The Entrance
Luke 19:28-40

Sometimes while I’m eating my lunch I like to sit and watch a little bit of the Ellen show on TV, it’s pointless, usually harmless and it’s a good way to shift modes for a bit in the middle of the day.  But one day this week, on at least three of the main channels all I could watch were two politicians trying to win points with the voters talking about health policy I think it was, and the election hasn’t even been announced yet!  What on earth is it going to be like when the electioneering begins in earnest?  It seems as if we are bombarded constantly with propaganda from both sides of politics that is attempting to convince us that one is better than the other, “Which of them is the greatest?” so to speak.

I think it was last week as well that Barack Obama cancelled his trip to Australia so that he could stay home and look after his own patch.  He has promised to duck across and catch up with our Kev sometime soon though.  But have you seen what is involved when El Presidente is on the move – this will give you a bit of an idea.

Now that is a stark contrast to the one who entered into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  There was of course a huge welcome for him, with all of those people shouting and saying “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”, but that welcome raised some eyebrows with the Pharisees and no doubt with those who were plotting to kill him.  When the Pharisees tried to put a stop to it, Jesus made it clear that they would not be stopped, if the people were quiet, even the stones would shout out.

Jesus wasn’t trying to big note himself though, this was all part of the journey that had to be taken on the way to the cross.  It was enough to raise the objections of his enemies but still humble and unassuming.

This is a journey that we follow each year on our way to the cross in remembrance of what he did for us, out of love, out of service, out of obedience.

Many churches around the world today will be holding what is called Passion Sunday, where they hear the account of Jesus passion, his journey to the cross and his death and burial.  We have followed the tradition of celebrating Palm Sunday though.

The reason for the change to holding a passion Sunday is apparently so that those who will not be attending a Good Friday service will still have the opportunity to hear the passion account before hearing the resurrection account.  The problem being that if they attend church on Palm Sunday and then don’t go again until Easter Sunday they go from triumph to triumph and miss the important message of the cross.

I would like to invite you, encourage you, even implore you, to come with me on the journey to the cross, which actually began before Christmas as the angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would have a child who is the Son of God.

Today is a stop along the way to pause and spend some time reflecting on the humble nature of the king who came to save us before we jump back on the track and head to the institution of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, through the passion account on Friday before we then reach the pinnacle of Easter Sunday where we rejoice with the whole church on earth, with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven as we say together, He is Risen!  He is risen indeed! 

The joy and celebration of Easter Sunday can fall a little flat if we haven’t spent a little time taking the journey with Jesus.  We rejoice far more when we realise exactly what it was that Jesus went through on our behalf to put us right before God, to make us clean and worthy of forgiveness.  I know we know the story, we hear about it weekly, but take the journey again, feel the emotion, the burden of your sins going with Jesus to the cross, the relief at hearing that your sins are forgiven through him as he rose from the dead.

As we take this journey together, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus”, let us do it humbly, while serving others, inviting them to the feast.  I was chatting to a guy last night who said that in the last week he has had three different church groups come knocking at his door.  He reckoned it must be nearly Easter if that was happening.  This is a time of year when people venture back into churches, they don’t expect a fanfare, and in fact they will probably be hoping that no one notices them.  Why not invite them to come along, make them feel welcome before they even arrive, let them know they are loved and missed.

This Son of God, who came into the world to serve not to be served, entered Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey, just a colt, not even a mature one.  He came and ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, he healed lepers and the deaf and the mute, he washed his disciple’s feet, he had his body broken and his blood shed for our sake.  He emptied himself, and became obedient unto death, not for any benefit for him, it was all for you.  Amen