Christ is King over all, yet he chose to die in our place to pay the debt of sin, and renew our relationship with God.
We’re going to be in a couple of passages this morning, starting in Luke 19. If you have a Bible, you can follow along with me.
Okay, so in Luke 19:28ff, we find a passage that is one of the more traditional texts for the week before Easter or Resurrection Sunday. That makes sense, because the events that take place in in this passage take place on a Sunday, exactly one week before the resurrection. Let’s take a look:
Luke 19:28-40 (ESV) - 28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 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. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’ ” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 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, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Jesus had been engaged in public ministry with his disciples for three years. He had traveled the area preaching the Gospel and calling people to repent and believe. He had healed the sick. He had given sight to the blind. He had fed the hungry. He had ministered to the poor. He had even given life to a dead man. And in doing these things, He had proven to many that He is who he claimed to be: God in the flesh.
And so, as he rode into Jerusalem, he rightly received the worship of his growing multitude of disciples. They threw their cloaks down to cover his path, and they greet him with the words of Psalm 118:26:
Psalm 118:26 (ESV) - 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.
Notice, however, that they change the greeting slightly... Instead of Blessed is HE, it’s Blessed is the KING.
It’s a statement not just of civil rule (after all they are an occupied people... Israel is occupied by the Roman Empire), but a statement by the people that they see Jesus as their divinely given ruler: The Messiah who had been promised for generations, through the prophets.
They are right, of course.
But calling him King is a serious thing, and it’s something that upsets the religious folks of the day. The Pharisees, who would be the conservative scholars of the time, call on Jesus to “rebuke his disciples”.
The Pharisees what Jesus to deny that He’s God... Because claiming to be God is the kind of thing that carries the death penalty.
Jesus’ response is epic: “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
In other words, all of creation was made to worship the King. How could he possibly tell his people to not worship Him, when everything in creation was made to bring Him glory? It all longs to be focused on His redemptive plan and purpose.
Expanding on that a bit, the Apostle Paul points us toward this truth in the book of Colossians.
Colossians 1:15-20 (ESV) - 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
In Christ, all things were created. Everything that exists, exists because of Him. And, He holds it all together, not just as the creator, but as the sustainer who cares for for his creation.
His role is to be preeminent. To be first. To be most revered. To hold the primary position of authority, honor, reverence, and respect. And as Matthew 28 says in the record of the Great Commission, all authority in heaven and on earth is Christ’s.
In other words, He is the sole King who has ultimate authority over everything. Every other king or president or ruler has, in some way, limited power. Not so with Jesus. Everything belongs to him. All is His.
Abraham Kuyper has said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
So what does that mean in regard to the Pharisees?
If Christ is sovereign... In control... And the Pharisees and other leaders didn’t get the truth of the Gospel, what are we to make of it? I mean, Christ’s actions and statements lead to His death, right? He was scourged, whipped dozens of times... A crown of thorns was jammed down upon his head. And he was crucified in one of man-kind’s most extreme and excruciating forms of capital punishment... So what does that mean?
It means, quite simply, that was the plan.
This is what God had in mind from before the beginning. As we saw in Colossians: 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
The cross, as horrible as it was, was intentional. It was needed. Christ took upon himself the weight of sin and shame, and died there, as a sacrifice, once and for all, for those who are called by His name.
All the fullness of God at work to maximize His glory, and bring salvation and redemption to His people, just as has been promised for generations through the prophets.
Jesus dies... and in him, so does the sin-guilt and shame of His people. That’s why the day was crucified has been called “Good Friday”. It’s good for us that Christ did what he did. The shedding of his blood was meant to bring reconciliation. To wash us clean of sin, and restore our relationship with God, through faith.
Now... we could go back to the book of Luke... We could look in detail at chapters 20-22 and see what took place during the rest of the week between Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem and “Good Friday...” And we could look at chapter 23, and see with great detail the account of Jesus’ trial, his crucifixion, his death, and his burial. And, in fact, I’d encourage you to do that this week. Take a look at these chapters. Read them. Let them dwell richly in your hearts.
However, for our time here this morning, I will simply say this... We know that the story of God’s redemptive grace doesn’t end with Jesus dead in the tomb. As Paul says in Colossians 1:18:
18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
The Work that The King accomplished in his death was the work of Reconciliation.
However here, we see that there’s another Work of the King, and that’s Resurrection: New life, and new Hope. Next week, Lord willing, we’ll gather to celebrate Christ’s resurrection and the hope we have in Him.