As he was drawing near- already on the way down the Mount of Olives- the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Luke 19: 37, 38

 

The coffee mug that I am using this morning has a picture of a lion on it and the words “It’s hard being king” written on the other side. The people in Jerusalem on that spring day were right in declaring Jesus as King, and the mug is also accurate in its comment about the life of a king. For Jesus there would be nothing easy about the days that were to come. There had been nothing easy about the ones that He had already lived either. As Isaiah foretold, He was truly “a man of sorrows” (Is 53: 3), and Jesus knew grief and pain fully. But also as the Prophet had spoken, Jesus came to carry all of our grief and sorrows.

 

Suffering is normal in our world. No one seems to be able to escape from its diligent pursuit. This is so because we are all born into the brokenness of a life to be lived out in that shadow covered valley where death is both the feared enemy and its only respite. God sees and understands the struggles that we endure, and He desires with the yearning of a father who is distanced from His beloved children to welcome us home to His dwelling place of peace and eternity. Yet, we fight to retain control and to find other answers to our needs. We make kings in our own images in order to find this easy path to the security that we think we desire. We bow down before the idols of our world, and we shed our own and our children’s blood as the sacrifice that those idols demand from us in order to prove our loyalty.

 

Meanwhile, the one and the only true King suffers for us. He mourns our loss, and He grieves because of our lostness. But that is not all He does. He also seeks after us, and Christ does this with the energy, the passion, and the diligence of the ultimate shepherd that He is. It is in these two aspects of His nature that Christ is different from every other king who has existed throughout history. Christ suffers with us and for us, and He goes anywhere that we are in order to reach and to save us. Yes, it is not easy being King Jesus, but His love for each of us demands that He do anything and suffer everything in order to bring us home to God’s kingdom of grace and truth.

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