Palm Sunday C 2016 (Jn 12:1–43)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO


It’s all come down to this.“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” “For this reason I’ve come to this hour,” says Jesus. He’s come to Jerusalem. He’s come on a donkey, the foal of a donkey. It must be this way. Yahweh promised it through His prophets, and so He fulfills it. Jesus comes as the King. Not the King we want or expect. Not what we deserve. There’s no worldly power with this King. No wanting of political power or influence in His day or beyond. No seeking a kingdom, rule, or influence in this world at all, as He says: “My Kingdom is not of this world.” Not coming as ruthless Judge either, which we’ve deserved because of our sins. No, not any of those things. It’s all come down to Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem. He comes amidst shouts of “Save us now! Hosanna!”


(I. As the King of Life, Jesus came to bring life.)

The world is steeped in death. We know it’s true. There’s cancers. Things like the Zika virus. Planned parenthoods. There’s sudden heart attacks. Strokes. It’s not a pleasant sight when someone is in throws of death, when they’re in their last hour after a long struggle with sickness, disease, and death. There’s death all around, all over the world. In some places more than others, as the nightly news repeatedly reminds us. Because of all this, Jesus comes. As the King of Life, Jesus came to bring life. That’s His sole mission. He brings life in the midst of death just like a light shines in the darkness. “LIGHT and life to all He brings,” like He said, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” “Light and LIFE to all He brings,” just like He did: He raised the dead. He raised Lazarus. The King of Life reigns by banishing death, even four-day-old-corpse death. That corpse must live because the King of Life proclaimed: “Lazarus, come forth!” “The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.”

(II. As the King of Life, Jesus came to die.)

Yes, Jesus, the King of Life, came and did this sign, banishing death from Lazarus. Jesus to bring His Light and Life, and because He did the Pharisees said, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” Yes, the world had gone after the King of Life. Some Greeks wanted to see Him. To them and to all Jesus said what else He’d come to do. As the King of Life, He’d come to die. The King of Life, Life itself, the eternal God, the true King of Israel, Jesus would die, just like a seed planted in the ground. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” And that’s not all! Did you catch watch Jesus said? “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am exalted from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” Jesus is exalted, glorified, enthroned as the King of Life on that terrible instrument of death, His cross. His crown thorns. His royal title: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” His royal proclamation: “It is finished!” When He is enthroned, when He comes into His glory there, the devil, the world, and sin are undone. The sins of death-dealing are atoned for—all of them! But more than that, as the King of Life, in His death on the cross, He defeats death itself.

(III. As the King of Life, Jesus lives to give life now.)

Jesus wasn’t just King of Life then, but He’s the Day that “dawns upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,” as we’ll sing in the Benedictus. Jesus, the King of Life, died, but, as the King of Life, Jesus lives to give life now, even now to you. His resurrection was assured: “bears much fruit!” says Jesus. “I have glorified it and will glorify it again,” says the Father. He conquered death by His death. He removed its sting forever by His coming back to life. Jesus, King of Life, gives you life now. He raised Lazarus from the dead. He will also call your body to life again, no matter how long it’s been dead. He gives life now through His Word. What He did for those Greeks, He does for you. “He ANSWERED them.” He preached to them. He preached to them of His death and resurrection: “if it dies, it bears much fruit.” If He dies, He will bear fruit forever, and He does. The King of Life gives His life blood and body to you: “Blessed is that cometh in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.” There the King of Life comes to you. There the gifts of His reign are continually given. There He delivers the medicine of immortality—His body and blood—that gives you victory over death. His body and blood keep you body and soul unto life everlasting, and so He will surely “raise you up on the Last Day.”

JESUS COMES AS THE KING OF LIFE. He gave life when He came to die as the King of Life. Living He gives life to you now. He is the King of Life who “kills and makes alive,” who “wounds and heals,” as He proclaimed to Moses in Deuteronomy 32. That’s His reign: the King of Life conquering death—all death—by His death. Victory on the cross. Victory on top of victory three days later. This is His time. He makes you alive. He will make you alive. It’s why He’s come. His living Word, His life-body and life-blood say so. He’s the King of Life after all now and forever.


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