Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Jesus requires no more admirers (Sermon Help)

I'm speaking on Luke 19:28-42 this week at Church. What strikes me is that Jesus' entry into Jerusalem is both triumphant and tragic.
  • Triumphant in that here is Israel's King being hailed with Hosannas while coming into his city.
  • And yet Tragic that this same city that welcomed him as King then had him killed within the week.
Personally, I think that it is more un-triumphant than triumphant. More ironic than anything else. It tells me something about the fickle character of the human heart. It tells me something of the vapid world of pursuing the famous (See my previous post). It tells me once again that Jesus requires no more admirers. He's got plenty of them already.

So please, no more admirers of Jesus. Admirers admire; and Jesus wants something all together different from you.

Some questions so that you can help me with the sermon:
  • V29-34 appear to me to be redundant. They have always appeared to me to be redundant. [The text could easily skip it thus: "V28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. (...) V35 And they brought a colt to Jesus..."] However, I have a view of Holy Scripture that requires me to think otherwise. Can you help me? Why are these verses here? Is there any reason to slow up at this point? Why get so repetitive?

  • Why a colt? What is being communicated by a colt?

  • V36-38: Is the crowd spontaneous? Is this spontaneous joy? Like if we heard that BONO was turning up near your work during lunch hour and having the crowds pour out onto the streets?

  • What do they really think that Jesus is going to do?

  • V40-41: Why the change from joy in Jerusalem to weeping over Jerusalem?

  • Are we so fickle? In what sense are we fickle? Can THIS VERSE from Hosea 6:4 be applied to us? ---
"What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist,like the early dew that disappears."
Help me, breathren.


DiscuZion said...
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DiscuZion said...

Maybe part of the point of verses 29-34 is simply to show that what Jesus is doing is deliberate and authorative, right to the very smallest details. It isn't incidental nor accidental. Neither is He simply throwing Himself into the hands of "fate" or tossing the dice to see what comes up.

Rather, he himself is guiding and directing the whole process. It is a coronationn that he is arranging and "planning" himself. Jesus is arranging and guiding to whole process that is leading up to his Death. He is Lord over the entire process, not just in the end.

Justin said...

Sam -- nice work. I will look into that more. The deliberation serves that kind of end, doesn't it?

This is a carefully managed process!

Your thoughts are great, Sam. Keep 'em coming!

byron said...

Colt - Zech 9.9-10 is the usual suspect, isn't it?

Is it the same group who welcome him and then later call for his crucifixion? Verse 37 speaks of 'the whole multitude of the disciples'. These are not local Jerusalemites, but Jesus' own rent-a-crowd. It is more like Bono bringing along his entourage when he turns up in DC, and then they break into spontaneous exhuberance when he indicates he's going to run for president after all.

v29-34 (like 21.7-13) could either indicate Jesus' prophetic powers, or might be part of a secret signal he has arranged earlier and for which he uses disciples to avoid drawing attention to himself too early.

I wrote a Bible study on this passage a few weeks ago and broke it up into three sections: the humble king, the weeping prophet, and the angry priest. As I read it, I was struck again by how audaciously Jesus throws down the gauntlet to the Jerusalem leadership in this chapter (no wonder there are a series of confrontations in the next one). I also find the brevity of the temple incident in Luke fascinating. Only a couple of verses. So much hangs on how you read the OT quotes. I assume that their context is crucial for Jesus in filling out what he saw as being wrong with the Temple (and Jerusalem).

I also consider Chapter 21 (all of it) to be an extended commentary on 19.41-44.

walshy said...

Why a Donkey?

Donkeys are renowned for being extremely stubborn. They are not grand, they are not graceful. They are just, well, donkeys! And whoever sits on a donkey, looks really really stupid.

To prove the point, you can see a picture of me on a donkey here.

It must have been so funny as a non-believer, watching the "grand entry" of God's promised King and Saviour. Almost as funny as watching a week later, when he is given his proper title: "THE KING OF THE JEWS".

alix said...

like byron said i think that the colt references zechariah 9, and i think that explains the repetition in verses 29-34. 'the lord needs it' alerts the owners of the colt to the messianic purpose God has for it. so, perhaps luke puts in the conversation with the owners to show that they get the reference - the fact that the owners let them take the colt, that they don't get annoyed that their donkey is being taken away, infers this. i get the impression that they get what's happening and they're happy that God is including their colt in his plans. this is especially reasonable if there is a 'buzz' around Jesus at this time. (but, that assumes that the crowd is at least partly spontaneous...which i'm not a hundred per cent sure about.)

at least i think that they're hedging their bets. the owners are at least willing to take a chance that Jesus is the messiah they've been waiting for.

i'm borrowing heavily from marty feltham here.

Nt said...

J-man, The colt thing. Wasn't it the case that if the king enters a city after battle on a horse then the city would be judged and destroyed, and yet if he entered on a col, the city would be spared? Isn't it all about judgement? Jerusalem is being spared for the moment- there is a time of amnesity, and the people are not ready for this king. Flash to Revelation, and Jesus appears on a white horse - judgement has come and your time is up!
Is this what you meant in asking about the colt? By the way, this is Bill Lane's stuff, not mine. So we can all blame him if it is wrong...:)

Simon Elliott said...

Don't you think there is a good possibility that Bono could receive similar treatment to Jesus if he were to show up somewhere near by. People would come out to cheer and get an autograph becasue of the name. But if he then started sprouting all of the stuff about 'the poor people' and how it is we who are allowing poverty to exist and all that. If he actually started to point the finger at people and say "you there with the cheeseburger in your hand. You are responsible for poverty in the world, you need to make a change." Would todays crowds turn on him the same way?
Admirers are many when it is popular, and so are haters when it is popular.
Palm Sunday rather than being a day to celebrate Jesus or Peace (as it seems to be turning into), but a day to celebrate popularity.
I think you are right Jesus doesn't need to be admired, or to be someone's homeboy, we need him as a savior. THe crowd are happy when Jesus is their performing healer, not so happy when he starts to point out that they are not living appropriately with God.

I'm teaching this tomorrow in 4 scripture classes, as a part of my look at what's easter all about. I think what we see is how quikcly people are prepared to turn on Jesus. But at Easter we see Jesus sticking with God's plan for him. We see God's love is not swayed by a whim or even by the way that we treat him.

I don't know what you should say Judd, I'm sure it will be 'gold'. Whatever you say, i think we need to recognise our need to repent and thank God for our saviour.

Simon Elliott.