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The Rejected King Palm Sunday 29th March, 2015

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert – Sunday 29th March 2015, Palm Sunday

The Rejected KingPsalm 118:1-2,19-29, Philippians 2:5-11 & Mark 11:1-11

To many, Palm Sunday is the day we commemorate and celebrate Jerusalem’s reception of Jesus as the Messianic King. Yet on closer inspection of the Gospel accounts, Palm Sunday actually highlights Jerusalem’s rejection of Jesus as the Messianic King.

Often our focus is on the jubilant celebrations of those who were already followers of Jesus and assume that this meant that he was well received by all, but alas this was note the case, as the anticlimax of verse 11 of our Gospel reading indicates.

Had Jesus arrived on a warhorse armed for battle, instead of a lowly donkey, I’m sure he would have been hailed as king by all. For the Jews, including the disciples, though Jesus repeatedly told them otherwise, assumed that when the Messiah would come, he would defeat the Romans and re-establish the Davidic Kingdom beyond its former glory.

Yet Jesus was not to be the Messiah that everyone was expecting. He was not going to be swayed by popular opinion, but was to stay the course, for he came not to destroy the Roman occupation by brute force, but to suffer, die and rise again, to defeat the true oppressor; sin and death.

The challenging question for us Christians living in the 21st Century, in a society which is constantly pushing Christianity to the margins, is this; will we continue to follow Jesus, not only when things are rosy, and likeminded people are singing his praise, but will we follow him when it mean Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering – the way of the cross?

Christian discipleship has always meant following the one who was not only rejected as king as he rode into Jerusalem, but who carried that cross of rejection to Calvary. Yet we are promised, that if we receive this rejected king, he will receive us, and the peace (shalom) of God which surpasses all understanding, which Jerusalem, the ‘City of Peace’ (for that is what its name means), rejected, will be ours, for all eternity.

 

Philippians 2:5-11 – Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited. but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 –O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever. Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success! 26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. 29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

 

Mark 11:1-11 – 11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

“Hosanna!     Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10     Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.