“The Road to Jerusalem: The Revealing” April 14, 2019
“The Road to Jerusalem: The Revealing”
Isaiah 50: 4-9a
Psalm 118:1-4, 19-29
Luke 19:28-40 & Luke 22:14-30
It was the 6th of March on Ash Wednesday that we began this 40 day period known as the season of Lent. It will end next week at sundown on Holy Saturday which, of course, will lead us into Easter morning. Now for those who like to tabulate your calendars – yes, that is 46 days. But the way I understand it, the 6 Sundays in this period aren’t included, so that’s that. The tradition of Lent was created to commemorate the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness: 40 nasty, grueling days being tempted by Satan without much in the way of groceries or water to drink. This, you recall, is what began and shaped his ministry. It is a ministry that shaped our lives; it is a ministry that changed the world.
We, as United Methodists, observe Lent because…well, because we choose to. We have found it to be meaningful- to be rich and rewarding. We have learned that it is a good thing to re-examine the core principles of our faith; to find the real reasons for our faith, and maybe make a few discoveries along the way. But you know, it gets me every time. It gets me I’m not so sure I’m ready for Lent to be over with. For the last 5 weeks we have talked about the urgency of this journey to Jerusalem. The disciples advised against it, even the Pharisees warned Jesus to stay away, but he pressed on. Through this time we are able to catch glimpses of the humanity of Christ and it inspires us, it gives us hope. It makes us want to do better; to be better. But now that journey is over and Jesus is greeted by the crowds with shouts of “Hosanna to the son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” and I’m not ready. I’m not ready – we’re not ready – because we know the importance of this day. On the heels of Palm Sunday, as we begin this Holy Week, it’s hard to ignore the significance of this moment: the moment when the journey to Jerusalem ended and the journey to the cross began.
And so for this week that is coming, this Holy Week, I would ask a favor. I would ask that we find the time during the day to read over what the gospels have to say of Jesus in Jerusalem. It’s an intense period and it seems that time speeds up almost, but I would ask that, because a lot is revealed in the words and actions of Christ at this time. It speaks, at least to me, to the core principles of my faith. God is revealed in Christ. This is why Jesus will always remain King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and this is why I still choose to follow a man who was ridiculed and executed. It’s an amazing thing: this truth, this important truth that the nearly indescribable and totally unexpected God is fully revealed in and through Jesus Christ. Let’s hope we never lose sight of that.
Jesus had just finished the Passover meal with his disciples – the body and the blood – and announced that one of them would betray him. The disciples, of course, wondered amongst themselves as to who would do this. But, in their nervousness they started to argue who among them would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
In chp. 22.Luke gives us a glorious picture of the kingdom that God offers to us and it has stuck with me. (Lk 22:25 NASB) 24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26 But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. 27 For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
“But I am among you as the one that serves.” Thanks be to our God
Amen & Shalom