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Summary: There is nothing so fulfilling as good timing, nothing so embarassing as bad timing. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was wonderful for some, judgment time for others. What time is it for us? (MLK assassination anniversary)

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There is nothing quite so fulfilling as good timing. And nothing quite so embarrassing as bad timing.

They say that the secret in being a comedian is good timing. Well, the secret in living is good timing. Quite a few years ago, a young lady in whom I was more than slightly interested had to be out of town for a week. However, during that week and that week alone, the radio was playing music she needed to hear for her music appreciation course. I overheard her worrying about how she was going to get that material and prepare for the exam. So while she was away, I quietly taped the music and then presented it to her when she came home. For once, my timing was good; so good, in fact, that next month we will celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the benefits of good timing!

There is nothing quite so fulfilling as good timing, especially when you see an opportunity in it.

But the height of embarrassment is bad timing. Bad timing is excruciatingly painful, especially when you just don’t understand the circumstances. One day I was at a reception for a man who was leaving one of our Baptist agencies. It was, I supposed, one of those sad-happy occasions ... sad to see you go, but, on balance, happy you have a new opportunity ahead of you. I greeted the man who was leaving, summoning up all my good cheer and jollity, and he promptly turned over his coffee cup, spilling coffee right down his jacket. Well, I was all into the jovial mode, so squawked out something like, "I see that your cup runneth over" and went babbling and laughing on ... until I noticed that his hands were shaking uncontrollably. He had spilled the coffee because his hands were out of control. Somebody pulled me off to the side and whispered, "Parkinson’s Disease, that’s why he’s leaving." I was about ready to fall through the floor.

The height of embarrassment is bad timing, especially when you just don’t understand the circumstances.

Do you recognize what time it is? Nothing is so fulfilling as good timing, when you see an opportunity in it. And nothing is so embarrassing as bad timing, when you don’t understand the circumstances.

I

For several weeks Jesus and His disciples had been making their way toward Jerusalem. Walking from town to town, teaching, preaching, healing, Jesus had provoked a variety of responses.

Some had rejoiced in His coming. It had been right on time for them and their needs. Ten lepers had been cleansed; the timing was right for them. A blind man begging beside the road had received his sight; impeccable timing for him. The tax collector Zacchaeus felt that the timing was good for him to find love and acceptance, and he scrambled up a tree to take advantage of the right time, the opportunity. Jesus’ trip to Jerusalem had been great timing for some. It had been an opportunity.

But it had been bad timing, embarrassing timing, for others. Certain Pharisees had criticized Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath, and His reply blew them away. Bad timing to bad-mouth a healer; embarrassing timing.

It had been bad timing for the rich young ruler, who thought he was asking a safe theological question about eternal life, but who got instead a command to go and sell all that he had. Bad timing and embarrassing to admit you won’t accept the answer you got.

Timing is everything. It’s important to recognize what time it is.

II

As Jesus and His disciples now approached the city, it seemed that the timing was exactly right. Just outside the city, He had asked for a young colt on which to ride. They thought they knew what this meant. After all, it was the Passover season. And if Jesus was entering the city at Passover, riding on this young beast of burden, it could only mean that the ancient prophecy of Zechariah was coming true. He was going to show Himself as the Messiah. This was it! This was the moment! This was the right time!

From the village of Bethany, across a little valley, now around the edge of the Mount of Olives, leading the way went the disciples. The crowd building, excitement mounting, people spreading their coats on the path as they might for a conquering hero ... and then the moment, the crowning moment, the right moment. They rounded a turn in the path, and there before them was their first view of Jerusalem. The great city spread out before them, its walls and pinnacles shining in the sunlight. It must have been much like seeing the city of Washington from certain vantage points across the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers …a golden glowing city, displaying history and power.

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