4/5 Lesson

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of Lord

 

Beloved, as we celebrate Palm Sunday and enter into Holy Week, we draw our Lenten series to a close today. We do so with a proclamation of the Triumphal Entry and how this story parallels our Lenten journey.  The Gospel of Luke portrays the Triumphal Entry as the culmination of a long road trip toward Jerusalem.  Jesus and his disciples begin heading toward Jerusalem in chapter nine and finally arrive in chapter nineteen. A great deal of the earthly ministry of Christ was done on this journey. Everything was building toward this! The King entering into the City of David, coming to fulfill the prophecies. As we know now, He would fulfill them in a way no one saw coming, but this was still a defining moment. The Entry of the King who comes in the name of the Lord!

Feel free to read the passage out of your bible as well but provided is a video link for a dramatized telling of our passage for today Luke 19:28-48.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlOSiWSwfO4Luke 19:28-48 Video

In our devotion together Beloved, we will unpack this story in four parts. Each part has a significance for the original time and original audience, which we will discuss. Also, each part of the story parallels our Lenten journey together, we will look at these parallels and how they inform our attempt at a faithful living out of our Christian walk.

         Firstly, is the Triumphal Entry. The grand scene of the people cheering with a reference to Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.” Luke, the author of this account adds the kingly language which is only found in this gospel. The people lay their cloaks and palm leaves down for Him. This procession is often still acknowledged as a tradition in many churches with a march of palms and reference to the word Hosanna, meaning praise or adoration. This is important in the New Testament narrative because it shows a rightful praise of Jesus. He is heckled by the Pharisees to rebuke those who are praising Him, and He replies that the rocks would cry out in worship if the people quit. This states the reality of His kingship, whether the powers that be recognize it or not, Christ is declared King and worthy of praise.

          This parallels our Lenten journey in that we are called to a practice of spiritual discipline, a sign of allegiance to our King. A sign to be lived out in a world that does not recognize His rightful place as King and receiver of praise. Partaking in the Lenten journey, to begin with, is a welcome to the King who comes in the name of the Lord. It is a recognition that He is to be valued above other aspects of our lives. SMALL GROUP QUESTION: Explain what you think recognizing Jesus as King looks like in your life?

           The second part of the story is that of Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem. He is sorrowful for He is in the midst of a great city that is supposed to stand as a beacon of peace, but it is blind to what can truly bring it peace. He speaks prophetic words, “they will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”  This will come to pass in 70 AD when the temple is destroyed. This portion firmly establishes Jesus as not only King but as God, referring to His incarnate life as the time of God’s coming.  

           This also parallels our Lenten journey as it sets the tone. Lent is a season of repentance and ashes. A time to reflect on our mortality and the doomed future we would suffer apart from the mercy of God. It is a call for us to not be blinded by the other things in life that promise peace, but to recognize God’s drawing near to us through Christ. Lent is a season of asking God for clarity and discernment. It is a time of inviting God in, to shine light into the dark corners of our sin and help take inventory of our obstacles. The tone of lament is established.  SMALL GROUP QUESTION: What has been your experience with the topic of lament in church? Has it been preached and taught on during non-troublesome times? (more than just at funerals, and rough seasons)

         The third part of the story is that of Jesus cleansing the Temple. Upon His arrival, Jesus drives out those selling things in the Temple. He refers to words spoken by the Prophet Isaiah (Isa. 56), telling those gathered to remember the Temple was always meant to be a house of prayer. However, the transactional practices taking place were turning it into a den of robbers. He cleanses the Temple for two purposes. Firstly, because it needed to be purged of the money changing practices that fed greed and favored the rich. The Temple had become a place where people sought money first. Secondly, Jesus cleansed the Temple because He was preparing it for Himself. Jesus would teach daily at the Temple following this, He was preparing the Temple to be a place where people could recognize the true source of peace in their midst.

          This portion of the story parallels our Lenten journey in the fulfillment of Lent. Many of us see Lent as a season where we weed out a few things from our lives and we are rewarded for it. When in actuality we find ourselves preoccupied with transactional practices, we need God to cleanse us. Viewing Lent as a season where some effort from you leads to benefit and blessing is seeing Lent itself as a transaction. Lent is a season of asking God to purify us as we talked about last week. It is God who does the purifying, He cleanses us, drives out the greedy and prideful habits and makes us a fitting vessel for His work to be done. God does what we could not do ourselves.  The language of believers being temples of the Holy Spirit or Temples of God is common in New Testament writings (1 Cor. 3 & 6, 2 Cor. 6, Eph. 2 and 1 Peter 2).

         We are called to be a place where others can encounter God. Beloved, if we think we can fully take on the task of keeping ourselves clean and holy we are blinded. We need Christ to drive out the things that preoccupy us and replace them with more of Him! This is the emphasis of the season, to be emptied and filled. Emptied of the sin, obstacles, and comforts that make us dens of robbers and filled with God that we might be houses of prayer. Please take a few minutes to watch the object lesson in the video link provided.

https://youtu.be/kb2u0EExtz0 - Lent Object Lesson Video

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS: Have you struggled to admit something to God, knowing that He already knows about it? If so, why do you think you did that? How do we escape turning everything into a transaction while living in such a consumeristic society?

          The fourth and final part of this story is the powerful proclamation of Christ’s teaching that had the people hanging on to His words. The Pharisees hated Him and wanted to kill Him, but the people were drawn to the presence of God in their midst. It says, “all the people hung on his words.” They were enamored with a proclamation of peace that they were blind to before. Beloved, this is the most beautiful parallel of the story. For we as children of the one true King, as agents of reconciliation and as temples of the Holy Spirit, purified and prepared; get to participate in the ministry of reconciliation! We get to be a vessel for Christ, we get to be an instrument of proclamation. That our loved ones and those near us may hang on every word of God.

            Not on our words, and not because of us. But by the grace of God, we get to participate in the process. We take the Lenten journey, we submit to suffering, we volunteer for loss, we ask for repentance so that God may use us for His glory! So that we may be a fit place for people to encounter the love, grace, mercy, and peace of the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise be to God! SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS: Is it difficult to think of Lent as being done for someone else? Has God laid someone on your heart during social distancing that you may have not paid as much attention to before?

         Beloved, as usual, we have a link to a reflection song at the bottom of the page. As you listen to it and as you pray today to thank God for being the King who comes in the name of the LORD. Thank Him for purifying us not just so that we may be clean and in right standing with God, but also so that we may be fit vessels and temples of the Living God. Ask God to make known to you those in your sphere of influence and those you should be encountering God through you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F1ADeQcIIU - Hosanna by Paul Baloche