Pastor’s Blog April 10th, 2019
A discussion of the Scripture for Sunday April 14th, 2019
Scripture for This Week: Luke 19:28-43 Scripture for Next Week: Luke 24:1-12
Context is everything. We hear a snippet of conversation and our anger flairs, emotions run high, we assume we know what is going on because of the little we have heard, but often we are only aware of part of the story. Welcome to the world of trying to understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to us through the Bible!
Our scripture today is a very famous one; too famous perhaps. We have heard it so often that we think we know it by heart and have learned everything that could be known about it. To learn more, we need to look at the context. The story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem begins with the words, “After Jesus said this.” This is a clue for us that the story teller is tying together what is about to happen to what has just happened. So, to understand what is going on in context, we look to the previous part of the story. In the preceding parable, Jesus describes the nature of human kings. At the beginning of that parable a nobleman has been called to Rome to be appointed king by the emperor. There is a resistance faction that also sends delegates to Rome. They go to try to convince the emperor not to anoint the nobleman king. The nobleman, however, is granted kingship, and the parable ends with these words, “But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence (Luke 19:27).” This is how human kings behave. Power corrupts; ultimate power corrupts ultimately.
We widen our context even further by exploring the nature of kings from a biblical perspective. It is in 1 Samuel that the Israelites first begin to demand a king. God speaks to the prophet Samuel and tells him to try and convince the people to change their desires for a king. God knows that when a human being is given the power of the kingship or the presidency or the prime minister, that power will invariably corrupt.
God said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; 12 and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. 15 He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers. 16 He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the LORD will not answer you in that day (1 Sa 8:11–18.).”
Now back to our story. Jesus is entering Jerusalem, and the people are filled with joy because they think they are getting a new king. After at least 800 years of being used by kings, they still have not learned that politicians will never solve their problems. With the crowds going crazy, screaming their heads off in joy around him, Jesus breaks down and weeps. “As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side (Luke 19:41-43).” The people have lost sight of the story. They are not paying attention to the context. They are hoping that a new politician will fix their problems, and they have taken their eyes off of the things that would make for peace.
Flash forward to today. We are rejoicing at coming of our “king.” Over the next two weeks we will be preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. But will the resurrection really make any difference in our lives?
- Will we still argue about what candidates are best? Or will we come to the realization that the only way the world will change is if we begin to live that change? Politicians will not make the world a better place unless the people rise up and insist upon it.
- Will we continue to pledge allegiance to our country and give lip service to God? Or will we pledge our allegiance to God and follow the way of the risen Christ?
- Will we have the courage to follow Christ regardless of the fact that this might mean deviating from the policies of our country?
- Will we be willing to follow Christ in the way of peace even if it means making significant sacrifices in our lives?
- Will we be willing to carry Jesus’ cross of peace?
- What are your specific goals for following Christ and sharing the peace of Christ this year?
Jesus is the king of peace. Are we willing to accept that? Are we willing to live that? Are we willing to focus our lives upon the things that make for peace?
May the peace of Christ fill you to overflowing so that lives, communities, and the world are be transformed by the way of peace.
Go into the world and serve our lord.