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3-24-24 The True King

The True King

David Peterson / General

Palm Sunday / Mark 11:1–11

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Jesus had and has proven himself the true king because he initiated the rule of God, subduing his own human nature, for the source of all outer wars is the inner turmoil of human heart.

Introduction

Key Text: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9 NIV84)

A true story: A retired couple [in the late 1970s, early 80s] was alarmed by the threat of nuclear war so they undertook a serious study of all the inhabited places on the globe. Their goal was to determine where in the world would be the place to be least likely affected by a nuclear war. A place of ultimate security. They studied and traveled, traveled and studied. Finally they found the place. And on Christmas they sent their pastor a card from their new home—in the Falkland Islands. However, their “paradise” was soon turned into a war zone by Great Britain and Argentina. [1982] Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” [John 14:27]

from Illustrations Unlimited!

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born. To us a son is given. The authority to rule will rest on his shoulders. He will be named: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

I. How he comes* (vv. 7, 9)

1. Explanation

a. He comes in peace

The whole impact is that the King was coming in peace. In Palestine the donkey was not a despised animal, but a noble one. When a king went to war he rode on a horse, when he came in peace he rode on a donkey.

Barclay, W. (2001). The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Mark (p. 307). Saint Andrew Press.

b. He comes in humility

The difference between Jesus taking charge of a colt (or, in John’s version, a donkey) for his triumph and a king or general adopting the same animal as a show of humility is that, for the great man, this would be a gesture. He could select the right animal from among his stores and spoils to make the desired impression. For Jesus, the colt is not even his, but borrowed. It is not a show of humility, it is humility in fact—humility as a condition.

This borrowing is consistent with the rest of Jesus’ life. He borrows his parade and his mount. In the next chapter he borrows a coin to illustrate a point about taxes. He borrows his lodgings and his earthly father. In Luke’s account he borrows his birthplace, and by all accounts he borrows his grave.

From <https://www.christiancentury.org/article/living-word/march-25-palm-sunday-b-mark-111-11>

2. Application

3. Illustration

Happiness Guru Never Found His Own Happiness

Tony Hsieh (pronounced “Shay”) wanted to promote happiness and world peace. The brilliant business guru took over Zappos soon after it was founded. Under his leadership, he propelled it from a company on the verge of collapse to a successful online retail enterprise that sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009.

After the publication of his book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, he became a workplace-happiness guru. Thousands of business leaders, government officials, and Wall Street analysts flocked to Zappos’s downtown Las Vegas headquarters each year to take tours of its fun-filled offices and learn from Mr. Hsieh.

When Hsieh stepped down as CEO of Zappos in August of 2020, he thought he could achieve world peace. He moved to Park City, Utah, and wanted to attract intellectuals and artists with outsize salaries to create a sort of utopia. The blueprint for this model town could then be applied to other cities across the world.

But behind his swift success, Mr. Hsieh had for years struggled privately with social anxiety, autism, and alcohol abuse. Five months before his death, he suffered a breakdown after abusing drugs, in particular a drug that some describe as “spiritual.” He had also developed a fascination with fire. He liked fooling around with it and performing magic tricks. Candles were sometimes perched dangerously on his bedspread, and Mr. Hsieh kept a small fire ring in his bedroom that shot flames into the air without any barrier. Sadly, he died at 46 in November 2020, from injuries sustained in a house fire that was ruled an accident by local authorities.

Source: Kristen Grind, “The Rise and Fall of the Management Visionary Behind Zappos,” Wall Street Journal (3-12-22), cited at PreachingToday.com

The young are now most unhappy people in the United States, new report shows

Story by Christopher Cann, USA TODAY • 2d •

Happiness and well-being among Americans has recently plummeted and a new cohort is leading the downward spiral: young people.

The World Happiness Report released Wednesday showed that self-reported data from those under 30 knocked the U.S. out of the top 20 happiest countries for the first time since the annual report was initially published in 2012.

Experts have also begun to sound the alarm over what many consider to be an epidemic of loneliness among America’s teenagers and young adults, which has coincided with a rise in virtual school and remote work. But researchers agree that there’s no one cause for the decline, rather a cluster of factors that’s driving young people to dissatisfaction levels associated with those who typically are at least a decade older.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/the-young-are-now-most-unhappy-people-in-the-united-states-new-report-shows/ar-BB1kiy3Z

Rise of the SHEcomony

Based on Census Bureau historical data and Morgan Stanley forecasts, 45% of prime working age women (ages 25-44) will be single by 2030—the largest share in history—up from 41% in 2018.

https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/womens-impact-on-the-economy

II. Who he is (vv. 1–8, 10-11)

1. Explanation

a. He is the one who appears at the temple (v. 11)

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:1 NIV)

b. He comes as royalty (vv. 7-8)

11:7–8. The spreading of garments represents royal homage (2 Kings 9:13). Branches were also waved in homage to rulers (cf. 1 Macc 13:51; 2 Macc 10:7). The larger palm branches used for the Feast of Tabernacles (in the fall) would not be available at Passover time (in the spring), unless brought from Jericho; the branches described here are small enough for the colt to walk on. (Carrying branches was also part of the worship at the feast depicted in Ps 118:27.)

Pilgrims to the feast were typically welcomed by crowds already there, so it is unlikely that the whole crowd recognized the significance of Jesus’ entry. In view of the crowd’s acclamation in 11:10, however, the image that may have come most readily to the minds of Mark’s ancient readers is probably that of a royal entrance procession.

Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Mk 11:7–8). InterVarsity Press.

c. He proved himself to be the King by how he ruled himself

How, then, are we to account for this perfect blending and exquisite harmony? There is no doubt or question as to the environment of Jesus Christ; it was essentially and solely Jewish. His nation, place, home, work, were Jewish. And yet the picture of Jesus Christ in the Gospels is not a Jewish picture. There is nothing in Judaism to explain it. The records of Jewish history, whether of Christ’s own day or of earlier times, to say nothing of later centuries, will be searched in vain for any Jewish picture corresponding to that of Jesus of Nazareth. We can see something of typical Jewish character in our Lord’s day from a study of John the Baptist and St. Paul. Although, therefore, Jesus Christ is historical and Jewish, it is abundantly evident that He transcends the limits of Judaism.

Nor is it a Gentile picture. There is nothing in Greece or Rome to account for it. The greatest and highest personages of these countries have never revealed anything approaching the grace and truth manifested in Jesus Christ.

Nor can we account for this portrait by means of a blending of Jew and Gentile. There is nothing whatever in history to show that this would be the outcome of such a union of racial and personal characteristics. The typical blend of Jew and Gentile was seen in Alexandria in such a man as Philo.

We do not wonder, therefore, that the question asked by His contemporaries, “Whence hath this man this wisdom and these mighty works?” should be asked concerning His character by men of all ages, for there is nothing in history to account for Him.

W.H. Griffith Thomas. Christianity is Christ (Kindle Locations 153-163). Kindle Edition. (1925)

2. Application

3. Illustration

No Peace Without the Prince

Our trouble is we want the peace without the Prince.

Source: Addison Leitch (CT, Dec. 22, 1972). Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 14.

Christianity Isn’t Complicated

Just think, every promise God has ever made finds its fulfillment in Jesus. God doesn’t just give us grace, He gives us Jesus, the Lord of grace. If it’s peace, it’s only found in Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Even life itself is found in the Resurrection and the Life. Christianity isn’t all that complicated … it’s Jesus.

Source: Joni Eareckson Tada in Lamp Unto My Feet. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 8.

III. How we ought to respond (vv. 4–10)

1. Explanation

a. We ought to meet him with praise. Jesus accepts their actions as rightly ordered

Jesus’ celebrated entry is one of as many as twelve similar entries, as recorded in 1 and 2 Maccabees and in Josephus. These entries follow a more or less fixed pattern. Entries involving major figures include Alexander, who enters Jerusalem, is greeted with ceremony, and is escorted into the city where he participates in cultic activity (Ant. 11.8.4–5 §325–339); Apollonius, who enters Jerusalem accompanied by torches and shouts (2 Macc. 4:21–22); Judas Maccabeus, who returns home from a military victory and is greeted with hymns and “praising God” (1 Macc. 4:19–25; Josephus, Ant. 12.7.4 §312); Judas Maccabeus, again, who returns from battle and enters Jerusalem amidst singing and merrymaking, followed by sacrifice (1 Macc. 5:45–54; Ant. 12.8.5 §348–349); Jonathan, brother of Judas, who is greeted by the men of Askalon “with great pomp” (1 Macc. 10:86); Simon, brother of Judas, who enters Gaza, expels idolatrous inhabitants, cleanses idolatrous houses, and enters the city “with hymns and praise” (1 Macc. 13:43–48); Simon, brother of Judas, again, who enters Jerusalem and is met by crowds “with praise and palm branches, and with harps and cymbals and stringed instruments and with hymns and songs” (1 Macc. 13:49–51); Antigonus, who with pomp enters Jerusalem, then the temple precincts, but with so much pomp and self-importance he is criticized by some for imagining that he himself was “king” (J.W. 1.3.2 §73–74; Ant. 13.11.1 §304–306); Marcus Agrippa, who enters Jerusalem, is met by Herod, and is welcomed by the people with acclamations (Ant. 16.2.1 §12–15); and Archelaus, who, hoping to confirm his kingship, journeys to and enters Jerusalem amidst acclamation of his procession (Ant. 17.8.2 §194–239).

Evans, C. A. (2003). The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew–Luke (C. A. Evans & C. A. Bubeck, Eds.; First Edition, p. 381). David C Cook.

“Hosanna” is a Hebrew word that originally meant “Save, now!” But here it probably is no more than a way of saying, “Hail!” or “Praise be to you!” The happy people are singing words from Psalm 118:25, 26: “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” It is helpful to look at the entire psalm to see what these words mean in context. In this way we can better understand what the pilgrims are saying by them.

In Psalm 118 the Messiah-King urges God’s people to give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love. He describes how he had won a great victory with the LORD’s help. The King’s life had been under great threat: he had been in anguish (v. 5) … surrounded by his enemies on every side (v. 11) … pushed back and about to fall (v. 13) … severely chastened by the LORD to the point of death (vv. 17, 18). Yet the King did not base his hope of being rescued on the size of his army, the strength of his warriors, or any alliances he might make with other princes (vv. 8, 9). He won the victory “in the name of the LORD,” that is, relying on the LORD to help him according to his gracious promise (v. 12). Now he is coming to the temple to praise God for giving him the victory, and the people hail him as the one who comes “in the name of the LORD.”

By singing these words to Jesus as he rides into Jerusalem the people are declaring their belief that Jesus is the King who will give the words of Psalm 118 their full meaning. They are acclaiming him as the Messiah who will win the victory over the dark spiritual forces that threaten mankind. He will win the victory, not through armies and earthly might, but “in the name of the LORD.” He will win by simply relying on the promised help of the LORD God.

Wendland, E. H., & Albrecht, G. J. (1987). Sermon Studies on the Gospels (ILCW Series B) (pp. 154–155). Northwestern Publishing House.

b. We ought to serve him with obedience (v. 4)

We now turn our attention to the way the disciples and people respond to the Lord. The two disciples take Jesus at his word, obeying it in simple thrust, and find things to be just as Jesus said they would be. The words Jesus gave them, “The Lord needs it,” are enough to establish their right to take the colt. God’s words are always true. When we follow them, they will not send us in the wrong direction. Through his Word our Lord also lays claim to us and all we have. Since he is our King, we will gladly give him what he tells us he needs.

The disciples and others show their respect for Jesus by taking off their outer clothing and putting it on the colt and in the road. Since these are poor people for the most part, this is truly a sign of how much they love their Lord and wish to honor him (see Ex 22:26, 27). By this action they are clearly saying, “This man is our King” (see 2 Ki 9:13). Some of the people go into the fields and cut off leafy branches from the trees. They place them in the path so that their Lord’s donkey will not have to touch the dust of the common road.

Wendland, E. H., & Albrecht, G. J. (1987). Sermon Studies on the Gospels (ILCW Series B) (p. 153). Northwestern Publishing House.

2. Application

3. Illustration

Japanese Writer Wowed By What We Take for Granted

In 1900 a Japanese writer named Natsume Soseki visited England for the first time. While he was there he was surprised to discover that few of the locals appreciated or even noticed all of the beauty that he saw. Soseki was so captivated by the snow that he invited some friends over for a “snow-viewing,” but they just laughed at him. When he told another group of that the Japanese are deeply emotional about the moon, they looked at him with confusion. Then Soseki told the following story:

One day, when [my host] and I took a walk in the garden, I noted that the paths between the rows of trees were all thickly covered with [beautiful] moss. I offered a compliment, saying that these paths had magnificently acquired a look of age. Whereupon my host replied that he soon intended to get a gardener to scrape all this [ugly] moss away.

Source: Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness (Vintage, 2008), pp. 261-262

A father sat down after a long day’s work and wanted to read the newspaper. His son kept bothering him. He wanted to talk and play.

The father had enough. He tore out a page of the newspaper with a picture of the world and ripped it into little pieces. He gave the pieces to the boy and told him to put the world back together.

It wasn’t long before the boy was back. “How did you put the world back together so fast?” asked the father.

The boy explained, “There was a photo of a man on the other side of the paper. Once I put the man back together, I was able to put the world back together, too.”

A Parable about Rebuilding or Repairing the World

Conclusion

A Psalm for Palm Sunday

King Jesus, why did you choose a lowly donkey to carry you to ride in your parade?

Had you no friend who owned a horse–a royal mount with spirit for a king to ride?

Why choose a donkey, small, unassuming beast of burden trained to plow not carry kings?

King Jesus, why did you choose me, a lowly unimportant person to bear you in my world today?

I’m poor and unimportant, trained to work not carry kings–let alone the King of kings, and yet you’ve chosen me to carry you in triumph in this world’s parade.

King Jesus, keep me small so all may see how great you are; keep me humble, so all may say,

“Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord,” not what a great ass he rides.

Source: Joseph Bayly in Psalms of My Life. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 5.

*This is a modified version of a sermon outline suggested in Wendland, E. H., & Albrecht, G. J. (1987). Sermon Studies on the Gospels (ILCW Series B) (pp. 157–158). Northwestern Publishing House.

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