A Palm Sunday Thought

Lo, your King comes to you, mighty and imposing, if also in need of protection, in an armoured limousine surrounded by bodyguards, police motorcycles, helicopters, and SWAT teams. Armies and brass bands march before and after. Resplendent banners hang from the buildings and street lights. Here comes the Saviour.

Or:

Lo, your King comes to you, humble, and mounted on a . . . bicycle–in a casual shirt, comfortable pants, and sandals . . .

. . . and he stops, having seen you, to come over to ask how you’re doing  and chat a while . . . .

Two versions of power, two visions of the world.

Even so come, Lord Jesus.

0 Responses to “A Palm Sunday Thought”

  1. Maurice Harting

    Dear John:

    That is why I have some difficulty with the often used description of Jesus as servant-King.
    Jesus is the servant, who humbled (emptied) himself and came to serve, however He is also the Almighty King who rules and reigns, the King of kings! And at his second coming He will not manifest himself as the humble servant, but as He is, the King with the power over life and death.

    The idolatry of freewill is very common in the christian church today and has its roots in (semi-) palagianism as you well know. It is one of the most destructive forces within the church. God came down from heaven and we certainly did not go up to meet God! The nature of birth is something that happens to and with us from outside of ourselves without our choice in the matter (the mother’s womb and God forming us). Likewise our spiritual birth is something that happens to and with us from outside ourselves (the Spirit of God) into our hearts. It is God who transforms us and it will be us who respond enabled by the Holy Spirit, the Giver of life.

    This Easter we again remember and reflect on what God has done as it was, is and will be … the same King of kings!

    Blessings,

    Maurice Harting

    • J. Barrett Lee

      Maurice,

      I get where you’re coming from and I’m on the same page with you. When we next see our Lord, it will be as he dethrones the powers and principalities of this present darkness and smashes their paper-mache crowns.

      However, I am loathe to think that the final establishment of Christ’s reign will somehow entail an undoing of his identity as the loving, humble servant. In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul makes the point that it is precisely because of his humility (to the point of crucifixion) that the name of Jesus is to one day inspire every knee to bend and every tongue to confess his Lordship. Also, I think it is important to remember that the purpose of his return reaches far beyond vengence to the restoration and renewal of all creation. It is this same Jesus who’s desire is to wipe away every tear and make sorrow and sighing to flee away.

      I am reminded of the disturbing final volume in LaHaye and Jenkins’ ‘Left Behind’ series, where the returning Christ bears more resemblance to Arnold Schwarzenegger than he does to the Galilean rabbi we read about in the gospels. Is the King of kings not the same person as the one who was crucified under Pilate as King of the Jews? And if he is the same person, can we not expect him to enact his judgment in a similar manner, full of grace and truth?

      What I’m trying to say is that I believe there will be certain continuity between the rider on the white horse and the carpenter from Nazareth. As Michael Card so eloquently put it, we will “look into our Judge’s face and find a Savior there.”

  2. poserorprophet

    Did the first example refer to the Pope and the second example refer to yourself?

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