Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We began the new church year and Advent season with the account of Jesus' last entry into Jerusalem in Matthew 21: 1-9.
As the crowds made their way down the road, they grabbed their palms and broke into the chords of Psalm 118. These words were used to welcome the pilgrims who used to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast. Also these words were understood as a welcome to the messianic king when he came to Jerusalem to establish his kingdom. However, the Messianic prophecy of Zacharias does not speak of a conqueror or revolutionary who comes riding on a horse to establish his kingdom by the sword. By identifying himself with the prophecy of Zechariah 9: 9-12 by riding on a donkey, Jesus was implying that he comes in peace. But although the palms signified victory, Jesus achieved true victory on the cross.
Following the entry into Jerusalem, Saint Matthew in his account of the crucifixion (Matthew 27: 11-54) says
When Jesus is standing in front of the Roman governor, to Pilate's question whether he is the King of the Jews, he gives an affirmative answer. Jesus explains the nature of his kingdom in John 18:36, “My kingdom not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here. "
Pilate had no compassion for Jesus, but he did not want the crowd to get out of control. The result was that the Roman soldiers gathered around Jesus “and stripping him, they put a scarlet robe over him. And weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on his head; and a reed in his right hand, and kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, King of the Jews! " Then, on Mount Calvary, after they had crucified him, they placed his written cause on his head: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
The death of Jesus is accompanied by a series of phenomena, such as darkening of the sun, earthquakes, resurrection of some who had died, which were predicted for the end of the world. The veil in front of the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, signifying the end of the age of propitiatory sacrifices and peace between God and men.
In this way, the humiliation of Jesus ended on the cross and the exaltation of him began. Our epistle, Philippians 2: 5-11, says thus, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, did not have as a usurpation being equal to God; but he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, made like men; and found in the condition of man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, and death on the cross. "
His state of humiliation began when the Son of God came down from heaven to be born of the Virgin Mary. The humiliation of Christ proceeded gradually; the longer he lived, the more completely he emptied himself, the more completely he clothed himself in the form of a servant. He became a poor and humble man. The peculiar weaknesses of the flesh that he also endured, hunger, thirst, fainting, etc. These are attributes of man in his present sinful condition, weaknesses that are the result of sin. And the fact that he submitted to these natural affections of man shows that he stripped himself of the divine glory from him, renounced the full and continuous use of it. Therefore, there is a double nature in Christ, that of God and that of the true human being.
The death of Christ was of an especially cursed nature, that of the cross. In this regard, his humiliation went beyond the usual experience of sin-laden human beings. He died a cruel death, not that of a Roman citizen, but that of a vile criminal, of a slave. But, he died as someone who gave up his life of his own free will.
The ancient people of God, Israel, rejected the king that God sent them; also his disciples, the new Israel, fled in the hour of his pain. However, because of the crucifixion, we disciples of Jesus now do not have to feel forsaken by God. Jesus suffered not only physical pain, but this spiritual state also in our places.
In Matthew 10:38, our Lord says, "And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." Like our Lord, our lives are a way to the cross, which is our physical death. We are baptized into the death of Jesus, then we have the promise of resurrection and eternal life with Jesus. Therefore, we are not in love with the successes of this world, or riches or boasting or perfect justice in this world. The kingdom of Jesus Christ is not of this world, but gives us hope and strength to live in this world. In that we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
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