Not for Nothing: Remembering the Spirit

Not for Nothing: Remembering the Spirit

To forget is to lack. God helps in real ways when we need him the most. Here’s how. 

Sermon Notes:

Genesis 1:2 (NIV) — 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Isaiah 32:14-18 For the palace will be forsaken, the populous city deserted … until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. (Isa. 32:14–18)

John 3:6–15 (NIV) — 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

Acts 2:1–21 (NIV) — 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them….14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Although the first people God created, Adam and Eve, had complete freedom to live in friendship and trust with him, they chose to rebel (Gen. 3:1–7). Because God designed that Adam would represent the entire human race, his sin was catastrophic not only for him but for us: “one trespass led to condemnation for all men” (Rom. 5:18). Our fellowship with God was broken. Instead of enjoying his holy pleasure, we instead face his righteous wrath. Through this sin, we all died spiritually (see Rom. 3:1–20; Eph. 2:1–10) and the entire world was affected. God also cursed the world over which humanity had been set to reign as his lieutenants (see Gen. 3:17–19). “The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it” (Rom. 8:20). And we all individually sin against God in our own lives: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). –
ESV Study Bible

Holy Spirit’s activity of giving spiritual gifts to equip Christians for ministry. After listing a variety of spiritual gifts, Paul says, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (1 Cor. 12:11 NASB). Since the Holy Spirit is the one who shows or manifests God’s presence in the world, it is not surprising that Paul can call spiritual gifts “manifestations” of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7). When spiritual gifts are active, it is another indication of the presence of God the Holy Spirit in the church.
In the prayer lives of individual believers, we find that the Holy Spirit empowers prayer and makes it effective. “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26). And Paul says that we “have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18). One specific kind of prayer that the New Testament says is empowered by the Holy Spirit is the gift of prayer in tongues (1 Cor. 12:10–11; 14:2, 14–17).
Yet another aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work in empowering Christians for service is empowering people to overcome spiritual opposition to the preaching of the gospel and to God’s work in people’s lives. This power in spiritual warfare was first seen in the life of Jesus, who said, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt. 12:28). When Paul came to Cyprus he encountered opposition from Elymas the magician, but he, “filled with the Holy Spirit looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.’ Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand” (Acts 13:9–11). The gift of “distinguishing between spirits” (1 Cor. 12:10), given by the Holy Spirit, is also to be a tool in this warfare against the forces of darkness, as is the Word of God, which functions as the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) in spiritual conflict.
– Wayne Grudem

The Colossians Comission – Col 4:2ff

The Colossians Comission – Col 4:2ff

Jesus gives us a way of starting to influence people… but most people give up too quickly…. will you?

Sermon Notes:

Colossians 4:2-6ff (NIV)
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
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Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 45
Q. Why do Christians need to pray?
A. Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us.1 And also because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking God for them.2 1 Ps. 50:14-15; 116:12-19; 1 Thess. 5:16-18 2 Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-13

Q. What is the kind of prayer that pleases God and that he listens to?
A. First, we must pray from the heart to no other than the one true God, revealed to us in his Word, asking for everything God has commanded us to ask for.1 Second, we must fully recognize our need and misery, so that we humble ourselves in God’s majestic presence.2 Third, we must rest on this unshakable foundation: even though we do not deserve it, God will surely listen to our prayer because of Christ our Lord. That is what God promised us in his Word.3 1 Ps. 145:18-20; John 4:22-24; Rom. 8:26-27; James 1:5; 1 John 5:14-15 2 2 Chron. 7:14; Ps. 2:11; 34:18; 62:8; Isa. 66:2; Rev. 4 3 Dan. 9:17-19; Matt. 7:8; John 14:13-14; 16:23; Rom. 10:13; James 1:6

Q. What did God command us to pray for?
A. Everything we need, spiritually and physically,1 as embraced in the prayer
Christ our Lord himself taught us. 1 James 1:17; Matt. 6:33

Q. What is this prayer?
A. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.* For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever. Amen. 1** 1 Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4 *This text of the Lord’s Prayer is from the New Revised Standard Version in keeping with the use of the NRSV throughout this edition of the catechism. Most biblical scholars will agree that it is an accurate translation of the Greek text and carries virtually the same meaning as the more traditional text of the Lord’s Prayer **Earlier and better manuscripts of Matthew 6 omit the words “For the kingdom and … Amen.”

“Where Christ is Lord” Col 3:18-4:1

“Where Christ is Lord” Col 3:18-4:1

Who you are at HOME and at WORK matters to God. Find out why.

Sermon Notes

Colossians 3:18-4:1 (NIV)

18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism. 1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

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THE BOOK OF Proverbs assumes that the household, not the temple, is “the primary place of moral formation and social duty.” The home becomes even more important as the center of Christian nurture and education when surrounding society becomes so wicked that it accepts and even promotes immorality. These texts are not about who gets the power and authority to run the family but affirm that the family is the primary context for faith formation and for living out one’s faith. How we live in our family says a great deal about our faith.
Paul’s advice in this section is rather sparse, which makes it clear that he has no intention of providing an advice manual on family relationships. He is affirming the family as the place where we first live out our newness as “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved” (3:12). In the previous section, he reeled off a list of virtues (3:12–15), but such virtues are empty talk unless they are lived out in the structures and relationships of everyday life.
New life begins in the home. Schweizer observes that Christian wisdom and instruction are not always put to the test in times of suffering, which requires a heroic response, but in the everyday situations of life—like in the home. “The real world is, according to our letter, first of all our husband or wife, our children or parents, our employees or chiefs. Only if and when we take this world seriously may we, perhaps, be called to serve our Lord on a greater scale.” One can do heroic battle in the public arena but lose the war in the privacy of the home.
The family is where, under the lordship of Christ, we learn to control our anger, rage, abusive language, and lying so that peace might reign. The family is where we first learn to work out the values of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (3:12). There is no more difficult a place to exercise these virtues day in and day out than in the home. The new life enables submissiveness that puts others first, love that refuses to grow bitter, obedience, supportive and encouraging parenting, devotion to doing work well, and fairness and justice in our dealing with others. – David W. Pao

THE INSTRUCTION THAT the wife submit to her husband fits the norm of what was regarded as becoming conduct for a wife in Paul’s [ancient] culture. Paul does not overtly dispute this cultural assumption. The change in women’s status in our age and modern sensibilities lead many today to wish that he had. The command for wives to submit, however, was not inappropriate in his context. (1) It reflects the legal state of affairs. The husband as the paterfamilias (the head of the household) was the only fully legal person in the family and had power over all property and almost absolute authority over every member in it. They were all obligated to obey him, and Paul does not challenge the existing legal order.
(2) The verb “submit” (hypotasso) does not convey some innate inferiority but is used for a modest, cooperative demeanor that puts others first. It was something expected of all Christians regardless of their rank or gender (Mark 10:41–45; 1 Cor. 16:16; Eph. 5:21, 24; Phil. 2:3–4; 1 Peter 5:5).
(3) The command addresses wives directly as “ethically responsible partners.”7
(4) The directive is not one-sided; demands are also made of the husband. Some nuances may also help to mitigate the command’s harshness to modern ears. Paul does not tell wives to “obey” their husbands. In the commands to children and slaves, he uses the active imperative. The verb “submit” (hypotassesthe), however, is in the middle voice and can imply a voluntary submission. It makes the wife’s submission her willing choice, not some universal law that ordains masculine dominance. Paul also qualifies this submission further with the phrase, “as is fitting in the Lord.”… This qualification recasts the wife’s submission to her husband by turning it into allegiance shown to Christ (cf. Eph. 5:22–24). – David Garland

 

The Path to Blessing – Colossians 3:16-17

The Path to Blessing – Colossians 3:16-17

What if changing your life for the better was as simple as God makes it sound? Would you take the first step?

Sermon Helps

Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

2 Corinthians 9:8: (GEMS theme verse) And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Both “teaching and admonishing” and “singing” should be considered as means though which one can allow the word of Christ to dwell in our hearts and in our midst. As in 1:28, Christ is again the focus of “teaching and admonishing,” as highlighted by instrumental datives, “with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” In the OT, songs were means through which God’s people remembered his mighty deeds, and through such deeds God made himself known. For Paul, believers also need to be educated through such confessions of God’s mighty acts through his Son. It is uncertain if clear distinctions should be made among “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,” although they should not be considered as synonyms. “Psalms” (???????) often refer to OT psalms (Luke 20:42, 44; Acts 1:20), but Paul also uses it for hymns sung in a Christian worship setting (1 Cor 14:26). “Hymns” (??????), a word that appears only here and in Eph 5:19 in the NT, often refers to praises offered to deities or heroes. In the early church, it could refer specifically to hymns sung to Christ as God (Pliny, Ep. Tra. 10.96), a category for which the christological hymn of 1:15–20 comfortably qualifies. “Spiritual songs” (????? ????????????) can refer to “Spirit-inspired, and therefore often spontaneous, songs” sung in Christian worship settings (cf. 1 Cor 14:15–16), although the word “spiritual” can be taken as modifying “psalms” and “hymns” as well. Regardless of how the terms are to be understood, they all aim at confessing God’s acts that climax in the life and ministry of Christ.
– David W. Pao

Does Paul’s rhetoric soar a bit here in an effort to speak of comprehensiveness (whatever you do, in word and deed, do everything), or does he have something more specific in mind? The question arises because of the location of the verse. The preceding verse spoke of worship and admonition, and the verses prior to that of the proper conduct in the one body. So does name of the Lord Jesus conclude a series with “peace of Christ” (Col. 3:15) and “word of Christ” (3:16), indicating that all conduct and speech as set forth in 3:12–16 is to be done in the one body in the one name of the Lord Jesus? Word and deed would therefore encapsulate all that Paul has mentioned in the foregoing, in the territory of compassion, forbearance, forgiveness, thankfulness, teaching, and worship. But equally, the verse can point ahead to 3:18–4:1, where the duties of the new Adam are set out, the first one being predicated “as is fitting in the Lord” (3:18). “Fitting” gives way to “pleasing the Lord” (3:20), which passes on to “fearing the Lord” and “serving the Lord” (3:22–23) and concludes by returning to service of “the Lord Christ” (t? kyri? christ?). Modern commentary has focused on the illuminating parallels between Paul’s admonitions in 3:18–4:1 and what are called “household codes” from the Greco-Roman milieu. Both Aristotle and Plato discuss the household unit and its critical place within a stable society. The Roman household was the cornerstone of society and the means by which peace and stability were to be effectively maintained. The paterfamilias had specific responsibilities for upholding the “chain of command” in the family (wife, children, slaves) and rights and privileges accrued to them in the light of that. What is immediately clear, in view of 3:18–4:1, is how thoroughly distinctive is Paul’s own understanding. The sixfold reference to kyrios in the space of nine verses can hardly be accidental. Moreover, Paul concludes by telling the master of the slave, and presumptive head of the Christian household, that a master in heaven is over him. The point is clear enough, but the Greek is even clearer given the repetition noted. The kyrioi (“masters”) have a kyrios in heaven. As we leave the present section with its emphasis on doing everything in the name of kyrios i?sous (3:17) and enter the space Paul sets aside to describe the new Adam household—with its sevenfold reference to kyrios (including the finale in 4:1)—the difference between the contemporaneous household and the one familiar to the Colossians in the old Adam could not be more striking. Doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus includes what is fitting, pleasing, and reverent to the Lord, within the family of his new designing. Proper service and proper justice are within the single domain of the Lord Christ (3:24). The final verse at 3:17 serves to link the “word” of 3:12–16 with the “deeds” to follow in 3:18–4:1. – Christopher R. Seitz

Because He Lives – Luke 24:1-12

Because He Lives – Luke 24:1-12

most kids start by asking “why?” a lot. But then by the time adulthood comes, the “why” question is ignored. (because it’s big and scary and complicated) How might having a good answer to the “why” help you live life with motivation and hope and enthusiasm?

Sermon Helps

Luke 24:1–12 (NIV) — 1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

2 Corinthians 5:15 (NIV) — 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) — 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Romans 6:4 (NIV) — 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

“When Jesus was crucified his followers were discouraged and depressed. So they dispersed. The Jesus movement was all but stopped in its tracks. Then, after a short period of time, we see them abandoning their occupations, regathering, and committing themselves to spreading a very specific message—that Jesus Christ was the Messiah of God who died on a cross, returned to life, and was seen alive by them. “And they were willing to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming this, without any payoff from a human point of view. They faced a life of hardship. They often went without food, slept exposed to the elements, were ridiculed, beaten, imprisoned. And finally, most of them were executed in torturous ways. For what? For good intentions? No, because they were convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they had seen Jesus Christ alive from the dead.” Yes, people will die for their religious convictions if they sincerely believe they are true. Religious fanatics have done that throughout history. While they may strongly believe in the tenets of their religion, however, they don’t know for a fact whether their faith is based on the truth. They simply cannot know for sure. They can only believe. In stark contrast, the disciples were in the unique position to know for a fact whether Jesus had returned from the dead. They saw him, they touched him, they ate with him. They knew he wasn’t a hallucination or a legend. And knowing the truth, they were willing to die for him. That insight stunned me. The disciples didn’t merely believe in the resurrection; they knew whether it was fact or fiction. Had they known it was a lie, they would never have been willing to sacrifice their lives for it. Nobody willingly dies for something that they know is false. They proclaimed the resurrection to their deaths for one reason alone: they knew it was true. – Lee Strobel

Getting at your “why” – Ask yourself:
What am I most afraid of?
What do I long for most passionately?
Where do I run for comfort?
What do I complain about most?
What angers me most?
What makes me happiest?
How do I explain myself to other people?
What has caused me to be angry with God?
What do I brag about?
What do I want to have more than anything else?
Who do I sacrifice the most for in my life?
If I could change one thing in my life what would that be?
Whose approval am I seeking?
What do I want to control/master?
What comfort do I treasure the most? (David Powlison)

[This passage] unit leaves us with a picture of Peter peeking into the tomb and seeing the empty grave clothes. Those empty clothes, as well as the empty tomb, raise the question of what happened to Jesus. Luke will answer that question in this chapter, but there is another question we must answer. If the empty clothes picture the fact that death is not the end but a transition, then what will happen to us when we experience our own resurrection? As the biblical alternative to both reincarnation and no resurrection, we must realize we are accountable to God for what we do in life. There are no reruns, nor is there one life and then nothing. Each one of us should therefore wrestle with the reality of standing before God. We should not ignore Luke’s shift to the name “Lord” here. Jesus is the one with authority, divine authority, over salvation. As Lord of all, the gospel must go out to all. One of Luke’s great burdens is to show that God’s plan is revealed to the person who understands just who and how great Jesus is. As Lord he is worthy to be trusted, worshiped, and followed. No one is more worthy of praise. In light of his majesty and position, we should all be willing subjects, resting in his care and direction. – Darrell Bock

 

The Triumph and Tears of Jesus – Luke 19:29-44

The Triumph and Tears of Jesus – Luke 19:29-44

As we arrive at Jerusalem with Jesus, the question presses upon us. Are we going along for the trip in the hope that Jesus will fulfill some of our hopes and desires? Are we ready to sing a psalm of praise, but only as long as Jesus seems to be doing what we want? The long and dusty pilgrim way of our lives gives most of us plenty of time to sort out our motives for following Jesus in the first place. Are we ready not only to spread our cloaks on the road in front of him, to do the showy and flamboyant thing, but also now to follow him into trouble, controversy, trial and death? And still recognize him, trust him and worship him as KING?

Sermon Notes

Luke 19:28–46 (NIV)
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King (also see Mt 21:1–9; Mk 11:1–10 Jn 12:12–15) 28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” 32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” 41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Jesus at the Temple (see Mt 21:12–16; Mk 11:15–18; Jn 2:13–16)
45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

For Jesus it’s a royal occasion, to be carefully planned and staged so as to make exactly the right point. The animal he chose… was a young foal, almost certainly a donkey’s colt. (The word Luke uses would more normally mean a young horse or pony; but he knew Zechariah 9:9, the prophecy of the Messiah riding on a young donkey, and he uses the word that occurs there.) Like the tomb in which Jesus would lie a week later (23:52), it had never been used before. The disciples pick up the theme, and in a kind of instant royal celebration they spread cloaks along the road for him. Down they go, down the steep path to the Kidron valley, and the crowd starts to sing part of the great psalm of praise (Psalm 118) that pilgrims always sang on the way to Jerusalem: a song of victory, a hymn of praise to the God who defeats all his foes and establishes his kingdom. Jesus will himself quote from the psalm in one of his debates in Jerusalem (20:17). He comes himself as the fulfilment of the nation’s hopes, answering their longings for a king who would bring peace to earth from heaven itself…. As we arrive at Jerusalem with Jesus, the question presses upon us. Are we going along for the trip in the hope that Jesus will fulfil some of our hopes and desires? Are we ready to sing a psalm of praise, but only as long as Jesus seems to be doing what we want? The long and dusty pilgrim way of our lives gives most of us plenty of time to sort out our motives for following Jesus in the first place. Are we ready not only to spread our cloaks on the road in front of him, to do the showy and flamboyant thing, but also now to follow him into trouble, controversy, trial and death? – N.T. Wright

Though Jesus engages in provocative street theater by entering Jerusalem on a mount that betokens his royal dignity as an earthly king, Luke understands this to be a divine visitation. If the people do not respond with welcome, they will face judgment. Jesus’ action in the temple is not simply that of an irate prophet symbolically warning of judgment but one of God pronouncing judgment. The problem is that the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the temple’s tenants do not recognize Jesus for who he is and do not know what makes for peace. Thus, they will not sue for peace (14:32) but instead will attempt to resist this divine visitation with violence. Their indifference, hostility, and resistance to Jesus are symptomatic of human indifference, hostility, and resistance to God’s intervention in the world and their lives. It is empirically obvious that the world does not know what makes for earthly peace. It is attributable to their ignorance of God and God’s ways. True peace does not come through the violent exercise of superior power, as the Romans would have it. Peace refers to salvation (Rom 5:1) and comes only through Jesus as the Lord of all (Acts 10:36). Because humans do not know what makes for peace, it is now a heavenly quality.23 It is “peace in heaven.” Nolland astutely observes that at Jesus’ birth the angels from heaven celebrate what is happening on earth. As he approaches death, which will lead to his exaltation, the disciples celebrate what is happening in heaven. He cites Col 1:20 and Rev 12:10 as theological parallels.24 The “peace in heaven,” then, “is that of the reconciliation which the Messiah comes to effect between God and the earth.”25 Doble writes, “in the Lukan scheme of things [peace] lay on the other side of Jesus’ [being taken up].”26 Peace comes from his passion, resurrection, and ascension and from worshiping him as the Lord (Acts 2:33). – David Garland