Sunday, December 14, 2008

"hail th'incarnate deity"

"when [Jesus] reached the place where the road started down the mount of olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

'blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!'

but some of the pharisees among the crowd said, 'teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!'

He replied, 'if they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!'”

(luke 19.37-40 nlt)

i have never really met anyone famous. i saw the chicago bulls pass by in the airport one time. i've met a couple of speakers i really admire (one of whom i chased into the bathroom). but no one really famous. i always wondered how i would act if i were around someone really famous. would i get tongue-tied? would my face stay red the entire time? would i babble incoherent nonsense?

the disciples got to live, sleep, eat and breathe in the presence of Jesus. for the most part, they knew who he was. i always wonder what it was like to be in the very presence of God.

one thing i like about the "triumphal entry" passage is that the crowds actually seem to get it. they've witnessed the miracles and, at this moment, they really believe that Jesus is the King, promised by God and finally present among them. the psalm they sing was used to welcome pilgrims to jerusalem, but here they welcome the King specifically.

the joy of this experience seems so tangible, especially when Jesus states that even the rocks would cry out if everyone else was silenced. whether or not people like the pharisees want to acknowledge Jesus' status as King, the fact that he is the promised King is a reality and creation itself will acknowledge that reality.

as i think about the advent season, i want to be watching for Jesus and ready to cheer with joy, the same way these crowds cheered for Jesus when he came. i don't want to lose focus because of "to-do" lists or family "to-dos." i want to be ready to throw down my coat and sing praises to the one who was promised.

"rejoice greatly, daughter zion!
shout, daughter jerusalem!
see, your King comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (zechariah 9.9 tniv)

for the kids: pick their current favorite hero. what would it be like for them to meet that person (or character as the case may be)? how would they feel to be in that person's presence? ask them how they would feel to be in Jesus' presence. what do they think it would be like to be one of Jesus' disciples? how can they show their praise to Jesus as King this advent season? for a project, make a donkey out of craft foam or felt. decorate it with a blanket or coats if you like. we often associate a donkey as ridden by mary at christmas. now you can use it to remember that Jesus rode a donkey to show his status as God's promised king.

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