WONDERFUL THINGS: The true king has come
This weekend churches in our community and around the world will celebrate Palm Sunday. For centuries, the church has memorialized this day, the first day of Holy Week; for on Palm Sunday Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey as crowds placed palm branches and their cloaks on the road before him. In excitement and joy they cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). The great king, the good king was coming.
From childhood most of us have heard and loved the stories about the true king who for some reason has been lost or unrecognized. And yet at the end of the story the good king returns and sets everything right again. This is what happens in Robin Hood. It is what happens in "The Lord of the Rings" (the last volume of the trilogy is entitled "The Return of the King"). This is what happens in "The Chronicles of Narnia" — Aslan, the true king, returns and overthrows the evil queen.
I think, in a sense, we see it every four years in America when a new President is elected. One group of people is elated as they think the person who will finally set things right is now in charge.
We love these stories because we yearn for a good and great king. We yearn to have a ruler who is powerful and just and good and who will care for us and set everything right in this world. We yearn for such a king because we were made to live under such a one. You see, Jesus is the king we all seek. Jesus is the king behind the kings in all these stories. We love these stories because they point to the king, the real king, who we have been made for. Consider these traits of King Jesus:
He is a humble king. King Jesus is not an arrogant and pushy king. We are told that he comes humbly riding on a donkey (Zech. 9:9). What kind of king is that? He is not a king who comes to exploit others or use his power to take advantage of people. Jesus is the king who comes not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mt. 20:28). He is a king who is willing to give his very life for his people.
He is a glorious king. He is humble, yes, but Jesus is also the glorious king. The people are crying out in praise of King Jesus and the Pharisees want them to be quiet. Jesus answers, “The stones will cry out if they are silent!” Why? Because Jesus will be praised. All of creation is designed for this purpose — that Jesus be glorified. Even rocks know that Jesus should be praised — be smarter than a rock and give glory to Jesus.
He is a weeping king. “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41). Jesus cares deeply about people — even those who continue to reject Him. He knows their end, and this is why he weeps. To reject King Jesus is death. Jesus is not a distant, disconnected king. He is a king who cares, who weeps for sinners, who dies for sinners like you and me.
He is a powerful king. How do we know he is powerful? In one week, on Easter Sunday, he will defeat sin and Satan and burst the bonds of death itself as he is crucified, buried, and resurrected.
Jesus is the good and true king our hearts yearn for. And King Jesus is alive. Everything else you set your hope on will ultimately disappoint. But if you hope in King Jesus, he is worthy, he will be honored in your life, and you will never regret it.
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.