The Rebel King

2019-04-14 – Year C – Palm Sunday – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas

Luke 19:28-40; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22:1-11; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 23:1-49

The Rebel King

  • Jesus began his rebel movement at a Synagogue reading from the prophet Isaiah. “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).
  • Jesus gathered the people of his movement by demonstrating God’s power over all that is broken as he healed the sick, raised the dead, and forgave sins.
  • Jesus challenged the “powers that be”: Herod, the Romans, the Temple authorities, and especially the Pharisees, a group of law keepers that you might Jesus to support.
  • Lent was prefaced by the story of the Transfiguration – Jesus’ Exodus (Luke 9:30-31) – Turning his face to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).
  • On this day, Palm Sunday, Jesus rides into Jerusalem in an event we refer to as his “Triumphal Entry.” The Rebel campaign was now over, the people would have all known that it was time for action. This is why they cry out with words from the psalms about the coming king (Luke 19:37-38). Yet he does so not on a war horse but on a donkey.

Victory Through Suffering

  • This is the biggest case of “I didn’t see that coming” ever!
  • Jesus is bringing about a different kind of kingdom – “My kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36
  • Jesus is fighting a different kind of enemy. Though he challenges everyone in authority, his battle isn’t actually with any of them.
    • Jesus battle is with the “ruler of the prince of this world” a title he uses to refer to Satan three times in the Gospel of John.
    • John 12:27-31
  • So if he is bringing about a different sort of kingdom, and fighting a different sort of enemy, it shouldn’t be surprising that he does so with a different kind of victory.
    • Not an earthly battle against the Romans or Herod.
    • Not an intellectual battle with the Pharisees or the Temple authorities.
    • It is a rescue mission to snatch the children of the father out of the grasp of the ruler of this world.
      • Sin holds us captive, in bondage to the enemy.
      • Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit organization that sends former military commandos into dark places to rescue children from human trafficking situations.
      • Jesus frees us by taking our place.
      • As he approached death, John Newton, author of Amazing Grace said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things – that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.”
  • As Jesus enters Jerusalem, he knows that the time has come. Everything has come to a head, Satan has already begun to use the Pharisees, the Temple authorities, and the Romans in his wicked plan. (Luke 19:47-48).
    • What Satan intended for evil, God intended for good.
    • Jesus turns the enemy’s plan and uses it against him.
      • Like in Judo where the momentum of an opponent is used against them.

Invitation to Holy Week

  • Holy Week begins today, an annual opportunity to reflect upon Jesus suffering and our salvation.
  • Bp. Neil says, “I challenge you (and myself) to take personally all that Jesus has done for you in his sufferings, death and resurrection. Thus, may the Lord Jesus make himself more deeply known to you in this Holy Week and beyond.”
  • Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Prayer from the liturgy of the palms as wells as Holy Wednesday).
    • Come participate in Jesus’ last supper with his disciples
    • Pray with Jesus in the garden
    • Walk the way of suffering with Jesus as did Peter, John, and Mary.
    • Place his body in the tomb with Joseph of Arimathea
    • And celebrate his resurrection when we gather together next Sunday for the most important celebration in the Christian year!
  • This is our salvation! O Come let us worship.

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