Matthew 21:1-9, Matthew 26:1-27:66
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The hour is nearly upon us. The Son of Man will make His exodus from this world. He will be glorified. The sea parts and we pass through safely as the angel of death passes over. But the sea comes crashing down on the Son of Man. The angel of death takes Him as our substitute. He is destroyed with Pharaoh, as though His heart were hardened in the blasphemy of which He is accused. He who knew no sin is counted as guilty. He is destroyed. And that destruction is His glorification.
He has sorrows and pain and dies. But do not be sad for Him. This is the way He loves the world. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit. And He has. He has brought forth much fruit. He has brought forth you. You are the fruit of Jesus' death. You are the reward for His victory. You have been plundered out of Hell. He did not abide alone. He was lifted up from the earth and then He fell into the ground, dead, and was buried. But that on purpose, deliberately, that He would bring forth much fruit, that He would bring forth you.
He that loves his life shall lose it, while he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. Follow Him. He goes to the cross. His hour is nearly upon us. So is yours. You go to your crosses, to your vocations, to your sorrow. But you do not stop there. You see through them to the other side. Jesus lives. The hour of His death is finished. He is risen. Now the hour of His final glory, when every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is Lord, draws near. See through your sorrow, through your crosses to the other side. Rejoice in the corn of wheat that has given its life to feed you, to bear fruit. You have crosses, indeed. You suffer injustice, false accusations, gossip, slander. You are betrayed, disobeyed, mocked. You are hurt and you are dying. But there are worse things than the loss of bodily life, than betrayal and denouncement by friends, even than the loss of a loved one. Lose your life and gain it. Go the way of the cross, the way of Jesus. For the cross of Jesus Christ is not only His glory, it is also yours.
Still, your soul is troubled. Your sins have done this to Jesus. You are not only a victim. You are also a criminal. You are cause of His sorrow, of His suffering. The soldiers do the bidding of your sins. You crucify Him. You are the guilty one, the Barabbas who has been set free. What shall you say? “Father, save Him from this hour?” But for this cause He came. He came to lay down His life as a ransom. Say instead, “Father, glorify Thy Name. Save Thy people. Give me to Jesus. For Thy Name is upon me. Glorify Thy Name by my rescue, by forgiveness, by grace.”
Rejoice, O Christian. Now is the judgment of this world. The lying prince who seduced you is cast out. His skull is crushed. He does not rule you. He cannot harm you or accuse you. The Lord Jesus, your King has come, has been lifted up from the earth to draw all men unto Himself. He has drawn you. He is your Lord, your King. He rules by grace. He brings salvation. And where He is, His servants are. He is here. He rides into our midst in lowly forms, coming in simple bread and wine. He comes for you in His Body and Blood, crucified and raised. Come, and be with Him. For even as the living are those who have died, so also His servants are those whom He serves.Face this holy week not as a time to mourn for Christ who is alive and reigns at His Father's right hand, but as a time to mourn for your sins and to celebrate the great love of God that sent Him to Jerusalem for the forgiveness of sins. Ride on, Lord Jesus, ride on. Bring us with you as you take death captive and conquer sin, for where You are we would be. You are our King, the Son of David come for us. Save us, Lord. Save us now.
In + Jesus' Name. Amen.