INI + AMEN.
Laetare: “Rejoice!” Today, we lighten our Lenten repentance. Easter can’t help but shine through just a little bit. So, our purple is lightened to pink, to rose because He rose from the dead. Laetare: “Rejoice,” “rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her.”
Rejoice! “The passover was near, a feast of the Jews.” Rejoice! Good Friday and Easter are near, just around the corner. Rejoice! “Jesus knew what He was going to do.” Not only feed the multitudes—certainly that, but He was going to do much more. He’s going to His cross. He’ll travel the Calvary way. He passes through cross, death, and grave. He’ll rise.
“He’s the Prophet, who’s coming into the world,” after all. He’s more than that! He’s King. The one, true King. He’s not just some ruler with the best health care program, the best AG program, the best tax plan, the best subsidy. No, none of those things. He’s not that sort of King, at all.
Yesterday, the Holy Christian Church remembered that He was conceived, His life and all life is precious and holy even at only two cells. Then He was born in בֵּת-לֶחֶם, Bethlehem, “House of Bread,” but He’s no “bread” King. He’s King of Calvary. “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
Laetare! Jesus is King. Rejoice!
KING JESUS GOES THE CALVARY WAY.
((I. He supplies for our physical needs.))
Calvary King Jesus does what any king does. He cares for His people. His people gather around, rally to their King. He “lifted up His eyes, and saw a large crowd was coming toward Him.” The King of the Cross is a merciful king. He supplies the needs of the people: “Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, He distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.”
His mercy knows no bounds. He doesn’t just supply for His people. He supplies for all people. He supples for the physical needs of His enemies, too. Some of that large crowd wasn’t there in true faith, as Jesus notes later, when they continue to follow Him: “You seek Me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were satisfied.” But He supplies their food just the same, that’s the sort of merciful king He is.
And so He teaches us to pray the 4th petition: “Give us this day our daily bread.” We know that “God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.” (SC)
King of Calvary Jesus supplies your daily bread. From the food on your plates, to the doctors and the nurses. He created the birds and the bees, and He feeds them. You, too! How much more you than the grass of the field and the birds of the air!
But we have all sorts of things that we think we “need” to be happy. But the Scriptures and Jesus Himself instead promise what we need to support our bodies and lives, new phones, trucks, better equipment, smarts, and standing not included.
And even if the Lord does lay upon us the cross of not having anything at all, we still have everything. Because He still has us. We bear His name on foreheads and hearts, from the Holy Font, and because of that we have Jesus as our priceless Treasure, as we just sang.
((II. He supplies for our spiritual needs.))
Why is the Father so merciful? Why is it that He supplies all of our true needs in this life? It’s all because KING JESUS GOES THE CALVARY WAY. Because of Him you have a merciful Father, a loving Father, and not a fearsome judge. Jesus doesn’t only supply physical needs, needs for this life. He also supplies for our needs of the next life.
At the end of our text, “They were about to come and take him by force to make him king, and Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” It was too early for all of that. They would seize Him, bind Him, take Him away. They would crown Him, they would deck Him out in His royal robes, and they would fasten Him to throne—high and lifted up. He wasn’t alone on that mountain—a thief to one side, and a robber to the other.
He did it for them. He’s merciful that way. He does this for all people—thieves, robbers, and murderers—even of the unborn—included. Jesus died and rose for all people. In His death, He draws all people and all their sins into Himself. He becomes the Sinner, and the Lightning Rod of the Father’s wrath and judgment for sin. Jesus climbs Calvary’s hill to do this even for those who will, in the end, reject Him and the eternal salvation He won and offers.
But the Lord does this even for you. For there, at Calvary, He’s declared, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. He’s your King for we are all Israelites, children of Abraham, by our faith in Jesus. That’s what Paul talks about in our Epistle.
And this “King of the Jews” Jesus gives and delivers not only physical benefits for this life, physical gifts, which we certainly need. No, He also delivers spiritual food and benefits, and He does it with physical means. Not “five barley loaves and two fish,” but today He delivers the gifts of His body and blood which are given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.
Laetare: “Rejoice!” KING JESUS GOES THE CALVARY WAY. He’s merciful that way. “Jesus knew what He was going to do.” He fed the crowd. He would die and rise for all, even those who reject Him and His salvation—for you, too! He delivers it to you. That’s the sort of King He is. Laetare! Body and Blood for you. Rejoice! He’s Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
INI + AMEN.