Thursday, April 24, 2014
Archives by ministry
Minimize


Staff blogs
Fleeting popularity, eternal Kingdom - by Rev. John Wille
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 :: 537 Views :: 0 Comments :: Article Rating :: President ::

Popularity is a fragile commodity—but how people crave it! Popularity is so fragile that it often disappears as quickly as it appeared. Perhaps that’s why back in the 1960s Andy Warhol spoke of 15 minutes of fame. Popularity is based upon people’s opinion, and people are oh-so fickle. Popular opinion can be easily swayed. That is no more obvious than from the events that take place during Holy Week. On Sunday the Jewish pilgrims flocked out of the city by the tens of thousands to sing Jesus’ praises: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” But by early Friday morning, four days later, their refrain has changed. Their chorus is now “Crucify him! Crucify him!” When given a choice between releasing Jesus or a violent criminal like Barabbas, everyone cries out, “Give us Barabbas!” That’s a far cry from what they sang on Palm Sunday.


Popularity is a fragile commodity—but how people crave it! Popularity is so fragile that it often disappears as quickly as it appeared. Perhaps that’s why back in the 1960s Andy Warhol spoke of 15 minutes of fame. Popularity is based upon people’s opinion, and people are oh-so fickle. Popular opinion can be easily swayed. That is no more obvious than from the events that take place during Holy Week. On Sunday the Jewish pilgrims flocked out of the city by the tens of thousands to sing Jesus’ praises: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” But by early Friday morning, four days later, their refrain has changed. Their chorus is now “Crucify him! Crucify him!” When given a choice between releasing Jesus or a violent criminal like Barabbas, everyone cries out, “Give us Barabbas!” That’s a far cry from what they sang on Palm Sunday.

The question is, what happened to sway the people away from Jesus? What changes in Jerusalem that so many turn on him so quickly? At least part of the answer lies with the question that Pilate asks Jesus: “Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate had heard that from the people. It was the people’s expectation. It is the reason that so many turned out on Palm Sunday. They had heard Jesus was coming, and they expected him to become their king. They honored him as their king. The problem is that they wanted an earthly king and an earthly kingdom, where Jesus had come to give them something much different.

When Jesus didn’t rally the troops—when he didn’t call the people to arms to drive out the Romans—a general disillusionment set in. Where in the early part of the week the Jewish religious leaders are afraid of what the crowds might do if they arrest Jesus, toward the end of the week the crowds rally to the Jewish religious leaders. We can hear how the people had soured on Jesus; how much they have come to despise Jesus when the crowd replies to Pilate’s attempt to escape accountability. Pilate tells them, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” The crowd cries out, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Jesus was rejected because he wasn’t the king that the people wanted or expected. But Jesus is a king. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of all lords. He didn’t enter Jerusalem to conquer an earthly empire. He came to free a world of lost sinners from the chains of slavery to the devil. Jesus didn’t look like a king. He was a carpenter’s son, yet he is also the architect and builder of the world. Jesus didn’t enter Jerusalem to be crowned king of Israel, he came to be crowned with thorns. Jesus didn’t come to sit on an earthly throne; he came to take his place on the cross. Jesus didn’t come to rally the troops for battle; he came to fight the battle himself. Jesus’ enemy was not the Roman Empire; his was the enemy of all creation. St. Paul says that it is “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” That’s why the devils fear him so. We can hear the fear in the voice of that devil in Mark 1. He says, “Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!"

Though neither the Jewish people nor the world recognizes Jesus, the devils know him. They know why he came, and they know what he has done to their kingdom. Jesus dies to destroy the kingdom of the devil. Jesus dies for the world he created. He dies for the world that lives in open rebellion against his holiness. He dies because of our sins of rebellion, our sins of failure. He suffers for the good things we have neglected, and for bad things that come so easily. And he does it all with his suffering and death on the cross. St. Paul writes to the Colossian believers and says, “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he [Jesus] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” By that, as Paul tells those same Colossians, our God “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”

Now He who bore for mortals’ sake
The cross and all its pains
And chose a servant’s for to take,
The King of Glory reigns.
Hosanna to the Savior’s name
Till heaven’s rafters ring
And all the ransomed host proclaim
“Behold, behold your King!”
(LSB 444 v4)

Rev. John C. Wille
SWD president

Rating:
Comments
Only registered users may post comments.

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark and Share

Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use
Copyright 2013 SWD-LCMS