“A Word for this Week” Pastor Bill Mugnolo: HARP Pastoral Advisor
“A Royal Procession” … John 12:12-19 April 10-16, 2017
In my lifetime, I have seen twelve U.S. Presidents, but only one British Monarch. During Queen Elizabeth II’s sixty-five year long reign, there have been a number of events—a coronation, weddings, and funerals—which involved much pomp and ceremony and some form of royal procession, usually from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and back. These events, with their horse drawn carriages, trumpet fanfares, and church bells ringing, have drawn the attentions of many millions.
But the “royal procession” that was Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was one that has been far more remembered than anything staged by the British Monarchy. Unlike the ordered events in London, it was more of a “flash mob” that greeted Jesus. Their cry was not “God save the king” but “Hosanna in the highest”—a cry out for deliverance based on the Passover song from Psalm 118:25.
But Jesus had not come, as the crowds were longing, to bring about the overthrow of Roman rule over Israel: He had come to bring something far greater—the overthrow of sin, death, and the power of the devil. He came not to bring war against an earthly ruler, but true and lasting peace between God and man (John 14:27). The crowds, the Jewish leaders, and even Jesus’ own disciples couldn’t comprehend this at the time. Because of this, He looked upon Jerusalem and its people not extending a smile and a “royal wave”, but tears of grief--for so many there refused to receive Him at the “day of His visitation” (Luke 19:41-44).
Today, Jesus makes His visitation to you. As He does, you might treat Him in one of two ways, each as a type of king. You might treat Him as if He were a British Monarch. That king, or queen, certainly commands the respect of his or her subjects. Most are adored—just as Jesus was on Palm Sunday. But the British Monarch has very little, if any, real power. Aside from giving occasional advice to the Prime Minister and the government, he (she) is pretty much a “figurehead”.
Maybe that is how you see Jesus—as a “figurehead” king from whom you seek out only “occasional advice”. But He wants to be an absolute monarch with total claim and control over you. He desires this not because He points the sharp object of a sword at you, but because the sharp objects of nails that were driven into Him. Seeing this, we now love both Him and others because He, as our King, has first loved us (1 John 4:19).