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Mar 24th: Imitating Christ’s Humble Peacemaking, with Rev. Tyler McQuilkin.

Posted: Sun, Mar 24, 2024
Imitating Christ's Humble Peacemaking with Rev. Tyler McQuilkin. Series: Everyday Peacemakers A Spacious Christianity, First Presbyterian Church of Bend, Oregon. Scripture: Mark 11:1-11; Philippians 2:1-5. Join us as Tyler gives a Palm Sunday sermon comparing Jesus’s humble entry into Jerusalem on a colt to Pilate’s military procession, and calls Christians to imitate Christ’s humility and peacemaking.

A Part of the Series:

Rev. Tyler McQuilkin


Imitating Christ’s Humble Peacemaking with Rev. Tyler McQuilkin. Series: Everyday Peacemakers A Spacious Christianity, First Presbyterian Church of Bend, Oregon. Scripture: Mark 11:1-11; Philippians 2:1-5.

Join us as Tyler gives a Palm Sunday sermon comparing Jesus’s humble entry into Jerusalem on a colt to Pilate’s military procession, and calls Christians to imitate Christ’s humility and peacemaking.


During the season of Lent, we have been looking at how we can be every day peacemakers. How can we participate in Christ’s peacemaking in the world today? Today is Palm Sunday. So we’re going to look at how Christ’s entry into Jerusalem can help us be everyday peacemakers in the world. Our scripture comes from Mark chapter 11, verses one through 11. And it says, when they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethpage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of His disciples and said to them, Go into the village ahead of you. And immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been written. Untie it and bring it if anyone says to you, why are you doing this? Just say this. The Lord needs it. And we’ll send it back here immediately. They went away and found a colt tied near a door outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, what are you doing? untying the colt? They told them what Jesus had said, and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and through their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who are who followed, were shouting Hosanna bless. It is the one who comes in the name of the Lord bless it is the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David Hosanna, in the highest heaven. Then 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 12. Palm Sunday is the day in the church calendar when we remember Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem for the Passover festival. For the Jewish community, the Passover festival is a celebration of the Exodus story, when they were liberated from Egypt, and started their journey to the promised land. So Jesus and his disciples entered Jerusalem, the Holy City for the Passover festival, where their Jewish siblings would celebrate this important day in their people’s history. I imagine most of us know what happens the rest of this week in Jesus’s life. We have services later this week at our church that remember several events of Jesus’s last days with His disciples. He shares a meal with the disciples where he washed their feet. And he prays for them on Monday, Thursday. Then on Good Friday, we remember Jesus, His last words, his betrayal and arrest from one of his disciples, and his crucifixion and death on the cross. And a week from today, on Easter Sunday, we will remember and celebrate Jesus’s resurrection and what this means for us. I remember when I was in college, and my church was having a good Friday service. I asked a friend of mine who I often went to church with, if he would be interested in going to this Good Friday service with me. But he was raised in a branch of the church different than me, that did not quite as much do quite as much with these other services of Holy Week. So when I asked if he would be interested, he asked me what’s good Friday. And my confused 19 year old self looked at him puzzled. And I told my friend that this is the day that we remember Christ’s death. And then my friend equally confused, asked why he would want to go to a service, remembering Christ’s death. Now, this friend also grew up in the church, but their church only had Easter services to celebrate the resurrection. At the time, I did not have a good response to him. This was just the results of the church I was raised in where we had Holy Week services that I grew up going to most years. I did not have a great reason to tell him to come with me. All I knew is that Jesus’s final few days were filled with communion and prayer with his friends, betrayal, and eventually suffering. Now, if I were to talk with this friend today, I would probably say something along the lines of if we are going to celebrate the resurrection. We have to also acknowledge Jesus has been Israel suffering and death that happened during Holy Week. Maybe an even easier way to respond would be to say that for Jesus to be raised from the dead, he has to die. So as we look toward Holy Week, starting today with Palm Sunday, while keeping the end of the week in mind with Easter Sunday, we also have to remember the journey that Christ went through before getting to Easter. Before entering Jerusalem for his last week, Jesus had a long ministry full of teaching, healing and being with people. He was not afraid to teach the religious authorities, he healed individuals deemed to be sinners and unrighteous. And he dined with a range of people, both holy, and unholy, righteous and unrighteous. He did all of this over the course of three years during His ministry, and as our model for what it means to love God with our whole heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus’s ministry alone is an incredible model for his followers to try to imitate. But as we see in Holy Week, and His entry into Jerusalem, followed by his teaching in the temple, and eventually being handed over to be executed. This final week of His life also teaches us so much on how we ought to live and follow him in the world today. After these three years of ministry, and Jesus has turned toward Jerusalem, Jesus entered the city from the east. Rumors had spread among the people, wondering if Jesus was the Promised Messiah, that would come to liberate Israel from Roman occupation. There was hope that Jesus would be a political or military leader that would liberate the people of Israel from Rome, and help them reclaim their land and independence. People hoped that Jesus’s power would be what they assumed power to look like. But Jesus does not live into the agenda that people have for him. Instead, he tells his disciples to go to the neighboring village and grab a colts or a donkey, which is what he will ride into Jerusalem on. And if they were asked, why are there they’re taking the Colts, they are told to just say, The Lord needs it. Jesus does not ride into Jerusalem in a way that many probably expected. They probably expected him to ride in on a war horse to make a statement of power. But instead, he rides in on a lowly Colt, and humility, not to overthrow the Roman Empire, but to come into the city to serve, teach, and be with his friends. Although none of the gospel writers specifically mentioned a second entry into Jerusalem, scholars, no there was an entry. Another entry that was just as significant to this week and the events that would unfold while Jesus entered the city on the Colts from the east, the man he would meet at the end of the week, Pontius Pilate entered the city from the west. Because Passover is such an important festival for the Jewish people, the Roman Empire would send a representative to Jerusalem in order to maintain order in the city, and to ensure the people under their rule would not revolt. And by having a strong military presence in the city, they can work to maintain this order. So Pilate enter Jerusalem, probably on a war horse, accompanied by a procession of Roman soldiers to make a statement of the Empires power and authority in the land. The spectacle alone would cause those in Jerusalem to question any sort of unrest or revolt due to the consequences that would come if they were caught. From their book The Last week, scholars Marcus Borg and John Crossin, right, to processions entered Jerusalem on that day, the same question, the same alternative faces those who would be faithful to Jesus today. Which procession are we in? Which procession do we want to be in? This is the question of Palm Sunday and of the week that is about to unfold This is the question we have to ask ourselves on this Palm Sunday in the year 2024. Now, I imagine if you were to ask most pastors or church members in the world today, regardless of denomination or theological convictions, most would respond to this question by saying that they are in the same procession as Jesus. Now, I don’t doubt the sincerity of many people, believing they’re in this procession with Jesus. But when we look at how truly radical Jesus’s life and his humble procession into Jerusalem was, and if we really reflect and ask ourselves this question, I think many of us here in this church and church members and pastors across the world might see themselves maybe in both processions, they might see the value and importance of Jesus’s procession. And they might want to live into that procession. But they also find themselves vying for political power and authority. So when we ask this question of ourselves, we have to look to the person and work of Christ, to see if we are living into his hope, humble, and lowly procession. A helpful scripture to help us examine ourselves and our motives comes from Philippians two, where the apostle Paul writes, If then there is any comfort in Christ, any consolation from love, any partnership in the spirit, or any tender affection and sympathy, make my joy complete. Be of the same mind having the same love being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit. But in humility, regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. Most Bibles today, add subheadings before stories to give the reader clues and context for what to expect in the section they’re about to read. But here in Philippians, two, the heading above this passage, passage reads, imitating Christ’s Christ’s humility. This is a case where the heading is a benefit that summarizes what is in the upcoming verses. So as we think about the two processions that enter Jerusalem, and trying to be part of Jesus’s procession, rather than pilots. And as we think about this language of imitating Christ, how might we imitate Christ’s humble life and procession into Jerusalem, and in our world with and with our lives today? Here, we’re a Presbyterian Church. Many of us have maybe grown up Presbyterian, others maybe come from other traditions. But in the Presbyterian Church, we don’t have saints in our tradition, like our Catholic siblings. But if you were to ask a Presbyterian or a Catholic, who has some knowledge of church history, about important figures in church history, other than Jesus and the apostles, they might give a name of maybe an early martyr who was killed by authorities because of their faith. Or maybe they will name someone from history who led a significant movement that changed the trajectory of the world. They might say the name of a scholar who has made major contributions to Christian thought. Or maybe they will answer by saying, there is a significant figure who lead a life of obedience, sacrifice and service that reflected the life of Christ. So although we are not Catholic, and do not have saints in the same way they do. There are important figures in church history that are for many people, unofficial saints, who we honor because of the way they live their life, as followers of Christ. These are major important people who have books written about them for their work and service and their imitation of Christ’s life. We might think that they were in the major leagues that they were professional Christians that we can never be like. For many of us It’s unlikely that books will be written about our life and the things we did for Christ. But if we are living our lives to be remembered in books, we probably aren’t living for the right reasons. So as we remember Christ’s life, and this call to imitate his life, this call to be imitators of Christ. Life of humility and peace is not one of status, fame or magnificence. imitating Christ life comes in humility and loneliness, loneliness, imitating Christ’s humble peacemaking happens when we care for those marginalized in society. It happens when we decide not to respond to negative comments online with more negativity. It happens when we focus on the good in the person across from us, rather than the things in them that we see as bad. This Imitation of Christ comes when we see the world with the eyes of Christ, and try to live and act as he would, as every day peacemakers. So from the West, Pilate entered Jerusalem in power and glory, full of military might, so that the crowds would honor him out of fear. His procession was to maintain the power and influence of Rome. The purpose was to serve himself, Caesar and the Empire. And from the east, Jesus entered Jerusalem in humility, and lowliness. His procession included a donkey, not a warhorse. And Jesus came to Jerusalem, knowing what waited for him at the end of the week. And yet Jesus continued to live into who he was called to be, as a humble Peacemaker. As everyday peacemakers, let us imitate Christ’s life as well as we can, giving ourselves Grace if we mess up, and knowing that God’s grace is given to us when we inevitably fail to imitate Christ. And let us have energy, patience and humility, to bring Christ’s peace into the world, wherever we may go. Amen.

Related Ministries:

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