RECAP: COMING KING based on Matthew 21:1-11
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9. The crowds came out to meet him as the coming King; they laid their palm branches and their cloaks before him, shouting Hosanna! Yet the same crowd in the same city in five days’ time would shout Crucify! What caused Israel and specifically, the people of Jerusalem, to turn so quickly on Jesus, in one breath hailing him as coming king, but then in the next sentencing him to a death that is the most painful and humiliating way to die?
The people were expecting a king. Even though they were a nation again, Israel never fully returned from exile. They seldom had their independence, going from Babylon to Persia to Greece. Even after securing independence in 164 BC, by 67 BC they had now fallen under the jurisdiction of the Roman government, and later the empire under Augustus and Herod’s betrayal. The nation had the prophecies, pointing to a day when Israel would be restored to its rightful place, and all the nations would come and worship God in Jerusalem at the temple. But God’s glory and presence had not fully returned; even though they were no longer politically in exile, spiritually and psychologically they still remained in that place. And so the Messianic expectation grew that one day, the Lord’s Anointed would come and establish himself as king over the land (Zechariah 9). And he would mark his arrival by riding into Zion on a donkey. Jesus’ miracles served as signs that the glory was returning, and now he was coming to make his triumphant move!
So why did they turn?
1) Jesus messed up the status quo. Instead of marching to Pilate’s palace and putting Rome on notice, he went to the temple. He overturned the tables and cast out those who were selling there. Instead of the Romans, which was the expectation, Jesus challenged the hearts of the very people of God, exposing their hypocrisy and sin. For in the temple, a system was created that economically took advantage of the poor and pilgrims who were honestly coming to the temple to offer sacrifices in worship. Jesus exposed it for what it was–they had converted the house of prayer into a den of thieves. And the religious leaders did not appreciate being humiliated and having their own sins exposed.
When God exposes our sin, we often become defensive and want to distance ourselves from God. Sometimes, it might even lead to hatred of God. It is like God put his finger on a pinched nerve. But in reality, the messing up of the status quo brings us to a place of wholeness. However, our human nature desires to keep the status quo and remove all threats.
2) Jesus did not meet their expectations. Israel’s expectation was Jesus would judge the evil Roman empire and vindicate poor righteous Israel. For sinners must be punished, and the righteous uplifted. However, for Jesus, instead of bringing judgment to the sinners, he brought grace and an opportunity for repentance. He ate with tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes. He showed kindness and mercy to those who were not deserving. But his judgment was on those who believed they were righteous! He used a parable of two sons to explain the distinction: the sinners were like the younger son who refused to obey the father’s request at first, but then came to his senses, repented, and followed. Israel and the “righteous” were the older son, who said they would follow, but their practice never mirrored their word. God will still judge the world for sin, but he grants everyone an opportunity to change their ways. Jesus did not bring the hammer stroke to the infidel, but again challenged the hearts of the self-declared righteous.
3) Jesus presence meant they had to abdicate the throne. The ones who had been entrusted to take care of people had lost sight of their role and became the very thing they opposed! “Absolute power corrupts absolutely!” Jesus’ very presence was a threat to their position and power, and the way of humanity is to eliminate all threats. Jesus called them out and exposed their intentions in the Parable of the Wicked Tenants. But in order to allow Jesus to become king, we need to step aside from the throne of our own hearts and allow the King of Glory to ascend to his rightful place.
Will we honor Jesus as king and shout Hosanna! Or will his kingdom be so radical of a threat we need to crucify?
Questions for Reflection
1) What expectations do you have of Jesus/God? What would you do if Jesus shattered those expectations?
2) Are there any areas of your life where you try to keep and preserve the status quo? Can you surrender to Jesus?
3) Who do you believe needs judgment? How can you show them grace instead?
4) Who is the ruler of your life?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will share for Sunrise Service the devotion “Risen Savior,” based on Matthew 28:1-10. For the main service, Pastor Ryan will conclude the “I AM JESUS” series with the sermon titled, “What Will We Do With Jesus?”, based on Matthew 28:11-20. Now that Jesus is our resurrected Lord, what will we do? How will we live? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for April 12 – 18
April 12: Matthew 21:23-27 How does Jesus invoke challenge from the establishment?
April 13: Matthew 26:47-56 How did Jesus show love even in spite of his arrest?
April 14: Matthew 26:69-75 How did Peter respond when given an opportunity to share his faith?
April 15: Matthew 27:27-56 How did Jesus ultimately show his love for us?
April 16: Matthew 27:57-66 How did the establishment try to stop the resurrection?
April 17: Matthew 28:1-15 What was the response to the resurrection?
April 18: Luke 24:1-12 What was the response to the resurrection?
This Week’s Events:
Saturday, April 16–Men’s Fellowship Chicken BBQ, 4:30 am
Saturday, April 16–Easter Egg Hunt, 10 am
Sunday, April 17–Easter Sunrise Service, 7 am
Sunday, April 17–Easter Service, 11 am
Wednesday, April 20–Ministry Team @ 7 pm
Thursday, April 21–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
If you are interested in water baptism, please email Pastor Ryan in the next few weeks!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Samantha Cooper (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Tom Wilfong (health)
Joyce Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church