Summary: This originally was a series of 5 readings written for the purpose of using in between songs of an Easter Cantata. I have now compiled them into one cohesive sermon about the resurrection of Jesus, His Majesty the King
The Empty Tomb of His Majesty, the King
Their work had begun a few evenings ago. The women from Galilee that had followed Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover celebrations had not expected things to turn out the way it had. Their self-appointed rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth had met what they thought were some unforeseen circumstances while here in the Holy City.
Just a week earlier their entourage had left the home of Lazarus in Bethany and completed their journey into the city of Jerusalem. On that particular day as Jesus came to the crest of the Mount of Olives he mounted a colt of a donkey that a couple of the male disciples had found for him according to his instructions.
As they began to descend the hill they were greeted by a large crowd of other travelers and city dwellers. Noticing this was Jesus, the crowd began to turn this simple way down the hillside into a grand parade as if a royal subject was entering the city.
The children began to gather dropped palm frauns and lifted them high into the air waving them as Jesus passed by. The older onlookers began to remove their outer garments and spread them on the road in front of beast of burden to make a royal carpet of welcome.
Immediately a few of those celebrating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem started singing one of King David’s psalms of worship: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” In no time the entire multitude had joined in with added shouts of praise: “Hosanna! To the King of Israel!” Others boldly shouted: “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord!” While others yelled: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna in the highest!”
It seemed a befitting celebration. After all, Jesus was the Son of the Living God. He had truly demonstrated his royal, holy linage to all those who had witnessed his preaching, teachings and miracles. Surely this would be the beginning of a new era of peace with the sacred kingdom of Yahweh as its primary ruling order and not the heathen nation of Rome.
But by midweek thing began to change drastically. Jesus had met a few challenges from the high priests and scribes of the Law. He had also distressed many of the Temple Mount merchants and money changers by overturning their tables causing the money to scatter across the open courtyard. Not only that, he broke open some of the sheep pens containing the sacrificial lambs that were there for purchase and sheep were running everywhere! It was quite a scene!
Not but a few hours after this upheaval of holy cleansing in the temple area, Jesus and his twelve closest disciples joined in on an upper roof of an Essenic friend’s home. A feast celebrating the Passover had been prepared there earlier in the day by a couple of the women disciples.
That night, the Seder took on a whole new meaning. Jesus had shared as normal the four cups of wine and the unleavened matzo. He explained that one of the cups near the end of the meal was representative of his blood that would be shed to establish a new covenant between himself and all of mankind. He also took a piece of the matzo, broke it into and handed it to the disciples to eat of his broken body which was to remind them of giving his very life for the world.
Being the guest of honor that night, Jesus did an odd thing. Customarily, the host of a dinner or party would have his servants wash the feet of all guests upon their entrance into the house. This was to show his hospitality for their taking time to journey by foot to be his guest and to honor their presence in his home. But this night things went a little different.
After the meal had ended, Jesus arose from the table. He went to the corner of the roof to a side buffet where some of the utensils and food items had been stored during the meal. There he took a pitcher of water and poured its contents into a nearby basin. He then wrapped a towel around his waist and bent down before each of the disciples and washed their feet. All of his followers were confused. What did this mean? Why didn’t the host of the house have his servants do this? Had the women forgotten to make preparations for such?
Peter and a few of them questioned Jesus. Jesus response: “What I am doing you can’t comprehend tonight, but in a few days you will understand completely.” Peter’s first response was that Jesus didn’t need to stoop so low and do this thing to him. Jesus knew immediately of Peter’s true loyalty and that Peter, as well as one of the others, would turn coat in the next few hours. As a matter of fact, Jesus made mention that even one of those who would receive his Servanthood through this act of humility would go beyond the act of denial of a friendship with him and transact a betrayal. Turning to Judas he said: “What you do, do quickly!” Judas immediately left.