Jesus Your Way?
In Jacksonville, FL, back in 1953 a new restaurant opened named Insta-Burger King
This was a time when fast food was becoming a “thing” and hamburgers were truly king
In fact just two years later, in 1955, a new franchise would begin that has truly become king, a little place called McDonalds
Burger King’s slogan Have It Your Way, was created in 1974.
Some of you, may remember the commercial we just saw, as well as many others based on this theme in the ‘70s.
It was a response to the success of McDonalds. Burger King was number 2, and McDonalds led the fast food burger wars.
So, advertising executives tried to hit on something that was viewed as a weakness in the McDonald’s system.
When you ordered a burger at McDonalds, you got what they gave you.
You could certainly ask to leave off the mustard, or the pickles, but there was a sense when you did that, that this was a pain for them to do.
But not at Burger King.
This became their theme, and it’s a theme they still use today, more than 30 years later.
And as a slogan was born but so was a mindset.
Over the years this way of thinking has permeated our culture
So much so that, as a society, we have become entitled thinking that everything should be our way
This has even overflowed into our approach to the Bible and the truth about who God is.
It has become popular to take the truth of the gospel (Christ’s life, sacrifice, death and resurrection) and formulate it to be about how it can best serve me
So scripture isn’t so much about how it points me to Christ but about how it can best suit my thinking.
And so we begin to move away from the true intention of Scripture (pointing us to Christ) and begin to adapt it to what we want it to say or what we think it should say.
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! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” 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.
For the better part of three years Jesus has kept a low profile but the Triumphal Entry marks for the first time, Jesus' public declaration to Israel that He has come as their Messiah.
Zechariah 9:9, a prophecy viewed as messianic by Jesus' contemporaries, predicted that Israel's future king would come “righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The action of the crowd in spreading garments and palm branches in the road before Christ reflected the kind of homage usually paid to royalty (cf. 2 Kings 9:13).
At this point in the Gospel of Mark we’re entering into something really significant.
Chapters 1 through 10 describe Jesus’ earthly ministry, a period of three years.
Now chapters 11 through 16, describe Jesus’ last week on earth.
Ten chapters devoted to three years versus six chapters devoted to one week.
Everything happening has been leading up to this: Jesus entering into Jerusalem to be God’s one and only spotless lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.
This is the climax to His story of redemption.
1. Jesus and His disciples draw near to Jerusalem
a. By way of Bethany ("house of dates") and Bethphage ("house of unripe figs")
b. Two small villages near the Mount of Olives between Jericho and Jerusalem
2. Jesus arranges for two disciples to get a colt - Mk 11:1-3
a. A colt on which no one sat
b. By foreknowledge or previous arrangement, Jesus knows the owner will consent
3. The disciples get the colt just as Jesus predicted - Mk 11:4-6
4. Jesus mounts the colt - Mk 11:7
a. It is brought to Him, clothes placed on it, and He sits on it
5. Many spread their cloths on the road, others cut leafy branches and place them on the road before Jesus on the colt - Mk 11:8
6. Many praise Jesus as He rides the colt - Mk 11:9-10
a. Crying "Hosanna!" ("Save!" or "please save!") - Ps 118:25
b. "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!" - Ps 118:26
c. "Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord!"
d. "Hosanna in the highest!"
7. Jesus enters Jerusalem - Mk 11:11
a. He goes straight to the temple, and looks around
b. But the hour is late and so He does not stay
At first glance, everything seemed to be in line with what should be happening.
Jesus is entering into Jerusalem to fulfill what He came to accomplish.
He was the Messiah that had been promised for centuries, finally there to be the salvation of His people.
Having the benefit of knowing the end of the story, we know all what’s happening.
But the crowd here, at least on the surface, also seemed to know.
They saw Jesus and start shouting, “Hosanna, Hosanna!”, meaning, “Save us, rescue us!”
It all seemed like the proper coronation for their King Jesus.
The crowd loved Him. They were passionately singing and worshipping Him.
But something was deeply wrong.
Why? What was happening at the heart level, below the surface?
When Jesus entered into Jerusalem, the crowd thought He was finally accepting His Messiahship and was going to destroy and conquer Rome, kill all their enemies and establish an earthly kingdom.
When they were crying out, “Hosanna”, they didn’t have their personal salvation from sin in mind, but a national restoration, a political revolution.
This had been their Messianic hope all along.
So when they saw Jesus wasn’t going to give them what they wanted, they realized He wasn’t the Messiah they had been waiting for.
They dispersed, many even turned violently against Him.
Through the Old Testament, we see the Israelites constantly not getting it, complaining and not trusting God.
Not realizing what God had done for them.
In the New Testament, we see the disciples constantly failing over and over, arguing about who among them is greatest, while Jesus is going to the cross.
Our first response is they’re all stupid.
But then the Holy Spirit speaks and we realize that’s us too.
The crowd was worshipping a Jesus of their own making.
They were trying to have Jesus their way
These pilgrims knew their Bible, they knew the prophecy of the Messiah
But they became selective in their Scripture reading, picking and choosing for themselves what they liked about Jesus.
They liked all the prophecies about a promised one coming to establish a kingdom and rescue them.
But they didn’t like Isaiah 53:5-8
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
This was against their expectation for a Messiah to suffer.
He was supposed to rule, reign and conquer.
But Jesus came and HIs message was completely different from what they would expect
Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV)
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
They didn’t like hearing Him say this.
It went in one ear and out the other.
Jesus just said that if we want to follow Him and live, we must die.
If we want to keep our life, we have to lose it.
It goes in one ear and out the other, because it’s against our expectation.
For the Jews, it was against their expectation to have a Messiah that was not going to establish an earthly kingdom.
But for you and I, we tend to do the same thing
It’s against our expectation to have a savior that not’s going to make us happy and give us what we want.
We all want Jesus to fit into a box
We want a Jesus of our own making
How do we know we have a Jesus of our own making?
We have a savior of our own making if:
We will praise Him, but will never suffer for Him.
We will live for Him, without dying for Him.
We will read the scriptures without ever truly obeying them.
We will always seek to be happy in Jesus without ever denying ourselves for Jesus.
Are you worshipping the true Jesus of the Bible or one of your own making?
Have you created a Jesus that makes you feel better?
A therapeutic Jesus? Living in this world is hard and bad things happen.
You need a Jesus that comes along and reassures you, “It’s okay, I’m in control, I love you.”
This is the one that I’m personally guilty of.
When bad things happen, I immediately tell myself that it’s okay, God’s in control.
Some may think it’s really great faith.
But if I were honest, many times it’s not faith.
It’s actually apathy.
I tell myself these things because I don’t want to care, or feel or have to mourn with those who mourn.
So I take a little dose of my Prozac Jesus so I can numb out the pain and not feel the fact that this world is broken.
Jesus is absolutely in control.
But He was willing to feel and experience pain, to suffer and to weep.
He calls us to do the same.
We ought not use the sovereignty of God as an opportunity not to care.
We ought to be, as Christians, the most deeply caring people on the earth.
Have you created a Wal-Mart Jesus?
He’s a place you go to get all the things you want in life.
But if He doesn’t give you what you want: that husband or job; then no big deal, you just look for another savior, somebody else that will give you what your heart wants.
The true Jesus will always give you what you need, even if it’s at the cost of not giving you what you want.
District Attorney Jesus
Have you created a District Attorney Jesus; your own personal attorney that will go after all those people who are making your life miserable?
The true Jesus will not only point out the wrongs and sins in the hearts of others, but also point them out in your heart.
He’s not only offering you forgiveness for those sins, but also offers it to your worst enemies, those who have done the most harm to you.
Retirement Plan Jesus
Have you created a Retirement Plan Jesus?
You’ll pay your dues: you will faithfully tithe, read your Bible, go to church and do everything; as long as Jesus will give you heaven at the end of the day.
You earned it, right?
The true Jesus says that our righteousness is but filthy rags to Him.
If we’re going to make it to heaven it won’t be by our merit, it’s going to be by His merit.
Are you worshipping a Jesus of your own making?
Or the true Jesus of the Bible?
“God created us in His image and we decided to return the favor.”- George Bernard Shaw
How do you know whom you believe in?
We don’t need a savior who is a product of our wants,
And if we really think about it, we don’t need a God of our own making, one we’ve created for ourselves as a coping mechanism so we can live in a world that might cause us to suffer.
So, we need to ask ourselves, does the Jesus we worship ever contradict us?
Well, if you’ve made him up, he won’t.
He looks like you, made in your image.
He will want the same things you want.
He will let you stay exactly where you are, never requiring anything of you.
And though that may sound appealing, it will make you miserable in this life and the next.
You see, the true Jesus will contradict you.
When you’re hating someone, He will stop and heal you by saying, “No, forgive, as I have forgiven you.”
When you’re going astray, He says, “No, that’s not my way. That way leads to death, come follow me.”
Only a real Jesus can change you, transform you and ultimately fulfill you.
The good news is Jesus didn’t go to the cross for people who got it.
He went for people who totally missed it.
The true Jesus rescues us from the Jesus of our own making.
This offer of kindness and humility is the reason we see Him riding in on a donkey.
It’s a fulfillment of a five hundred year old prophecy:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)
By riding into Jerusalem on a donkey He’s saying He’s the promised king that’s coming to Jerusalem.
He’s also saying that He’s a king who won’t fit into any of their categories.
Usually a king would ride into a city on a warhorse, with pedigree.
The donkey was to demonstrate humility and divine condescension.
The same picture of why Jesus was born into the world in the first place.
It’s God humbling himself, taking upon himself the likeness of a servant.
This is the wonder of the kingship of Jesus.
But here’s the thing.
Are you willing to let Him be Lord of your life?
Or are you more concerned with having things your way?
May God show us and move in our hearts to let Jesus reign in our lives as He see fit.