1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 “Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!”
10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to find a chariot and a mighty war horse to chauffeur Him into Jerusalem. He could have, but He didn’t. Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was not a red-carpet event. He didn’t make His way on top of a long runner of fine, royal fabric. Again, He could have, but He didn’t. Instead, Jesus told the disciples to find a donkey and a colt – common beasts for common, poor people. And your Savior entered Jerusalem passing over the cloaks of the people who welcomed Him and over the palm branches they found nearby.
Imagine the equivalent today: Imagine the president not riding in black, fancy, armored limos and SUV’s but in a baby-blue ’98 Malibu surrounded by a fleet Impalas. Imagine that on Inauguration Day, the dais wasn’t covered in red carpet but ln a layer of flannel shirts and raked up leaves. You would think that the country full of poor, backwards yokels.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem as King, He came in humility but not because His kingdom is humble and lowly. Jesus came humbly because He wants you to know that His kingdom is for the humble and lowly.
See what kind of God you have. Your God is not an engineer who creates the world, sets it in motion, and leaves it to spin itself out of control. No. Instead, your God is a gardener who tills, fertilizes, and prunes. Your God is a shepherd who tends, leads, feeds, protects, and searches. Your God is a loving Father doting on you, delighting in you, caring for every one of your needs, and knowing every hair on your head.
You do not need to get your God’s attention with your works and efforts, you already have God’s attention. He knows every one of your needs, and He does something about it.
This first Sunday of the Church year, this first Sunday of Advent, we are preparing ourselves for the coming of our Savior. And it is fitting that we read about Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Advent isn’t just about getting ready to meet the baby Jesus in a manger. Instead, we are getting ready to meet the crucified and risen Lord who humbly rode on a donkey into Jerusalem to die but who also rode out of Joseph’s tomb alive (Rev. D. Petersen).
Though Jesus is divinely powerful, though He commands the entirety of the heavenly host, though you have sinned against Him and disobeyed Him, and though you have run after other false gods, Jesus is not coming as Judge. Instead He is coming humbly and gently. He is seeking you and your salvation because, despite your unworthiness, He has deemed you worthy to be part of His kingdom. This same Jesus will arrive again in glory and power to judge the living and the dead. But, today, He still comes humbly, gently, lowly, and with grace through His Word and in Baptism.
Dear Eleanor and Greta,
Today is a day to celebrate and be glad. You have been adopted into a loving, caring family. Your parents have chosen you to be their children. You have the unique privilege of never having to wonder if your parents wanted you or not. You will always know that your parents have intentionally brought you into your family and have promised to care for you and love you.
Eleanor and Greta, what your parents have done is a small picture of what your God has done for you today. Though you were sinners, though you were in open rebellion against Him, your God has come to you. He has washed away your sins. He has placed His name on you, and He now calls you His beloved child. He has brought you into His family and promises to be your loving Father today and for all eternity.
Dear Eleanor, Greta, and all you Baptized children of God,
God the Father who created the heavens and the earth; God the Son who has purchased and redeemed you with His holy and precious blood; and God the Holy Spirit who calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies you; does not think of you as someone who is unworthy. Instead, your God looks at you in the midst of your lowliness, and says, “Though the world may not value you, I do. You will always have a place in My kingdom.”
Dear saints, though you have nothing to offer God, though you are unimportant in the eyes of the world, and even though the world looks at you and thinks that you could be replaced by any other body, this is not what your God thinks about you. The God who entered Jerusalem that Palm Sunday does not think about you that way.
Instead, your God and Savior looks at you and says, Though the world may not value you, I do. You are the reason I wanted to have a kingdom in the first place. Therefore, you will always have a place in My kingdom for eternity (Rev. H. Fiene). Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.