“A Truly Humble King”
Given the choice, where would you like to spend the last week of your life? And, with whom?
When you read a biography, you sometimes read about the person’s up-bringing, the accomplishments of his adult life, and then, the end of his life, especially if it’s significant and meaningful. But, it’s not quite as common to read about their last week of life.
On the other hand, the Bible tells us what the LORD Jesus did on the last week of His life before He ascended Mount Calvary with the Cross on His shoulder. Here it is:
The year is 30 A.D.; the month is Nisan on the Jewish calendar. Nisan is similar to our April.
Now the last week of Christ’s life was the Week of the Passover? Passover usually lasts an entire week. It ends with Passover Day. One day every year every Jewish family was required to bring an unblemished, one year old, male lamb to the temple to be sacrificed for the sins of the nation.
Well, the N.T. writers close the record of the LORD’s life story with His final week. It’s often today referred to as Passion Week; sometimes Holy Week. The word “passion,” as you probably know, means “suffering.”
The Passover story tells and re-tells the time when Israel was delivered out of the hand of Pharaoh and out of Egypt and out of bondage; slavery. The Jewish nation had served as Egyptian slaves for some 430 years.
But, Passover was like the last straw. It was the tenth plague God had sent upon the Egyptians; upon the land, upon their animals, and upon Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh, remember, had repeatedly refused to allow the Jews to leave Egypt so they could worship the LORD. And, God had given specific instructions to the Jews for that first Passover, which has now become the last week in their National Prison called Egypt.
On their last night, each family was to shed the blood of a one year old, male, unblemished lamb and tale some of that blood and dab it onto the two side posts and the lintel of their front door.
The Death Angel then passed over Egypt and took the life of the firstborn of every family except the ones where he saw the blood on the doorposts and the lintels of the Jewish homes. That’s where the name Passover comes from.
Then, throughout the entire history of Israel, from the Exodus in 1447 B.C. to this final week of Christ’s life, the Jews participated in the Feast called Passover.
So, it was natural for Jesus and His family to participate. By the way, Passover Week this year (2013) begins this Tuesday evening, March 26th and lasts through next Tuesday. So, this week the Jewish families around the globe will celebrate Passover. This is a Jewish Christian family teaching their children what a Passover Meal was like and how the Passover pictured the death of Jesus.
But let’s back up for just a moment. On the Sunday before the Last Passover (what we now know as the Last Supper) Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
Today we call it day Palm Sunday because the crowds laid down palm fronds before Jesus as He entered the city. Please open your Bible with me to Luke’s Gospel at chapter nineteen.
I’ve titled today’s sermon “A Truly Humble King.” Shall we pray?
I’d like to encourage you with just two things today. One, Jesus Christ was and is a King. Two, He was and is a humble King.
The newspaper headline on that Monday might have said this “King Enters Jerusalem on a Donkey.”
As I wondered about Palm Sunday this past month, I began to think about the kind of king that might be wanted today versus the kind of king we really need.
If you were asked to list six or seven qualities of a king, what would come to your mind first? For instance, you might say “a king should be good decision-maker.” He should have a following. He should be courageous. He should be handsome. He should be charming. He should be well-liked. He should be a popular man. He should be an effective communicator. And I’m sure you’d be able to list other qualities of a king.
Or maybe you might even describe a king as power-hungry, murderous, ruthless, stubborn, even immoral.
But what about a good king? Those of you who read Shakespeare; did he write any good kings into his plays? Can you think of one good king in history? The only one I could recall is the one called “Good King Wenceslas” The Christmas Carol “Good King Wenceslas” is based upon the life and death of a king from the 9th century.