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Is Jesus Your King?

Matt Densky - 3/24/2024


Scripture: Mark 11:1-10, Mark 15:6-15

Israel is occupied by the ruling presence of the Empire of Rome. Caesar is King and makes no allowance for another claim to the throne. However, Jesus intentionally creates this scene of the triumphal entry, forcing Rome’s hand. At first glance it might seem accidental — Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem, perhaps gets recognized by some people who are excited to see him, and then the enthusiasm grows into a frenzy. However, this is not the case. Jesus sends two of his disciples to acquire this donkey so that Jesus may ride into the city, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.

[Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.]

Jesus allows himself to be recognized by Messianic titles (something he had not allowed in his public ministry before). The people cry out Hosanna, which means “save us.” They wave palm branches which were a symbol of victory. Jesus is revealing himself to be King. Rome will have no choice but to respond. However, Jesus is not just revealing himself as King so that Rome will do something about it. He is revealing himself as King so that we all will do something about it.

1. The teachings and actions of Jesus create a crossroad for each of us.

Five days later, Jesus is standing before a Roman leader, arrested and beaten. However, the Roman, Pontious Pilate, found no guilt in Jesus and actually offered to let him go if the crowds asked for it. Instead, they demand that a different prisoner be released, Barabbas, who the Bible tells us is a murderer. “Are you sure?” Pilate asks the crowds. “What do you want me to do with Jesus?” The crowds scream in response, “Crucify him!”

How does one go from declaring Jesus King to demanding his death in less than a week? How do you wave a palm branch on Monday but a fist on Friday? The answer lies in our expectations of Jesus and what kind of King we thought we were getting. For most that met Jesus on Monday they wanted a political ruler — someone who would use military might and overthrow Rome’s rule in their land. However, Jesus didn’t come to overthrow Rome but to overthrow death. He defeated sin, not Caesar. This was lost on the crowds, obviously. But the same tension is presented to us today. What is our motive for following Jesus? Is our faith contingent upon him meeting our expectations? Is he truly our King?

2. Embracing Jesus as King is not transactional but transformational.

*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.