Why Jesus Doesn't Need Our Hype

Text:  Matthew 21:1-9
In the name of Jesus.  Amen. 
Everyone loves to make a grand entrance. You know what I’m talking about.
At the beginning of a football game, the music crescendos, fireworks explode, and the sports commentator announces the team. The players then run on to the field yelling, while the crowd goes wild. A grand entrance!
At wedding receptions, the DJ plays music.  Lights flash, and lasers shine, while the DJ announces the newlywed couple.  Everyone claps, yells, whistles, and cheers.  A grand entrance!
At music concerts, a musician will zipline on to the stage or fall from the sky with a parachute to begin their opening song.  A grand entrance!   
At the State of the Union Address at our Nation’s Capital, the House Sergeant at Arms faces the Speaker, and loudly yells, "Mister Speaker, the President of the United States!"  And everyone stands and applauds as the President enters with boldness and confidence. A grand entrance!
Lasers and fog machines and countdowns and pyrotechnics and drum roles are all needed to amp the crowd up. And the person who is the focus of attention?  They better be coming on a red carpet with an impressive suit or dress. They better be coming off of a private jet, out of a fancy limousine, or possibly on a prestigious white horse.  And they better be going towards a sporting field, stage, or center podium.
But why do we do all this? Why such a grand entrance before a football even plays a game?  Why such a grand entrance before a singer even sings?  Why the hype?
It is quite a simple answer. 
We expect a grand entrance to get the main person and crowd going. We want the adrenaline to rush.  The crowd must be energized because they are amid someone great.  Furthermore, the grand entrance is intended to create a positive first impression – to grab people’s attention that they are amid greatness.
So if all of this is true, why didn’t we hear about Jesus having a grand entrance in our reading from the Gospel of Matthew?  Why wasn’t there a great white horse, a flashing sword, a military parade, and a red carpet with pyrotechnics and drum roles? Why did we instead hear about Jesus coming into Jerusalem ‘humble’ and mounted on a donkey?  His arrival certainly was not grand!
Dear friends, what we must understand is that Jesus is meek. Yes, by riding on a donkey into Jerusalem, He is meek.  But before we get too far, we must be careful how we understand the word meek. 
You see, when we say that Jesus is meek, we are not saying that He is a coward or that He is insecure. No, when the Bible uses the word meek it is not used in a bad sense.
Instead, when the Bible uses the word meek, it means that a person is not easily moved to rage and anger by little insults. It means that a person is not easily ruffled or knocked off their guard to frantic fear and worry. It means that they are not easily irritated or provoked to loud, passionate reactions.  Simply stated, the word meek means that a person is spiritually composed and strong.  That is to say, Jesus came mounted on a donkey with meekness because He was the real deal. 
You see, when you are the real deal, you are not easily swayed.  You don’t have to amp people up or get their adrenaline going. When you are the real deal, you don’t need lasers, fog machines, countdowns, pyrotechnics, drum roles, red carpets, white horses, military parades, and so forth.  You don’t have to react to the opinions and pressures and tactics of everything around you.  As the real deal, you do what you do with meekness – unimpressive, non-showy… meekness. 
And so, because Jesus is the real deal, He came into Jerusalem that Palm Sunday on a donkey traveling towards Calvary’s cross.  Riding on a donkey was unimpressive according to the world, but that does not matter to Jesus.  He was non-showy; He was meek!
The same can be said about his birth.  When Christ put on flesh and was born some 2000 years ago, He was not born in the capital city of Jerusalem or the capital of Rome but was born in tiny Bethlehem.  Christ did not need the religious prestige of Jerusalem or the power of Rome to enter human history in the flesh.  He was unimpressive, according to the world.  He was non-showy; He was meek!
And when choosing 12 disciples? Jesus did not travel to Alexandria to find Scholars.  He did not go to the synagogues of Jerusalem to find Pharisees.  He went to the fishing docks to find Fishermen.  He was unimpressive, according to the world.  He was non-showy; He was meek!
And when paying for the sins of the world?  No conquering of the Roman Empire!  No establishment of a new world order with Laws and Military! No golden throne but a lowly cross, where He would bring life to the world by taking the world’s death into His own body while hanging on a cross.  He was unimpressive, according to the world.  He was non-showy; He was meek!
Such is the way of Jesus.
It all makes sense now why we do what we do with the Season of Advent, does it not? 
Dear friends, this last week, marketers, and business amped things up with Black Friday.  And tomorrow is Cyber Monday.  The season of Christmas is off and running.  Adrenaline is flowing in America.  People are energized.  The world is frantically gift shopping, putting up decorations, and anticipating the arrival of Santa Clause. And yet, here in Christ’s Church we do the exact opposite – we are meek.  We enter the Season of Advent – a season of pulling the throttle back.  A season of repentance, quietness, and reflection.  Why?  Because Christ does not need a grand entrance before Christmas Eve.  Christ’s church does not need to be energized or pumped up for Jesus’ birth.  All the church needs is to slow down, to behold and see that Christ – as the real deal – comes for His church and the world.   
And how does He come?  Like His meek coming into Jerusalem on the donkey and His meek coming to Bethlehem in the manger, Jesus comes to you with meekness as well.  That is to say, Jesus comes to you this very day through His Word – His Word spoken through the mouth of a sinful insignificant, unimpressive, pastor.  He comes to you today in non-showy bread and wine, to give you Himself.  And let us not forget, Jesus came to you in unpretentious water that was poured upon your head, marking you as one of His redeemed. 
No laser shows, no fog machines, no countdowns, no pyrotechnics, no drumrolls, but rather, just simple meek Words and simple meek elements applied to you by an unimportant and unimpressive pastor.  This is the meekness of Jesus and how He humbly engages His church – that is you. 
Tragically, though, we Christians can get a little bored with this meekness of Christ and the church.  And let’s be honest, we are attracted to the theatrics.  Yes, we are quickly swayed and distracted by dramatic grand entrances.    Like a fly attracted to bright lights, we Christians can easily dismiss or get bored with the meek ways of the church and seek after the dramatic, impressive, and the so-called important.
Dear friends, you must keep in mind that the nature of Jesus is that He comes for you in meekness for a distinct purpose.  He comes to you with meekness not only because He does not need a grand entrance, but He also has no intention of making it seem that He is too important for you.  In other words, Jesus does not come with flashiness or showiness as if He is trying to convince you that He is among Time Magazine’s most influential people of 2019.  He has no desire to ‘wow’ you with a grand entrance and make you chase after Him.  He isn’t interested in popularity contests or what people think.  He does not care about being on the ‘A-squad.’  But instead, His only desire is to come in meekness, so that no burdened sinner would be driven away from Him as if He is too high and too lofty for sinners. 
What this means is that no matter how low you are in your sin, no matter how much you have failed, and no matter how ugly your sin, Jesus comes to you not with a high and lofty grand entrance but in meekness, gentleness, and simplicity, so that He might not drive you away in fear, but simply proclaim to you – I forgive you.  My blood is sufficient for you.  I baptized you.  I feed you my body and blood.  You are mine! 
This is your Jesus who came to you in His birth in Bethlehem; who came to your cross in Jerusalem; who comes to you in His Word and Sacraments.  He comes to you not with a grand entrance but with meekness. 
In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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