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Summary: A Palm Sunday Sermon on John 12: 12-29

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John 12: 12-19 A Royal Welcome

Not long before this story in scripture began,

Jesus had called to his very dead friend Lazarus,

And Lazarus breathed in the breath of life,

Shook off the stink of death,

And walked right out of his tomb.

And then, the crowds

Went wild

For Jesus.

Imagine --

If Jesus could

Fill up the bellies of the hungry

AND win a victory of life over death,

IF He could raise up the dead,

Just imagine ---

What He could

For Them!!

Such possibilities!

Expectations were high

And getting higher!

So, when Jesus headed out

To take the two mile trip

From Bethany to Jerusalem,

Entering the city

For the 4th time

A whole slew of people

Were there

to meet him,

And greet him --

Big time.

It was a, “pull out all the stops,

Pull down the palm branches,

Wave them high,

And start the shouting (!)”

Kind of greeting.

It was, a greeting

Fit for

A King.

For sure, that’s what

they intended it to be:

A royal welcome,

For someone they thought

Would be THE RULER

Who would restore the “nation”

To its “god-given” destiny,

Its rightful place

of power and glory.

And palm branches in hand,

Clearly, they were expecting

A victory.

And, among their praise that Sunday long ago

Was this ancient cry from scripture:

“Hosanna!

Blessed is he who comes

In the name of the LORD,”

The King of Israel.

Most of those words are straight from Psalm 118,

But the part about,

“the KING of ISRAEL,”

Which they also shouted (?)

THAT part -- they added

On their own.

Clearly, the crowd

was ready

To give Jesus

A royal crown.

Step aside. Herod.

Pilate.

Caesar.

The crowd is ready

To Make

Jesus

A KING.

Interestingly enough, in the story,

While the crowd is still singing their song of praise to the King,

While they’re still waving their palm branches and

giving Jesus a royal welcome,

While they’re ready to see him

sitting on some

Glorious, royal

throne,

Jesus,

Suddenly,

Sits himself

Down -

On a

Donkey.

As places to sit go,

A donkey’s back

Wouldn’t exactly

Be as comfy as a cushy throne!

But, in the middle of their songs of praise,

that’s where Jesus sat.

On a donkey.

He was sending the crowd

A message.

A message as old as the prophet Zechariah,

Who promised the people:

“Your king is coming,

[A good king who makes all things right,]

A humble king riding on a donkey …”

That part of the promise was quoted by the gospel of John,

But Zechariah’s promise goes even further:

Here’s what the King will do:

“I've had it with war—no more chariots …

no more war horses in Jerusalem,

no more swords and spears, bows and arrows.

He will offer peace to the nations,

a peaceful rule worldwide,

from the four winds to the seven seas.”

On that Sunday when he entered Jerusalem,

Riding on a donkey,

Jesus was acting

Both to fulfill this ancient promise

And to inform the crowd

The terms of his rule:

He would be a king alright,

But not necessarily the kind of king

They wanted.

He’d be a king who was

humble, meek, and lowly.

He’d be a king who would bring

An end to war horses and chariots,

And Swords and spears.

He’d be the King who’d bring

Peace.

Peace.

Peace.

Of course, Not long after Jesus entered the city,

Jesus, the KING,

Would take up a towel,

And a bowl of water

Kneel before his disciples,

And washed their tired, dirty feet.

Turned out the man they proclaimed King

was more than willing to do the work

of a “no account” slave,

Right in front of them.

Right down their on the floor.

Talk about humble! Meek! Lowly!

And that same night Jesus would command his disciples

To “Love One Another.”

Imagine that!

Jesus the King --

Whose only law, it turns out, is love!!

On that same night

That he took up the towel and water,

Jesus would also stand among the disciples,

And tell them straight out:

“Peace I leave you.

My peace I give you.”

And what Jesus was giving that night,

The peace that he was talking about

was no worldly peace,

The kind you get when you

Overpower someone else

by sheer brute force,

Beat the snot out of them

Till they can’t fight no more,

So you quit fighting.

No!

What Jesus offered was a whole ’nother

kind of peace.

It was, the peace

Of God.

A peace

Where all is at rest,

Where joy is known,

And a life of well-being is embraced and celebrated.

A peace

That is complete,

Whole,

And holy.

A Peace

With

God.

And one day soon,

Jesus would appear behind locked doors

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