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- This morning we begin a new sermon series The King is a Lamb, which will carry us through Easter.We will see King Jesus as our Unblemished Lamb, our Suffering Lamb, our Submissive Lamb, and finally as our Glorious Lamb.This morning . . .Our King-Lamb Enters JersualemI’ve chosen to preach this traditional Palm Sunday text today, because it follows the Parable of the 10 Minas which we spent four weeks mining for its meaning for us. This morning, I want to us to see how this parable, and what precedes the parable, helps us to understand the gravity of when Jesus enters Jerusalem.Jesus Predicts His DeathThree times in the Gospel of Luke.The first time Jesus predicts his deathoccurs following the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. In Luke, the story ends at chapter 9 verse 17. At verse 18, we read this,Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”This sheds some light on our passage this morning, when we read,“When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:” (Luke 19:37, NIV)Now we know that the crowd of people following Jesus was excited and animated by all the miracles, like the feeding of the five thousand. They knew these miracles meant Jesus was someone special. But there was a broad range of opinion about who Jesus was and what he was up to. Even those who like Peter and the other disciples who correctly identified Jesus as Messiah did not know what kind of Messiah Jesus intended to be. People were expecting or at the least hoping that Jesus would be the military-political Messiah who would defeat Rome and restore the Kingdom of Israel to its glory and status as God’s Chosen People.However, that was not the Messiah that Jesus came to be. Luke tells us that the reason Jesus told the parable of the 10 Minas was to debunk that idea.
he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.After Peter correctly identified Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus said thisAnd he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”Then Jesus goes on to tell them that His death means that if they really want to be his disciples they will die too!Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.At a minimum, Jesus is saying that at the least we will die by counting our life as no longer our own but belonging entirely to Jesus. So that we no longer make doing our will the aim of our life, but the doing of God’s will becomes the purpose of our life. In living in supreme allegiance to Jesus, it should not surprise us if our loyalty to Jesus costs us our physical life as well.The second time Jesus predicts his deathhappens in connection with the incident when a father brought his son to Jesus’ disciples and asked them to cast out a destroying spirit from his son. Jesus’ disciples could not drive the spirit out. We pick the story up with the father saying to Jesus,I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.Why did Jesus predict his death in relation to this incident? Because it explains the deliverance of the Son of Man into the hands of men. Despite Jesus doing the things that only God can do, and people being amazed at the greatness of God in the miracles - it was still an “unbelieving and perverse generation.” They saw God at work and did not, would not believe because they were a perverse generation. They could not believe because their perversion hid the work of God from them. The Greek word translated “perverse” means to be depraved — to be or become actively deviating from what is considered moral, right, proper, or good.This explains what was driving the rejection of the king in the parable when we read Jesus saying,
But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’They did not want the prince to become King because they were an unbelieving and perverse generation. Jesus in this parable is setting up and explaining his rejection in Jerusalem.Understanding that it is our own unbelief and perversion that keeps us from seeing the work of God, sheds light on our passage this morning when Jesus says as we continue further into his entry into Jerusalem,
If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.Why was the way of peace hidden from them? It was because they were an unbelieving and perverse generation.Is it possible that in our own generation, our perversion is keeping us from believing the work of God in our day, even when it is right before our eyes?The third time Jesus predicts his deathis just before He starts his last journey to Jerusalem. Interestingly, it follows Jesus teaching his disciples how hard it is for a rich person to get into the Kingdom of God! However, Jesus promises rewards to the persons who give up what she or he has for the sake of the Kingdom.Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.Jesus gets specific about what his disciples should expect to happen when they get to Jerusalem. Again, his disciples didn’t understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them. Why? It was not because they didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah. It was because their culture and its expectations about what the Messiah was to be and to do was so ingrained in them, they could not believe what God himself was telling them plainly.After Jesus tells them what to expect when they get to Jerusalem, Luke recordsThree Events on the Journey to JerusalemFirst, Jesus encountersA blind man sitting by the roadsideThe man shouted out,“Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.” (Luke 18:39–43, NIV)Do you see the point? Jesus has the power to make the blind see physically and spiritually. But if you want to see, you must have faith in Jesus. You must stop being an unbelieving generation and become a believing generation in Jesus the Messiah who is here to save you.Next Jesus findsZacchaeus, the chief tax collector, in a treeJesus went home with Zacchaeus. People criticized Jesus widely for being friendly to a sinner.“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”” (Luke 19:8–10, NIV)Do you see the point? Jesus has the power to change people’s behavior. When people stop being unbelieving and start believing, their behaviors stop being perverse and start showing that they and what they have belong to God. Here Jesus tells us why he was in this world and why he was going to Jerusalem: to seek and to save the lost.Immediately following this Jesus tellsThe Parable of the 10 MinasNow we can see Jesus more clearly as the nobleman who is going on a journey to become King. Before he undertakes the journey, he instructed his disciples in what they should expect and what they should do. But when the nobleman arrives, there is a delegation of his subjects that hate him and do not want him to be king. This is exactly what happened to Jesus in Jerusalem. In the parable, they make the nobleman king despite the hateful opposition. Jesus becomes King through his resurrection, ascension, and glorification.Now we can see that Jesus uses the parable to explain again his death and resurrection that will happen in Jerusalem. Then Jesus takes the story forward and says the King will return as the judge of his servants. With all the background we have covered in Jesus’ predictions of his death, we can see who Jesus was thinking of as the original wicked servant in the parable. It is Israel. When God made his covenant with Israel, he said to them,“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5–6, NIV)Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24, NIV)and the Apostle John tells us,“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (John 1:11, NIV)Even though the obedient servants, Jesus’ loyal disciples, receive rewards, the final emphasis in the parable is Jesus saying, there will be a judgement on Israel for not receiving me.All of this is to help us see that while the surrounding crowds joyfully celebrated, lost in the fantasy of their cultural expectations for this moment.Jesus Enters Jerusalem with a Heavy HeartJesus is the only one who understands the cost this day, foretells.Jesus is the only one who knows the price that he will pay: He, the King of all creation, men will slaughter him as a sacrificial lamb so He can save His lost sheep.Jesus is the only one who knows the price that his disciples will pay for following him: everyone will hate them because of him; men will slaughter them too.Jesus is the only one who knows the price Israel will pay for rejecting him. Hear again Jesus’ ending cry for the lost sheep of Israel.“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”” (Luke 19:41–44, NIV)This happened in 70 AD when Rome brutally sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple.What does this mean for us?All that we have seen in God’s Word today stands as a warning to us in our times. We live in an era of unprecedented cultural confusion. Gender is the clearest example among too many issues to name this morning. Never in human history has there been any confusion about what is a man and what is a woman. What escapes the conversation is this - if you don’t understand what makes up a man and a woman, then you don’t understand what makes up humanity - and that is where we find ourselves. We have reached the point where we, at least in the West, we are deeply confused about what it means to be human. Our confusion about what it means to be human, means it is impossible to know how to treat each other humanely. We see that confusion playing out in our culture daily.God's Word today tells us we must be diligent not to let the culture blind us to the movement of God in our times. We must be diligent not to become intertwined in the unbelief and perversity that is all around us so that it controls how we feel, think, and act.How do we live in the culture without the culture living in us?There is only one way out. We must believe in Jesus. Not the Jesus of our culture and not the Jesus we want. We must believe in the Jesus of the Bible as the Bible reveals him to us. We must believe in the Jesus who has the power to open our blind spiritual eyes, who has the power to cause us to act in ways that honor God, by treating others humanely through the love of God flowing through us. This will baffle our culture - and the culture will criticize us for doing good, just as Jesus’ culture criticized him. Can we stand? Will we stand when the culture calls our goodness evil?We can and we will stand if we allow Jesus to live through us so that we become increasingly like Jesus. If we want to flourish before God and people - even while bearing criticism for our goodness - we will have to submerge our lives in Jesus’ words in John 15 - the life described here is not only our only hope, but our greatest and best hope. Here the Word of the Lord:““I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:5–17, NIV) Faithlife Corporation. (2021). to be perverse (depraved) (Version 9.3) [Computer software]. Logos Bible Software Bible Sense Lexicon. Bellingham, WA: Faithlife Corporation. Retrieved from https://ref.ly/logos4/Senses?KeyId=ws.be+perverse.v.03
- My Song Is Love Unknown (Love Unknown)
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