The King

This coming Sunday is the sixth Sunday in the Lenten season called Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. The kingship motif that is implicit in the details of the processional entrance to this point becomes explicit in the praise of the multitude: “Blessed is the king….”  The verse is drawn from one of the Hallel psalms (Ps 118:26), which was used to welcome pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage festivals. Luke, however, has added both the royal title “the king” and the last couplet. The use of the title contributes to the kingship motif developed by the acclamation of Jesus as the “Son of David” in Jericho (18:38–39), the parable of the greedy and vengeful king (19:11–27), and by the overtones of the entrance procession. The last couplet echoes the words of the heavenly host at Jesus’ birth (2:14). Now, Jesus is hailed as the bringer of “peace in heaven” and “glory in the highest heaven.” Jesus’ reign as king will bring shalom on the earth and glory to God.

Culpepper [370] writes, “Jesus was a king, but no ordinary one—the king of fishermen, tax collectors, Samaritans, harlots, blind men, demoniacs, and cripples. Those who followed Jesus were a ragtag bunch, pathetically unfit for the grand hopes that danced in their imaginations. There were women who now leaped with joy, a Samaritan leper with a heart full of gratitude, a crippled woman who had been unable to stand straight with dignity for eighteen years, and a blind man who had followed Jesus all the way from Jericho. The cloaks thrown on the road that day were not expensive garments but tattered shawls and dusty, sweat-stained rags. Jesus was the king of the oppressed and suffering. He shared their hardships, relieved their suffering, accepted them when others deemed them unacceptable, gave them hope, and embodied God’s love for them. Now they came to march with him into the holy city. Only a few days later, on their way home, they would say to one another, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel” (24:21).”

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