The Coming of the King

April 2, 2023 ()

Bible Text: Luke 19:28-44 |


The Coming of the King | Luke 19:28-44
Brad O’Dell | April 2, 2023

Good morning! Grab your Bibles and turn to Luke 19. This morning we’re going to be in Luke 19:28.

I want to start the service by asking you to think about times in your life where you maybe are overly-familiar with something, and because you’re overly-familiar with it you don’t quite see it as accurately as you could, right? You kind of take it for granted.

A good example of this might be those times when you’re trying to lose weight. You’re eating a little bit better, you’re working out, and it’s easy to get discouraged when you’re doing that, because you’re looking at yourself in the mirror every single day and you’re like, “Man, I am not changing at all!” It can be really discouraging and you kind of miss all the changes that are happening because you look at yourself all the time. It takes you seeing someone who hasn’t seen you in a month or so, and they see you and they’re like, “Oh my goodness!” It’s the first thing they notice. “You’ve lost so much weight! You look so good. What have you been doing?” It kind of takes that realization of stepping outside of yourself to realize, “Oh, I guess it is making an impact; I guess it is noticeable.” You just didn’t notice it because you’re a little overly-familiar with your own visage; you see it every day.

A worse example of this might be, husbands, when your used to your wife coming home at the same time every day and one day she walks in with a new haircut, and you don’t notice! Why is that? It’s because you’re overly-familiar, and you took it for granted that you knew what she looked like and you didn’t actually know that there was a change that had happened there. That’s something that you then have to apologize for, right? Over-familiarity can lead us astray sometimes.

I think as we come into Holy Week, the most important time on the Christian calendar, this over-familiarity with the classic stories can hit us a little bit in this way. It connects with what we’re focusing on today, and that is the triumphal entry of Jesus, or what we call Palm Sunday. This over-familiarity can take over. We hear the stories a lot and they’re good to hear every year, but sometimes they can kind of go in one ear and out the other, and they actually don’t do much substantial in our hearts and in our spiritual walks because we kind of assumed that we saw what’s there, we assumed that we knew what was happening in the story.

My heart for this week, as we have a few services ahead of us—a Good Friday service and then Easter Sunday next Sunday, along with this service—is that you would pray and ask God to make this real, make it fresh. It needs to be something that happens every year, to kind of put the foundation under your feet, to put this bulwark back in your heart so that the wonder and majesty of Jesus as king and the salvation that he’s given us at the cross and in his resurrection would hit your heart anew and would draw you into fresh wonder and praise.

So what I want to do in this message today is I want to ask the question, why did Luke include the account of the triumphal entry in his Gospel? Why did he include it? And not just Luke, but every single Gospel author has this event where Jesus comes and rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, and we’re going to read that in a few seconds. But what did Luke want us to see? I think that’s something we have to ask every time we go to the Gospels, because we know that there are tons and tons of accounts of interactions that Jesus had with people, lots of events that happened. John says in his Gospel, “Hey, if we were to try to record everything that Jesus said and all the miracles that he did, all the books in the world couldn’t hold it.” So every Gospel author is kind of picking some aspects and picking some scenes of Jesus’ life to present to their readers, and they do it for a reason. So I want to look at a couple reasons, at least, that Luke might have included this for us.

These are the two I’m going to go with. First, he wants us to see this moment as a fulfillment of prophecy. So in that point I want us to be looking at the true King versus false kings. Secondly, I think he put this in because he wanted us to view this event against the backdrop of the coming cross. In that point we’re going to be looking at the true kingdom versus false kingdoms. So, let’s read Luke 19 and we’ll get into it. We’re going to read Luke 19:28-44.

“And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” you shall say this: “The Lord has need of it.”’ So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ And they said, ‘The Lord has need of it.’ And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.’

“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’”

1. The True King vs. False Kings

What I want to look at first is a juxtaposition of the true king versus false kings, but to start here I want to paint the scene for us and make sure we understand it. I have a map here that I’d like for you to see.

Maps help me. I love maps. When I went to Jerusalem and Israel I had a map with me the whole time, just tracking where I was going, to help me take things in. So I want you to see the journey that Jesus is taking. He’s coming up from the Jordan River and he came through Jericho—a couple key events there—and there’s really been this crowd that has been gathering around Jesus and swelling as he comes closer and closer to Jerusalem. All the momentum of the book of Luke has led to this event. Ten times at this point Luke has said in the last handful of chapters that Jesus has set his face to Jerusalem, Jesus is going to Jerusalem, he is on his way to Jerusalem, and this is the moment of Jesus’ life that we are waiting for.

As he comes in, he comes to really a home away from home, the area of Bethphage and Bethany. This is where Mary and Martha and Lazarus lived, and Jesus would stay there, and he did a lot of teaching there, and he had good friends there, and some of his core disciples were from this area. So he goes there, and this is where he gets this donkey. When he gets this donkey, he now comes over the Mount of Olives, and then he starts coming down the Mount of Olives.

He comes into what is called the Kidron Valley. This is a valley that goes between the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem. Then he’s going to go through the eastern gate of Jerusalem, and the Gospel writers say he goes straight to the temple to do some work.

That’s the scene we have ahead of us. As he’s going down the Mount of Olives, we kind of have this mixed crowd. Here in Luke you see that his disciples are the main people in view. His disciples are the ones who start praising God and singing of peace because of the wondrous things that they’ve seen Jesus do. They have this expectation that Jesus is the promised King. He’s here.

But also, the other Gospel authors include that there are some other people who just kind of get caught up in the excitement. They hear about the things that are happening and they start to join in, and they say, “This is really exciting! We’re going to start praising, we’re going to start singing, we’re going to start celebrating as well. We’re here for the show; we’re here to see what happens. We’ve heard about this Jesus guy; we hear lots of good things happen when he’s around. We want to see some of these good things.”

You also have the Pharisees in view. The Pharisees actually do not like this whole scene. They’re very set against it. They say, “Jesus, you need to rebuke your disciples for saying these things, for claiming these things about you.” And he says, “If these weren’t crying out, these very stones would cry out.” That’s how obvious it is that these praises and these proclamations are true.

I think the first thing Luke wants us to see is that this scene in Jesus’ life is the fulfillment of prophecy, to show Jesus as the true, promised King. I’m going to do this from a couple of accounts in the Old Testament.

First is Zecharian 9:9. I think it’s the most obvious, the most in-view. Zechariah 9:9-10 says this:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea . . .”

You have this prophecy in Zechariah that when God sends the Messianic King he’s going to come riding on a donkey, which is really interesting. You would expect the king to come riding on a warhorse, right? But he comes humble, mounted on a donkey, and he’s a King of peace. All this imagery in verse 10 is speaking of peace—him cutting off the chariot and the warhorse, the battle bow, and instead he will speak peace to the nations, and his reign shall be from sea to sea. So we see, first, that Jesus is this Messianic King who will bring peace or will bring shalom. Brian talked about that just last week or a couple weeks ago, the idea of shalom, this holistic wellbeing, this holistic peace that Jesus will bring.

But also we have another account in the background, and there’s this really interesting account in the life of David and Solomon in 1 Kings 1. Something happens. David is at the very end of his life; he’s old, he’s struggling, he’s not really able to do that much that’s active. At this time, one of his sons, Adonijah, says, “I’m going to set myself up as king.”

Now, David had already said that he wanted Solomon to be the king; he told his advisors and some of his priests that he wanted that to happen; he told Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. But Adonijah says, “I’m going to make myself king,” and he gets around him David’s war commander and he gets around him one of David’s advisors and priests. They come along and they throw this big party, and they’re going to declare him as king, and they invite all these people. When this momentum gets going, it’s going to be really easy for the people to come alongside, join in, and he could take up the throne. This is Adonijah’s idea.

But Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan catch wind of this, and they come to David and say, “Hey David, here’s what’s about to happen. You said you wanted Solmon to be king; we have to fix this!”

So David said, “Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to take Solomon and I want you to do a few things. I want you to set him on my donkey.” Interesting. Not, “Set him on my horse,” not, “set him on one of my great camels.” “I want you to set him on my donkey, and then I want you to take him out to the Mount of Olives and I want you to ride him down the Mount of Olives. Take him across the Kidron Valley, and I want you to take him to the river Gihon,” which is right there in Jerusalem. “Once you do that, I want you to sit him on my throne, and then I want you to declare him as the inaugurated king.”

What we see here is that when this happens, everybody recognizes it. They say, “That’s the king; he’s seated on the royal donkey. He’s coming down the path he’s supposed to come to; he’s going to throne.” And everybody comes alongside and they praise and they sing with joy, “The true king is here!”

What we see is that this was an account where the true king was enthroned against a false king who tried to be enthroned.

I think that’s all in the background here, presenting Jesus as the true King against the false kings.

The false kings I think we see in this account here are a little interesting, because we wouldn’t expect to see them as kings, but I think it’s actually represented by the Pharisees. To see this, we have to understand what Jesus’ kingdom is or what a kingdom meant in that age. It’s mostly talking about a reign or a rule, not so much a location and activity. So someone’s kingdom in the Bible is someone’s reign, someone’s rule. When Jesus is coming, he’s saying, “My reign is here. I am God’s chosen King, and I am bringing God’s rule here.” But the Pharisees didn’t like this because the Pharisees had been the ones who kind of reigned over the Jews. They had been the ones whose word was followed. They had been the ones who called the shots. For Jesus to come and say, “I am here and my reign is here,” it threatened them. It challenged their power, and they were no longer the ones who would call the shots.

We see this a little more clearly in John 11, in [John’s account of the triumphal entry]. The backdrop in John is Jesus is raising Lazarus from the dead. This is a big thing that the Pharisees hate; in fact, they even try to kill Lazarus again because people are so caught up in who Jesus is and they’re starting to see all these messianic miracles happening through him. They see this as a big threat to their power. We see this in John 11. They say, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs [that is, Jesus]. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

What’s their big fear? “Yes, maybe he’s going to cause some stirring and the Romans will react, but he’s going to take away our place, and we’ve carved out a pretty good place for ourselves. We like what we got going here. We don’t like that Jesus is coming and challenging the systems that we’ve set up. We have a kingdom that we’ve set up, and we’re pretty happy with how things are going.”

You see, the Pharisees had seen who Jesus was just like everyone else. They’d seen his miracles, they’d heard his teaching that he taught as one with authority. They’d had meals with him and they had long conversations with him. They knew his character. The Bible says that Jesus was the exact imprint of the nature of God, and he was right in front of them in many ways, and they saw what they saw, and where everyone else was starting to see, “This might be the Messiah, this might be the King! This is something wonderful!” they said, “That’s something that we don’t like, and we’re against it.”

Their power was threatened, and they were the false kings, so they tried to set themselves against the true king.

You know, I think many of us still fall into a little bit of this error. We might love Jesus and we want to follow Jesus—we know Jesus is King—but we still have something in our hearts, often, that mostly sees ourselves as king. This comes out in a few ways.

It comes out in avoidance. Sometimes in our spiritual walks we know that the things that we’re doing, the things that we’re saying, some of the actions we’re about, we know that they’re wrong, and in those moments we try to avoid, right? We don’t spend time in prayer, we don’t go to God’s word, we don’t examine ourselves, we don’t confess openly before God. We try to kind of avoid because we don’t want Jesus’ reign to come upon our life; we want to call the shots, and we want to reign.

Sometimes it comes out as anger. Sometimes when you’re living the way you’re not supposed to and you want to call the shots and you want to do what you want to do and someone starts to bring something against it, or maybe a preacher stands in the pulpit and they start saying things that hit a little too closely to home, you start getting angry, you start getting a little testy, and you say, “Hey! Don’t you judge me! You don’t know my life. You don’t get it,” and we start to get very defensive.

When this happens when the word of God is being presented to us or these truths or this conviction from the Spirit, it might show that we’ve actually put ourselves on the throne of our hearts instead of King Jesus.

Sometimes it shows up in our prayer lives. We go to God and our prayer lives are just consumed by us saying, “God, here’s what I would like. Here’s what I want. Here’s what I don’t want to happen in my life,” and we’re just kind of giving this list of demands. It’s almost as if God is our vassal and we are kings and he’s here to do our will for us. We never stop to say, “God, what would you have? What is your will? What’s your purpose in my life?”

There’s a true King and there’s a false king. It’s worth us examining, have we ever set up or do we have a tendency to still put ourselves on the throne of our hearts instead of asking, “God, what would you have, Jesus? You’re the one who calls the shots.”

2. The True Kingdom vs. False Notions of the Kingdom

But also in this account I think Luke wants us to view this event against the backdrop of the cross. In that we see the true kingdom versus false kingdoms.

You see, Luke’s original readers were people who were reading this long after all the events of the Easter week happened, right? They were in the same position as us. They knew that the cross was coming; they knew that in a few days everything was going to change from all the celebration, all the rejoicing that was happening in people’s lives. I think when we see what Luke wants us to see, he wants us see, “Here’s this even that’s happening, and I want you to see that with the understanding that the cross is coming. I want you to learn a few things from it.”

But I think to see that we need to remember what the kingdom meant to most of these crowds and even the disciples of Jesus at this time. What did the kingdom mean to them?

I think we see that mostly by thinking about, what was the kingdom? What was the Davidic kingdom at its height? What was the kingdom under Solomon, when it was really thriving?

Here’s what the kingdom mostly meant: It meant deliverance from their enemies. It meant protection against their enemies, so that they can remain in peace. It meant protection from natural disasters—plague and famine and drought and flood. They wouldn’t come and they wouldn’t ruin their crops and send them into poverty. It meant that they would thrive, that the borders would be expanding, that there would be prosperity and there would be health, that there wouldn’t be premature death but they would live long, full lives of blessing.

What we see is that what the kingdom really meant for them was shalom. It meant this peace with God where they could dwell with God and he could dwell in their midst, and all the blessings of God would come to them in this life. It meant peace with their enemies; there wouldn’t be battles, there wouldn’t be tensions, there wouldn’t be people coming and trying to destroy what they had going on; and there would be peace with the natural order. Shalom.

But we see Jesus in verse 42 knowing this, and knowing that the people are singing of peace as they sing about the one who comes in the name of the Lord, he says, “Oh, would that you had known this day the things that make for peace! But they have been hidden from your eyes.”

These are people who desire peace, they want the peace of the kingdom, but Jesus is saying, “You don’t know at all what makes for peace. In fact, the path that you’re on is actually going to lead to judgment, it’s going to lead to destruction, the opposite of peace.”

What happened is the crowds misunderstood the dynamics of the kingdom that Jesus brings. This will come to a head in just a few days’ time after this event, right? The same crowds that right now are hanging on Jesus’ every word—that’s what it says right there in verse 48 as Jesus teaches in the temple—they’re actually going to turn around and cry for Jesus to be hung up on the cross. His disciples, who are rejoicing with a loud voice with joy, are going to shrink back in fear and desert him in just a few days’ time.

How does this happen so quickly? I want to look at the crowds, and then I want to look at the disciples. I think we see two different issues going on.

I think the issue for the crowds is this: the kingdom for them mostly meant just getting all the good things of the kingdom while avoiding all the bad things of life. The coming kingdom meant them getting all the good things of the kingdom and avoiding all the bad things of life. This is an issue of values. What did they value? They valued their own salvation, they valued their own deliverance, they valued their own comfort, they valued their own prosperity. They wanted the good life!

You know what? Those are good things. It’s a good thing not to be oppressed by a foreign power. It’s a good thing to be able to worship freely. It’s a good thing to have peace in your family, to have long life, right? These are good things. These are things that God desires and that he wants to bless his people with in a lot of ways.

But here’s the thing: the people wanted the kingdom, but they didn’t really care about the King at all. They wanted the kingdom, but they didn’t care about the King. In fact, the king could have been just about anyone; he was just a vessel to bring all the good things and to deliver them from the bad things in life.

This is why they didn’t know what makes for peace, because in Jesus’ kingdom true peace comes from being in right relationship with the King. True peace comes from knowing the King. This is what we were made for. We were made to know God, we were made to delight in God, we were made to know ourselves as worshipers of God; to see his goodness, to see his glory, to delight in him, to praise him, and to find ourselves delighting in him. This is what we are made for. When we do that, that is when our hearts are changed. That is the product of our hearts being changed; that’s the product of our souls being healed. It’s how we find ourselves in relationship with the one with whom we are supposed to have relationship.

This is a little bit of an interesting thing, and I think we forget this even though we’re very relational beings. You see a very small picture of this in a good marriage relationship. In a good marriage relationship what happens is—I get this from Tim Keller; he talks about this a lot—a relationship starts by mostly a pretty selfcentric understanding of your emotions, right? You feel good; this person makes you feel excited, valued, loved. He or she gives you a lot of good experiences and is fun to be around. They enjoy you, and that feels really good. That’s most of what your reactions are early in a relationship, but if you’re in a good marriage and that goes on, what you find is all those things are present, but that’s really not what you’re focusing on. You actually just begin to delight in the other and you just delight in being with the other for its own sake. Just being with that person, just knowing them the way you do, having the experiences with them that you do, you almost feel like, “This is what has really brought me to a fuller version of who I am. I am really the person who’s in relationship with you. I am the person who gets to be your counterpart.” You lose yourself as an individual into that oneness that exists in marriage.

This is what it is to be a relational being. It’s to find yourself in the other, in a lot of ways. So we know that with human relationships this can be fractured and this can be difficult and it’s a hard thing, but God made us to find ourselves in relationship with him.

Augustine says it like this: “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” Because this is what we were made for: to find ourselves in knowing God, rejoicing in him, and delighting in him. And this is the true good news of the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, that we don’t just get salvation and we don’t just get a heart change, we don’t just get the wisdom of God from God’s word to guide us and direct us in this life, but ultimately we get Jesus. He’s the treasure. We get to be with him, we get to know him more, we get to walk in relationship with him, we get to spend all of eternity dwelling on the goodness of his majesty and having our hearts filled up with fullness of joy in him. He is the great treasure, and no matter what this life throws at us, if we have the true treasure then we will be whole, we will be okay.

I want us to remember this this Holy Week. I think for a lot of us in our Christian walk we feel like it’s not working a lot of parts of the week. We feel like it’s dry, we feel like maybe it’s week, maybe it’s floundering at times. I want us to remember that maybe the key is we need to spend a lot more time rejoicing and delighting and worshiping and savoring. Maybe that’s what we do all week this week as we dwell on the goodness of the salvation that is ours, as we dwell on the new life that is ours in Christ. Let us not miss Jesus in it all and all the benefits that we get from Jesus. Let’s spend this week finding ourselves delighting in Jesus, and that will be how we actually worship the true king and enjoy the kingdom.

But I think the issue for the disciples is a little bit different. See, the disciples loved Jesus. They wanted to worship Jesus as King, and it wasn’t just about the good things that Jesus would bring them, but I think they did misunderstand the nature of the kingdom. This is an issue of expectations.

I think expectations in our Christian walk are so vital. What I have in mind here is the reality of what we call the “already/not yet” of the kingdom. We talk about it a lot here, and I think it’s so important, because it’s the position we find ourselves in as Christians who are between the two comings of Jesus. We see that Jesus is the King. Jesus will come and he will take up his throne. That will be presented as the cross, in a lot of ways, but we also know that he’s seated at the right hand of the Father now, and his kingdom reign is here, and we can follow him and enjoy the benefits of his kingdom, and it’s already here. However, it’s not yet here in its fullness.

I think in the church a lot of time we emphasize the “already” a lot, and that’s good, because that’s where our hope is, that’s where our encouragement is, that’s where our peace is. That’s what gets us through the trials. But in that emphasis sometimes we can forget the aspect of these things not being here in their fullness. If you’ve walked the Christian walk long you know that you experience a lot of hard things. Oftentimes there isn’t just a little bit of a battle with sin that you have to get over, but it’s a long, difficult, really discouraging battle with sin. That sin just seems really deeply entrenched in your heart. Man, it’s so hard to unearth it!

We find our hearts are cold and hard and fickle. They can be one thing in one moment and the absolute opposite in the next moment. We can be so unreliable. This is the “not yet” of the kingdom; the fullness of our life in Christ, the fullness of our identity in Christ is something that is a work in progress, and it’s not here yet fully.

Like the disciples, if we don’t understand this reality of the kingdom, that there will be hard times, there will be difficult hills to climb, it can lead to a lot of disillusionment and confusion and fear. We can easily get the wind taken out of our sails. We can fall into multiple facets of what Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls spiritual depression.

You see, a lot of times our entire expectation of the Christian walk is that we would have the experience of an overcomer. And it is true that we are overcomers in Christ because of what he’s accomplished at the cross and in his resurrection, but that’s an ultimate reality, and the “not yet” is still very real. If we don’t account for this—if our expectations are not set right—we can really get blindsided by the difficulties of life, by some of the hangups, by some of the setbacks, some of the hurts, some of the difficult habits.

I would say this, too: it might even lead us to, in Christian church as we’re walking in community, if this is our entire expectation of what the Christian life should be, we feel like we need to put that face on for others, don’t we? We try to hide. We try to act like everything’s going great, when really all along we know that we’re shrinking back, we’re in confusion and doubt and pain, our spiritual walk just seems stuck and it’s seemed that way for a long time. God seems so, so distant and we’re really struggling to press on.

Friends, I want to just say those are normal experiences of the Christian life. They don’t have to be things that are the entire experience of the Christian life—of course not, by God’s grace. But they are normal experiences of the Christian life, and if you’re hiding, if you’re not opening up, if you’re not asking people to come alongside you and support you in this, then you’re going to continue to flounder, and you’re going to continue to stay stuck. It might lead to something like a real spiritual depression. The experience might be a lot like the disciples had as they shrank back in fear and confusion and deserted Jesus for a season.

Church, as kingdom citizens, let us set our expectations rightly. Paul says that we need to die to ourselves daily. He says that we are always carrying in our bodies the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus might be manifest. He says we are to suffer with Jesus in order to be glorified with him. These are the experiences of the Christian life. Church, let us remember that even Jesus said, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” There will be persecution, there will be hardship, there will be challenges, there will be great difficulty.

I think as kingdom citizens we need to get a lot more serious about being open and honest with one another and getting support in the hard times, before it leads to something that really destroys us and hurts a lot more long-term and a lot more substantially.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, by the grace of Jesus and great love and grace, we need to get a lot more bold about speaking faith into one another’s lives, speaking encouragement, exhorting one another day after day, “as long as it is called today,” as the author of Hebrews said, because we know that the “not yet” of the kingdom is really strong. There are difficulties, and we need constant support and grace and strength and reminders of who Jesus is and the truths that he’s called us to if we’re going to make it in this life, if we’re going to persevere. We need to be much, much more dependent on the strength and the mercy and the grace of our King than most really give credit to in our spiritual walk.

You know, a lot of us go into day after day after day with maybe a short little Bible reading—if that—a short little prayer—if that—and we expect that we got everything we need from Jesus to make it through all the difficulties and trials of the day. That’s just not true. You need to be much, much more dependant—moment by moment—on the grace of Jesus. You need to be putting the throne of grace before your mind and approaching the throne of grace with confidence moment by moment, multiple times throughout the day, if you’re really going to have the strength of the King to live this kingdom life that he’s called us to.

Here’s what I really want us to walk away with today as we see this. There are difficulties of the kingdom; that’s a good thing to set our expectations right. But that’s not all of it, because if we do set our expectations right then we won’t be blindsided, won’t be waylaid, we won’t be easily sent into fear and disillusionment when things come across our paths that are difficult. If we set our values right and we kow it’s not so much about all the good things I can get from God, though I will rejoice in those and I will praise God for those and I will make that a testament of my story to the glory of God, but it’s not all about that. If I set my values right, I know that I have the chief treasure, I have Jesus, and nothing can take away Jesus from me—neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other thing will be able to separate us from his love. That’s what it is to be a kingdom citizen. I have Jesus, and therefore I can make it through whatever this life brings to me. That’s what it is to be a kingdom citizen.

As we remember to moment-by-moment say, “It’s not about what I want in this life, but every single day I’m going to say, ‘Jesus, what would you have?’” That’s a good spiritual discipline for you throughout this week and the coming year. Every single day, maybe multiple times a day, just try to say, “Jesus, what would you have me do? Jesus, what would you have me be in this moment? How would you have me speak? How would you have me minister to this person? How would you have me lay myself down for the sake of what you’ve called me to? What would you have me do? Because you’re the King, and I want to be a vassal of you. I want to be about what you’re about. I want to bring your kingdom of life and joy and peace and grace to others, and I need to know what you want from me, Lord. So remove me off the throne of my life, and Jesus, you take the throne. What would you have me be, Jesus, in this moment? What would you have me do?”

In this Easter season, I think if we do those things then we can fully enjoy the wonder and the majesty of Jesus made King and Jesus taking his throne at the right hand of the Father.

This Easter season, I don’t want the joy of the season to be just this week. I don’t want it to be fleeting like it was for these crowds. I want it to be something that sustains us throughout the year and that also spurs us on to go as ambassadors for Jesus and to call others into this kingdom of life and joy and peace.

As we remember these things, Jesus is our true treasure. Jesus is the true King. I want to know what he has for my life. I have my expectations set right, and therefore I will not be swayed, I will not be destroyed, though trials might come upon me. When we have those things firmly in our mind I think we can enjoy and celebrate the fullness of what this moment means as Jesus comes as the crowned King to take up his throne and to bring God’s reign back to earth in the kingdom of Jesus. Would you pray with me?

Lord, we thank you for this morning. We thank you for your word. Jesus, we thank you for your grace. All of us have tried to be king of our own lives, Jesus, and if we’re honest we confess before you that maybe even this week many of us operated as if we were king, we were boss, we were the ones who called the shots. God, we want to confess that before you. We want to stand in the forgiveness that is available in Jesus and rejoice in that. We want to ask for grace, that you would enthrone yourself on our hearts, the true King, and that your true kingdom reign would take place in our lives as we follow you, no matter what this life brings to us.

Jesus, we want this Holy Week to be reminded and to be impacted afresh with the truth that you are our great treasure, you are ourd elight, you are our satisfaction, you are our hope. Let us find ourselves in you, Jesus, knowing that as we lose ourselves and as we lose our lives the promise that you give us is that that is when we will find them in you. We ask you for this grace in the name of Jesus, amen.