Matthew 21:1-11; John 14:1-14

Praise be to God! He’s here! The one we’ve been waiting for is here, the chosen Son of David. We’ve heard about him for so long, and now here he is, and just the way he should be: in a used Honda Civic.

It’s not exactly regal, but that’s how the prophet said he would be. That’s how he should be – not in some executive suite or living in the White House, but down here on our level. Save the thrones and fancy clothes for later, once we’ve got what’s coming to us. Right now, he’s on our level. He’s our king. He belongs to us!

Praise be to God!

This is just what I was afraid of. “The prophet,” they said. Oh, and he thinks he’s a prophet, “speaking truth to power” every day in the Temple. I’ll tell you what I think of his “truth:” idealistic hand-wringing, all dressed up with self-righteous indignation. That’s all it is.

He thinks he’s going to bring down our religion. He says the preachers are trying to line their pockets and stroke their egos at the expense of the people who truly seek God here. He says the Session needs to spend less time arguing about policies and programs and more time giving hope to the poor. He talks like God would just as soon have us put a stop to all our prayers, just to buy one poor fool a gallon of milk. What does he want us to do, give all the Temple’s money to the poor?

And what really steams me is that he just might get this place destroyed. He just might bring down our religion. The way he’s talking, he’s going to make the Romans think he wants to be king, and then they’ll hang us all up like rebels. And all for what? Because he wanted people to treat each other nicely? Give me a break.

I am certainly not going to wait around while he throws our whole world to the pigs, just on the basis of some “truth.”

Jesus has been so… different, lately. Solemn, like he’s carrying the whole world on his shoulders. He’s been talking kind of crazy, too. I mean, he’s always been crazy, but wow. Not just about trusting God and feeding the hungry – that’s all easy enough to say when you’re a miracle-worker. Now he’s talking about dying. Like, really seriously. He’s mentioned that before, but he seems to think it’s going to happen any day now. It’s almost like he’s got it written in his appointment book already.

He tells us not to worry, tells us he’ll come and bring us where he’s going. Tells us we actually know the way already. Well, I’m sorry, but no. I don’t know where he’s going. He’s been talking about eternal life for what seems like forever, and I still haven’t the foggiest idea what he’s talking about. Eternal life? How do you do that?

And now it’s worse. I don’t know what to do. They’ve come and taken him, and he’s not even speaking out against their charges. They’re going to put him to death, I just know it. They’re going to…

My God. That’s it. That’s what he meant. He knew this was coming. That’s why he didn’t resist them. But how can he just stand there, acting like this is all under control? He’s not even answering their questions. I don’t understand it.

Now who’s going to teach us the way of life?

So there’s your pulpit! Ha! Try preaching from up there, you good-for-nothing malcontent! You were so bold until the authorities arrived, weren’t you? You had so much to say against us until they came with real power. Then you just clammed right up, didn’t you? That was quite the sermon, I tell you.

And now what do you have to say? Now will you stand on your lofty principles and tell us how to run our religion? Now will you rescue the poor from their own vices and kiss the sick and make everything “all better”? Yeah, right. You can’t even get yourself down off the cross.

Some make-believe prophet you turned out to be.

Well, that was no kind of king. That was no kind of conquest. I guess I wasn’t expecting a fairy-tale victory, but I sure wasn’t expecting this. A king who doesn’t even fight? Who doesn’t even defend himself? That’s no way to reign.

And he was so bold about the whole thing. It’s like he thought he had already won, like he thought things were going a whole lot better for him than they really were. Even on the cross, he acted like he was the ruler of the world. But it’s all over now. It’s finished.

“It is finished.” That’s what he said from the cross, “finished.” Like this is where he was headed the whole time. Did he know? When we spread our cloaks and palm branches ahead of him, did he know that this is where his road was leading? How could that be?