INI + AMEN.
Jesus predicts His Lent for you, His passion for you, His suffering and death for you. We’re just a few days shy of Lent, and Jesus is already ahead of the game. He’s on His way. We’re going with Him. But that’s not all! 3 days from Ash Wednesday, we’re about 50 days—quinquagesima—from Easter. He predicts that too: His empty tomb for you.
Jesus does His Lent-ing and His Easter-ing for you, and faith alone clings to what Jesus has done. Jesus of Nazareth alone goes the Calvary way. He knows the Way. He sees the way. It’s the lonely way. He’ll only be surrounded by those who mock Him, treat Him shamefully, spit upon Him, beat Him, and kill Him. He goes the Kingly way. Jesus of Nazareth, is “the son of David,” the King of the Jews.
He goes on to Jerusalem. Of course He does! Just like any other king. The Son of David’s throne is there, and He’s the promised One who must ascend that throne. But not like any other king—He’s the Son of Man, the Messiah, the Son of God. “In lowly pomp He will ride on to die”—His Lent for you. Not like any other King—He’s come to die.
MERCIFUL KING JESUS SETS HIS SIGHT ON JERUSALEM.
((I. That’s the sort of King He is.))
The merciful King dies. His enemies gather. They set their battle lines against Him. His own people betray Him. They set the trap for the King. This merciful King “will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him.” He sees it coming. Why not defend Himself? Call up a division or two of angels? The King stands alone, and His enemies see Him. But His eyes don’t seem to be on them, but they are—clearly set on Jerusalem.
Do we understand this? The twelve “understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” What do we want to see from Jesus? What do we look for the King to do? This Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is Lord and Master not only of all people, but He’s the Creator and Preserver of all creation, along with the Father.
Yet, we think He needs to work into the political realm, don’t we? That He must have control of the government, and then Jesus can really be in charge. He’s King, after all! Kings rule. They have influence. They’re political leaders.
But is that King Jesus? Is Jesus of Nazareth such a King? Are we blinded like Samuel to power and stature? Jesus of Nazareth is King who has “a kingdom that is not of this world.” Now, a King may die in battle for His nation, but that’s not Merciful King Jesus, is it? Jesus isn’t American. He’s the King of the Jews, and that doesn’t mean modern Israel, either. Political rulers and soldiers may give their life for their country, but what they can’t do is what Jesus did.
His enemies couldn’t see it coming. Jesus did. He planned it from before the foundation of the world. Yes, He’ll be betrayed, mocked and ridiculed, He’d be flogged and killed. Everyone would see it! But “on the third day He will rise.” Jesus sees His cross and His empty tomb before He gets there. Not only that, so did the prophets! It’s what was written about Him: “everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” Just like it was in our Introit this morning: “Into Your hands I commit my spirit.” His Lent, His death, His life given for you.
((II. That’s the sort of King faith cling/looks to.))
Merciful Jesus of Nazareth opens blind eyes. That’s what Bartimaeus knew. He believed it. Faith knows only the Merciful King who’s come to die. Faith alone seeks His mercy. He gives it. “He said to him, ‘Recover your sight.’” Faith looks to Jesus alone for Jesus alone saves and gives that salvation. The son of David, the Son of Man, delivers His mercy. That’s the sort of King He is, and faith that is borne of such a King clings to that King and looks only for such a King.
Blind Bartimaeus didn’t need the Son of David to rescue him from Roman oppression. He didn’t need Jesus to get the nation back on track. He needed to see. He needed to be saved. He needed to be rescued from death. He needed Jesus’ mercy—a mercy that Jesus is always willing to give.
We need that too. We could have the most moral nation in all the world, and we’d still be lost. Morals are good, but they don’t save. Even those blind to Jesus can live a moral life. Faith looks to Jesus for what He’s come to give, and what He’s come to do because faith sees where Jesus is going.
Jesus goes to Calvary. There you truly see Him for who He is: “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.” Jesus, the son of David, is there on Calvary’s hill bleeding, dying for Bartimaeus. He’s there bleeding and dying for the blindness of His Twelve, for our blindness, too.
Faith follows this Jesus. Faith praises Him alone. Faith alone receives from Jesus alone. Jesus opens eyes, the blind see, but, more importantly, He gives eyes of faith. Look at what He’s done! Yes, He gave a blind guy sight, but more than that: “everything that was written about the Son of Man by the prophets was accomplished. He was delivered over to the Gentiles and was mocked, shamefully treated, spit upon. And after flogging him, they killed him, and on the third day He rose.”
MERCIFUL KING JESUS SETS HIS SIGHT ON JERUSALEM. Jesus does His Lent-ing and His Easter-ing for you, and faith alone clings to that, to what Jesus has done. Jesus of Nazareth alone goes the Calvary way. “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.” He opens eyes to see Him. He opens hearts to follow Him, lips to praise Him. He opens mouths to receive Him. That’s the true King Jesus and His true Kingdom. It’s a Kingdom of Mercy, ruled by a merciful King, who gives mercy to you. We see that today, receive it today: the body and blood of the King who set His sight on Jerusalem for you.
INI + AMEN.