Palm Sunday—Palmarum (Mt 21, 1–9)

Photo by ANGELA NEWMAN on Unsplash

This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your King comes to you, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

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᛭ INI ᛭

Jesus comes. Your King comes. He comes into the Virgin’s Womb. He comes into the Manger. He comes “to the Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him.” (Mt 3) He comes into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil.” (Mt 4) Advent fulfilled. Christmas fulfilled. Epiphany fulfilled.

King Jesus comes to Jerusalem. Palm Sunday! (We’re entering the 4th quarter now of the Church Year.) He comes to save His people. He is King Jesus, after all. “He will be called Jesus for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt 2)

That’s what Isaiah prophesied about Him, too: “Behold, the LORD has caused [this] to be heard unto the ends of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion: ‘Behold, your Salvation comes; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.’” (Is 62:11) Zechariah prophesies the same thing with different words: “Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout about, O daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

Jesus comes for His chosen people. That’s not just geographic Jerusalem—the city of Jerusalem that sits in the Middle East. It’s Zion. The name often used in the Bible for what we would call the Church. “The Church is…the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their shepherd.” (Smalcald Article Part III, Article XII: The Church, § 2)

When King Jesus comes, He comes as King. He comes to be your King, Your Lord, Your Savior. “The little word ‘Lord’ means simply the same as ‘Redeemer.’” (Large Catechism, 2nd Article, § 31) After all, when He comes for you,

KING JESUS COMES EXACTLY WHY AND HOW HE MEANS TO.

(I. We want to set the terms for Jesus’ coming.)

When I say that KING JESUS COMES EXACTLY…HOW HE MEANS TO, I mean that He comes like He said He would. It’s all about what He’s promised for His coming. He sets the terms. We don’t. It’s the benefit of being King. Subjects don’t establish the rules of the Kingdom.

Our problem is we want to set the terms for Jesus’ coming. We’re looking for all sorts of things that He hasn’t promised, and when things don’t go the way they should, we doubt. More specifically, we don’t like it when Jesus does things we don’t want Him to. We get frustrated when He allows things we don’t like. We get angry when He doesn’t act, when He doesn’t do something we think He should. In these ways, unbelief is in charge of our hearts.

We look at the world at large or maybe just our own world, and we’re basically like: “I don’t like this, that, or the other thing that’s going on.” And because of that happening, we doubt that the Lord’s actually in charge, at least not in any meaningful way. Maybe we even entertain the opinions of unbelievers: “Is there really a god?”

(Transition.)

“Claiming to be wise, they have become fools,” (Rom 1) for “the fool says in His heart there is no god.” (Ps 14)

Nevertheless, we fall the trap of failed expectations because “the devil, the world, and our sinful nature…deceive us and mislead us.” Our expectations fail because they’re sinful. Our hearts turn away from what the Lord promises about Himself.

We’re no different than the crowds surrounding Jesus in our Gospel lesson. Because they’re sinners, His people from all times and places can be described the same way: “stiff necked” (Ex), “limping between two opinions” (1 Kings 17), “slow of heart to believe all that’s written in the Law of Moses and the prophets” (Lk 24). Hoping for a political savior, it was easy to be duped by the religious leaders once Jesus was held in Roman custody. We can also loose the true Jesus by looking for a Jesus that fits our middle class American experience and expectations. We, too, can be duped by our own wants or our worries about the woes of the world.

It’s good news for you and for me that

KING JESUS COMES EXACTLY WHY AND HOW HE MEANS TO.

(II. The King comes to save you—then and now!)

He comes to save us. That’s why He comes. He comes to save us from our hard hearts, stiff necks, our sinful wants, desires, and expectations. He comes to redeem us, to purchase us from our sins, to win for us the forgiveness of sins. Jesus comes to raid and plunder the devil’s kingdom, bringing us back into His own eternal Kingdom. He comes to snatch us out of the clutches of death, the maw of the grave.

That’s why He comes, and He comes according to His promise—HOW HE MEANS TO. He comes “conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.” “He had no form or comeliness that we should desire Him.” (Is 53) He comes to “suffer under Pontius Pilate, [be] crucified, died, and buried.” Jesus came as King, as Salvation itself—hanging dead on the cross. “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.” “By His wounds you’ve been healed,” (Is 53; 1 Pet 2) forgiven.

He still comes to save us, to deliver that salvation to us: “Say to the daughter of Zion: ‘Behold, your Salvation comes; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.” He delivers His salvation, His forgiveness, His victory over death, devil, and grave to you in the Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments, that He established and instituted so that you would receive it.

KING JESUS still COMES EXACTLY HOW HE MEANS TO, just like He’s promised. It’s not riding a donkey, as promised, but delivering His forgiveness, His salvation to you, as promised. His forgiveness is promised and delivered through the Word and Water of Holy Baptism. It’s promised and delivered through the Absolution and sermons given by His sent men. (“Go to the village in front of you,” He says. The Lord’s always sending His men got the right place, right time.). It’s also promised and delivered through the blessed bread and wine that are thereby His body and blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins.

(Conclusion.)

KING JESUS COMES EXACTLY WHY AND HOW HE MEANS TO.

Jesus comes. Your King comes. He comes into the Virgin’s Womb. He comes into the Manger. He comes “to the Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him.” He comes into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil.” Advent fulfilled. Christmas fulfilled. Epiphany fulfilled.

Lent fulfilled, too! “He will save His people from their sins,” “taking on the form of a servant, becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2)

KING JESUS COMES EXACTLY WHY AND HOW HE MEANS TO.

He comes to you because He has need of you, He wants you to save you! He comes and delivers His Calvary salvation to you. He comes according to His promise—HOW HE MEANS TO. Words. Water. Body and blood. And you are saved.

᛭ INI ᛭

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