Tim: 00:01 That sounded like the Pentecostal Church, right there
Jennifer: 00:08 No, no, no…I just started recording. You said that. Oh my goodness. We were not speaking in tongues. I just want to clarify that. Speak that out. Straight up. I’m about to be ordained. Seriously, dude. Be careful (laughter) There are some people that would have a very big problem with that. OK, let’s stand up as we read from Mark Chapter Eleven verses one to 11.
Jennifer: 00:49 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples saying to them, go to the village ahead of you and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, why are you doing this? Say the Lord needs it and we’ll send it back here. Shortly. They went and found a colt outside in the street tied at a doorway. As they untied it. Some people standing there asked, what are you doing untying That Colt? they answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the Colt to Jesus and through their coats over it and he sat on it, many people spread their cloaks on the road while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed, shouted Hosanna. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David. Hosanna in the highest heaven. Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around and everything, but since it was already late, you went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Jennifer: 02:05 Let us pray. hide me behind your cross, Lord. Articulate your heart through my voice to your people. Let the transformation of our lives. be wrought thoroughly by the Holy Spirit’s in response to your truth in this lenten season and always let us faithfully remember the sacrifice you made on our behalf to draw us to you. In your name we pray, Amen. You may be seated.
Jennifer: 02:36 If you’ve ever been to a wedding, you know what a procession looks like in modern times preceding, the person the day is all about are all the people who are part of the program but play smaller parts. The bridesmaids and the groomsmen, the flower girls, the ring bearer, they all walked down the aisle, but then the music changes and the congregation stands as the main attraction. The bride begins her march down toward her future, or maybe you’ve been to graduation. The professors enter first before the students who will graduate, and then the graduates come in behind. Again, the procession marks the beginning of the ceremony which will launch the forever changed status of the person or persons taking part. In two weeks. The Church of the Nazarene will hold an ordination ceremony and in much the same way, there will be a procession and a proclamation and a new future launched for those who will be newly ordained as elders and deacons in the Church of the Nazarene. and so as we look at this moment where Jesus comes into Jerusalem, he’s participating in a procession. It actually launches an entire week of anticipation and actions that lead up to the cross, but all of those who are in the procession are expecting different things. Only Jesus knows that he is ushering in a new age of redemption. Only Jesus knows what it will cost him. Only Jesus accepts this. Praise as his due and yet anticipates that the same people in this crowd shouting, Hosanna, God, save us on Sunday will shout crucify him on Friday. You see the crowds. They’re expecting a revolution that will launch a new leader, someone who will overthrow the Romans and set them free to be their own nation. Again, they’re crowning him king over the nation. The disciples are part of that perception too: they’re expecting the same kind of revolution.
Jennifer: 05:28 they just think they’ll also be leaders. The PHarisees – They’re not sure what to expect. What they know is they’re very worried about what their Roman occupiers are thinking about this guy who’s now coming into Jerusalem as though he’s going to be crowned king The Pharisees, They’re going to end this week believing that they have ended a revolt and knowing they have silenced a critic and are pretty sure, that they’ve eliminated a blasphemer. The disciples are going to end this week afraid and confused and shattered, unsure what’s going to come next, not understanding yet what it is they’ve experienced, how all of the things that have transpired could have transpired. They’re going to be at a loss and in pain and scared themselves for what will happen. Crowds, they’re gonna end this week, the same as they have from every other possible messiah because trust me, there have been plenty that have come through these times that they’re living in and they’ll be disappointed that this wasn’t the one, but they’ll put on their pants and wait in hopeful expectation that the next one will be the one. Jesus. Jesus ends this week, dead not sort of dead, not kind of dead, actually, truly, completely dead. Knowing next Sunday is Easter. He will begin with a fresh hope, hope that we share a hope of redemption and abundant life transformation, freedom. Eternal life. but as he rides the donkey into the city of Jerusalem and his procession is one of victory and joy, Jesus knows that this is a launching. It’s a starting point when in other texts when Jesus gets to the end of this procession, he looks out over Jerusalem and begins to weep. He says, if you only understood what I’m really here for, then we could be joyful. you’re, you’re not gonna. Get it. He says, if I could just gather you as chicks to a mother hen, he says, as he’s weeping over the city, he accepts the praise and honor is due because he knows that he will be king and that’s what this procession foreshadows is God’s kingship. Jesus King kingship king of kings, but as he starts the week with a procession anticipating a coronation for Hosannas, he ends the week dead, crucified among jeers and insults. He was expecting the resurrection, the victory that will defy all expectations and change everything. The Hallelujah after the procession. As we get into this week of things that happen, I don’t know about you, but if I knew I was going to die at the end of the week after being betrayed by a really close friend, I might not be so willing to spend a lot of time with that friend, I might not be so willing to spend time teaching the people who are going to abandon me. I might not be so willing to spend myself on their behalf.
Jennifer: 10:32 But every Gospel writer tells us that Jesus didn’t like hanging out in a cave somewhere. He did a number of things in anticipation. He cursed the fig tree. He was doing miracles. He cleared the temple. He answered questions and challenges. He engages in debate. He teaches his disciples, in fact, spending extended amounts of time with them. He has a Passover meal with his disciples. He washes the feet of his betrayer. He spends time giving them final instruction. He prays in the garden of Gethsemane and he is betrayed, arrested, and tried moving from Jewish courts to Roman courts all night long, and then he is crucified. But by the time The next Sunday rolls around, he is also resurrected. The example that Jesus gives us in this week is one of living between the already the hose as of the procession that mark the arrival of the Messiah and the not yet the crucifixion that will redeem and the Hallelujahs of the resurrection that will end death forever. We too live in that space. We live between the already of Jesus’s work and its result for us and the not yet of his return and the final judgement. We can learn four things from Jesus in that timeframe
Jennifer: 12:24 because in the already but not yet space. Jesus was very intentional about how he operated. He lived in community. Jesus was actively engaged in the events of the week. If anything, rather than spending less time with his disciples and those who followed him, he spent more time engaging them and teaching them, and that is the command that he leaves for us as well. We cannot do the work of the kingdom without the support and interaction of our community of believers, our a church family.
Jennifer: 13:03 the design and intention of the Kingdom of Heaven. The here and now, Kingdom of Heaven, the one we live and move and work in now is children of the king, is that it be lived and worked out as a fellowship. Jesus didn’t hide. Neither can we. If we intend to follow Christ’s example as believers, we must do so within the context of the body of Christ. The second thing Jesus did was he served others. He was still healing people. He was still performing miracles. He invested in the disciples, giving them final instructions, trying desperately to change how they thought about him, to prepare them for what was happening, going to happen,
Jennifer: 14:01 He was engaged and active in the lives of those. He was with Mary and Martha and Lazarus. Were his hosts and Bethany, and that’s where he spent his time outside the temple, gave them the great commandments to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. And his whole life was service, but these days between Hosanna and Hallelujah they were intentional and important things that he did that impacted those around him. The third thing he did, he prayed and spent time with God. Every single day he would spend some time alone on the Mount of olives. Luke tells us this, Chapter Twenty one of his book, each day Jesus was teaching and every night he went to the Mount of olives. In fact, there were two reasons why he did this. First, to spend an in-depth amount of time in prayer and petition to the Lord. second to establish a pattern for Judas, his betrayer, he set it up so Judas would know exactly where to find him. When they came to find him his final prayer on Thursday was a prayer of intercession. As much as it was a prayer of submission, we remember the, not my will, but thine and the sweating drops of blood. And that is an important part of it. But if you want to see who Jesus was, and understand how he was thinking. John’s narrative of his prayer on Thursday and John Seventeen is an incredible testimony to the expectations Jesus has for us. The fact that he spent so much of that time praying for us as part of his final prayer is the key to helping us understand that his whole point of mission was us.
Jennifer: 16:17 he wasn’t here for some lofty goal we can’t understand and we can’t see. He was here to redeem us, to set us up for saving relationship with him that would change us from the inside out. That was the mission that Jesus lived and died and lived again to complete, and that’s the fourth thing. He totally surrendered himself to that mission. He gave himself over to those that would kill him. He set up the pattern so that they could find him. He stood silently before them. In keeping with the prophecy, he surrendered to the will of the father, to the plan that God had had from the moment of the fall. He gave himself willingly for the completion of the Kingdom work.
Jennifer: 17:27 So I ask you, are we participating in the kingdom efforts? The way Jesus laid out for us to do by virtue of our attendance this morning, we are participating in community.
Jennifer: 17:44 but are we engaged and active in that space? Are we serving others? Are we spending time in prayer? Are we surrendered to the kingdom? We live in the promise of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Are we living it out? Are we living it according to the example that he gave? I’m sure Jesus was tired and worn out, but he still practiced a kingdom life that was active and purposeful and we should be honored to do the same.
Jennifer: 18:23 As we prepare to worship at the table this week to receive our weekly grace deposit, I wonder how many of us I include myself in this are fully surrendered to Jesus. How many of us have given over our lives completely to him? It is my desperate prayer this morning and every morning that the answer is all of us that we know and love this Jesus who came for us to the fullest extent possible, that we spend time in community as a church celebrating in joyful remembrance of that gift that we serve others in light of his service, that we pray in intercession and as a way of spending time with him.
Jennifer: 19:19 we have given up all of ourselves that we can to all of Jesus that we understand,
Jennifer: 19:29 because that is the beauty of the season. We have the possibility of an abundant life, not one without care or hurt or pain or illness or all kinds of things, but one with peace and joy and hope that is given in spite of our hurts and care or pain because of the procession that celebrated Jesus crowning him king in Jerusalem when Sunday, 2000 years ago, and the knowledge that that procession wasn’t the culmination of his work. It was the launching point of it. So today we celebrate the anticipation of the completed work in our lives as well. Just as Jesus did. And I pray that we know and experience that work as active participants in the kingdom. Jesus inaugurated.