mode of transportation is appropriate for this time.
But it wouldn’t have been inappropriate for his mission in Jerusalem. He wasn’t coming like so many wanted him to be – a mighty warrior king. No he was going to Jerusalem to die on a cross. Or if I can put it like this, the divine King was on humble service. And therefore, how appropriate that the beast he rode on was a beast of humble stature, declaring to all that its rider had come not to be served but serve.
What was his service on the cross going to achieve? We might respond, forgiveness. Salvation. Let me show you the answer from these verses. I found it personally arresting. Look at the second half of verse 38. Peace on heaven and glory in the highest.”
At the beginning of the gospel. Angels to the shepherds. Peace on earth. But peace in heaven? I thought heaven was the place of tranquillity and earth the place of turmoil?
Our sin provokes the anger of God. Here was heaven sending its best to deal with the righteous anger of God that our sin has aroused. Or to put it another way, the divine king was sent to be the peace-making king.
No wonder glory was to be given in the highest. This was heaven’s plan to make peace!
This truth that Jesus is the peace-making king is wonderfully motivational in so many ways.
Christian. See your Saviour riding to the cross. If my king did this for me, what would I not do for him?
Not a Christian. You need this peace with God. It’s now possible because of Jesus.
Not automatic but will you accept it?
When you should do this. Read vs 41-44.
They reject the terms of peace from the king of peace. They have heard but had not personally embraced. And so they experienced his judgement. Said with TEARS.
The same is true for us. The king is so inclusive. But if don’t embrace him as king before we die we will face a fate much worse that that of Jerusalem.
It is certainly right to investigate. When you know enough, make your decision. Don’t delay. Put it on the back burner. Come back to it later. You may never get the chance. Hidden from their eyes.
If God is working now, stick with it, be serious in your investigations, and when you know enough, decide to follow Jesus, the divine King who has died to make divine peace a possibility.
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