Homily for Palm Sunday (April 13th, 2014)

For many weeks now my preaching has emphasized two astounding revelations- that Jesus of Nazareth is the one, true God and that he is the world’s one, true king.

These revelations are off-putting and unsettling.  Why?  Because if you accept them, and I mean really accept them, your life has to change.

No longer can you settle for a faith that is merely musings about your experiences of the “divine”.  Nor can you think of the Church as merely some kind of club that is meant to serve your faith-based needs or promote your favorite causes.  If accepted, your life cannot simply be about you, and the frame of reference with which you understand God, yourself, and world- and to be even more specific- the frame of reference with which you have come to understand things like religion, politics, and economics cannot simply be whatever preferences you might favor.

And further, your faith cannot simply be faith in yourself, your emotions, or your opinions- your faith is in him, in the Lord Jesus.  If you accept the Lord Jesus as God and King, he measures you, your don’t measure him.

In other words, if you accept the Lord Jesus as God and King you are accepting a life that cuts against the grain of many, if not all, of our culture’s assumptions about God, and about everything else.  To accept Christ the Lord as God and King is by necessity to decide for a different way of life, a way of life that will by necessity be a sign of contradiction to world in general and this culture in particular.

It is likely that this is the reason that most who hear the testimony of the Apostolic Faith that insists that the Lord Jesus is God and King either ignore it or refuse to believe it.  Most will attempt to bracket the revelation by making the Lord Jesus into something easily domesticated and under our control- like a wise spiritual teacher or great man of history.  We ignore his person with an appeal to his teachings and in doing so, make his person and teachings into someone and something that they are not.

We think that this gets us off the hook in terms of the reality of who the Lord Jesus presents himself to be.  But it just strangles our soul with the very things, the false gods, the dark powers, that the Lord Jesus, God and King, has come into our lives to deliver us from.  The bracketing of the truth about Christ the Lord’s revelation, the refusal of the decision for Christ the Lord, who is God and King, makes us idolaters- because if he isn’t our God and our King, the space in our lives that has been created for Jesus Christ, God and King, will be filled up with someone and something else.

And that someone or something else will entice us like Judas’ thirty pieces of silver and end up doing to our souls what that rope did to Judas’ neck!

Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday is perhaps the most startling presentation of the revelation of the Lord Jesus as God and King.

The Scriptures and solemn worship for today are not meant to be a theatrical presentation.  We aren’t here for the sake of learning history or for faith-based entertainment.  Today is about a startling revelation that compels us to make a decision.

What the Church intends is that we contend with the kind of God we worship and the kind of king that we serve- and how unlike the Lord Jesus, God and King, is from the many gods and kings of this world.

In this regard, the revelation is really quite simple- the Lord Jesus, God and King, will give his divine life for you, and will do so, even if you don’t deserve that kind of gesture and can do nothing to earn it.  That’s the kind of God and King the Lord Jesus is- the kind who will give up his life for you.  In fact his passion to give his life for you is so intense, that it takes the form of the cross. 

The gods and kings of the world, won’t do that.  They take life.  Sure they will make it seem like you are getting something in return for our idolatry, but that’s the lie they tell you so that they can get what they want from you.

Let’s face it: our lives are filled with gods and kings.  These gods and kings lurk in our culture and in our desires.  They manifest themselves in our desire for wealth, pleasure, power and honors and they play upon our fears.  Our service to these gods and kings shows itself in all our agendas and causes that are driven by self-interest.  We will often put a mask on these agendas and causes that looks like the Lord Jesus and appeal to his teachings to justify our idolatry, but those masks and appeals won’t save and redeem.  They take life, they don’t give life.

Christian Faith, the Faith of the Church, is about a decision for Christ the Lord.  It means that we accept the Lord Jesus as the one, true God and King and we live differently as a result.

It is that stark.  And it is that simple.

Look at the cross and see the revelation- God’s revelation! Christ the Lord is your God and King.

See that revelation compels you to ask and answer this question:

Is he your God and King or is someone or something else?

Now is the moment of decision.  

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One thought on “Homily for Palm Sunday (April 13th, 2014)

  1. Pingback: A Palm Sunday of Stark Decision

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