Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Our Humble King Serving Us 4/17/2011
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us now and always, Amen.

How many of you remember where you were when you heard that Pearl Harbor was attacked? How many remember where you were when heard that President Kennedy was assassinated? How many remember where you were when you heard of 9/11? It is highly unlikely that anyone of us were present at any of these events. There is a difference between being there and hearing it or reading it second hand. We have the Bible before us today and we are going to refresh our memories on some significant events in the plan of God, in the life of Jesus, and in the history of the world. Today is April 17th, 2011. It is the year of our Lord 2011. Each day as we look at our calendar we are reminded that time on our calendar is marked from the birthdate of Jesus. We are going to hear about these events firsthand, as they are told by God Himself through His Holy Word.

Traditionally this Sunday has been referred to as Palm Sunday, but in the last couple of decades the focus has shifted more towards an emphasis on the Passion (suffering) of Christ. Many feel that due to the falling attendance at Good Friday services here in America, there has been a concerted effort to pay more attention to the suffering and crucifixion of Christ so that those attending worship services on the Sunday before Easter will not miss being exposed to the Passion narratives. That reasoning makes sense, for if that is accurate, one who is not able to make the Good Friday services would go from Jesus riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday, and miss all that occurred in between his entry into Jerusalem and His resurrection. Namely His suffering and death.

So today we are going to read two portions of the Scripture. One which describes final journey of Jesus into Jerusalem, one which He does riding on a donkey, in fulfilment of prophecy. The other portion which we will read will surround his suffering and death. Both portions that we will read reveal the kingship of Jesus Christ and how He came to serve us so that we may live forever. Our service today will conclude with He Himself, Our King, receiving us at His table and serving us as He gives us His Body and Blood to eat and to drink.

Therefore, the title of our sermon today is "Christ our King serving us." The King of the Universe humbly served the world at the cost of his life so that we could come to know what true kingship is: Serving out of a bountiful heart of love, grace and truth. As Jesus began the final leg of His journey to the cross, those who traveled into Jerusalem with Jesus for the Passover celebration met up with a bigger crowd in the city who asked them: "Who is this?"

"Who is Jesus?" That question was asked then, it is being asked yet today. Zechariah had prophesied (9:9) of the coming of the Messiah and that he would be riding on a donkey. Those who knew the Old Testament scriptures would have recognized the Messiah through this fulfillment, (of the Messiah coming on a donkey) but would their expectations of the nature of His kingship been equal to the kingdom that Jesus was ushering in? That is the question that must be asked by all who ask the question, "Who is this man?"

As we read and listen to these two narratives from Matthew's gospel this Sunday, may we listen to the words which are spoken (as well as not spoken) and observe the actions of all those who are present during the passion of our King. May we allow the Word to reach deeply into our minds and hearts during this time of worship.

The first portion which we will read is from Matthew 21:1-11.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

The mulitude gave homage to the king, spreading their garments in the way, other cut down branches and placed them on the pathway. Their Deliverer had arrived and they showed their joy and happiness at this reality. That which they were shouting is thought to be taken from Psalm 118: 25-26.

Psalm 118:20 This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

Since we have the advantage of looking backward at this happening, we are able to see that that which they expected from this king riding on a donkey did not come to pass, for instead of delivering them from their enemies, the Romans, their Messiah was Himself put to death. Their hopes were crushed and not until after the resurrection did many of them begin to understand who Jesus really was and what He accomplished through His death.

The second reading which we will read is Matthew 27:11-54

11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
36 And sitting down they watched him there;
37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

There are many people who are in this story, and even though it is interesting to consider the lessons that one can learn from each of them, it is important to follow Jesus through His actions and His words.
The only verses in which Jesus speaks are in verse 11 and verse 46. It was as Isaiah said in the 53rd chapter:

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

He is our Humble King who serve us.

The people were expecting a king who would fight for them, who would put down the Roman rule, who would free them. When He did not fulfill their expectations, they turned against Him. Nevertheless, unknown to them, in quietly and humbly taking their mockings, beatings, scourgings and then being crucified, He accomplished and purchased theirs/ours and all people's salvation. He looked upon them in compassion and forgiveness.

Conclusion
He lives today, and He lives to serve us in compassion and forgiveness. When our expectations of Him are different that that which He is, He silently bears with us, forgiving us, but leading us to a greater understanding and knowledge of His grace and truth.

When we acknowledge our sin, He forgives us and in our receiving of this forgiveness from Him, our hearts are softened toward those who have sinned against us.

When we want to exalt ourselves, He patiently puts His Word in front of us which counsels us, also pointing to Himself as the example to follow, reminding us that He came to give His life as a ransom for our life.

When we forget that through the cross we are united as one, He invites us to commune with Him, so that He may assure us that His grace is sufficient for us and that through His Body and Blood we have the forgiveness of sins.

Last week my wife and I attended the worship service at Castle Rock at which my cousin was delivering the message. As he neared the end of the sermon, he made this statement: "We are joined together and united by the blood of Jesus" At those words my heart began to burn with love towards Christ as well as toward the others in our gathering. And as they asked me to serve the final table in the Communion Service, before I began to serve my two brothers in faith, fellow laborers in the gospel, I could not help say to them: "It does not get any better on this side of heaven." The looks that we exchanged told me that they were in agreement.

Come to His table, for this is the next best thing to heaven.

May the grace of the One who laid down His life for us so work in our hearts that the love of God would burn brightly toward our Redeemer and toward one another.

In Christ's Service

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 17 Apr 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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