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When Jesus Comes to Town

March 28, 2010
Liturgy of the Passion
Luke 19:28-40

How remarkable is the wide range of human response to the triumphal entry of Jesus into the Holy City on Sunday of Passion Week. Some hailed Him as King; others plotted to assassinate Him. The reception of the Savior is still quite varied today—even in our churches.

There Are Some Who Help Him…
Such as the unnamed disciples who followed precisely His explicit instructions about finding and fetching the colt for the Him to ride. Scrubbing pots in the church kitchen or changing diapers in the church nursery, or in a quiet corner preparing a Bible lesson for boys and girls we serve the Savior. Humble pilgrims wondered, "What can I give Him?" They gave the cloak off their backs to make a royal carpet for His entry. There are some like that.

There Are Some Who Herald His Coming
"Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Luke 19:28). Multitudes took up this refrain from Psalms 118. Such praise is fitting. Let our churches sound it more. In one staid church, an usher became distressed about an exuberant worshipper responding to the sermon with "Amen" and "Praise the Lord." The usher finally told him to keep quite. "I'm sorry," said the excited worshipper, "But I've got religion!" To that the usher answered, "Well, you didn't get it here!"

There Are Some Who Hate Him
The Pharisees were not there to welcome Jesus but to find fault. They hated him: "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" Jesus did not rebuke those praising Him. Instead, He rebuked the Pharisees. When you find modern-day Pharisees, let this passage guide you in two points. First, don't be party to their hatred. Second, pity them and love them as Jesus did; but don't let their bitterness infect you. Jesus did not give in to them (Luke 19:40).

There Are Some Who Hear Him Gladly
The pilgrims mostly "were very attentive to hear Him." Did you come to church this morning eager to hear a word from the Lord? "If any man has an ear, let him hear" (Revelation 13:9). Once in the beginning of His ministry, Jesus went up on a mountain and took three of His disciples. They were privileged to see Him transformed before their eyes. One of them spoke when he should have been listening. A voice from heaven responded: "This is My beloved Son, hear Him!" Do you hear that word today?

You respond to the coming of Jesus each time you hear His Word preached. You never go away exactly as you came. You are changed for better or worse. Be very attentive to hear Him today.

A British Army chaplain and once pastor of a great church in Birmingham, England, G.A. Studdard-Kennedy expressed in a poem the indifference of so many people toward Christ:

When Jesus came to Golgatha
  they hanged him on a tree.
 They drove great nails through hands and feet,
  and made a Calvary.

They crowned Him with a crown of thorns,
  red were his wounds and deep,
 For those were crude and cruel days
  and human life was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham
  they simple passed him by.
 They never hurt a hair of Him,
  they only let him die;

For men had grown more tender,
  and they would not give Him pain.
 They only just passed down the street,
  and left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, "Forgive them, for they know
  not what they do."
 And still it rained the winter rain
  that drenched him through and through.

The crowd went home and left the streets
  without a soul to see,
 And Jesus crouched against a wall
  and cried for Calvary.

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