Saturday, March 15, 2008

Palm Sunday

Zechariah 9:9-10 (NKJV)9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.’

How often have we heard it stated in the modern church that Jesus came as Savior in His first advent but He shall come as King at His second. If you, like me, once embraced this kind of thinking or, perhaps, still do, then you may have a hard time getting your mind around the text from Zechariah and the celebration of Palm Sunday. For today is Palm Sunday, the day the Church historically has celebrated the Triumphal Entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into the city of Jerusalem – the very thing Zechariah in his prophecy anticipated. But the question is – in what sense was this entry a triumph since He didn’t really enter as a King?

But such a question reveals how distorted our concept of kingship has become and how we have allowed the world to define true kingship rather than allowing our Lord Jesus to define it. For Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, his entry into Jerusalem to suffer and to die for His people, His entry into Jerusalem to serve is the preeminent definition of what it means to be a king. What does it mean to be a king? It means to be humble and lowly, to be a servant, to give your life for the benefit of your people.

And it was precisely this type of King that our Lord Jesus was and is. He came to give his life a ransom for many. He came not to be served but to serve. He came as the prototype for all the kings of the earth – this is what it is to be a ruler.

To our fallen nature this type of kingship seems utterly foreign and ultimately useless. Such kingship, we imagine to ourselves, is utterly ineffective. No king who comes to serve rather than to be served will be respected and honored; no king who acts in this way will really be successful – will really accomplish things. Rather it is those like Alexander who push and prod and grapple for their own glory that are ultimately great and who accomplish great deeds.

But the text before us today gives the lie to such thinking. For immediately after proclaiming the humility and lowliness of the coming King – the one riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey – it declares that this very One will destroy warfare from the earth and will establish universal peace under His rule. How effective shall Christ’s Kingship be? His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.’

So what of you leaders out there – what type of kingship have you been exercising? Whether you are a husband, a father, a mother, an employer, a foreman, a manager – what type of kingship have you displayed? Have you demanded, cajoled, manipulated, and wormed your way to the top? Or have you served and given and made yourself the least of all the servants of God? For the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

Reminded that we have been unrighteous kings and queens, let us kneel and let us confess our sin to our Sovereign Lord.