St Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church
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/ Weekly Message / Weekly Message 04-08-12: Entrance Into Jerusalem

The Entrance Into Jerusalem

For century upon succeeding century, followers of the Lord have considered with awe, silence, and renewed commitment his final days on earth. The culmination of his suffering moves us to tears and to action if we are really devout. We cherish his last words. We meditate on the hours leading up to the cross. We contemplate that rugged instrument of torture as a precious object because it measures the immeasurable. No matter how large we may imagine God's love to be, the cross shows us that his love is larger still.

During his last week among us in the flesh, Jesus taught, He argued, He cried out and He answered some questions, parried into others and challenged both enemies and friends with the never-ending truth. He stood before his accusers silently. He allowed himself to be crucified. He accepted and entered into the realm of death so He could defeat and overcome it. Those who loved him as was well as they knew how buried his body and mourned.

But not for long. This new week ushers in a new world. The first day turns out to be so much more than the beginning of another week - Resurrection Sunday cast a bright new light on everything. That is why the experience of Christ's Passion did not end with the moment his heart stopped beating but continues through today and into eternity.

Today we participate in the joy of the capital city's inhabitants as we sing out, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Mark 11: 9.

Today's triumphant entry got so many things right, but the most crucial things wrong. Jesus receives a royal welcome for shortsighted reasons. Those who cut branches and spread their coats expected a great deal from Jesus, but they did not expect enough. They wanted a king, but they needed a Saviour!

The triumphant entry which we commemorate today represents all of those clear moments when humanity has expressed its strongest wishes for God to intervene, but has ;mistaken its own purposes for the heart an desire of God himself. This opening scene in the final week of Jesus serves to remind us all the way in which Jesus' entry into history was misunderstood even by those who were expecting him. The Triumphant Entry teaches us to acknowledge Jesus Christ for who He really is, not who we want

him to be. We must learn today to allow God to be God!

We learn today our human nature because of the sinful alienation we inherited from Adam and Eve is not eternal and our divine nature is not simply mortal. We can have a part in restoring it to its original pristine beauty. All of Christ's attributes must be understood in the very same way. It was not the human nature that fed thousands. It was not simply his like humanity to which we are called to aspire after by his grace that hurried to the fig tree. Who was weary from the journey and who made the world exist by his word? What is the brightness of glory and what was pierced with iron nails? What body is beaten in the Passion and what body is eternally glorified? This much is very clear: that the beating and blows belong to the servant who is the Lord, and honor belongs always to the Lord who among us is servant pre-eminent! As a result, Christ's natures are unified in such a perfect way and their respective attributes belong to both natures. Just as the Lord received the scars of the servant, the servant is glorified with the honor of God. For this is why the cross is called the glorious emblem of our Lord of glory and why every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!

The primary reason we do not derive as much spiritual benefit from this coming week is that we look at the Lord from the slanted perspective of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. We want from him what we think we need. We look at Jesus in the wrong way and forget to explore his purpose which is to be understood in another way, perhaps even in direct contrast to our own understanding and expectation. Our understanding leads us to approach the Saviour in a convoluted way and therefore leads us to fail in grasping what this celebration ought to be today.

Above all else. Christ comes among us today to witness how dearly our heavenly Father holds the world and its inhabitants in value. He offers his only-begotten Son for every one in the world who will trust in him. Christ comes among us as one of us, as man, in order to be one with us and for us. The eternal Father gives him to us in death on the cross as surety, in order to take our sin and curse upon himself. Our heavenly Father gives his Son to us on the throne of heaven, in order to arrange for our well-being, as our representative and intercessor over all the powers of heaven. The eternal Father sent him among us to be entirely and altogether our own; yes, that is the love of God that He gives his son to us, for us, in us to lead us to eternal beatitude.

And it s nothing less than his Son himself that comes among us. This is the essence of the love of the Father, not that He gives us something, but that He gives us someone, a living person, an Intercessor, a triumphant and victorious Conqueror of death, a Saviour, a longed for Messiah, a Redeemer, his only begotten Son, not another blessing, but him in whom resides all life and blessing and renewal, the Son of God himself, second Person of the Holy Trinity, come among us once again today, on the back of donkey.

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