Palm Sunday (Mt 21:1–9)

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

INI + AMEN.

Jesus comes. He rides into Jerusalem. On a donkey He comes. The King comes. He advents. This is the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent. But it’s not advent! It’s for the Last Sunday in Lent, too.

The King comes and “lents.” He does His Lent. That’s how He’s King. He lents for you. He fasts for 40 days. He suffers “under Pontius Pilate.” He’s “crucified, died, and was buried.”

Jesus comes. The King comes. He rides into Jerusalem. He comes for you. Advents for you. He lents for you, too. Does His Holy Thursday, His Good Friday, and Easter Sunday for you, too.

He’s the Son of David, so that’s what He does. He’s King. Not just the King, but your King, too. In fact,

KING JESUS COMES TO BE YOUR KING.

((I. To be King means to be crucified.))

Yes, Jesus is King. But what does it mean to be king? Well, traditionally worldly kings are kings because of power and force. Maybe kings and monarchs aren’t that way anymore today, but they once were. In fact, the kings and queens that are here today, are here because at some point the kings before them were.

But that’s not Jesus. Even though He’s the creator of the universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords, He’s not King with power or force. No, not Jesus. Just look at Him: “humble, mounted on a donkey.” Jesus isn’t a King of power and authority. He eternally has those things, and so He doesn’t need to flaunt it.

So, what sort of King is Jesus? Well, just listen to what the crowds say, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” He’s the “Hosanna” King. The salvation King. “Hosanna” means “Please, save us!” and that’s what Jesus does. He saves. And this gets us to the answer for: what does it mean to be King?

Well, Jesus is a humble King. He’s from backwater Nazareth. The crowds knew that. “This is Jesus of Nazareth,” they say later on in chapter 21. But soon, the Romans would, too. That’s what Pontius Pilate charged him with: Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.

There Jesus is King. No earthly throne, just a cross. No crown except thorns. There He is most King. King of the entire world, dying, shedding His blood for it. That’s how He’s the one true King.

((Transition.))

Yes, Jesus is King. But what does it mean to be king? Not power. Humility, even to death on a cross. Because to be King—the one, eternal, and true King—means to be crucified. But that’s not all for King Jesus. Remember: KING JESUS COMES TO BE YOUR KING.

((II. To be King means to rule from the inside and not the outside.))

Yes, Jesus is King, but if you’re King, you’ve gotta be king of somewhere, right? That’s just how it works. Jesus isn’t King of Jerusalem. Oh, it might seem like it today. “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” But it won’t stay that way: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him” they’d shout on Friday.

He’s still King of somewhere, it’s just not a place. Remember: KING JESUS COMES TO BE YOUR KING. He is your King. He would be humble King of your heart. To be your King means to rule you from the inside out. Not just on a Palm or Easter Sunday. Not like the crowd—fickle. Like I said. Now it’s “hosanna.” Then “crucify!”

We’re like the crowd. We live a life where our actions and our words don’t line up. God. Family. Country. But our words aren’t faithful to what we do. Our actions aren’t faithful to what we say. God is first in word but not in action.

Oddly enough, the most faithful thing besides Jesus on Palm Sunday and all of Holy Week is this donkey with her colt. “The Lord has need of it.” She sticks by Him. He sticks by her. She goes where He wants to take her. She delights in Him, her humble rider. He delights in her enough to choose her and her child for Himself. The Lord doesn’t just have need of a donkey, the Lord has need of you.

Does He want to take the switch to you? Would He burden you? No, He’s humble. His yoke easy. His burden light. He would lead you where He wants to take you. He would lead you more and more to Himself. That’s what He wants. He has need of you, just for you. He delights in you. You’re His aren’t, you?

Of course you are. He chose you. He made you His own. Marked His cross over you. Not on your back like the donkey has. No, Jesus marked His cross on your forehead. Branded you with His death and resurrection in the water and Word of Holy Baptism. You are His. He is yours, your King.

The King feeds you, too. Your King would feed you with His own body and blood. To strengthen you, to protect you, to keep you as His all the way to eternal life. Jesus warns, “If you don’t eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.” But He also promises, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me and I in him, and I will resurrect him on the Last Day.” KING JESUS COMES TO BE YOUR KING, after all.

You could buck your rider. Go off after another. Be branded by another. Live under another. You’d still have your colt. Your life. You wouldn’t even notice. You’d rejoice in your new master. Go wherever he would have you go. You’d think him the best master. Just like you live. Daily and much. Repent. Jesus would have you. He’s chosen you.

((Conclusion.))

KING JESUS COMES TO BE YOUR KING. He is King, and He is your King. He is King in His lenting, His suffering and dying for you. He is your King in your Baptism and in His body and blood. Only by the trough of His Baptism and the eternal silage of His body and blood, does He remain yours. There He is yours and you His. Only His water and body and blood say so. He’s come to be your king. He is. He has need of you. Just you.

INI + AMEN.

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