Fierce. Noble. Honorable. Strong. Sacrificing. Marks of a true King. Through-out history we have told stories of kings who are strong and powerful and even willing to die with their men. Kings like King Leonidas who stands up with his small army dead around him, and he himself has arrows sticking out of his body as he takes a final stand against the evil of the Persian king as arrows rain down on him. For many of us, this is what a king looks like!
We see in Leonidas how a king who is of this world behaves. Today, I want to talk to you about a King not of this world.
St. Luke tells us:
“After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples. As he came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead. ‘Go into that village over there,’ he told them. ‘As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, “Why are you untying that colt?” just say, “The Lord needs it.”’
So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’
And the disciples simply replied, ‘The Lord needs it.’ So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on.
As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.
‘Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!’
But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, ‘Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!’
He replied, ‘If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!’”
Have you ever pondered why Christ came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey? Have you ever thought about what He was trying to show us about Himself? Have you thought who is Jesus Christ? Maybe these lyrics by The David Crowder*Band say it all: “Here is our King. Here is our Love. Here is our God whose come to bring us back to Him. He is the One, He is Jesus!”
In Luke 19:28-40 we see Christ reveal Himself as King by outright referring to Himself as Lord right after telling a parable about the Kingdom of God and the rejection of its Ruler. And we see Him reveal a prophecy by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, a humble and lowly animal. We also see that Christ is worthy of praise and does not stop the people from praising Him. If they do not the rocks will.
First thing revealing Himself as King: His humility.
Christ refers to Himself as Lord (vs. 30-31). “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.”
As Christ approaches Jerusalem with humility riding a donkey (vs. 35-38), he fulfills a prophecy foretold in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” J.D.M Derrett says since the donkey had yet to be ridden suggests strongly that it was for royal usage.
Are you and I being humble like our King? We are called to be Christ-like, but are we approaching others in grace and humility with gentleness? How are we doing with what St. Paul writes in Philippians 2:1-4:
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
I recall a lesson in humility from my days at Mt. Mission School, where I attended high school:
One particular quarter I was given the lovely and aromatic job of emptying the trash cans on the hall. I was quite upset that such an injustice had occurred. That job was usually reserved for the “bad boys” on the hall. Now, I was bad, but not to the degree that I would be given trash. Everyday I complained about doing that job. Then the day came that Mr. Hertzog Jr. gave me a job failure. He said I wasn’t doing my job correctly. So from that point on he and I argued every morning about how to do my job. In my infinite knowledge, I was convinced that my way was the correct way, and he didn’t know what he was talking about.
About a week later he and I got into it really badly one morning, and I disrespected him and didn’t do my job. Well, I went to school that day feeling proud that “I showed him.” We got out of school that day, and I couldn’t wait to get upstairs so I could sleep or listen to music in my room. The hall was opened, and I walked to room five, my room. The door was closed so that should have made me suspicious since the room doors are always left open because the supervisor checks them after we leave.
Well, I wasn’t suspicious. I opened the door and looked at the last side, my side, and found trash dumped all over my room. Ramen Noodle wrappers everywhere, a banana peel under my bed, some kind of sticky liquid all over the floor, and a ton of other things I can’t remember. I was quite upset by this as you might have guessed. Well, I thought about just leaving it there, but I have a mild form of OCD so that wasn’t going to go down so well. Mr. Hood was on the hall, so I had him open the mop room so I could clean my room.
While I cleaned it I noticed Mr. Hood watching me from his table. I had no beef with him for I thought Mr. Hertzog had done this dirty deed (no pun intended). So I wrote Hertzog a little letter about how I was the immature one, not him. I explained how upset I was that he had come down to my level. Later I asked him if he had gotten the letter. He said, “Yes,” and that he wasn’t the one who threw the trash there. He told me it was Mr. Hood. I was shocked! I thought to myself, “What a sneaky guy.” He was watching me the whole time knowing that he made that dirty mess. He had to be laughing hysterically on the inside while he watched me clean up the mess.
So unlike how I was being in that short story about the trash, the first thing we see revealed about Christ is that He is the humble King promised long ago.
Second thing revealing Himself as King: He’s praiseworthy!
Christ is praised by the disciples and people of Jerusalem (vs. 37-40). The people shout in praise, “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’”
St. Mark’s description reads, “Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!’” Hosanna is a Hebrew word meaning save. God’s promise to David that his throne would rule forever is fulfilled, and now Christ the King has come to save us.
Christ declares He is worthy of praise as the Promised King (vs. 39-40). The Pharisees try to rebuke Jesus for the people’s praise, but Christ declares He is a King worthy of praise because if the people do not praise the rocks will. He said in response to the Pharisees, “I tell you if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” You and I were made to worship Christ the King, are we shouting out in praise not just with our worship, but with our lives? St. Paul encourages us to make music in our hearts to the Lord (Eph. 5:19). David Crowder*Band express this kind of worship when they sing, “Turn your gaze to Heaven and raise a joyous noise. Oh the sound of salvation come. The sound of rescued ones. And all this for a King. Angels join to sing ‘All for Christ our King!’ Oh praise Him. Oh praise Him. He is holy! He is holy!” Are our lives shouting out in praise to Him?
We see from this Gospel reading Jesus Christ revealing His identity as the King of all creation:
- By demonstrating His humility as the Promised King and
- By declaring that He is a King worthy of all thing’s praise, including our own.
Under Christ’s kingship we are called to be humble servants. Praising God is more than just singing songs, it’s about the lives we live and the actions that pour forth from our hearts. Are we living our lives in ways that declare that Christ is our King? Are we living a life that this stone is crying out louder than we are in praise to our King? Or are we living a life that can allow us to say to the stones, “You can quiet down, we got it?”
“Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord.”