Behold your King

Behold your King
Reading Luke 19 V 28 – 48

Some 600 years before the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the prophet Zechariah Prophesied a day of gladness for the God’s people – “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.9:9.   

Some 1000 years before Jesus’ birth, the psalmist wrote the words that the cried out as that prophecy was fulfilled and Jesus rode the path of obedience Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,

And in our reading this morning we hear the fulfilling of these prophecies sounding out from the lips of God’s people as Jesus moves towards Jerusalem.

HOSANNA  –  a word of prayer that is also a plea and an exclamation of praise to the God of salvation.  

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest  v38.  The angels had waited 33 years to hear the earth respond to their great announcement  Glory to God in the highest and on earth PEACE,  good will toward men, Luke 1 v 14.

The words they cried out as Jesus rode into Jerusalem, are from a Psalm of ascent – a psalm that the pilgrims sang a they ascended up into the city of Jerusalem – only one verse is quoted but here is what they would have been singing:-
Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the LORD. 20  This is the gate of the LORD, Through which the righteous shall enter. 21  I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation. 22  The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 23  This was the LORD’s doing; It is marvellous in our eyes. 24  This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. 25  Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. 26  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. 27  God is the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. 28  You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. 29  Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.118:19-29

Every year the pilgrims would sing this Psalm that looked to the coming of the Messiah but this year the Messiah rode in their midst – Hosanna to the son of David

Picture it, the crowds, the excitement but as you do don’t lose sight of the man who is the cause,  the one riding the donkey,  the one who knew that ahead of him lay an awful death and a glorious resurrection; Behold your King comes  whether you accept him or not this is your KING.  The question is are you his loyal subject?.

Is he really my King, my life governed by the King of kings or do I like the crowd get caught up in the excitement of the moment,  

It was the welcome of a King – as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. The grammar tells us this was continuous action –  they kept on spreading their cloaks on the road. Why would they do that?

It was the traditional way of honouring a King,  back in the OT we read that when the people knew  that Jehu has been anointed king of Israel, Thus says the LORD: “I have anointed you king over Israel.” ‘ ” 13  Then each man hastened to take his garment and put it under him on the top of the steps; and they blew trumpets, saying, “Jehu is king!” (2 Kings 9:12-13).

How the multitudes welcomed him,  they danced, they sang, shouted. If we’d been strangers there we would have believed there was a great and important person coming.  We would probably heard the people talking about this man;  Was this not he who had worked such mighty miracles – Raised the dead gave sight to the blind etc.. Such talk would draw you  as it did, I’m sure,  many there that day, as it does today but it didn’t hold them and soon Jesus would die alone on the cross and the voices raised in welcome
Hosanna! ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” John12 v13.

But we know that soon those same voices would be crying for his death and mocking his dying agonies (read some of Psalm 22
22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.)..  

They sought a king and clamoured for a sacrifice.  What picture do you see now in your minds eye and do you see yourself there in the crowd taunting the dying King.  The crowd looked to the miracles and not the man and his word, many today flock to see miracles as if a miracle will save them,  they want to have their senses excited, their faith justified in the eyes of the world,  something they can point to and say see my God can do that, but only one miracle will hold them and the only evidence the world will see will be in their changed lives, for that miracle is when God in His mercy changes their heart.

These people didn’t want changed lives, they wanted changed circumstances,  certainly this would have changed them to some extent but only for a while how quickly the heart forgets and returns to its normal way.  No, only a heart changed by God can stay changed.

They came hoping for a glorious future and how different their vision of the future was from the reality that Jesus knew lay ahead:- They dreamed of a throne and he knew it was a cross.  They welcomed him as their King and he knew they would soon execute him as they would a thief.

They welcomed him as their King and the words they shouted were the words of the Prophets and angels but no sooner had their shouts died than also died their faith.  With many of those who shouted  it was gone before the palm branches withered.

They didn’t mean what they said, the words and actions being merely of the moment.  Their highly wrought emotions being a poor substitute for the steady conviction of the heart.

Walk on with Jesus – and see the love of Saviour,  they turn the corner and there laid out before them is Jerusalem.  It’s splendour gleaming in the sunlight,  The Holy city,  The city of the King that was to be the scene of the Kings death at the hands of his people,  Jesus looks upon it and weeps v41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,

He wept, not a silent tear of grief but an open exclamation of pain  If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace!

If only!  Two small words but they can be the most heart rending words. Each of us here this morning will have a great many ‘if only’s’ that have piled up over the years –  If only we, or they, hadn’t moved so far away.
If only we had given more time to family and less to work. If only I hadn’t said that. If only . . .

Jesus weeps because he knows. He knows what nobody else knows, sees what is “hidden from them”  In the midst of the crowds the King looks upon Jerusalem the city which will put Him to death and his heart breaks and the tears fall.

This is our King,  This is our Saviour,  this is the one whose name we hold so dear,  my friend here this day, do you know him?.

Matthew records it as this O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,  you who  kill the prophets, and stone them who are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not 23 v37.

This is our King.  Do you know him.  He came unto his own and his own received him not We see that pain on his face, emphasised by the tears that glistened on his cheek.  Pain born in the heart of love rejected by those he loved. I ask again do you know my King.
If only you had listened, but you didn’t and now the consequences are upon you.  Have you heard the call of the King, listened to entreaty and Promise Him that cometh unto me I will in no way cast out.  Will you come.

WE have a King who sorrows over his people, and sadly he has a people who willingly cause him to sorrow.  Indifferent to His Kingship,  serving when they feel like it. It is important that as we consider this passage that we apply it to ourselves,  for we are in that crowd and we need to set our eyes on the King coming to his people.

The tribulation that was to come upon Jerusalem I’m sure we all know about, how the Romans surrounded and destroyed it,  killing many thousands and ending Israel as a nation.  A hard judgement you think but as nothing to the judgement that awaits those who die outside of Gods kingdom.

 Do you know my King, he doesn’t delight in your damnation,  he weeps over your plight, he shed his blood that you might know his peace.  

Do you know my king, for he wants to know you.  Don’t let if only be the words he has for you.

The story goes on and now we see Jesus casting out the merchants from the temple.  Angered that the temple should become so wickedly used.  the world crouched at the very door of God’s house,  approved of by the religious leaders and yet wrong.  Faithful to His Father not cowed into an uneasy acceptance of the situation.  But zealous,  surely we must love the word so that it grips us and empowers us to be zealous for God’s honour and truth.

Where did this take place,  in the strong place of his enemies, how they sought to take him but where thwarted because God had his time set and the lamb could not be slain before that.  think of Jesus’ reply to Pilate You would have no authority over me except it were given thee from above  this is the same for us,  Our God is still in control.

So we see Jesus moving about in the strong point of his enemies teaching the people,  caring for them, loving them, people who in a matter of days would cry crucify,  and mock him and all that he stood for.  He loved so much that he taught daily in the temple with the shadow of death beside him.  Not for him the ignorance of the future,  the one he smiled upon today would condemn him tomorrow.  Truly he was faithful both to His Father and to us.  He is still Faithful today. If we confess our sin,  he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness  The King says come, will you come

A day comes when The Lord will return and creation will echo to the sound of the praises of God’s people – every knee will bow, every tongue will confess the Lordship of the Saviour – there will be tears that day as well – but not in the eyes of the Saviour.

Tears in the eyes of the lost for they will be the ones saying – if only . . .

And I saw Heaven opened. And behold, a white horse! And He sitting on him was called Faithful and True. And in righteousness He judges and makes war.  12  And His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head many crowns. And He had a name written, one that no one knew except Himself.  13  And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14  And the armies in Heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15  And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, so that with it He should strike the nations. And He will shepherd them with a rod of iron. And He treads the winepress of the wine of the anger and of the wrath of Almighty God. 16  And He has on His garment, and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Do you know my King, He calls you to come into his presence, All that you need to come he has provided – come he calls and be healed , come and know the washing away of your transgression, come and live.