Saturday, March 19, 2016

Palm Sunday Homily

In the Name of Christ the Crucified +
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” When it comes to how we here in this room are to think, to act, we are called to think on and think of Christ Jesus. This is what Paul teaches us in our Epistle lesson. But what does this mean – I see so many times where folks will put forth ideas of what they think Jesus would or wouldn’t do… who He would vote for, what car He would drive, stupid stuff like that. But Paul doesn’t direct us to hypotheticals – he isn’t trying to say that Jesus is on our side in some political debate. No – you want to know what the mind of Jesus is – what He thinks? Then you look to His passion.

“Though He was in the form of God, [He] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Christ Jesus is God. He had all the rights and privileges that God has. But He doesn’t stand on them, He doesn’t demand them. Even though He is God, He becomes man – He humbles Himself to be born of a virgin, as the old song puts it. First and foremost, Christ doesn’t demand His rights, doesn’t demand what is due Him. What does Jesus think like? He never says, “This is beneath Me, this isn’t worth my time.” No, for us men and for our salvation, He came down, He lowered Himself, He made Himself a servant, made Himself a nothing, a nobody like us. For our sake.

“And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” What is Jesus thinking? He will be obedient – He will fear, love, and trust in God above all things, even when, not if, but when it means His death, His death which we just heard. He will humble Himself – He will serve, even at cost to Himself. Dear friends in Christ, when we talk about what a Christian is to do, how we are to act, what we are to think – THIS is to be the answer. We are to show love, no matter what the cost to ourselves. Even unto death. That’s why each of you who are confirmed were asked if you would hold to this confession of faith, even unto death.

But, then we see the reality of our lives. Do any of us need to examine ourselves all that hard to see where fail to live up to this example that Christ sets? Where we worry about getting our way, getting our due, getting the respect that we deserve more than we worry about obeying God and serving our neighbor? Or even when we have been slow to show love to our neighbor, when we have hesitated – when we in fact harm them instead? The blunt truth is this: we fail.

Christ Jesus, though, does not fail you. This passion of His, which you just heard – that was for you. Christ Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, endures for you, for your good, all the punishment sin deserves. And why? So that you would be forgiven, so that your sin would be cleansed from you. Jesus doesn’t want to think of Himself as above you, as distant from you. And so, since you are sinful and fallen, He comes down to you, and He joins with you, takes the same punishments and pains you face – and He redeems you.

This week, this Holy Week, we will ponder in greater detail our Lord’s Passion for us. We will see and marvel at His great love, the depths to which He goes to win us life and salvation. And know this – He does not fail you. He has won you salvation, so that “God has highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” God be with you as we ponder His love for us together this week. In the Name of Christ the Crucified +

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