If Jesus is our president….
Reading: Matthew 21:1-11
About this time, Jesus was ending his public ministry.
Jesus was finishing his earthly race.
But now some people were saying:
“What do you think?
Do you think Jesus will become our king, our Jewish president?
“I hope so.
There is no one like him.
He could heal people and perform miracles.
He is very special.
He should be our king.”
They thought Jesus had everything going for him.
Jesus was famous.
He spoke wonderfully, performing miracles.
Who is better than him?
But Jesus was planning to end his public ministry soon.
His plan was something like this:
Today, on this Palm Sunday, he wanted to march to Jerusalem.
On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, he would teach and heal more people.
On Thursday, he would be captured.
On Friday, he would die in Jerusalem.
On Sunday, he would rise up again.
To accomplish this plan, Jesus knew how to enter Jerusalem.
So, Jesus said to two of students:
“Go to the village ahead of you.
You will find a young donkey tied there.
This donkey has never given a ride to anyone.
But untie it and bring it to me.
If someone asks you:
‘Why are you untying it?’
‘The Lord needs it and will send it back shortly.’”
At the Mount of Olives, the two students went and brought a young donkey.
As Jesus was riding a donkey, his people thought that the Kingdom of God was about appear very soon.
They thought that their dream was finally coming true.
So, they spread their cloaks on the road.
They waved branches as Jesus passed them by.
They had a great parade.
They were like:
“May God bless you who come in the name of the Lord!
May God bless the coming kingdom of our father David!
May God save us from the highest heaven!
Save us now!”
This was a very emotional moment.
Jesus enjoyed as people rejoiced and shouted for him.
Jesus marched with them symbolically to Jerusalem.
His people were excited about him becoming the king.
He allowed himself and his students to rejoice.
Jesus enjoyed the moment.
Jesus agreed that he is their King.
Jesus was riding a donkey like the King of Peace.
But then some were like:
“Yes! Jesus, you have the superpower and authority.
You have God’s power with you.
Be our king to protect us and fight for us.
Make our Jewish state powerful.”
They wished that Jesus would become their military king and get rid of the Romans and make an independent Jewish state that they could be proud of.
But then Jesus went to challenge Jewish leaders who were taking care of the Temple.
Jesus challenged their way of making money operating the Temple.
They were like businessmen rather than lovers of God.
But Jesus wanted to have the house of God to be the house of God.
His kingdom starts from here.
So Jesus was challenging them.
Jesus did that because he was ready to die for this.
Then people realized this:
They expected a military king.
But this king would not even fight with Jewish authority who would not accept Jesus as their king.
When the Jewish authority rejected Jesus as their king, Jesus would not force Jewish authority to accept this kingship.
Jesus didn’t use his superpower to fight back.
Jesus would not fight with them in battles.
Then the Jewish authority eagerly sought to get rid of him.
Then they captured him and handed him over the Romans.
They shouted and cried out:
“Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Then Jesus died on this Friday.
They rejected God’s way and killed the Son of God.
Then Jesus chose to suffer and die in Jerusalem.
When even Jesus was rejected by them, God would have the final reason why God had to judge them later to establish justice.
So at his first coming, Jesus chose nonviolence.
At his first coming, he came to die in the city where he was supposed to be the king.
That is, at first, Jesus didn’t come to judge people.
He came to save those whom God chose to save.
At his first coming, Jesus chose to explain the love of God and chose to die for the salvation of his people, so that his people could find peace in him.
After he had done the greatest merciful acts for them to see and to be saved.
Then Jesus will come back for the second time to judge nations.
He could do that because no one had done what he had done for people.
So there would be no excuse.
When he will return, he will judge people based on his words that he spoke while he was on earth.
Then Jesus would reign as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
Then his people may also judge various nations with him.
But this would be after his return.
Until then, Jesus simply asked them to follow his way of life that he showed them:
His students were also supposed to speak for God and to be willing to die with Jesus, like Jesus.
Jesus was like:
“If you refuse to give your life for me, if you refuse to be scapegoated for me, you cannot be my disciples.”
Then they may also reign with Jesus.
Now let’s think about some political situation at that time.
In the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire was a powerful nation on earth.
They were prosperous.
Their military power was superior enough to occupy and rule many nations.
They asked other nations to follow their way of life.
Then later, they asked them to worship their emperors as their god and their savior.
They were like:
“We are helping you to have peace in your land.
If you submit to our Roman rule, you will have peace.”
To establish this peace, they killed and crucified those who rebelled against their rule.
On the process, they even crucified Jesus who was wrongfully accused.
In that situation, Jesus chose nonviolence even though his people were ready to fight for him and die for him.
Even his angels were ready to fight for him.
But even on the cross, Jesus chose nonviolence.
In fact, at the cross, Jesus prayed that God would forgive them.
And God forgave them.
Then Jesus finished his earthly ministry at the cross.
Jesus died for God there.
But it was not the end of the story.
Jesus rose again for God!
Jesus rose again to fulfill more prophecies that were written in the Bible.
Jesus shows that human life does not end at their death.
There is the resurrection through Jesus.
There is eternity through Jesus.
There is much much more through Jesus.
Even now, no one can deny his resurrection.
No one can disprove the resurrection of Jesus.
Even atheists accept this fact.
The resurrection of Jesus is the most powerful proof of the existence of God.
Then Jesus ascended into heaven.
His students continually believed in Jesus and followed his way of life.
They proclaimed that only Jesus is their King, their Savior and their God.
So they continually worship only Jesus.
They preach the story of Jesus all over the places, as they experience the peace of Jesus the Christ in their hearts.
They believed in the power of Jesus.
Meaning, they also chose nonviolence.
They didn't believe in using any military power.
Instead, they learned to help the poor and the outcast.
They preached the good news of Jesus the Christ to the poor.
They lived for Jesus and for his eternal life.
But then the Roman Government tried to get rid of these Christians.
They killed them and forced them to worship their emperors.
Then because of this severe persecution, some Christians went to live underground and kept their faith.
But some got caught and were killed like Jesus.
But they were willing to die for Jesus, because they know they live eternally with Jesus.
Some rather choose to die believing in Jesus.
Then their lives witness powerfully the truth about the resurrection of Jesus.
Their lives witness the coming world of Jesus.
This is how Jesus taught them to live before his return.
Then some tried to persuade the Roman officers to believe in Jesus, because Christians were good for their nation, as they serve the poor; they speak the truth; and they live most peacefully.
With them their nation can truly prosper.
Some Christians lived nonviolently obeying these words of Jesus: Matthew 5:39-42
"Do not resist an evil person.
If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
Then one day one Roman Emperor became a Christian.
Then many people followed him becoming Christians.
Then many years later, the Christian church became very powerful.
The church became a dominating organization.
The church judged kings and ruled and dominated.
They used political power and even military power.
In a sense the church became the Roman empire.
They followed the way of Roman empire, instead of following Jesus.
They claimed that they were the church but didn’t followed Jesus.
They persecuted those who disagreed with them.
They killed some people in the name of Jesus, saying that they were heretics.
And many Christians were misled like that.
It was also because many of them didn’t know how to read the Bible that was in Greek or Latin.
So they could not study at home to understand Jesus and his way at that time.
But still there were some Christians.
When they heard the words of Jesus, they humbly obeyed.
They became more like Jesus, even though they didn’t have many resources that we have today.
Now we have many resources to use to understand the gospel.
We may learn how to pray to know the will of God.
We may learn and understand Jesus.
But still today, some people try to persuade their young people to “gloriously” fight for their nations.
But Jesus didn’t promise any glory in human war.
Jesus didn’t encourage his people to fight and kill to possess a piece of land or oil.
Jesus simply says one soul is more precious than land, money or oil.
In fact, Jesus said to Peter who wanted to fight for Jesus: Matthew 26:52
"Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
Jesus asks us to follow Jesus like this:
The same Jesus may be saying today:
“Those who use guns will die by guns.
Those who use military weapon will die by military weapon.
Those who use violence will die by violence, either by their enemy or by their own hands.”
Even though the United States of America is a powerful nation on earth, there were some painful facts about US veterans:
There are more Vietnam vets who have committed suicide than were killed in combat.
About in 2013, every 80 minutes of every day, a US veteran takes his or her life.
There are more Iraq and Afghanistan vets who have killed themselves than have died in those conflicts.
We may think that many of combat veterans may really need to find peace in their hearts again.
They might have experienced something totally inhuman.
So they really need to meet God and be forgiven and be healed by the blood of Jesus.
So someone may need to go and say some of those who struggle:
Give God a chance.
Then you find peace in your heart again: Philippians 4:7, Colossians 3:15.
There is hope in God.
As they find God, and as they are found by God, they may experience God’s peace.
They may feel peaceful as they welcome Jesus into their hearts.
Then they may feel peaceful as their sins were forgiven.
They need to see Jesus their King, die on the cross for them.
Then they may see that their lives could be used for Jesus this time.
As they choose to serve God humbly, they may experience God’s love.
Now what if Jesus becomes the president of USA, how would he guide his nation?
What if Jesus becomes the president of South Korea?
Will Jesus allow any military budget to go through?
Will Jesus choose to spend those money for the poor?
How about illegal immigrants?
How would Jesus deal with them?
How would Jesus deal with refugees and migrants?
Would Jesus be very kind to illegal immigrants and refugees so that they would know the truth and be really free?
How would he do that?
Would Jesus preach the good news to the poor?
Jesus will come one day to judge nations, because Jesus is the kings of kings and the president of presidents.
His coming kingdom will be eternal.
The kingdom of God is eternal.
So Jesus may say to many people or nations today:
“Preach the gospel.
Then God will bless you and make you powerful.
But when that happens, you don’t use the power to judge or rule others.
You use the power to serve.
You use the power to help other other and other nations in the name of Jesus.”
Jesus asks us to serve Jesus instead of nationalism.
Jesus is asking us to wait for the eternal reward that Jesus is preparing for us.
Jesus is asking us to wait the Kingdom of God that is coming for his people.
Jesus, thank you for showing us how to follow you, the King of peace.
Thank you for teaching us your way of life and peace.
Thank you for creating peace in our hearts.
May your peace guide us to humbly serve you.
In Jesus name we pray.