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那将要来的国 The Coming Kingdom

March 8, 2020, More from this speaker 更多关于此讲员: Rev. Wong Siow Hwee (Mark 11:1-11) For more of this sermon series 更多关于此讲道系列: Mark
Preached at a Mandarin (Sunday) service

Tags: Mark 马可福音

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Title: The Coming Kingdom
Date: 8th Mar 2020
Preacher: Rev. Wong Siow Hwee

The grand entrance of Jesus riding on a colt into Jerusalem, with cloaks and branches on the pathway, was recorded by all four of the gospels. You might have heard this story every year, either at the start of Lent, or on Palm Sunday itself. Therefore, since this is such a familiar story, I will be focusing on verse 10a found only in Mark, 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” Important point to note: This declaration was a response from the crowd to Jesus’ ministry, which first began in Galilee three years ago. Way back at the start of the gospel, we were told in Mark 1: 14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Right at the beginning, we might not know what the coming kingdom would mean. Yet by the end of 3 years, it had been fully demonstrated by Jesus, and that was acknowledged and affirmed by the crowd in Jerusalem. If I were to summarize what Jesus had done that made it so affirmative to everyone, I would use the words of Jesus to John the Baptist in Matthew and Luke. John the Baptist wondered, 20 ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’” 22 So Jesus replied to the messengers (of John the Baptist), “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. (Luke 7:20-22 and Matthew 11:2-6). Jesus is the one. John the Baptist knew it. The crowd in Jerusalem knew it too. And so they proclaimed, 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

When we pray the Lord’s prayer, which is found in Matthew and Luke, we say 9
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, (Matthew 6:9-10 and Luke 11:2)
What does the coming of the God’s kingdom mean? Thankfully, Matthew explains it clearly: “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” When we see God’s heavenly will being executed, just like the words and actions of Jesus in his 3 years of ministry, that’s the coming of God’s kingdom. But we might wonder, “but many times, I do not see God’s will on earth. I see war and corruption. I see injustice and evil deeds. In fact, this seems like a never ending battle between good and evil for the entire human history. Am I missing something? I thought the coming of the one is supposed to transform the world one and for all?”

Brothers and sisters, the world is transformed. I can say that because the seed has been planted. The kingdom of God is not like the worldly kingdoms we see that destroys all enemies and reigns supreme through brute strength. Jesus has already shared what it is like in Mark 4: 26 “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

It appears weak and insignificant in the beginning. But once it has started, there are no limits to its true potential. But how it starts is important. This seed is the kingship of Jesus Christ. And I think that’s what Mark is trying to convey to us. It is the beginning of the good news of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1). It has begun. And it is about Jesus who is the anointed one. It is about Jesus the Son of God. Do you know who is previously the Son of God? It originally referred to King Solomon. Prophet Nathan said to King David in 2 Samuel 7: 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.

Solomon did build a Temple. And the Davidic kingdom did withstand a division of the kingdom into two and even a major onslaught from the Assyrians. But though it lasted long enough, it wasn’t forever as promised by God to David. The kingdom eventually fell and the temple was destroyed. The descendants of David were flogged and exiled to Babylon. Perhaps God’s love also was taken away just like it did with Saul?

If you have been reading the Lent devotional materials [1] , you would realize that the story hasn't ended. God’s love story with his people continued on. There are many references to be found in Isaiah 40-55, but I’ll just highlight the passages about Jerusalem in Isaiah 40-41.
Isaiah 40: 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
9 You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
Isaiah 41: 27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’
I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.

These were the promises of God, this time from the prophet Isaiah. As promised to David, from his offspring there will still be a Son of God. He is the one who will build the house of God, a new and restored Temple. However, unlike the previous son of God, Solomon, this time the kingdom and throne will truly be forever. And who was supposed to receive this good news? Jerusalem.

And this is why the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem was such a choreographed moment. You’ll notice that throughout Jesus’ ministry, he tried to shy away from the crowd whenever he got too popular. The spectacular feeding of the 5000 and 4000 were rather incidental events out of compassion. It is hard to imagine that Jesus would stage a scene where he would hog all the limelight. Yet this entrance was just like the moment in a romantic movie when the male and female leads first meet or the moment of their first kiss. But instead of the special lighting, the slow motion and the background music, Jesus prepared a colt for riding and a team of fans (9 Those who went ahead and those who followed) to do the fan chants shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna!” Do you know why these two preparations were so special? Both of these were key references to his Davidic kingship.

The riding of the colt came from the Old Testament prophet Zechariah.
Zechariah 9: 9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

So we see Jesus coming into Jerusalem, riding on a colt, intentionally arranged. It was a graphic message to all witnesses in Jerusalem that the promised King had arrived. Zechariah said that when you see this, you are supposed to rejoice greatly and shout. Interestingly, they shouted out to Jesus, the same words in found in Psalm 118:25-26, “Save us, we pray, O, LORD” In Hebrew, that prayer is expressed in just one word - “Hosanna!”” They also shouted, just like in verse 26, “May the one who comes in the name of the Lord be blessed!” In Hebrew and Aramaic, that’s the way you say ‘welcome’. So essentially, the crowd was cheering “Welcome! Save us! Welcome! Save us!”.

In using Psalm 118 to describe Jesus, Mark and the other New Testament writers identified him as the new David, the true Son of God. He was the chosen and anointed king of God’s people to save them. He was here to fulfill the prophetic promises of God, to stay faithful and true to his covenant. But the crowd added something more, not in the original Psalm 118: 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” I believe Mark was trying to draw us back to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry about the coming kingdom. The moment had finally arrived. The kingdom had come as proclaimed by Jesus 3 years ago. What had started in Galilee was now completed in Jerusalem.

The seed of Jesus’ kingship and the kingdom of God has been growing for the past 2000 years. God’s salvation has reached many who are willing to praise and shout Hosanna to him. In terms of the big story about the coming kingdom of God, it was fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus Christ and it will continue on until his second coming. But I want to make this story personal for you too. Here in Singapore, our government takes good care of us, so we might not yearn for God’s kingdom like the Jews in Roman times, or like those who suffer under persecution. But remember this: God’s kingdom is where God’s will is done. Our government can provide material needs, but it cannot fulfill emotional and spiritual needs. I think we can all play our parts as citizens of God’s kingdom – sharing God’s love through genuine care and concern for those around us.

[1] http://www.jubilee.org.sg/qt2020/

Mark 11:1–11 (Listen)

11:1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

(ESV)