Today's Reading: Luke 19:29-48
I can't help but notice the parallels between Jesus' final trip to Jerusalem and his birth...
Both situations come with a declaration of glory. Both also come with a royal proclamation. For Luke, the big thing to see is Jesus' royal lineage and his role as the long-promised descendant of David, and therefore Israel's rightful king. The triumphal entry was, then, essentially Jesus' coronation parade. And although Jesus didn't go to great lengths to make it that way, the crowd and his disciples certain did and Jesus wasn't about to stop them.
As Jesus approaches the city from the Mount of Olives, he begins to cry. Jesus had a tendency to be quite emotional. We might think his tears were a result of what he knew was about to happen to him, and maybe to a certain degree they were. But when he begins to speak about Jerusalem, there also seems to be a sense that his tears are from the fact that Jerusalem (and by extension, Israel) simply doesn't get it - they simply do not understand what is about to happen and what is necessary for them to receive the salvation they have been desperately looking for ever since they were invaded and carried off into captivity by the Babylonians.
This coronation was going to be painful in a way that Israel could never imagine. Jesus was going to confront them with truths and realities they never imagined. Within the week, they would feel compelled to crucify the man they were currently celebrating as their new king. And when all was said and done, they were going to find that salvation was not a political reality, but a cosmic reality. And the single defining factor for whether or not this cosmic reality would become their personal reality was their willingness to accept that the person they killed was actually the promised messiah and God.
That's a tough pill to swallow...
Much has been written about the nature of a Christian's relationship to the state. There are some who would love to see a uniquely Christian country established. For some, there's a feeling that the key to experiencing life in the kingdom of God is to create and establish a literal kingdom. The kingship that was proclaimed when Jesus entered Jerusalem was a kingship over a kingdom that is in no way subject to the limitations of the world - it's a kingdom that belongs to God, with it's own set of rules and lifestyle, and it acts like yeast: it's here, yet it permeates and infects every facet of the world we can see and touch. It's in America, Canada, Britain, China, Russia, North Korea, and Australia. And it doesn't care what human is controlling or ruling over what geographical territory. Its only concern is that we see and recognize and accept it's king as the one, true king in our lives, and submit to him as our Lord.