About Myles Elton

I am a follower of Christ, a husband, a father of three, a pastor, a reader, a theologian, a friend, an observer of culture, a enjoyer of the beauty of creation, and in awe of all God has done and will do in this world.

Jesus fan theory – Luke 19.28-48

Luke 19.28-48

As we read this story we need to get into the mind of someone from the time who had written this. We need to see things with a slight sense of a Fan Theories. Fan theories are all about making sense of a TV show, or a series of books, or something to see a bigger story going on. Everything is connected. When you are looking for connections then it makes it look for meanings in all events.

Fan theories like –

  • Titanic – Jack is actually a time traveller sent back to save Rose from killing herself. makes you watch that movie completely differently. Mentions places that dont exist yet to Rose and he has a haircut straight out of 1930 – 18 years after titanic sank.
  • Pixar universe – that all the pixar movies take place in the same universe on a singular timeline beginning with Brave and finishing with Monsters INC. Google it – change your life.
  • My favourite is that Bananas in pyjamas is secretly played out in a mental institution where each of the characters has a different mental health problem and the main form of currency is crunchy honey cakes also known as the medication they receive. B1 and B2 are not twin brother bananas but one banana with split personality disorder. This makes watching ABC kids in the afternoon and whole different experience.

As we look through this passage we need to be thinking fan theory. What are the little parts in this story that point to other parts of God story so we can see what is being said here.

Lets walk through it and see the fan theory that pops out –

Read v28-36 picking up these points – 

  • Bethphage and Bethany near the mount of olives – Mount of Olives points both backwards and forward. It looks back to 2 kings when King David (one of God’s kings) walks up the mount of olives to repent of disobeying God and comes down glorifying the Lord and looks forward to the moment when Jesus is arrested about a week from now and is given a crown of thorns as king of the jews.
  • Colt – or a foal of a Donkey. As this part of the story happens Zechariah 9.9 – a prophecy of the king pops into our minds.
    • Zechariah 9.9 – Rejoice greatly , O daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 
  • The Lord needs it – with authority of someone who has power he gets the colt.
  • cloaks on the ground and on the colt – reminiscent of 2 King 9.13
    • 2 Kings 9:13 (NIV) – 13 They quickly took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”
  • a sign of respect for the king.

Read v37-38

  • a kingly procession extolling the good works of the king
  • misquote psalm 118 but like on purpose. They misquote it to capture something else.

They celebrate with these words from a Psalm. This is of massive importance to them. Right now they are under the rule of the Romans. There is even rumour in some texts that on this day that Jesus is entering on one side of town and on the other side enter Pontius Pilate who represented the Roman Rule.

From one side of town we have a ruler representing one Roman rule and on the other we see Jesus entering representing God’s rule. For the people of the time there is a significant clashing of images going on. Two rulers entering Jerusalem at the same time.

The point being made again and again and again. Rather then a slightly imaginary fan theory this text which in simple terms is describing a man riding into a town on a donkey is actually a statement of the identity of the man. He is the king.

Jesus is the king

Jesus is the king

Jesus is the king

Jesus is the king


As the story continues in v38 the people are also proclaiming

The pharisees who are priests of the jewish temple ask Jesus to rebuke the disciples for what they are saying.

Jesus, as he is prone to do, instead rebukes the Pharisees. He says the stones will cry out which is a quote from another old testament prophet Habbakkuk 2.11. It is him making a reference to the unstoppable nature of God’s mission, that it would be an injustice. Even if the disciples were to stop shouting it wouldnt stop the truth that the king is in town. If I was a disciple though I totally would have asked everyone to stop to see if the stones cried out – Jesus does some legit miracles.

 

Jesus makes one of the most explicit statements of his nature here. Stating you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you. As in right now – I am God and I am here you guys are in trouble.

A tension is created here in the story. The people had just been proclaiming Jesus as the king who is returning to Jerusalem which was to be the centre of his Kingdom. The centre of God’s kingdom. Yet he says that the city and its people will be destroyed. Jesus is bringing this new kingdom and yet immediately predicting the end of it. In fact his prediction comes true 64 years later when Jerusalem is destroyed by the Romans who kill and force the rebellious Jews to flee.

This tension is picked up even more when a week after Jesus comes into town as a king whom is praised is up on a cross alone being shamed. King fail. Yet that is not the end but the expanding of the kingdom and the disciples perhaps unknowingly proclaim it.

      38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”  

         “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Rather then being a king of a group of people in the middle east Jesus dies and rises again to achieve much more. He becomes a king not of a kingdom bound by location. But a kingdom bound by what he does on the cross. For the issue was that there was not peace in heaven and through Jesus death and resurrection peace is brought between God and man. The insult of sin is removed and a new kingdom begins. One where the king is eternal, and his kingdom is not bound physically but is found wherever the people of God who are in it are.

We need a king. We need a king that can make Psalm 118 come true. For the disciples who were celebrating Jesus coming to town they were hoping for a king. i take it that they quote the one line from that Psalm to point us to that Psalm to see what the king and his kingdom is like. They are hoping this kingdom becomes real.

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Isaiah 7.14, Luke 1.26-38

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.

The Lord himself has given a sign of the one to come. God with us, Immanuel, he will come and he will save us from ourselves. The sign – 

  • Virgin gives birth to a son – a genuine miracle that comes true in Luke 1.26-38 where the birth of Jesus is foretold. 

What does Immanuel mean? God with us. God who is separate from the world has come down to us to be in the world. He does this for our good and the good of all creation. God came to us because we could not be with him. God is still with us by his spirit to bring us to him. 

Immanuel is born is the best news we could ever hope for. 

Amos 6, Luke 15.11-32

God through Amos brings two accusations against his people in this passage. 

1. They are complacent – v1-7 – they are not following God, they are not loving what God loves, they are seeking to obey him, but potential worst of all is they think that is ok. They living it up and not seeing the danger of the situation they are in. It is the equivalent of being asked by your boss to get the job done and instead going and playing xbox for 6 hours.
2. He abhors their pride – v8-14 – the source of complacency is pride. When you think you are better then you are then you act better then you are. If you think you have no problems then you live as if you have none. 

God attacks the complacency and pride of the people of God. Both pride and complacency are reflections of their relationship with him. In Jesus our complacency and pride are undermined by needing someone else to do what we could not do ourselves. 

Hosea 2.2-23, Luke 10.1-24

The situation – V2-7a – these verses capture the unfaithfulness of Hosea’s wife as a metaphor for Israel. 

The selfish response –  V8-13 – these verses show the wife going back to her husband. She doesn’t do this out of respect or repentance but because she knows life was better with God. The husband, God, sees that the actions are from self preservation motives. There is no acknowledgement of past failings or even the need for punishment of past crimes. 

The redemptive response – V14-23 – the repeated phrase used in these words of “I will” highlights Gods initiative in redeeming his people. He is the one that will bring about change. He is the one that will bring the people back to him. He is the one who will, through Jesus, bring about the reconciliation of these broken parties. A sacrificial husband saving his wife. A sacrificial God saving his people. 

Psalm 88 – overwhelmed and coming to Jesus 

Psalm 88 has been a powerful pastoral tool for me personally and with others. 

The feeling that is created by the author is one deep sadness and mourning. From conversations with people this psalm seems to capture some of the feeling from those in the depths of depression. It is in the context of someone being given a diagnosis of depression that I have used this Psalm. I have done so for two reasons – 
1. God acknowledges that experience 

I have found it helpful to show people that there is somewhere in Gods word that acknowledges their experience. If God’s word captures that experience then there is a place where God understands you. Rather then being caught in victory verses or rejoice pick me ups here is a psalm where the situation did not change. They started sad and ended sad. For some people this is their day to Day experience. Gods word and thus God acknowledge their experience. 

2. Teaches us where to go in our distress

It is right to cry out to God when things are at their worst. This psalm acknowledges the pain and gives an orientation for stepping forward. The situation isn’t solved and I like that cause God isn’t a vending machine that does what I want him to do. He is God whom I am honest with and whom is with us in our darkest moments. 

Conclusion 

Psalm 88 gives us an image of humanity at its saddest and lowest moment. Psalm 88 acknowledges the truth of that experience and points us to the one who has brought a solution. Maybe not in this life but definitely in the life to come – and while we wait we cry out to him knowing he hears us 

1 Chronicles 19

 

‘If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to rescue me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will rescue you. 13 Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.’ 1 Chronicles 19.12

The people of God under King David find themselves in a conflict that they did not choose. They had approached a new neighbouring king with a peaceful offering and the response had been to shame those bringing the offering.

This results in two conflicts in which the people of God are victorious. A particularly interesting moment in the midst of the first conflict is when the commander of the army sees that they are being attacked from two sides. He makes a battle plan with the other commanders. It is a plan of dependence on each other, a statement of action based on their identity as God’s people, and all done under a knowledge that God is in control.

As we live as the people of God now we can take their same approach.

  • We walk through life together under Jesus – Galatians 6.1-2, Ephesians 4
  • We have statement of action based on who we are in Jesus – Titus 2.11-15, Ephesians 4.32-5.2
  • God’s got it in Jesus  – Romans 8.31-39

In the midst of trial we walk in the pattern of Gods people past and present.

 

 

19 In the course of time, Nahash king of the Ammonites died, and his son succeeded him as king. David thought, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.’ So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.

When David’s envoys came to Hanun in the land of the Ammonites to express sympathy to him, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, ‘Do you think David is honouring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Haven’t his envoys come to you only to explore and spy out the country and overthrow it?’ So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved them, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away.

When someone came and told David about the men, he sent messengers to meet them, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, ‘Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.’

When the Ammonites realised that they had become obnoxious to David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent a thousand talents[a] of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram Naharaim,[b] Aram Maakah and Zobah. They hired thirty-two thousand chariots and charioteers, as well as the king of Maakah with his troops, who came and camped near Medeba, while the Ammonites were mustered from their towns and moved out for battle.

On hearing this, David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men. The Ammonites came out and drew up in battle formation at the entrance to their city, while the kings who had come were by themselves in the open country.

10 Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. 11 He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother, and they were deployed against the Ammonites. 12 Joab said, ‘If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to rescue me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will rescue you. 13 Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.’

14 Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. 15 When the Ammonites realised that the Arameans were fleeing, they too fled before his brother Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab went back to Jerusalem.

16 After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they sent messengers and had Arameans brought from beyond the River Euphrates, with Shophak the commander of Hadadezer’s army leading them.

17 When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel and crossed the Jordan; he advanced against them and formed his battle lines opposite them. David formed his lines to meet the Arameans in battle, and they fought against him. 18 But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven thousand of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers. He also killed Shophak the commander of their army.

19 When the vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with David and became subject to him.

So the Arameans were not willing to help the Ammonites any more.

Jesus Has Risen

There is a simplicity about this moment in time. There is also much that is complicated. There are many burdens on us, many concerns we have about our past and our future, many concerns we have for others future. All those things that roll around in our heads before we head to sleep. So much that is complicated. Yet there is a simplicity to this day. A simplicity of a celebration of the most beautiful moment in the history of humanity.

 

3 women in mourning go to the tomb where their friend is buried. Many emotions are building up in them, many concerns about what is to come. So much that was hoped for has been wiped out in a moment. They reach the burial sight and see that something is out of place. The stone that blocks the tomb has been rolled away. They enter the tomb and find that their friend is not there, he has gone. There immediate thoughts would no doubt have been that some injustice has occurred. Someone has stolen the body and taken it for some reason. Robbing them of the opportunity to mourn. Two strangers with lightning clothes appear next to them and respond to the women’s surprise with a question –

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

This is not the question on the women’s minds but it now is. For as the shiny clothed men say Jesus told them about this. In Matthew 16.21 Jesus foretold the events of the past week. That he would be delivered into the hands of sinners, crucified and on the third day raised again. The women at the reporting of the shiny men remember Jesus words.

They reported all that had happened to the 11 apostles. They do not believe the women. Yet Peter, the one who denied Christ, goes back to the tomb and is lead to wonder what happened.

 

There is a simple fact. A man who was alive was killed and then he came back from the dead. It is simple. The result is also simple – whatever this person came to say and do is clearly more important than anything else in history. For no one else has done this. Whatever he has said and then goes onto say is given an authority above all else. There is much that is complicated and much that needs to be discussed. Yet there is something simple and beautiful about this day where we remember a moment in time that changed all other moments forever.

 

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Luke 24.1-12