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The Recognition of Peace

Sermon passage: (Luke 19:28-44) Spoken on: March 1, 2017
More sermons from this speaker 更多该讲员的讲道: Rev. Wong Siow Hwee
For more of this sermon series 更多关于此讲道系列: Luke

Tags: LUKE 路加福音

Listen to sermon recording with the play button or download with the download link. 您可点播或下载讲道录音。
About Rev. Wong Siow Hwee: Rev. Wong is the moderator of Jubilee Church, serving there since 2002. 王晓晖牧师是禧年堂的主理牧师。自2002年,在那牧会将近20年。

Title: The Recognition of Peace
Date: 1st Mar 2017
Preacher: Rev. Wong Siow Hwee

Luke 19: 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.”

Today, we begin the period of Lent. It is a time of reflection before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on Good Friday and Easter Sunday respectively. Therefore, we typically devote the sermons in these 6-7 weeks to the passages of Jesus’ final ministry in Jerusalem. In our passage today, we read about Jesus entering Jerusalem on a colt, while his disciples cheered for his kingship. 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
The message of the cheer is almost identical to the message of the angels at the birth of Jesus.
Luke 2: 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The message is loud and clear on both occasions: When the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord, the King (4 inter-related titles) arrives, it will be a time of glory in the highest and peace on earth as it is in heaven.

I’m not sure if the disciples of Jesus knew about the proclamations from the angels. But what I do know is that what they were saying came from the Old Testament prophet Zechariah. The context of Zechariah 9 is that God will bring judgement upon all the violent and evil nations surrounding Jerusalem. And after proclaiming his judgement, God declared:
Zechariah 9: 8 But I will encamp at my temple
to guard it against marauding forces.
Never again will an oppressor overrun my people,
for now I am keeping watch.
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.
10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

During its long history, Jerusalem had been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.[1] Think about what that feels like. Singapore was occupied by the Japanese once, and already the 70-year-old pain lingers on till today. Following a public outcry, Syonan Gallery was recently renamed to “Surviving the Japanese Occupation”. [2] So you can imagine how a Jew must think about peace in Jerusalem. The words of Zechariah would be their wildest dreams come true. God personally fighting for and defending Jerusalem. Back off! I’m keeping watch. None shall pass. And a king, victorious yet humble, he arrives on a young donkey, not a warhorse like the Romans; a king whose reign of peace shall not just transform Jerusalem, but also reach to the ends of the earth. This was the ancient promise.

I want to spend some time thinking about this need for peace. There was an advertisement that went viral 3 years ago. [3]
This advertisment came from a British organisation called Save the Children which helps suffering children in Syria. Even though you know it’s an advertisement, it has a message that rings true in your heart. After a quick scan of a girl’s year, from one birthday to the next, the scene ended with someone asking the girl to make a birthday wish. The video might have been explicit about the terrors of war. But it didn’t need to be explicit about the wish. We know in our hearts what we would wish for if we were the girl. We might wish for help. But above all we would wish for peace. The video ended with the tag line: “Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.” That’s a powerful message that forces us to face the truth: Peace isn’t something we can take for granted. When we are not at peace, our expression changes, what preoccupies our mind changes, our will to live changes. This is a common core of humanity that connects all of us: the need for peace.

This is where the ancient promise becomes so precious to us. Imagine if Aleppo or Ukraine or South Korea or even Singapore during WWII were given a promise like that:
Zechariah 9: 8 But I will encamp at my temple
to guard it against marauding forces.
Never again will an oppressor overrun my people,
for now I am keeping watch.
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.
You know the feeling I get when I hear this promise? Paul said in Romans 8: 31 If God is for us, who can be against us?

In our passage tonight, Jesus came to Jerusalem, riding on a colt, intentionally arranged. It is a graphic message to all witnesses, the promised King has arrived. From now on, God is the defender of his people, peace shall prevail. But is it true? Many might argue otherwise. That is the number 1 objection of the Jews against Jesus being the true Messiah: There is no peace. Today, Jerusalem continues to be a place of conflict and turmoil. And there is no world peace. If Jesus is the king promised in Zechariah, where is the peace? Brothers and sisters, this is the crux of the matter of our faith. In this world, there will be those that will see the peace, and those who cannot recognize the peace. And that is blatantly described in the passage today.

Luke 9: 37 …, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” (They do not see.)
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. 44 …., because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.

I have one main goal tonight: to let you see and recognize the peace. This goal is the same as the Church from the very beginning. Acts 10: 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. Our gospel about Jesus Christ, must be a gospel of peace. And when you recognize this peace, that is where you understand and believe in Jesus Christ. Let me now show this peace to you.

First, this peace is God’s victory over Satan.
Luke 10: 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.
9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
Do you see it? The disciples saw it. Jesus proclaimed it. Peace arrived for those who accepted Jesus’ disciples. They experienced the kingdom of God and eventually the kingship of Jesus. Jesus began by being victorious over Satan.

Then, there is the peace that comes from healing and forgiveness. Do you remember the woman who was a sinner?
Luke 7: 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

There was another woman who was considered unclean because of her menstruation illness.
Luke 8: 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
In both of these cases, it was about peace with God, but also inner peace. The sinner and the unclean woman would have been living a life alienated from the community. But on that day, when Jesus proclaimed “Go in peace”, I can imagine the relief they must have experienced.

At this point, you might feel a little let down. When we think about peace, or at least when I was speaking about the promise in Zechariah 9, you would be expecting peace in the forms of evil forces destroyed or all weapons discarded. And you would not be wrong. Those things are part of the descriptions in every mention of peace by the prophets, including Isaiah whom we are reading for Lent devotions. But, that is the gospel of peace. When Peter described this gospel, he spoke of:
Acts 10: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Brothers and sisters, don’t you see? This is peace. Peace is victory over the power of the devil. Peace is bringing reconciliation with God. Peace is restoring the community as one. Even if God destroys all the evil, like the flood in Noah’s time, but what happens next? Conflict and strife never end until the root of the problem is dealt with. This is what we must recognize and see. To solve the problem of sin, God sent his king in the person of Jesus. Jesus is victorious over Satan. Jesus restored the sick and the sinners. In short, Jesus became the solution to humanity. And when humanity is solved, true peace will eventually be forever. Jesus’ coming is the ancient promise in Zechariah happening for real. The only question now is: do you recognize it?

In Luke, this recognition is what determines destruction or peace. Jerusalem was the city that failed to recognize Jesus. And until today, peace cannot be found. When you do not see that peace lies in Jesus, then you try all other means to feel safe. Jerusalem was even the place Jesus was crucified for it to feel safer. But there was no peace.

In Luke, however, there was a man who saw Jesus and recognized this. And because of that, he found peace. He was Simeon.
Luke 2: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

Brothers and sisters, do you see Jesus and you see salvation? Are you able to find peace? Is Jesus “a light, for revelation” to you? I hope today’s message has made it possible for you to see and to believe. And when you see the wonder of God’s salvation for us, like the disciples you cry out: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And not only so, you now become an envoy of peace, because you serve under the King of peace. James 3: 17 The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving,considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. So go into the world with this mission. Satan has fallen. God’s peace has come. Go, spread the gospel of peace.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem
[2]http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/name-syonan-gallery-be-changed-surviving-japanese-occupation
[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQ-IoHfimQ