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Pastoral View of Luke 19:28-40

Christians are shaped by their rituals. Rituals help us to express the love and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ to each other and to outsiders of the faith. For Luke the birth of Jesus was a ritual which spoke of Peace on Earth. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem the people looked into the sky and sang about Peace in Heaven.

They sang the victory psalm of 118 in hopes that this Messiah would truly be God’s Messiah and would make a huge difference in their lives. Jesus would make a difference in their lives but in a more profound way than the people ever could have imagined.

Perhaps Jesus was looking for those who had faith and truly trusted in Him to lead them to God’s love and glory. Are you ready to trust Jesus and follow Him wherever He leads?

Christian Theology of Luke 19:28-40

Luke saw Jesus as a prophet of Israel in that he fulfills what the prophets before him have said about him. Jesus’ acts and the events in his life was about to be fulfilled. He gave instructions to two disciples to get a colt. The next scene was Jesus using the colt to go into Jerusalem.  The Synoptic Gospels like to use the Hebrew Scriptures offices of priest and king to describe Jesus.  John Calvin in the 1500’s added the office of prophet to Jesus. Luke does use prophetic materials to identify Jesus to his readers and listeners.

 

After Jesus’ resurrection the people came to understand who He really was. So, the people at the Triumphant Entry did not understand what Jesus the Messiah was all about. It would be one week later that they would.

Hebraic View of Light and Darkness of Luke 19:28-40

It was time for the Light to confront the Darkness. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was the event that told the Darkness that the Light was ready for the fight. If the ministry of Jesus was not known in Jerusalem, it was known after that day. Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem in a way predicted by the prophets. The people came out to greet the Light. They had 500 years of oppression by foreign powers and they were certainly ready for independence. The love of freedom was still with the people. Hebrews passed down the stories of their history to each succeeding generation. They were an independent nation only 100 years earlier. The Light of God wanted to return to the people and to free them.

SUNDAY MARCH 11, 2018 SERMON INFORMATION

 
Title: Darkness to light – the Start of Darkness’ Reign
 
Abstract: The first sermon of the series introduces the series.
The start is found in Ezekiel chapter ten. In this chapter the LORD has decided that He can no longer protect a rebellious Judah. The Shekinah, the Glory of God, must be removed from the Temple in Jerusalem. When this is done the Temple was no longer consecrated to the LORD and could be destroyed by the pagan forces of Babylon. For years the LORD had sent His prophets to warn the people about their sinfulness. Prophets were generally killed for telling the leadership of the people about their evil ways. The time had come for the LORD to show a harsh punishment. Thus, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. The light of God left the Temple. Darkness had won the day. The darkness would cover he people for some time. Even when they could return home the darkness followed them. The Shekinah did not return to the Second Temple. The nation of Israel was under pagan rule. The cry for the Messiah went to God. It appeared that the Messiah came with the Maccabees. The nation of Judah was restored. However, that lasted only 100 years. The nation of Judah was back under pagan rule. The Messiah had not yet arrived.

Hebraic View of Light and Darkness – 1 Macc 3:1-5

 
The exile of the Hebrew people by the Babylonians ended when the Persians defeated the Babylonians and took over the Empire. King Cyrus was touch by the LORD and allowed the people exiled in Babylon to return to Israel. Cyrus wanted to please the God of the Hebrews that he gave money and resources to the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and especially the Temple. According to Ezra 1:7 Cyrus returned all the gold pieces that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple. Some of the exiles returned to the land of Judah. They had a lot of work to do because the land had been overrun by wild brush and animals. Eventually, the city was rebuilt, and a new Temple was built.
 
The people were home, but they were not independent. Cyrus and the kings of Persia who followed allowed the Hebrew people to resume the festivals of the Torah and to live under the Law of the LORD. The people stayed loyal to the Persian Empire. However, the people did anticipate the coming of the LORD’s Messiah. The Messiah was to be of the House of David. There are many prophecies about the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures and the various books of the Pseudepigrapha.
 
According to most historians the Ark of the Covenant was not in the Second Temple. The Ark of the Covenant disappeared after the Babylonian invasion and has not shown up since. Christians in Ethiopia claim to have it but since only one person can look upon it this is an unsubstantiated statement. Since the Ark of the Covenant was not in the Temple then the Shekinah would not have a place to rest. The Hebrew people considered the Second Temple as a sacred place to worship God and to offer their sacrifices. But this Temple did not have the presence of the Shekinah in it.
 
1 Maccabees tells the story of the defeat of the Persians and Medes by the Greeks led by Alexander. Before his death Alexander divided the Empire among his most honored officers (1 Macc 1:6). The land of Judah came under the rule of King Antiochus Epiphanes. He was a ruthless dictator. He came to Jerusalem and built a gymnasium and observed the ordinances of the Gentiles (1 Macc 1:10-11). This infuriated the Hebrews of the city. Then the day arrived that Antiochus entered the Holy of Holy in the Temple in Jerusalem and placed a pagan idol in it. By his actions he was declaring the Temple was no longer dedicated to the LORD but rather it was now dedicated to the pagan Gentile gods.
 
This action started the Hebrew revolt against the Greek overseers. The war was led by the Maccabee family. This family was a part of the Hasmonean family. The usage of this family name came after Judah won its independence. Judas Maccabee was the leader of the revolt when the final battle against the Greeks occurred. After the battle the candles were lit in the Temple. They only had enough oil for one days burning, however, the LORD showed His favor on His people by allowing the candles to burn for eight days. Thus, festival of Hanukkah was established.
 
The Maccabean family was from the line of King David. From 2 Samuel 7 the LORD created a covenant with King David telling him that a descendant of his would always sit on the throne of Judah. Over the years that followed the belief that the LORD’s Messiah would also be from the line of David. The Messiah was believed to be the one who would reestablish the Kingdom of Judah and would sit on the throne.
 
The people looked for the Messiah since the Babylonian Exile. In 167/8 BCE Judas Maccabee and his army freed the country from Greek rule. He established the nation of Judah and he sat on the throne as King. Since he was of the line of David the Messianic prophecy was believed to be in place. The nation of Judah lived independently for about 100 years. The Roman armies came to the Middle East around 70 BCE and in 68 BCE Judah fell and became a part of the Roman Empire. The nation that Judas had fought for had been destroyed and the people were in exile again. They were in exile in their own land.
 
Therefore, Judas could not have been the true Messiah. The people believed that the Messiah would reestablish the kingdom. It did happen, but it also disappeared. Therefore, the people began to wait for the Messiah. Since the Shekinah did not return to the Temple perhaps the protection of the LORD was not fully in place. The prophecy of Jeremiah was the one they needed to turn to. This prophecy can be found in Jeremiah 31. The LORD said that He would place a revised covenant into the hearts of the people of the House of Israel.
 
The darkness that came when the Shekinah left the Temple was still at work. There was glimmer of light when Cyrus returned the people to Jerusalem and a larger glimmer of light when the Maccabean revolt occurred. When the second Temple was built the people did not live in a land that solely belonged to them. They had an easy time being a part of the Persian Empire, however, they were not free. Without the Shekinah in the Temple it was impossible to prevent the darkness of evil from penetrating the world and to control so many souls.
 
The Light had temporarily broken through the darkness. Unfortunately, the Romans proved to be a powerful dark force that the people could not stand up to them. The Judean army had fallen to the mighty pagan Roman empire. Darkness had won the day. Living under the thumb of the Romans was not easy for the people of Judea. They longed for their Messiah.
 

Hebraic View of Light and Darkness – Ezekiel chapter 10

 
This chapter gives the details of the glory of God, the Shekinah, leaving the Temple. Even though the LORD had recalled the Shekinah, the LORD’s desire to stay with His people is clear in that the Shekinah filled the Temple with a cloud almost refusing to leave. This should remind us that God wants the best for us even when we disappoint the LORD. However, the lessons here is that the LORD will only stand for so much disappointment (abominations) then the LORD will leave.
The LORD had tried to teach the people about obeying the Ten Commandments. He sent Moses, the law giver, who brought the people the Word of the LORD. The Ten commandments read like an old-style Hittite style treaty. The LORD said that He would provide and protect Israel if they obeyed His commandments. Over the centuries the people’s idolatry worsened. The LORD took His protection away from the Northern Kingdom. This allowed the powerful Assyrian army to invade them and destroyed them.
The Southern Kingdom should have learned a valuable lesson about disobeying the LORD. However, there were Kings who did not get concerned about the LORD’s Law and lead the people into pagan worship. There came the time that the LORD decided to remove His protection from the Southern Kingdom. When this happened, they became easy prey for the mighty Babylonian army. The LORD knew that the Temple and His city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. Therefore, the LORD removed His Shekinah from the Temple. Once this happened the Temple was no longer sanctified and could be destroyed by the pagan armies.
The Light of the LORD had left the Temple and darkness was upon it. The Babylonians brought the darkness of evil into the city of Jerusalem and they destroyed everything. The land of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, became a waste land. The percentage of the people were removed and relocated in the capital city of the Babylonian Empire. The once might city of Jerusalem and its wonder, the Temple of the LORD, stood in ruins and was uninhabitable.
Darkness had truly fallen on the world. The Shekinah was gone. The LORD’s chosen people were in exile. The Promised Land of milk and honey became a dry barren land.

Pastoral View Exodus 20:1-17

 
The Ten Commandments should be viewed as a gift from God and not a burden. The gift is that if you follow the commandments you will have a deeper relationship with God in Christ. You can structure your life by using the Ten Commandments. Thus, you will be a moral and ethical person who is preparing to join our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. During Lent the church likes to bombard us with the notions that we are all sinners. Yes, most of us sin from time to time even unwillingly and unknowingly. We can use this time of Lent to cry into our cups or we can use this time to ask Jesus to put us on the right track. Oh, God did give the way to do this even before He sent Jesus. What is this magical formula you ask? It is the Ten Commandments.

Christian Theology Exodus 20:1-17

 
The Ten Commandments is a central conviction of the Christian faith in that Christians are to be living before God in such a way that there is order and structure which is defined by God’s commandments. It is important to remember that the Ten Commandments presuppose Israel’s history and its understanding of covenantal life before God. In many Christian circles today the Ten Commandments are viewed as moral principles and not necessarily commandments that have to be followed. Jesus said that he came to fulfill the Torah and the prophets. Thus, Christians today should be viewing the Ten Commandments as commandments from Jesus to follow.
 
John Calvin (1509-64) offered three uses for the Ten Commandments. He said that the commandments show us how we are to live before God and with our neighbors. They will also restrain sin by the members of the faith community, if followed. Calvin called God’s commandments a “lamp unto our feet.” Christians should live by the Ten Commandments, not just as a moral imperative, but also as a way of pleasing God.