Jesus on Parade
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Everybody loves a parade. There’s just this excitement that comes over people when a parade is coming down the street. Even if there isn’t anything really special about the parade itself – just police cars and fire trucks – a parade is a reason for people to leave their homes and get together in the streets to see a good show.
On Palm Sunday as Jesus marched into Jerusalem, it was a parade of sorts. In fact it was a lot like a victory parade. You’ve seen the sport victory parades take place after a big Super Bowl win or the World Series. People lining the streets. Shouts and cheers as the victors receive the congratulations and the adoration from all the people who admire them. A police escort, convertible top cars – riding on the top of double decker buses – that sort of thing with all the cheering – all the applause.
As Jesus marched into Jerusalem, the people there were treating it like a victory parade too. The people lined the streets shouting praise to him - Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! They threw their coats on the ground and palm branches too, so that the donkey, which Jesus was riding on, wouldn’t have to walk on the dirt road. They treated Jesus like a king. But then after they treated Jesus this way, many of the people there asked, “Who is this?” That’s a question that we should ask too. Who is this Jesus? Who is this king? Is he a king of glory or humility?
In these verses from Phlippians, it shows what kind of king Jesus was. He was a king worthy of the greatest glory. Jesus is God! And yet, that’s not how Jesus wanted to be treated. Jesus made himself nothing, instead made himself in the nature of a servant. He humbled himself to be a king of humility.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on donkey. It wasn’t a chariot of fire like God would deserve. It wasn’t even a proud horse. Instead it was a lowly donkey. And this wasn’t even the beginning of the way that Jesus humbled himself.
He humbled himself to become obedient – obedient even to death – even death on the cross. He humbled himself to live under the laws of mankind, all the limitations, all the expectations. He humbled himself that he was willing to die, as the eternal God to still suffer death. He was willing to go to the cross. And not just that this was the worst kind of death there was. A death reserved for the worst criminals, a death reserved for people who no one in the world cared about. A death that was a death of torture, death by suffocation and exhaustion as all his limbs were stretched beyond what they could bare. But it was the death of the curse, the curse of God. It was a death where he bore all the sin, all the guilt, all the punishment that you and I deserved.
And Jesus didn’t do this for himself. He did it for you. He did it for me. This is the message to take out of the scene on Palm Sunday. It’s not the treatment that they gave Jesus. It’s not the welcome, or the words of praise, praising God, and acknowledging Jesus entrance. This day is not about what the people did for Jesus. It’s what Jesus did for you. And not just what Jesus did for you, but what he didn’t do too.
Here’s what he did for you. He lived for you. He fulfilled the law for you. He came to redeem you. And here’s what he didn’t do, which is all the more impressive. He didn’t shrink away from the punishment that was coming for him. He didn’t hesitate in making this journey into Jerusalem although it would be his last. He didn’t even shrink from the cross, that brutal form of punishment that should have been ours.
That’s the kind of king that Jesus is. He is the king of glory, but he acted in humility. He humbled himself so that you could be glorified on day in heaven. What a king Jesus is!
God’s blessings on your week!
Pastor Nick Schmoller