Hummer or Festiva?
Zec 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be 'from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.'
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Mt 21:1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, (Beth’ fuh gay) at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 "And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them." 4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 5 "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'"
6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!"
As we read these texts we see at least one common theme. We read words like “lowly,” and “bondservant.” Phrases like, “of no reputation,” and “He humbled Himself,” SO how do those descriptive words impact you as you think about Jesus?
Do you get a mental image of Jesus as this gentle, quiet, compassionate man, who obeyed His Father perfectly while He walked this earth, even to the point of dying on the cross? That’s a good picture and one well worth remembering. ....The Suffering Servant
He was humble, unpretentious, obedient to the Father, trusting of the Father, and not a hint of self-glorification. His humility was expressed in words in no greater way than what we have read in our epistle lesson. God’s Word puts it this way:
“Although He was in the form of God and equal with God, He did not take advantage of this equality. Instead He emptied Himself by taking on the form of a servant by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance” God put on skin!
Something we usually miss in this passage is this: “He took on the form of a servant by becoming like other humans.” What does that make us? We are servants!
All of the “natural” days of Jesus, from the moment of conception, when he took on human flesh and physically walked this earth are referred to as His days of humiliation. He was a servant! At the same time, He was fully God, He left the glorious confines of heaven and also became fully man. He came to serve.
He still had all the divine attributes and resources at His disposal, yet He availed Himself of these resources only as the Father directed Him. And He experienced everything that we humans experience. Hunger, pain, loneliness, fear, abandonment, temptation, and so on.
Now ask yourself this question. If you were God and you were hungry or facing a financial crisis, in your human life, what would you do? If you were God and experiencing the pain of a toothache or cancer, or a broken relationship, what would you do? How far would you be willing to go before you said, “Alright, I’m God, I’m outa here!” Back to glory! I’ve had enough of this!”
You and I don’t have such power, but Jesus did and He voluntarily withheld it....all the way to the cross! Can there be any higher example of humility and obedience? Jesus is God, and He rides into town on an ass?
Well, when you consider that these were His days of humiliation....there is indeed nothing more suitable. He could’ve rode into town on the most noblest of steeds, He was God! But He chose an ass....showing obedience to the Father as He fulfills the prophecy given to Zechariah....”lowly and riding on a donkey.
And if Palm Sunday were to happen today, in our culture, I imagine that Jesus would wind His way towards Jerusalem....not in a borrowed Hummer, but probably in something like my old rusty 1991 Ford Festiva.
I get a kick out of all the Hummers I see on the road. Many of them serve as billboard for businesses that want to express success or power. It’s a good ploy. When I see the Ultimate Fitness Hummer on the road, I begin to think, “Wow, I could look just like a Hummer if I just worked out at Ultimate Fitness!”
Well Jesus comes to town in a Festiva....but how many know that when Jesus comes back next time, He won’t be driving a Festiva!
Mt 24:30 "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Sounds more like a Hummer to me! Know what the sign of the Son of Man will be? I guarantee you it will not be Capricorn, Aquarius, or Leo.........The sign will be the collapse of all such constellations, the sun, the moon, and all stars!
These sin-stained portions of God’s creation will become undone when the holy Lord Jesus Christ enters our atmosphere for one last time. They will be “undone” just as Isaiah was when he was taken up to the presence of the Holy God. He said, “Woe is me! I am undone!” (Is 6:5)
Jesus said in Mt 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, (by the way we are living in those days and will live in them until our Lord returns.) The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give it’s light; the stars will fall from heaven.”
Rev 16:21 says, “And great hail from heaven fell upon men, every hailstone about the weight of a talent. And men blasphemed God because of the plague of hail, since that plague was exceedingly great!”
And in Revelation 6:15, and 16 we read:
Re 6:15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
Oh it will be horrific for those who do not know Jesus! They’ll curse and swear at this supernatural phenomena because they won’t understand it, but then almost immediately, they will see Jesus their judge....riding on the clouds and then they’ll understand! Then they’ll welcome the hailstones!
And indeed, “at the name of Jesus every knee “ will bow, of those in heaven (the departed saints who gladly bowed) and of those on earth (those living when the Lord returns) and of those under the earth, (those departed unbelievers who reside in the torment of Hades until He returns!) All will admit that He is Lord, and all will be dealt with accordingly.
So what’s going on with those believers who are alive when Jesus returns? Well first of all understand that when Jesus does return, He will bring all the departed saints with Him.
1Th 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Absolutely no terror for the baptized believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In my mind, Palm Sunday is a great opportunity to reflect on our Lord’s second coming! He is coming again. Will you be ready? The first time He came as a lowly, humble, obedient servant, the next time He will come as the conquering King.
You and I are still living in the time of His first coming, therefore Paul admonishes us to live in the same mindset that Jesus lived in. That of lowliness, and humility, servanthood, obedience to and trust in the Father and His Word.
Our time as Princes and Princesses is still to come, in the meantime we are to live as servants! Paul makes that abundantly clear in the first portion of Phil 2:
Php 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
These are strong words and very much connected to our status on the Last Day. “If there is ANY fellowship of the Spirit....in other words if there is any connection to God through faith in Jesus Christ, if there is any presence of saving faith, then let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.....Sounds like the second part of our mission statement at Living Word, doesn’t it?
“Learning to live for the sake of others rather than ourselves.”
Are you learning this yet? Are you learning it as an individual? What does this look like in your family? In your workplace? In your neighborhood?
Are we learning it together as a church? What should that look like at Living Word? How does an entire body of believers exhibit this kind of self-denial to each other? To the community? To the world?
I gotta tell you as Paul said his joy was fulfilled as he observed the Phillipian congregation in action, my joy was greatly lifted as I saw the response of our small congregation to help Frank and Maria move yesterday.
Friends, if we want to call ourselves Christians....followers of Christ, then we must admit that we are living in the days of our humiliation! And in our humiliation, we are to seek to serve. It’s amazing to see how good one feels after serving with time, talent, and treasure.
But, I believe we need to take this service to the next level. I believe we need to be more pro-active in our service than re-active. We need to look for ways to meet needs in our church, our community, and our world through men’s groups, women’s groups, and youth groups.
People, we need to get back to the idea of serving Christ through the church. We ARE His hands! We’ve got to get away from the idea that a church is simply a watering hole. It’s a fountain of blessing, that calls for individual participation and service.
Don’t worry, even though we are in the days of humiliation......our days of exaltation are on the way! Our joy (of serving) has been set before us, let’s finish the race set before us! Or at the very least, let’s at least enter the race set before us!
Heb 12:1 “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
It’s time for us to climb off our high horse and hop on a lowly donkey. It’s time for us to leave the Hummer and climb into the Festiva. Humble servanthood and tribulation is our lot this side of heaven and it’s time you and I embraced it!
Here’s the thing about going through this life riding in a Hummer. It breeds pride and complaining. “Oh look at me, I have a Hummer” But every little thing that goes wrong with that Hummer will be a source of whining and complaining. Every little noise or bump will be a source of concern.
Not so for those riding in the Festiva, no pride there, they’re just thankful to make it from one place to another! And noise and bumps? Well praise the Lord, that just proves that we’re still moving toward our destination!
How about you? Do you find yourself complaining and whining about your circumstances, and do you find yourself thinking more highly of yourself than you ought? Does every little bump in life throw you into a tizzy? Then you’re riding in the wrong car!
Climb into that rusty old Festiva and learn to live a life of humble servanthood, trust, and obedience, a life of giving thanks just for the ride, because humility and servanthood and obedience and trust was Christ’s vehicle of choice when He trod this earth the first time around, it ought to be ours as well. “Is the servant above His Master?
Thankful, because even though we’re rattling along in our Festiva, He promises to be with us on our journey!.