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“…He Went On Ahead…”


+ In the Name of Jesus + “…He Went On Ahead…” Sermon on Luke 19:28-40 for Palm Sunday(C) April 8 & 10, 2022
  1. Jesus is amazing. Simply because he is our Savior that is amazing enough! He gave himself, his life, selflessly. That’s the theme in today’s Second Reading: “he emptied himself by taking the nature of a servant … ” he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7). When we talk about that in doctrine or in Catechism, we talk about Jesus humiliation—not just that he was humiliated and mocked and tortured, but that he set aside divine power so that he could physically suffer. That’s what it means that “he humbled himself.” Our divine and human Savior humbled himself, “…he went on ahead.”
  2. We see Jesus with his divine attribute of omniscience—he knows all things, even little details. He tells his disciples, “Go to the village ahead of you. When you enter it, you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you will say this: ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” Those who were sent ahead went and found things just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Cool! Amazing! In the weeks before this, four or five times or more, Jesus told his disciples, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and experts in the law, and they will condemn him to death” (Matthew 20:18). He knew about it all—the donkey, the suffering, the death—and still “…he went on ahead.”
  3. About three years earlier, Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist pointed to Jesus when he came on the scene. “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus came to bear the sin of the world by his own suffering and death. He knew that was his purpose in this world—not to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17). Jesus is Lord, but he also came as came as the servant of the Lord, doing his Father’s will, enduring until he brought redemption for the world (Isaiah 42:4). The Nicene Creed says, “For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven… suffered death and was buried.” “For us and for our salvation,…” “…he went on ahead.”
  4. Weekly we pray and sing, “For the peace of the whole world and for our salvation….” “Help, save, comfort and defend us gracious Lord.” This peace, salvation and comfort are yours because you have a Savior. Peace because Jesus took on himself everything that would disrupt your peace. Isaiah said, “The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). St. Paul said, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” You are at peace because Jesus took the punishment to bring you peace with God. Even though we know God’s forgiveness in Christ, sometimes our conscience still nags at us, memories of failure persist and we end up hating and punishing ourselves—but there is no need for that, because for you, to make you his own, to bring you his peace, “…he went on ahead.”
  5. He came to take something from you—“the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7) … he also came to give something to you—infinite value, infinite worth. If you are redeemed by the life and atoned for by the death of the Son of God, then what are you worth? Because he lived for you, and because he died for you, you have his worth. “See the kind of love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). For poor miserable sinners—people burdened with guilt—people who feel alone in the world—people who feel hopeless—he lived, he died to give you worth and status as a child of God. “…he went on ahead.”
  6. Our own best efforts can’t do it—give us peace, salvation or comfort. We can’t balance out the bad with the good because the bad always remains and the bad always comes back. We can try harder, but since the goal is perfect holiness, we will never obtain it. We can try to be better than the next person—but God doesn’t compare you to the next person. He compares you with his own holiness. You and I need a Savior—not a Savior who merely teaches or encourages—yes, Jesus does that. But far more than that, we need a Savior who does what that name says—a Savior who saves. That’s what his life lived for us and his death died for us did. God demands perfect holiness- Jesus lived it. And then Jesus gave it. God says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and Jesus took it all “…the sin of the world.” To do for you and me what we couldn’t do for ourselves, “…he went on ahead.”
  7. “Lift up your heads,” the psalm said. “Lift up your heads, you gates. Lift yourselves up, you ancient doors, and the King of Glory will come in.” The King of Glory comes to you and me because we couldn’t come to him. We were dead in sin, so he came to make us alive. On Palm Sunday Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey. There was some symbolism in that. Ancient kings would ride donkeys into cities that they had already conquered. The message there was that mighty war horses were no longer needed. The king can come in with the enemy defeated and every threat put down. Now he comes in on a donkey before the heaviest battle. He comes to do battle alone—with no army—no mighty war horse. Just himself against his enemies, himself against sin, death and the devil. “For us and for our salvation.” For our peace and comfort. “…he went on ahead.”

Luke 19:28–40 (EHV)

28 After Jesus had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he came near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples ahead, 30 saying, “Go to the village ahead of you. When you enter it, you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you will say this: ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” 32 Those who were sent ahead went and found things just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35 Then they brought the colt to Jesus. They threw their robes on the colt and set Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their robes on the road. 37 As he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God joyfully, with a loud voice, for all the miracles 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 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40 He replied, “I tell you, if these people would be silent, the stones would cry out.”

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