Summary: The Gospel passage today seems to portray Jesus as weak, unable to save even His own family of people. How can God the Son be said to be weak? If Christ cannot save even His own earthly people, can He save us?
Sermon: The Weakness of Jesus
Occasion: Trinity X
Who: Mark Woolsey
Where: Providence REC
When: Sunday, August 12, 2007
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Christians from the very beginning of the church have always emphasized the strength and power of Jesus. There were battles for a long time about how strong, and how powerful, but no one doubted His high place. The councils of Nicea and Chalcedon brought even more clarity, stating that not only was He all of this, but that He was very God of very God. That meant that He was not just the strongest and most powerful, but omnipotent, that is, all-powerful. There can be no limits to what He can do. Indeed, our whole worship is built around Him, confessing Jesus to be sovereign King over all, who predestines the fate of the nations down to the individual atoms of which they are made. Yet the Gospel passage today seems to portray Him as weak, unable to save even His own family of people. How can God the Son be said to be weak? If Christ cannot save even His own earthly people, can He save us? Before we answer these questions, letï¿½s back up a bit in the chapter from Luke today.
II. Press Conference
Does anyone know what the context is for these verses today? I must confess I had forgotten what was happening around the events related here until I began my research on them by reading othersï¿½ sermons. Most of the sermons on these verses are not given on Trinity X, but on Palm Sunday. Although in the midst of Lent, Palm Sunday is one of the most expressively joyful Sundays of the whole year. If you look back a few verses from where we started you will see the Triumphal Entry of Jesus related. In fact, one of the more interesting comments I read about the Triumphal Entry is that it resembles a press conference today in the midst of an election year. By entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey Jesus was consciously saying He fulfilled Zech 9:9ff:
ï¿½Rejoice 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.
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 end of the earth.ï¿½
ï¿½As for you also,
Because of the blood of your covenant,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to the stronghold,
You prisoners of hope.
Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.
For I have bent Judah, My bow,
Fitted the bow with Ephraim,
And raised up your sons, O Zion,
Against your sons, O Greece,
And made you like the sword of a mighty man.ï¿½
And it doesnï¿½t stop here. For twenty verses God makes His election promises to Israel. By entering Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus was claiming to be Israelï¿½s Messiah. If He were following todayï¿½s pattern, then after the ï¿½press conferenceï¿½, He would travel the stump, gathering support for His candidacy. At the Israeli Restoration Partyï¿½s national convention He would whip His supporters into a frenzy, outmaneuvering all His opponents, and get Himself nominated King. However, His followers skipped all that. They simply elected Him by acclimation, throwing their very clothes down for Him to walk on like a carpet. Jesus, this is it. Take the reigns of power. Kick the Romans out. Thatï¿½s what Messiahs DO, donï¿½t they? All eyes are on the carpenterï¿½s son who has risen to such prominence in three short years. As He takes the podium for His acceptance speechï¿½