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#6 - The Lowly Shepherd King (Palm Sunday)

#6 - The Lowly Shepherd King (Palm Sunday)

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Palm Sunday sermon based on 1 Samuel 16.
Palm Sunday sermon based on 1 Samuel 16.

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Published by: Rev. Christopher D. White on May 04, 2011
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07/23/2013

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St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Palm Sunday
 April 17
th
, 2011 1 Samuel 16:1-13
“WE HAVE SEEN HIS GLORY: THE LOWLY SHEPHERD KING”
 What kind of king is this King Jesus? As we begin Holy Week, the holiest of all weeks in theChristian Church year, it is imperative that we answer that question as we travel with him and hisdisciples to the upper room, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the kangaroo court, to Pilate, through thestreets of Jerusalem, to the Place of the Skull. What kind of king is King Jesus, for that is the reason thathe is praised as he enters into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and that is going to be the charge writtenabove him as he is nailed to the cross just a few days later.To answer that question in a thorough manner, we will examine yet another portrait of the Christthat our gracious God gave to the Israelites; this time in the person of King David. They saw the glory of Christ in every aspect of their lives, in their worship life, in the geography of the land, in the visiblemanifestations of glory in the pillar of cloud and fire. And now, a few hundred years later, the peoplereceive a more poignant picture in this shepherd king who typifies just what kind of king Jesus really is.Today, our palms wave in praise and honor of the king of Kings, and we join in the praises of the childrenof Jerusalem because this king Jesus is completely different than the stereotypical worldly king, just asDavid was, the type that showed the people in picture form the glory of King Jesus.Since the establishment of the chosen nation with Abraham, Israel had always been a theocracy.Now, you know what a democracy is – rule by the people who elect officials to serve on their behalf (supposedly). You know what a monarchy is – a king and/or queen who governs the people. Israel was atheocracy, God-governed, through God’s appointed and anointed servants, the prophet and the highpriest. That’s how God interacted with his people, who were not just a nation of people, they were acongregation.But, as we’ve already seen several times, they were “chronically rebellious.” After Moses andJoshua, the people became so rebellious, and so chronically idolatrous that by the end of the book of Judges, we read, “At that time, there was no king in Israel and everyone did as he saw fit.” In otherwords, utter chaos. That’s what happens when, in a theocracy, the people abandon their God and rebelagainst God’s representatives: spiritual and political and societal chaos. Even the prophet Samuel’s sonswere corrupt when they served as “judges” of the people. And in 1 Samuel 8, you have a change in Israel,as the elders of the people ask for Israel to become like all the nations around them – no longer atheocracy, but a monarchy.What kind of king did they want? They wanted a king that would lead them in battle, that wouldextend their borders, one that would strike fear in the hearts of their enemies, one that could be a sourceof fear and trembling for the surrounding nations. They wanted a king just like every nation aroundthem, and there you see what Israel had become. God intended for them to be an influence to the nationsthat surrounded them. Instead they became like their surroundings. (That certainly stands as a pointedlesson for us today, who are called to be salt and light.) And what they received in King Saul was exactlywhat they wanted and expected in a king – a warrior who extended their borders, who made them rich,but, in the process, who led them into further spiritual decay.What was the expectation for Jesus? They wanted him to be their bread king, first of all. Do youremember what happened after Jesus multiplied bread and fish for the 5,000 men not including womenand children? The next day, they wanted more bread, more stuff. And when Jesus told them,
“I am thebread of life; I am the bread that came down from heaven,”
what do we find out?
“From thistime, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”
 
 
They also wanted him to be the King who would rid Israel of the Roman occupation, and fight thebattle against the pagan Romans. The Jewish people hated the fact that they were under Romanoppression and had to pay taxes to Caesar. But when Jesus told the scheming Pharisees and Herodiansduring Holy Week,
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s,”
coupled with theentire testimony of Jesus’ words and deeds, it’s clear that he was not a political king bent on rebellion. Hewas a different kind of king. He wasn’t going to be another Saul, bending to the wills and desires of thepeople. He was a David – Great David’s greater Son.David wasn’t the kind of person you would pick to be a monarch. In our lesson for today, he wasalmost an afterthought of his father Jesse, when Samuel came to anoint the next king of Israel.
10
Jessehad seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The L
ORD
has not chosenthese.”
11
So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,”Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.”
David was the last one that his father expected would be chosen to be Israel’s monarch, but he wasGod’s choice. His work as a shepherd properly prepared him to serve as Israel’s political and spiritualleader. As a shepherd, David learned to love his sheep, to know them by name, to know their tendencies.He learned to guide them into pasture so that they would have sustenance, to keep them from danger,and at times to ward off the wolves who would come to devour them. Certainly not the obvious choice formonarch from an earthly perspective. David wasn’t impressive looking, he didn’t stand a foot taller thaneverybody else, like Saul did. In fact, when he entered the valley of death’s dark vale against Goliath, hewas laughed at.Sound familiar? Even though Jesus enters Jerusalem to the praises of onlookers, to the praise of children, he’s not what the majority of the people expected for a king, because they failed to realize whatJesus told Pilate,
“My kingdom is not of this world.”
His throne wasn’t an earthly throne. His goalwas not to extend the physical border of Israel. His purpose was not to make the Jewish people incrediblywealthy. He didn’t meet their sinful, unbiblical expectations of him. So they laughed at him. Theymocked him. The soldiers mocked him.
“Hail, king of the Jews,”
as they struck him in the headrepeatedly. The Jewish people mocked him,
“You, who are going to destroy the temple and build itin three days, save yourself. Come down from the cross! He saved others, but he can’t savehimself! He’s the King of Israel...Come down and we’ll believe in him!”
But wait...it isn’t the display of power that makes him the king of Kings! It wasn’t his display of divine majesty in his miracles that makes him king of Kings. It’s his shepherd heart. Think back toverse 7 of our text – the central point of the entire lesson:
7
But the L
ORD
said to Samuel, “Do notconsider his appearance or his height...The L
ORD
does not look at the things man looks at.Man looks at the outward appearance, but the L
ORD
looks at the heart.”
It was the shepherd heart of Jesus that makes him the greatest King, the shepherd heart that isforeshadowed in the kingship of the lowly shepherd king David. The Israelites had an opportunity to seethe glory of Christ in the person of King David. We have seen the glory of Christ in the way that theGood Shepherd served his sheep.What an act of power it would have been to come down from the cross. But what an act of shepherding love for him to stay on the cross to the end! The stereotypical king has in mind his ownwealth, his own prestige, his own influence, at times, at the expense of his people. The shepherd king hasin mind the salvation of his flock. He knows each and every one of you personally, by name. He knowsyour struggles. He knows your personal challenges. He knows your tendencies. He knows everythingabout you, and on Calvary’s hill fought and fought for you, and for every little lamb that the Fatherentrusted to him so that not one would be lost; so that not one would be devoured by the enemy.What kind of king is King Jesus? We’ll need to consider that frequently during this holiest week of the Christian Church year. I believe that we’ve adequately answered that today as we begin our journey

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