Text: Luke 19:28-44 | Listen to Message
When Jesus Isn’t What You Wanted
When Jesus went up to Jerusalem for what would prove to be his final Passover, the crowds were overcome with ecstasy and exuberant expectation. Their Messiah was coming at long last to deliver them! “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” they shouted.
They were right. The King was coming in the name of the Lord. And there would be peace and glory in heaven because of what Jesus was about to do.
But they were also wrong. See, everyone thought Jesus was coming to lead a revolution to overthrow Rome so the Jews could experience political and social/cultural peace. They thought the Messiah’s mission was to restore Israel’s freedom and glory by destroying Israel’s enemies. They thought the kingdom would be a thoroughly Jewish, earthly kingdom right then and there. And Jesus had other plans – better plans, in fact.
Jesus could’ve given the Jews the peace they wanted. He could’ve defeated the Romans single-handedly – after all, he was the Son of God, the Master of winds and waves. He could’ve crushed whole armies with a whisper. He could’ve set the Jews free, could’ve built a castle in Jerusalem, could’ve reestablished Israel’s monarchy and himself as her King. But at what cost?
The Jews would’ve still died in their sins. And the Gentiles? Sorry, too bad, Jesus isn’t your King!
So Jesus acted out another plan altogether. Instead of killing his enemies, he had come to Jerusalem to be killed for them. Instead of offering geopolitical peace, Jesus had come to offer himself to give us peace with God! Instead of grasping for the glory and crown he deserved, Jesus had come to humble himself and accept the horrifying shame of a cross. The Messiah would lay down his life for his enemies so they would be reconciled to God once and for all!
One of the beautiful mysteries of the Gospel is that Jesus was willing to be the peacemaker nobody wanted in order to be the peacemaker everybody needs. Instead of resolving a mere symptom of the hostility (Roman oppression), Jesus resolved the source of all hostility, which is our sin and separation from the Father.
Jesus was willing to be the King we need, rather than the King we think we want. And to him we owe our forever peace with God.