Palmarum—Palm Sunday (Mt 21:1–9; Zech 9:9–12)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || VIDEO

The crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: Is Jesus the King or not?))

Is Jesus the King or not? It’s a fair question, isn’t it? He’s big enough, God enough for us to ask it. It can be asked as much in faith as it can in unfaith. The Psalms continually ask this question in faith. “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?” Or Psalm 6: “My soul is greatly troubled; but You, O Lord, how long?” The world asks it, too, out of unfaith, unbelief. Our faith drives us to ask the tough questions of our God. The world mocks, based on a predetermined ideas, and says, “There is no God, no King but us.” So, Jesus are you King or not?

He is King. The people are right. “He’s Son of David.” Rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, just like King Solomon did. Solomon was David’s son and heir. Jesus is “of the house and lineage of David,” and so He is heir to “the throne of His father, David.” But Jesus is also David’s Lord. Jesus is the true King of Israel, the LORD God Himself. Yahweh come in the flesh. The one who is “greater than Solomon” appears. “Behold, your King comes to you.” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

((4. Ugh!: The problem is we make ourselves king.))

So, what gives? If He’s really King, then why is all this virus stuff going on? Well, your question isn’t unique to you. The Jews in our text would’ve asked a similar question: if He’s really King, then why are the Romans still here? The problem isn’t with Jesus being King or not. The problem is our expectations.

The Jews in Jesus’ day had expectations for the King of the Jews. They expected the Messiah, the Son of David, to beat up on their political enemies, to overthrow the Romans, and to set up a new Kingdom of Israel. The age of the Messiah would usher in worldly plenty, worldly peace, worldly power. That’s what the palm branches are all about.

We often put similar expectations on Jesus. We expect Him to be King the way we want Him to be King, to make the world run the way we think it should be run. Often if it doesn’t go the way we think it should go, we determine that Jesus is a bad king. After all, we’d never let this virus stuff get out of hand like it is.

Like Adam and Eve before us, just like the Jews of Jesus’ day, we try to be the King in the King’s place. We rebel. We pass off power and control to Him only if we think it’s absolutely necessary. And if He does things His way, a way different from what we would’ve done, well, we blame Him and just continue living as if we are in charge, as if there is no God.

((3. Aha!: Jesus is the true King.))

But last time I checked none of us died and came back to life on the Third Day. Jesus is King. Jesus is God. You’re not. Neither am I. He does rule all things according to His choosing. Everything was created, everything is cared for, and everything will continue just as Jesus and His Father choose. But that’s all hidden from us. He doesn’t let us know those things.

Sin breaks stuff. We are broken by sin, deeply, in a way only the Bible can tell us. It’s why we die. Sin has broken creation, too. Things aren’t running the way they’re supposed to. It’s why there’s coronavirus. This is what happens when there’s sin-broken people in a sin-broken world. And yes the Lord’s in charge, but He’s working with broken stuff. I know there’s no olympics this year, but a gold medal cyclist wouldn’t be the gold medal winner if she used your rusted out bike that’s in your garage. The best farmer in the world can’t plant a good crop with bad seed.

Anyway, Jesus is the King, He’s a particular kind of King. A King not of our making, but a King to fill our greatest need. He’s the King promised in Zechariah 9. There the King promises: “I declare that I will restore to you double.” Double what? Double salvation! Double hosanna! Hosanna means “Save us!”, and that’s what King Jesus does. He brings salvation. He saves. That’s His promise. Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna in the Highest!” That’s the King He is. JESUS IS YOUR KING OF DOUBLE SALVATION.

((2. Whee!: JESUS IS YOUR KING OF DOUBLE SALVATION.))

JESUS IS YOUR KING OF DOUBLE SALVATION. He saves us from us, from our plans, from our trying to be King in His place. He comes “to set prisoners free,” to forgive sinners, to raise the dead. He comes to those who are at war with Him. He comes and destroys the chariot, the war horse, and the battle bow, but then He declares peace to the nations. He declares that sins are forgiven. He comes to “speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins,” as Isaiah prophesies.

That’s His cross and suffering and death—resurrection, too! More forgiveness than you have sins. More peace than you have rebellion against God. More life than you have death. That’s the sort of double salvation Jesus brings. That’s the sort of King He is. He is the King of the Jews all the way to His cross. There at Calvary, “they put the charge against him over his head, which read,” “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.” His resurrection from the dead proves who He is: “Lord and God,” “even the King of Israel”!

He delivers His double salvation to you: you’re baptized and forgiven. He’s the King who proclaims: “I baptize you.” He’s the King who pardons: “I forgive you all your sins.” He’s the King who proclaims peace: “I died and rose for you.” More adoption than you have rebellion in Holy Baptism, more forgiveness than you have sins in His Absolution, and on the Last Day more resurrection from the dead than you have sickness, pain, or even death. That’s what Jesus does and delivers as YOUR KING OF DOUBLE SALVATION.

((1. Yeah!: Nothing can change or take away His double salvation.))

And JESUS IS YOUR KING OF DOUBLE SALVATION no matter what. Your King promises that He will work everything that happens in this life for your eternal good. He‘s running the universe so that you would be saved. That’s how King Jesus wields His power. Not in destroying sinners. Who’d be left standing? But instead He saves sinners, forgives them, and He even raises them the dead so that they would “live before Him in righteousness and purity forever.” That’s His power being perfected in Your weakness.

That’s Palm Sunday, too. That’s Holy Week. Jesus goes through suffering and death, and His dead body on the cross is your salvation. His grave: empty! A tomb is a sight of unending joy! If death and grave can’t stop Jesus, well, what can a virus do? In fact, His death and grave are the means of your salvation. Now, everything in this life will turn out for your salvation. It just has to! Calvary and Easter say as much. Christ has died and risen, never to die again. FOR YOU, for all. The message a dying world needs.

JESUS IS YOUR KING OF DOUBLE SALVATION. Because of His death and resurrection, because of your Baptism into Him, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

INI + AMEN.

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