Children’s message for April 2, 2023
Imagine the State of Texas gets so big and powerful that it conquers Vermont and sets up an occupation. Texans flock up to pretty little Vermont and build big houses and hire Vermonters to be their servants. There’d be BBQ trucks in every village, only hot salsa on the store shelves, and no more sugar shacks because the only thing that sells is maple-flavored high fructose corn syrup for their flapjacks. Vermonters would be as angry as a yellow jacket’s nest under a noisy lawnmower.
That’s what it was like for the Jews at the time of the story we tell on Palm Sunday. Palestine had been conquered by the mighty Roman nation 90 years before. The Jews really wanted the Romans to go home and take their army with them! Some of them thought that maybe God sent Jesus to make Israel great again.
Jesus and his disciples came up the road to Jerusalem for the annual celebration of the Passover. Jewish families packed the city from all over the region. Some of them had seen or heard about the miracles of Jesus. He healed the blind and the lame, and rumor had it he even brought a girl back from the dead. He would be the one to overturn Roman rule, for sure!
Now, here’s the thing. Jesus came into town riding on a young donkey. Not on a big horse, not in armor, not with an army. It was a strange way for a king to present himself but people remembered the prophecy:
“Your king comes, riding on a young donkey.”
They knew the nation was saved spectacularly many times by the weak: remember how Gideon’s puny army of 300 scared away the powerful Midianite army? So the people thought, “Here is God’s answer at last! He’s the king of Judah!”
The crowd he encountered on the ride up to the Temple treated him like a king. They covered the road in palm leaves to keep the dust from rising and making him dirty. And they were shouting out the words of prophecy:
“Hosanna!” –which means ‘Paise God, who saves us!’– “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
But the problem with all of this is that the people got it wrong. They thought he would be Israel’s king. But the Lord Jesus came to be King of all kings and Lord over all masters.
He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords”. [Cue song with that clap in the second line.]