Our service today included the Rite of Confirmation.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
The first words of Scripture you heard in today’s service told how Jesus rode into Jerusalem. Matthew tells us that it happened this way to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey” (Zech. 9:9 quoted in Mt. 21:5). That word that gets translated as ‘humble’ means ‘of no importance.’
But then, people welcome Jesus with shouts of, “Hosanna” which means, “save us now.” The people spread their cloaks and palm branches as a royal runner. The people welcome Jesus as their King. And for the first time in His life, Jesus accepts their praises.
If Zechariah prophesized that when Jesus comes that He is considered to be of no importance, why do the crowds welcome Him the way they do?
Well, King Jesus’ humility was much lower than simply riding on a donkey. And because of that the people despise Him and reject Him. They considered Him of no importance (Is. 53:3). And that is exactly what we heard in the Gospel lesson (Mt. 27:11-54).
King Jesus didn’t come to sit as judge. Instead, He came to be judged. He didn’t have subjects who shout, “Long live the king!” Instead, they holler, “Crucify Him!” He didn’t come to command armies. Instead, He came to be beaten by soldiers. He didn’t come to be clothed in the finest garments and crowned with gold and jewels. Instead, He came to have a robe ripped from Him and be thorns pressed into His head. He didn’t come to drink fine wine from a golden chalice. Instead, He came to be offered wine mixed with gall. He didn’t come to sit in a fine hall with nobles surrounding Him. Instead, He came to hang on a splintered cross between two thieves. He didn’t come to execute justice. Instead, He came to die an unjust death.
But most importantly, He didn’t come to be blessed by God the Father. Instead, He came to be forsaken by God the Father because, there on the cross, He took all of your sin and became sin for you.
Bethany, Naomi, Siobhan, Wyatt, Gavin, Grady, Zach, Elijah, Gabriel, and all of you here: Because of the humility of Jesus, the eternal Son of God, you are made righteous. You are declared innocent, righteous, and blameless.
Yet, the world still does not recognize this. The world still sees Jesus as being of no importance. So, the world will reject you because you bear the name ‘Christian.’
The world looks at what Jesus has done and what He has given the Church, and they say it has no importance. They see the Church gathering Sunday mornings to hear the Word of God and say, “Don’t those silly Christians have anything better to do than to listen to those old-fashioned ideas?” They see Baptism and say, “What good can a little water sprinkled on a head do?” They see the Lord’s Supper and say, “What’s the big deal about a little cracker and wine?”
But Christian, by God’s grace, you know better. You know that those are the very things that God has given and uses to complete the good work of faith that He began in you.
You hold fast to that Word because even though it convicts you, you know that those very Words give life. You rejoice in your Baptism because you know that God has said that it joins you to Jesus’ death and resurrection and saves you. You hunger and thirst for the Lord’s Supper because you know that God has promised that it delivers Christ’s living Body and Blood given and shed for the forgiveness of your sins.
Your King comes humbly, but He brings your salvation with Him. And He is coming again. Then, every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess that He is Lord. He is King. He is Savior, your Savior. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.