All Glory Laud And Honor To Thee Redeemer King - Palm Sunday
April 13, 2019 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Verse: John 12:12–12:14
Christ Lutheran Church
April 14, 2019
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
All Glory Laud and Honor to Thee Redeemer King
The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus is coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" John 12:12-14
Today is Palm Sunday! Today the procession that took place 2,000 years ago unfolds before our very eyes. Today we don't only commemorate but we also participate! Today we join the church of heaven and earth in crying out to Jesus: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.
The way the world counts time these events are in the past, but in the church’s reckoning they are an ever-present reality. Though these acclamations were shouted out twenty centuries ago they are of such surpassing greatness that the church has embedded them into her liturgy to shout every Sunday; because these words best describe what occurs as often as we “eat this bread, and drink this cup,” which is the very definition of Christian worship.
As Jesus came to Jerusalem that day, so he comes to his church today. Then he came as a man, one so genuine and true that people could see nothing more. Today he comes under the forms of bread and wine, and the same problem occurs. Many people can perceive nothing more than meets the eye. But there is much more here!
For as often as we sing Hosanna, and Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; this King of Israel answers by coming to us, and giving his body and blood for us Christians to eat and to drink; for the remission of our deadly sins.
What sins? It's a question we must always ask because unless the church teaches the Law as clearly as the Gospel, God's people gradually lose sight of their greatest need. Forgiveness! And when that happens the Lord's great sacrifice declines in importance. We fall into self-righteousness. We start feeling good about ourselves for all the wrong reasons, and stop taking our Medicine.
But today Mother Church open the windows, and lets the sunshine in. Today our Epistle teaches us about the deadliest sin of all. The sin of Pride. The sin of self-promotion, the sin that we love more than any other.
It is pride that led the devil to revolt, Israel to rebel, and each of us to recklessly follow in their train! But let's give that word some content. Pride means that we love ourselves more than God, or our neighbor. It means that the person suffering from Pride can never be happy, calm, at rest or at peace until he has garnered "all glory, laud and honor” to himself.
From this desperate and futile quest proceeds every known cruelty of man against man and every “high crime and misdemeanor” committed against heaven: from which there is no escape except faith in the blood of Jesus which we will drink from the Holy Cup today.
Sometimes the symptoms of this terminal illness are plain to see. As with politicians, sports figures and other members of the illuminati who, no matter how famous they become can never cease gorging their egos. But Pride comes in different packages, too.
The tyrant who must control everything about him. The passive-aggressive person. But also the meek person who conceals his Pride under the cloak of humility, or of victimhood, whose fastest track to praise is for others to know how dreadfully she suffers, and how many sorrows she must bear.
The common thread here is that the Redeemer King, who alone is worthy of "all glory laud and honor," gets none – while man the sinner hoards it all for himself. But paltry praise it is. And it can never satisfy! And so come clean O Christian!
Contrast your Pride with the Lord whom we welcome into the church today. With Jesus who rightly owns “all glory, laud and honor,” but who “emptied himself’ and “lowered himself” into the depths of the human condition. Into the self-conceit, chaos, powerlessness and utter unpredictability of this present darkness. So that by the purity of his humility, and by his willing death on the cross, HE might truly exalt US!
And so the church, now as then, cries out to Jesus, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!"
The word Hosanna is an appeal for divine help. As often as we pray it we are asking our Lord and Savior to come to our aid. To save us from our sins, spare us their crying consequences, and to grant us his peace now and always.
It is a prayer he will always answer in the affirmative. But the answer came at great price. Because we must remember that our Lord rode into Jerusalem that day to stand trial for our sins. To be adjudged guilty for us. Condemned to death for us. To be mocked by the world and even, momentarily, forsaken by God, as the man of sorrows expunged the sins of all the world IN HIS BODY on the tree. (1 Peter 2:24)
But it is here where the proclamation King of Israel is made most clear. In St. John's gospel the Lord's death was not a defeat but Victory over the devil and all of earth’s corruption. He became man for this very purpose, to be the Lamb of God who lifts away the sin of the world. We hear the language of the Lord's exaltation throughout John's Gospel.
In it Jesus refers to his death on the cross as being "lifted up,” “exalted” that is, in the same way that a king is raised up high upon the throne.
Immediately before his Passion Jesus prays, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…" Here we learn that our Lord's death is not a failure but the true and actual glory of God, and love of God substantiated. The glory Isaiah saw when he said, "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh will see it together." He was speaking about Jesus on the cross.
We hear, further, from St. John that our Lord was dressed in a purple robe albeit in mockery. Crowned with a crown albeit of thorns. And proclaimed by the one-world Roman government to be "Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews" I N R I as we see displayed on the cross before us. Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews.
This is the King we worship. The King to whom we pray. The King to whom his church ascribes “all glory, laud and honor”. The King we commune with in the church every Sunday who rescues us by his death, and shares the purity of his own glory with us: here at the earthy altar, and there before the heavenly. Amen.